Book Four:

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After Life

by Melanie Anne

Part One: Hell

Chapter 70

Smokin'!

October 20, 2005

7:52 a.m.

Dr. O left just minutes ago from removing the head bandages and drainage tubes from Teresa.  I video taped the ďunveilingĒ for her, and was finally able to get a full face view of the new woman.

What a success!  Her rather substantial brow ridge is completely gone!  Her jaw flare has vanished.  Here overly large (even for a man) square jaw and chin have been replaced by a cute heart-shaped lower face, with a gently curving jaw line that seems, at least, as if it is only half the size it was just three days ago.  And all this, mind you, is at the point of maximum swelling!

Overall impact?  She looks like a woman who just had bandages removed from some cosmetic surgery.  She doesnít look like a man with feminine features.  In short, she looks like a puffy, swollen Brittany Spears.  No kiddin!

There is FAR more femininity in her face, then in mine.  I come off (at least to me) more like the Maria Schriver type Ė definitely female, but with sharper features Ė not unattractive by any means, but also not soft and gentle features.

Just a month before we came here for the surgery, I weighed the most I ever have (left over from the money problems of last year, the weeks of 16 hour, 7 day working on remodeling our home so we could sell it and get the money for Teresaís surgery, and also the tensions and fears of what her surgery would do to MY life Ė how my future would be affected.)

But, three weeks before we came, I started a severe diet, after years of being unable to do so.  I realized that if I didnít get rid of the weight, look more female, and back away from a body weight that got me ďreadĒ almost all the time, I would have some serious psychological problems to deal with if Dr. O. made my Teresa beautiful, or just pretty, or even just completely passable.

And I can tell you right now, if I hadnít lost that weight and still looked the way I did a month ago, Iíd been in tears right now.  Iíd feel like a guy in drag.  Iíd feel so mannish and ugly that I would be sure sheíd leave me, and that I could never compete.  This would lead to a major extended depression, and my dour mood might cause a self-fulfilling prophecy where I actually drove her away through the sour feelings that grew from the fear of losing her.  Essentially, my security blanket (her mannish looks) would have been torn from me, leaving me cowering, unprotected, in the open.

But, as I say, I DID lost 12 pounds before we left to come here.  And since arriving, Iíve shifted to an even MORE restrictive diet.  We donít have a scale here, but I think Iíve lost about 15 pounds now Ė halfway to my goal.  And to top it off, that puts me at the exact weight where I always start to feel good about how I look and stop getting read at all.

So, in light of Teresaís amazing facial transformation, viewed for the first time just moments ago, and in light of my preparedness weight wise, how do I feel overall?

Well, confused!

Let me be completely honest and open, as if Iím ever anything else!  Ever since Teresa was first wheeled up her after surgery and I got my first look at her new profile, Iíve been hot to jump her bones.  I saw that female, feminine look, and things just got a twittering beyond my ability to suppress them.

Ever since the bandages were removed, Iíve been in full-blown heat!  I canít take my eyes off her, in a sexual way.  Iíve never made love to a truly physically beautiful woman before.  And though her body has always been that of a much younger woman and perfectly proportioned, putting this feminine face on that body....  Well, things are already chugging along with me just by writing about it!

So, in that respect, I can say without reservation, that I am so damned turned on by her, that, for my part at least, our sex life should be killer!  (Of course, there is some fear Ė ďWell, she looks so good now, was she only interested in me because I would have her as she was?  Now that she looks great, am I redundant?  Will she feel drawn to try out the new equipment with others, perhaps with men, and eventually leave me, or grow cold, or stay with me, but always be thinking of someone else because I have lost my attractiveness to her?Ē

Donít have the answers to that, but I can say unequivocally that, for my part, I am stoked to be shacking up with such a babe, and hope we are together for the rest of our lives.

Alright, now how do I feel about myself, my own femininity or perhaps the opposite appraisal of my ďguy in drag-ed-nessĒ?  As indicated earlier, if I hadnít lost the weight, Iíd be gone.  Game over.  But, most fortunately (and most well done on my part), I DID lose the weight, and I feel absolutely solid again, for the first time in years, of both my feminine aura and my absolute unreadability.

Yes, there are still some remaining fears and unsureties.  Iíve spent too many recent years feeling that I didnít pass, to simply give up those fears again and return to my mindset of years ago when I never even worried about it.  But, I expect as I continue to lose even more weight, and as I get subliminal feedback from the social interactions of life, I will gradually become as grounded in my confidence as I ever was.

So, on the surface, right now, Iím feeling feminine, but I expect a few bad days until time teaches me that I once again have nothing to fear.  (Oh, and it also helps that Iíve only had 6 hours sleep over the last 72 hours, and STILL look, well, actually, rather attractive in the mirror.  Yes, that helps quite a bit.  By losing the weight, it seems I can meet Dr. Oís post-op goal of waking up tired, going to answer the door while wearing an old robe and my hair a mess, and no makeup, and not ever get read.

Iíve already got that back, and still half the weight to lose.  And Teresa has it now too.  Which reminds me, if she shot up in weight to where I was, even after having this miraculous surgery, would she also start to get read too?  Or is the work so good that from here on out, unlike me, too much extra weight would just make her look like a fat woman?

I donít expect weíll find out, as she will be so without angst there is likely nothing to cause her to overeat.

I guess, right now, the only fear I have is that I donít know if my anxieties and bad moments the night before her surgery that I expressed to her, have caused her to stop loving me.  Or if she had already stopped, or never really did, and just didnít realize it until surgery was complete.

I still fear that she wonít want me now, or that I will always have to be on my guard, and work real hard to her benefit and my sacrifice in order to make her stay with me.

Why do I fear this?  Since she returned from surgery, I have been taking such good care of her.  I never sleep for more than 30 minutes at at time.  Whenever she wakes me to use the bed pan or get some water, I wake up instantly, and cheerfully do it for her.  After all, thatís how I was raised Ė thatís how my mom did it for those she loved, and I very much love Teresa. 

But in all that time, all that attention, I have told her many times that I love her.  And though she has been doped up on pain killers, and once or twice may have said, ďI lover you tooĒ back to me, those were unenthusiastic, and she has never once, in all this time, every said, ďI really love you honey,Ē or, ďI still love you, and always will,Ē or, ďThank you for taking such good care of me.  I love you,Ē or even just simply, ďI love you.Ē

Only twice did she return my proclamations of love, and never once offered one. 

Okay, the nurse just came in to set some things, and after she left, I couldnít stand it anymore, so I decided to just flat come out and ask her.  So I did:

ďI only have one question.  Well, actually, itís got two parts.  And they are, Do you still love me, and will you still stay with me forever?Ē

And she responded in no uncertain terms that she did and she would, and having finally found me, there was no way she was going to let me go.

Well, its always better if they are motivated to say that on their own, but considering my basically insecure nature and the doping effect of the drugs that may take quite a while for her to think of such things unilaterally, Iíll be content for now with her proclamation.

Iíve been lying on the folding bed next to her for the last few minutes, just observing her, examining her.  Sheís always had small feet for a TS Ė size 7.  And she always had a slender athletic body.  And the most authentic breasts, and (pardon me) nipples as well.

But from the neck up, she was all TS.  For nine years, Iíve been ďmarriedĒ to a TS.  And that was substantiated and reinforced by her heavy involvement in the online TS community, and the friends she met there.

So throw out the window all other issue about beauty, femininity, intimidation, or anything else.  I now see that there is one single unifying concept that brings Occamsís razor quality to understanding this whole, convoluted, adventure:

For nine years Iíve been married to a TS.  Now, Iím married to a woman.

Sounds almost Shakespearean in nature.

When I look at her now, it is not that all signs of being a man are gone.  Sheíd lost those years ago.  And that is why I wasnít supportive of her when she said she needed the surgery to no look like a man.  What she needed was surgery to stop looking like a transsexual.

See, thereís the rub!  To her, she saw the man in the mirror.  But that ďmanĒ (if ever there really was one) was so diluted by the whips and scorns of hormone therapy, that there really was no man left at all.  But there was plenty of TS.

Hers was a TS face on top of a womanís body.  So in going to Doctor O, I had been worried she would come out looking like a transsexual.  Shouldnít have worried.  A number of people graduate from Dr. O and end up looking like transsexuals.  But all of them started out looking like men.  If you come to him already looking like a transsexual, you come out looking like a woman.

Now the question for me is, how do I feel about that?  Was I attracted to her originally because she read to me as a transsexual?  Would I have been more or less attracted  (aside from my own insecurities) if I had met her as a woman, and she had no TS past, and never looked like one?

But water under bridge notwithstanding, how do I feel about it now?  Do I crave a relationship with a TS, and now have a different species in bed?  Know what?  NOPE!  I MUCH prefer a woman as a partner than a TS.

Now, sheís going to have to go yards to convince even those in the community that she may newly meet that she actually IS a TS (or is she anymore, anyway?)

And the final issue, (itís all about me, isnít it?), is whether I still see TS in my face.  Or maybe I see man in it.  Or maybe, like Teresa, I see man, but everyone else sees TS.  Or maybe they all see woman.

But whatever they see, I need to stare long and hard at myself and figure out for sure what I see: man, TS, mannish woman, normal woman, pretty woman?

And if I see anything less or different from  pretty woman, what can I do about it?  Continue to lose weight?  Have a face lift?  Have a chemical peel?  Have something tweaked?  And how far would I be willing to go anyway, depending on how much mannishness and/or ďTS-ish-nessĒ I see in my face (since I might have elements of each?)

Okay, the housekeeping girl just came in and tidied up, emptied waste baskets, and cleaned the floors.  Then, Teresa needed to pee.  She had gotten her sweat pants on, but it was premature.  She vomited up some more blood, got physically wiped out, and then had to pee, so we needed to remove her pants first to use the bed pan.

So, after all that, I took the opportunity to look in the mirror and see what I thought.  (Or, think was I sawÖ.)

Hereís the skinny:  I canít see any man there anymore.  I believe I did before I lost the weight, but after the diet, I donít see any man there.  It might have only been TS I saw mixed in with the woman stuff, but since I wasnít differentiating between ďmanĒ and ďTSĒ at the time, Iím not really sure.

But no mannish qualities in there now at all.

Iím also not sure if I see any TS qualities at all.  Mostly, I see pretty woman features.  Yet, although my jowls are almost gone from the diet, they do fall right where I have a slight jaw flare anyway.  Can I be objective about my own reflection enough to tell if certain individual features look TS or female?  Can I get an overall picture of how all the parts work together?

I guess there are two litmus tests I need to make to put this issue to rest once and for all:

  1. Can I go for great stretches of time, under all conditions, situations, and personal attributes like lack of sleep, and still not get read?  If so, then objectively, I can allow that I probably look to everyone like a woman.
  1. Can I see myself in the mirror and not see any attributes that strike me personally as being either mannish, or smacking of TS?  If so, then subjectively I can allow that I probably feel to myself like a woman.

Teresa needed surgery to stop feeling like a man in face, when she actually looked like a TS in face.  Dr. O took her all the way to woman since he started with what was objectively TS.

Her inner feelings shifted all the way from feeling that she looked mannish, skipped TS, and have already made her feel she looks absolutely woman, top to bottom.  And, in fact, she does.  Quite a large and fulfilling personal shift Ė even larger than the actual external shift, and therefore amazingly rewarding to oneself, and virtually miraculous.

As for me, Iím not sure I ever felt as mannish in my own reflection as she appeared to me.  So Iím not sure I will ever experience that much of a surge in personal self image.  I may have a few little mannish qualities, especially when fat, but they are certainly hard to see, even to my own critical (or over-active) eye, once I have lost weight.

Is there any TS in my face, in reality, in my own self-image?  I donít yet know. 

So, hereís the plan.  Continue to diet and lose again what Iíve already lost.  Iím down by 15 pounds now, and I plan on losing another 15.

Put my feelings about my features on hold until then.  At that point, do an honest appraisal.  See if Iím getting read.  See how I look in the mirror.  See if thee are any features I donít like or would like improved.  See what it would cost in time, money, pain, and/or inconvenience, and determine if it is worth doing, even if, objectively, no one notices.

Things to be prettier are optional.  But if I truly see any man features, even if they donít really exist, at this point Iíd rather fix them than work it out emotionally.  Iím tired of all this personal growth, and would rather, as Teresa, end the angst with the cut of a surgeonís knife Ė clean, simple, and quick.

But I donít really expect to see anything that mannish, since Iím only halfway to my goal weight and donít see anything that mannish already.

If I see TS features in the mirror, those I will also need to address, whether by severe surgery of the bone as Teresa did, or (more likely, quite honestly), though soft tissue surgery such as a facelift. 

Perhaps just more sleep on a regular basis is all I really need, and perhaps, with less weight, even when I look TS from lack of sleep, others just see me as a droopy woman.  Getting read or not is the only true test for that.

In conclusion then, Iím REALLY happy with the new Teresa Ė both how she looks, and how that makes me feel.  And, Iím really surprised by how much better I look, even with very little sleep, just by having lost weight and gotten halfway to my goal weight.

So, I will hold off any potentially negative considerations about my appearance until I have lost all the weight I set out to lose, and then do an evaluation to see if I need to take any action at all to not get read, and to feel as Teresa can now, that there are no TS qualities or features about her at all, from the top of her head to the soles of her feet.

7:15 p.m.

We have been back at Cocoon House now for about 8 hours.  At around 10:00 they took off Teresaís IV, and she got dressed.  They brought a wheel chair for her, and we went down to the lobby about 10:25.  But Mira was late, and after a couple calls from the attendant, to inquire, Mira arrived in the (apparently) famous Black Jaguar.  There was one other post-op (who looked like she had just had the nose splint removed) in the front seat.  Teresa and I took the back.  After a very slow gentle trip up the hilly streets, Mira deposited us back at the lower apartment, and we settled in.

Teresaís care is very easy here.  No more IVs to watch, no more nurses to call for pain or nausea meds, no more jolting awake every 20 or 30 minutes to fetch a bed pan, clean it, and wash my hands, or pour fresh water.

I really didnít mind any of this at all.  It was a blessing to me to care for my love, and I did it with the joy of knowing I was easing her suffering, and would gladly do it again and again if it would help.

Still, since she now walks to the bathroom herself, gets her own water by the side of the bed, and I can give the pills as soon as she can take the next one, the rather exhausting demands of that earlier level of care have been lifted, leaving me to recover a bit myself.

I had worn the same clothes from Monday morning until this evening, including the same underwear, and I donít mind saying it was getting a little rank.  So, with Teresa able to be left now for a few minutes at a time, I finally went off for a shower and to change into my pajamas.

The bathroom has a medicine cabinet with three front door segments, each a mirror.  You can open them so that you see a wrap around reflection of yourself and can get both side views along with the front view simultaneously.

Iíve always liked this kind of mirror, especially after my own nose job.  You see, I liked my old nose a lot better from the front than this one.  It was far more symmetrical, more slender, and made me look more feminine.  But from the side, the new nose is far better on all counts.  With flat mirrors, I only see the front, so I am daily presented with a nose that used to be better Ė a face that used to be more feminine, and is now more masculine.  But if I look in a wrap-around mirror, every angle except that one dead-on front one is far more feminine and pleasant.

When I had my nose job, I also did my boobs at the same time.  I had one principal reason for doing those surgeries.  I wanted to feel more feminine.  Or, as Teresa has described her single motivation for this most massive of surgeries, she just wanted to feel ďgenetic.Ē

She realizes, of course, she can never change her genes, but she can change the way she feels.  And after years of trying to do it from within, she finally realized that the only way she would ever get that feeling was to have the complete package of surgeries from Dr. O.

Now, as I often reminded her today as a truthful yet powerful morale booster, even as she is, all swollen and puffy, she looks like a swollen, puffy woman, not a swollen puffy man.  In other words, I can state without reservation that she does, in fact, look so absolutely genetic, that there is not one person on the planet who would ever think otherwise to look at her.

She got her wish.  She looks and FEELS genetic.

I donít.

I never have.

After SRS, I kept going on force of will.  But eventually, I just couldnít bring myself to feel like a genetic woman.  I always felt like a transsexual at best and a man at worst.  And that is why I did the nose and boobs.  I used to stand in front of the mirror, a few years after surgery, with a stuffed bra, holding my finger to hide the bump in my slightly roman nose and trying to see if it made me feel more like a woman.  I thought it did.

And so I spent all the money, lost all the weight (down to 135 pounds from 165) and went through all the pain (just as Teresa has, though four times as expensive and perhaps four times as painful), but whereas she has gotten her wish to feel genetic, I was denied mine.

For almost two years after my surgery, I cried every morning, after the kids were off to school and Mary off to work.  I would think about my nose and my boobs, and burst into tears for at least, and this is no exaggeration, at least thirty minutes a day, every single day that I was home alone, for almost two full years.

At the time, I wrote of it in my diary, and I had all kinds theories for the reasons why I was crying.  I finally settled on this one:  I really always wanted to be a man, but couldnít pull it off.  I kept going down the road to womanhood not to become one, but to finally encounter a step so far in that direction that turned out NOT to reflect the real me, that I could get the proof I really was a man at heart and abandon all this TG crap.

But I never encountered that step.  Each step through SRS seemed right.  And after the nose and boobs, they also seemed in the right direction.  I hypothesized that I had cried before there was nothing else left to try that might prove I was really a man, so I had to admit I wasnít one, I was really and truly a woman at heart.  And having to give up my lifelong quest to be the good man my mother raised me to be, I cried at the loss of my manhood, or perhaps the hope of ever truly believing I was actually a man inside.

Made sense at the time, but now I see a much simpler reason for my tears Ė a reason that makes far more sense, and also feels right on target.  I cried for the same reason Teresa would have cried if she had the surgery and afterward discovered that she didnít feel genetic Ė that she still felt either like a man in drag or a TS, and was always doomed to feel that way.

You see, I wasnít trying to find proof of my inner manhood.  I took the TG Trail to go only as far as I needed to truly feel I was a woman Ė not by how I looked to others, but by how I felt to myself.

I didnít get any change of self from SRS.  And so, a couple years later, I spent another ten thousand and suffered the pain of the nose and boob jobs.  And once they had been done and healed for a month, I came to realize this also changed nothing about how I felt inside.  They may have made me appear more of a woman, but they did not make me feel genetic.  In fact, since my boobs were now part artificial, though larger, they came to feel even less ďrealĒ and made me feel far less genetic than I had with my small but hormone grown original breasts.  And with that front view of my nose looking more masculine and less pretty than the original, it didnít matter that others could see the side views in which I looked more feminine.  I only saw the view every day that made me feel even more of a TS, more of a man, and, simply, less genetic.

This then, seems to be my current understanding of all my resistance to Teresaís surgery over the years.  I didnít want anything to happen in my life that would make me yet again, backslide from who and what I wanted to be, and end up feeling even LESS genetic every time I stared at her new face.

Guess what.  Thatís exactly how I feel.  I look at her new bone structure and she is so beautiful, so real, so genetic.  There is no trace of man or TS about her.  I look in the mirror and I see, by comparison, some halfway creature with a mannish chin and jaw, a mannish hairline, a mannish forehead.  No matter that I donít get read.  This is not about what others think.  It is about how I feel about myself from the inside.

I am very attracted to the new Teresa.  Far more than the old.  And to some degree, that threatens to make me feel even more of a man.  But I can get around that, put on my lesbian hat, and make it work.  Still, the reason I dated men was, as described in the very first entry in this little FFS journal, was that by comparison, I felt very much a woman, very genetic indeed.  And from that, I began to be turned on by any difference between their bodies and my own.  That is where my sex drive toward men came from Ė not because of a direct interest in their anatomy, but a comparative interest in all parts and attributes of them that were different than my parts and attributes, which defined me as woman by default.

Perhaps my actual sex drive is toward women, but I never felt it as strongly because Iíd never been with a truly beautiful woman, and I donít get that comparison Iím looking for.  But with Teresa, now, I am with a beautiful woman, and I find it very sexy.  Yet at the same time, it makes me feel, by comparison, not genetic at all.

So when I took my shower, I cried.  And, though it would be highly melodramatic, I can see myself crying every day for another two years, whenever Iím left alone and think about how Teresa gets to feel genetic and I donít.  How my surgeries never accomplished that for me.  How I probably donít need any surgery with Dr. O from an objective view, but internally crave it in the hope I will get from it what Teresa did Ė simply the inner feeling of being genetic.

Based on my past history, though, Iíd probably spend the money and suffer the pain only to discover I still feel as I feel, and wasted all that to still not feel as she now does.

I find her new look so much more attractive.  I find her new look makes me feel so much less genetic.

And so, I stepped out of the show and beat my hands against my forehead until it ached, wishing I could drive it back into my skull to make it protrude less as hers does.  I slammed my hands into my jaw, and slapped myself across the face until it was red, wishing I could reshape it in such a while I could feel as genetic as she does.

But I canít.  It would take another decade to make that much money, now that weíve spent it on her.  And by then Iíll be 62.  In fact, though I look ten or 12 years older than my 52 years, Iím at the outside edge of being attractive.  Teresa gets this now, at age 48.  And she looks even lower in age.  Most people thought she was in her early 30ís even before surgery.

So there is envy there, and jealously, and sadness, and loss of hope.  When she looked more mannish, it really helped me feel more genetic.  Now that she looks absolutely genetic, it makes me feel more mannish.

But I do love her, and will stay with her forever.  And my greatest fear is that if I can solve this, she somehow comes to read it and decides on her own and against my wishes to leave me for my own good so I can feel genetic too by getting into a relationship with a man.  I donít know what Iíd do if that happened.  Would I follow her advice and find happiness, or just finally give up once and for all and kill myself?

Hopefully, Iíll never had to find out.  Remember, this is just the first day with the bandages off.  I have 15 more pounds to lose and can lose another 15 if I still donít feel genetic.  Perhaps a facelift, or a chemical peel.  Perhaps just more sleep.  I donít know.  But I wish with all my heart that there somewhere is a key that will make me feel genetic too.

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