After Life

Book Two: Purgatory

From Journeys and Transitions

by Melanie

Chapter 89

Supporting Role

November 20, 2005

Well, that didn’t work.  Bringing out that perspective even for a moment as needed was poison to my soul.  I found myself withering inside, and with no Pseudo-Male Persona left to fill the void, I just felt smaller, less existent.

I had to give it up.  I had to get back to thinking of myself as I truly know my heart to be: a woman, a female spirit.  But I was afraid.  I didn’t know if I could stand being hurt again.

After yesterday’s entry, I went off to Walmart in Placerville to pick up some new jeans.  I have lost so much weight in the last two months of my diet, that the new clothes that were tight just weeks ago, are falling off me now.  So I set off to replace them with smaller sizes.

As I write this, that trip to the store seems so long ago.  I looked good that day.  I braved the crowds.  I shopped for clothes and tried them on in the changing room, and had not a problem the whole time I was there.

And so, when I returned home, I changed in my new black jeans and a new, low-cut strapless cami – well, it had one loop strap over the neck – and modeled it for Teresa.  I felt a bit foolish, like the early days of transition, since I hadn’t worn anything that provocative in quite a number of years, I am (after all) almost 53 years old, and I was still reeling from my mental gymnastics leaping from female to pseudo-male self images. 

Still, the look was warmly received by Teresa, who seemed quite interested and attentive to the well presented attributes.  But I had an even better surprise for her.  Teresa, since her FFS and recent wardrobe purchase, has worn a sexy white lace baby doll slip to bed, along with a matching see-through lacy robe.  While at Walmart, I purchased a very similar sleep set but in black.  And it looked pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

Again, I felt a bit silly in it, as I had switched from those kinds of outfits to jammies or nightshirts some ten years ago, and only recently, on Teresa’s pre-FFS urgings, begun to sleep in the nude.

There’s something about going to be nude post-SRS that is extremely affirming.  After years of hormone therapy, and since you can’t see your own face, all you see are the boobs, the space between your legs, your smooth arms and legs, and it makes you feel so legitimate, so real.

I’ve always liked at least panties on while sleeping – I think it is more sanitary.  But, to break free of my rut and give Teresa some added enjoyment, I had been sleeping naked since about four weeks before her surgery.

Nonetheless, this sexy nightgown was a bit of a leap.  Still and all, it grew more comfortable, and Teresa and I enjoyed, shall we say, “examining the details of each others’ new gowns,” before drifting off to sleep.

This morning, then, was quite positive.  I was feeling more like my old, new-found, self.  And since there was no fear of running into painful situations that required my mental shift shield, I was quite at ease – even when Teresa suggested making her first outing into a public place later in the day.  Another trip to Walmart she wanted, so that we could pick up a new TV stand I had found in response to her request to look for one, and so she could do some simple shopping with her new look.

And so, unsuspecting, I drove us into town, wearing my black jeans and a more conservative, rather frumpy, actually, turtleneck.  In fact, it is a top that Teresa loathes, but I like, though I know it if very school-marm-ish.

As we entered the store, my focus was completely on Teresa, to see what reactions people had to her, and to see what her reaction would be to people, to freedom, to being on the other side.

Would she still be nervous?  Would others look at her strangely still, because of the rather swollen jaw?  Or would Dr. O’s wonderful work on her forehead give her such confidence, and would others see the absolutely female features so strongly that she would comfortably slip through the crowd as just another one of the many women scouring the aisles?

In fact, that is just what happened.  Everywhere she went, both by my side and on ahead (when I would intentionally hold back to give her the experience of freedom along), she attracted no ill looks, no suspect stares.

I, however, received the same kind of soft-reads I have been prone to experience for the last ten years.  In fact, by the time we left, I had enjoyed this terrible venom no less than four times, and perhaps many more I never saw.

I became dour, and it reflected in my verbal interchange.  The commerce of communication soured.

By the time we returned home, I was hurting pretty bad again.  I tried putting myself into the “male self-image attitude,” but it hurt just as much.

Still and all, I tried to go it alone, to suffer in silence, and busied myself with various chores while Teresa lay down for a nap.  Almost immediately upon her awakening, I grabbed a yogurt as an excuse, and adjourned to the bedroom to be alone, away from my love.  For to look at her ever-more beautiful face, knowing what I look like now, knowing that she can move in the company of women while I no longer can (if I ever really could) – that cuts me to the quick.  Being with her both excites me and simultaneously amplifies my angst, my hurt, my envy.

Eventually, of course, she came in to check on me.  And though I tried to hide my mood, she knows me too well.  And I refuse to lie in response to her questions.  So it was not long before she had the whole story, including (for the first time) the full explanation that her new look truly pained me, even while attracting me.

She wanted so much to help, but I could not think of a way she could.  So, when left alone again, I considered either suicide or going back to living as a male.  I started with the less drastic measure and went to the mirror.  I put my hair back and parted it the way I used to.  I set my jaw, adopted my old arrogant gaze, lowered my voice back into the old mode, and spoke to myself in the mirror as a man for the first time in almost 15 years.

I was both surprised, dismayed, and elated how easy it was.  Oh, sure, there were rough spots.  And yes, I’d have to do something about the eyebrows.  But I swear, to my eye, it was far easier at that moment to pass myself off as a man than a woman.

What the fuck am I, then?

I emerged to tell Teresa that rather than be pained or depressed for the rest of my life, and to prevent her from suffering any additional pain in empathy for me, I was strongly considering going out as a male a couple of time before my lip surgery to see if I wanted to cancel it before the change doomed me to forever walk in limbo between the sexes, unable to be completely passable as either.

Though this disturbed her greatly, she reaffirmed that she loves the me inside, and will stay with me no matter how I choose to present myself.  Was ever there such a love?

I returned to the bedroom with my video camera, determined to get a better sense of the true me, by doing a brief monolog – a video journal entry – describing the current situation and emotional atmosphere, while walking around the room, holding the camera on myself, and seeing how I looked under the changing lighting situations.

I have not yet fully viewed the tape, but the small samples I played back held surprise and promise.  First of all, I did not think my nose looked quite at all as bad as it did in the still pictures I took.  Further, I felt I looked a lot more female than I had thought.  But I did clearly see a few masculine features, most caused by age, but most notably the lip I am scheduled to bob.

This brief monolog ended up almost a half an hour in length.  By the time I had completed it, as often happens with my journal, some new pathways have made themselves known.

In this case, I realized I needed to ask Teresa a few questions, and if her answers were as I hoped, perhaps there was a chance for a serious lessoning of the pain, even if it were not possible to fully remove it.

I asked her if she truly felt my heart and soul were female, not male – Yes.

I asked if she really saw me physically as female, as she always says she does = Yes.

I asked if she would support me emotionally if I felt I had been read and needed to dump – Yes.

And so I suggested to her that if she would continue to treat me as a woman, then here at home where I know it is safe, and know that I am really seen as one by her, I can open that part of me again and be myself without second guess.

And if we go out and I get soft-read, then when we come home, could I tell her about it without driving her away (since she is just free of that and does not really have to concern herself about it anymore)?  Again, Yes.

Then, queried I, what would she do if I wore something sexy like the camisole and jeans the other night and I got laughed at, publicly, either because I was too old or looked too much like a man?  Again, she answered positively, saying she would confront the people directly if called for.  If out to dinner, we could leave if I wanted, or stay as my choice.  And when we got home, she would comfort me.

I then told her I thought this actually might work.  I had always, and I mean ALWAYS relied only on myself for emotional strength.  No matter how many others there were from whom I had sought support, I never relied on that support.  I drank it in, but I relied on myself.

I told her that this time, I was beaten.  It was bigger than me.  I could not handle it alone.  I would fail; I had failed.  But if I could count on her support, her emotional strength, her love, then I think I could handle it with her help.

This was a terrible step for me.  My sense of self-worth is so low that I have never dared to make myself more negative by burdening others with the responsibility of looking after my emotional well being, lest it make me less attractive, less valuable than I already am, and they find it no longer worth keeping me at all.

I then said through broken voice.  If you will support me, then I need support right now, and I began to sob uncontrollably.  I walked over to her and put my head on her shoulder and cried and cried.  I said I had always felt like this but kept it inside because her needs were greater.  But it really hurt today.  It hurt so much….  And in her gentle embrace, my tears gradually subsided.

“I’m taking an awful chance, Vader…. This had better work!”

But she says she will be there for me, forever.  And I believe her.  And into her hands I commend my soul.

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