After Life

Book Two: Purgatory

From Journeys and Transitions

by Melanie

Chapter 84

Everybody Must Get Honed

November 14, 2005

Just a quick note, since it is five minutes until 10 p.m. and I want to get to bed.  (I hadn’t had a full night’s sleep in five weeks until last night – and the improvement in my mood, the improved face in the mirror, were enough to urge me on to a repeat of the same.)

It has been a really good day.  Nothing special, but just a carry over of the mood to be myself, express myself, hope people like it, and if not, refuse to compromise, and if they stone me, live a life of exile in my home.

But that sounds way too negative.  It is an empowering state of mind.  I haven’t pulled any punches all day.  In fact, that new business associate I have an agreement with came up with another boner today, and I laid into him with utter disregard for the usual decorum I would seek to exude.

Basically, I just laid into him.  And his response was that I was getting way too emotional to be effectively discussing business.  So I replied that I went into business for myself in the first place so that I could work on what I wanted, as I wanted, and so far my association with him was all work I didn’t want to do and very little compensation.  I said that emotional issues were the reason I chose to have my own company. 

Before, I might have denied it – used my word play skills to make it appear he was being the emotional one.  After all, I had that image to protect – the image born of the Dave persona, that Melanie was not crazy, not a ditz, but was a grounded thoughtful, intelligent, intellectual who made life choices and business choices from a purely considered position, unfettered by the stereotypical female emotionalism.

Now…  Well, now I just don’t fucking care what he thinks of my intellect, my subservience to the God of Logic, or if he casts me in the role of the emotional female with whom one cannot reason.  Perhaps that’s what I am.  Perhaps not.  But it doesn’t really matter to me anymore, because whatever it is, it is me.

And that freedom is wonderfully refreshing.

Went to the store today, both the hardware store and Safeway.  Didn’t have a problem.  And I had a nice joking conversation with both female clerks.  But I still had the fear of being “found out” – of not quite looking right and therefore seeing the seeds of doubt grow behind their eyes.  Didn’t happen, but the fear was still there.

But that wasn’t a downer either.  I just kept in my mind that it is only 22 days until my surgery, and that made me feel entitled to be myself in advance.  Because I had made the commitment to make my face undeniably female, I was allowed to live the role now.

You see, it has moved away from just wanting to pass better at my age.  It has moved beyond wanting to be young looking again.  Now it has come down to the real truth – that even after SRS and all these years, I had still never made the commitment to remain female.

“How can that be”, you ask, if you are inclined to throw me a bone here.  And I answer that this is the reason I never gave up the Dave Pseudo Persona even after transition.  It is the reason I held onto it until that Saturday night just over three weeks ago.

You see, I wanted an escape route.  I wanted a “Plan B.”  If ever this lifestyle failed, I wanted to have a place to run back to.

Now you may say (if you’ll continue to help me out), “How could you possibly imagine that after all those hormones and all that surgery you could ever go back to being Dave?”  And I would reply that nobody can see into your pants if you don’t drop ‘em.  And implants can easily be removed.  And breast tissue is removed from men every day.  Hair can be cut, hormones can be stopped and others begun.  A voice that was changed by exercises can be returned to its old form.

You see, I left my options open.  So did Teresa, for that matter.  And that’s why within the last year both of us have uttered the possibility of returning to the male role.

I realize that I have a lot of naturally feminine features to my face.  But I got by as Dave just fine with those features.  No reason why I couldn’t do it again.

What this upcoming surgery represents for me is making a change from which I cannot return.  Making a complete and irrevocable switch to the other side.  It is the process of no longer keeping one foot on either side of the fence.

My mom used to tell me (as I believe I’ve mentioned somewhere in my earlier diary) that a Mugwump was somebody who “sat on the fence, with his Mug on one side and his Wump on the other.”  And that is who I’ve been all my life.

Even as a child, I would find a way to keep what I had while reaching for something I didn’t.  The story of the dog who has a bone, sees his reflection in a pond, wants the other bone in the reflection also and ends up losing both in the pool, has always spoken powerfully to me.  The grass is always greener, and all that.

This is the real reason why I wouldn’t get divorced from Mary.  It is the reason I wouldn’t move out of Southern California.  It is the reason I couldn’t let go of the Melanie Persona, or take down my TG web site when I was so inclined, or make any other choice that would require giving up something rather than just adding something.

And this is the reason why I have never been able to feel truly part of another group.

Oh, yes, I know I’ve written about this before – “You can’t become something just by being what it is, but only by also not being what it isn’t. “  I discovered this way back in my days of creating the Dramatica Theory when we looked at the difference between “Being” and “Becoming.”  Being means “playing a role.”  It is about superficially appearing a given way, just as Lawrence of Arabia played at being an Arab in his garb.  But once he returned to Britain, he put aside those robes and returned to a proper British manner – something a true Arab never could have done.

But just knowing this doesn’t mean you want to do it.  After all, I was getting by just fine, or so I thought, holding on to all those old aspects.  I was unreadable, I was professionally respected and successful.  I could even find mates who would accept that I had been male, had a wife, and kids.  In short, why give those elements of my old life up when I didn’t have to.

What I didn’t realize was that I did have to.  It wasn’t required that I leave it all behind in a logistic sense; that was working fine as it was.  But now I realize that I would never know what it was to truly be a woman in my heart until I made a break with my male self.

I must have sensed it in the last year.  Why else would I have pushed so hard to have us move four hundred miles to the North when I had fought for so long moving even an hour further away?  Why would I allow Mary and the kids to set their own pace for contacting me, rather than forcing myself upon them to maintain the connection?  Why did I let go of the Persona and let the true soul rush in?

And why was I so envious of Teresa?  I had thought it was because she was now unreadable, and I didn’t think I was, so I felt left behind.  I thought it was because he now looked younger than me, and I lamented the loss of my youth.

But it was really that she had made a commitment to change her face – the part of oneself you can’t cover up – to be so completely female that she could never go back.  That is what made me feel left behind, made me feel on the other side, made me feel like a man to her woman.

I had to sneak up on getting surgery.  I had to convince myself it was for readability or youth or just to be prettier, but those were just excuses.  The real reason I need the surgery to change a feature upon which all my others seem to depend to be seen as male or female.  I need to step permanently to the other side, along with Teresa, so there is no return.  I must do this in order to truly feel that I am a woman.

Sure, it may make me pass under even more conditions than I do now.  But that is incidental.  Sure, it may make me appear younger, but that is beside the point.  This is not about external practicalities.  It is about internal realities.  And in my heart, as long as I know I can go back, I will never feel I have actually become a woman, just that I was being one.

So now, when I look outside, or when I’m driving my car, or when I think about plans for the future, sometimes I imagine what it will feel like to do things knowing that I have stepped over that line and am stuck there permanently.  And for a brief fleeting moment, I get a rush of peace, of reality, of being centered, that is just a taste of what Teresa must be starting to feel.

Just as I knew exactly what breasts would feel life before I got them, even before I ever touched one, I also know in advance what it will feel like to have made that choice to step across, lock the door behind me, and throw away the key.

I’m ready now.  I’m ready, after all this time, to finally let it all go.  I’m ready to fully embrace this life.  And when I do, only then, will I truly feel that I belong.

I had thought I was finished with this entry in the previous paragraph.  But I got up and went over to Teresa to share conceptually what I had written, in speaking with her some concluding thought occurred to me that really summed it all up.

First, a hypothesis:  If one has successfully lived as a male, then one MUST change one’s face – the part of the body from which the personality seems to emanate – in some way that, to that individual, makes it impossible for them ever to return to a male life.

It doesn’t matter how feminine or even female your features are.  Just as in my case where I could transition with complete success, if you made it as a man with that face, you could always return to being a man.

The whole point is to legitimize oneself in one’s own heart.  Transition happens on the outside driven by changes on the inside.  Transformation happens on the inside driven by changes on the outside.

I’ll go out on a limb now, open myself to an uproar of protestations to the contrary, and say for the record that if you passed successfully as a male, then unless you have permanently changed the features of your face to be irrevocably female, no matter how well you have passed, or how feminine you feel, you don’t have any idea what it feels like to be a woman.

Although I don’t think she’d want to put her name to the bottom of this, Teresa seems to agree.  I won’t go so far as to speak for her, however.

Well, there it is.  I wish it wasn’t that way.  But life isn’t fair, and it doesn’t always work with equality in everyone’s best interest.

If you want completeness, alter your face.  Do as much or as little as you need to accomplish the following:

  1. Pass well enough that you never have to worry about it ever again
  1. Change one or more features to the point that you are personally sure you could never pass as a male again

I recognize this is incredibly unfair to those who are beyond surgical intervention, or will have serious trouble raising the money.  But those who have a physical deformity that prevents them from engaging in some activity may have all the potential in the world to embrace the experience, but it is never realized – it remains potential and nothing more.

Still, I will give you one way out….

As I am able to glimpse, emotionally, what it will feel like to be fixed on the other side, even though I have not yet had the surgery, then it is clear that the real sense of womanhood does not require the actual surgery, but merely the commitment to have it.

If you know you are going to do it, it is not impossibly difficult to feel that experience in advance.  And I suppose if surgery is not available to you, or if it wouldn’t fully prevent you from passing as a male should you choose to, there must be some way of making the same inner commitment even without the physical implementation.

Perhaps just by knowing, truly knowing, that you would make that choice if it were available to you, it legitimizes you heart and brings about the sense of being truly a woman though that step can never be physically taken.

But as for me, I’ll go the easy route – I’ll rely upon the physical change itself to shift my mental center, finally and completely into the female camp.

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