After Life

Book Two: Purgatory

From Journeys and Transitions

by Melanie

Chapter 93

The More Things Change....

November 26, 2005

Iím writing this entry from our friendsí house in Pine Mountain Club.  B is making bacon for BLTs for lunch, and S is off to the market for some more bread.  It is ice cold here.  Literally below freezing.  I had almost forgotten how chilly it got here up at 6,000 feet!

It was a lot warmer in Burbank last night when I ventured out to visit the family.  Our second guest had arrived, remained awhile with many jokes and puns shared among us, then I set off for Sav-On Drugs to buy wrapping paper and a few more Advent presents for my kids.

Arriving at the house, Mary greeted me warmly with a kiss.  We still feel very close, even though we have not lived together for nine years now.  While watching TV, I wrapped the gifts and we spoke on various topics.

One concern Mary had was that I seemed more distant from her, as if I had run up North to get away from her.  But I assured her that my commitment to our relationship and marriage was and would forever remain sound.  I will continue to look after her, provide the house she lives in, and be there if and when she ever needs me.  And in addition, I still very much enjoy her company, and look forward to ongoing visit and continued correspondence between us.  In fact, I urged her to be more proactive in her communications with me, so that I too could feel her living interest in me as well.

Upon returning to the hotel, I found that Teresa had fallen into a depression herself.  Two things had precipitated this:  First, she was about out of emotional energy as a result of holding a firm supportive line in the face of my recent tantrums, and second, both friends who had come over did not take the initiative in discussing her recent changes.

For Teresa, seeing these old friends was looked forward to as the moment at which she would be told how good she looked, and how much of an improvement was made: how much more feminine, perhaps how more female she appeared.

But, these were two guys.  And secondly, no one knows how to respond to cosmetic surgery since they donít want to say, ďHey, thank God you did this.  You look SO much better.  You used to look like shit!Ē  And because they canít figure out what exactly is appropriate to say, they donít say anything.  In addition, many people, are uncomfortable with major facial changes because they either feel insecure about themselves, or are immediately confronted with a countenance to which they have no existing emotional ties.  Whatís more, the person who had the surgery may have already begun to alter their personalities due to behavioral modification caused by how casual interactions with strangers have changed how they automatically respond.  Taken altogether, people tend not even bring up the obvious, and if pressed offer simplistic, dispassionate platitudes.

So Teresa, unaware of the motivations behind these attitudes, misread them as signs that she had become so abnormal in appearance that her friends could find nothing to say lest they offend her.  And she began to feel that she may now look more female, but had become ugly or deformed..

I held her that night, and comforted her.  But also I could tell her that every time I have finally overcome (with her help) a protracted depression, I knew it was over because (once she no longer had to remain strong for me) Teresa would fall into her own depression from the strain.

Almost always, her ďend of issueĒ depression was short lived.  And so it was with this one as well.  This morning she awoke in a far better, more playful mood.  And though I recognized that some of it was putting on a positive demeanor in order to spark a real feeling of well being beyond what was actually stirring at the moment, the very fact she was making the attempt was a very encouraging sign.

As the morning progressed, her energies became increasingly cheerful, until by the time we checked out of the hotel and set out to visit B & S, she was fully recharged and back to her usual upbeat self.

Oops.  Time for lunch.  Donít want to get crumbs on my keyboard, so Iíll knock off for nowÖ


Picking up nowÖ.  After our visit with B & S (which included a tour of the foundation and ground floor of the new home he is building there), we bundled back into the car and set off for home.  Unfortunately, strong winds had blown power lines out of the main road out of town, so we had to turn around and backtrack for twenty minutes, then take the back way out over the mountains.  This added a bit of time to our journey, but was a lot faster than waiting for them to clear the roads.

The trip back was uneventful, other than an ongoing reaffirmation of our love for one another, and the growing surety that these emotional demons have finally been exorcised, as evidenced by the test of time.

Still and all, some of the tangible ramifications remain as I am still dizzy from almost knocking myself out by pummeling my forehead the other day.  I am taking the maximum dose of extra-strength Tylenol  every six hours to keep the low-level headache at bay, and hopefully prevent swelling that could cause problems with the olí thinking machine.  I hate concussions Ė especially when I do it to myself.

Of course, it is probably unwise at some level to go under anesthetic just ten days after a concussion, but Iím too set on this path to diverge at this point.  Besides, I just want an end to this journey, and would rather take any minor chances than delay a conclusion any further.

Besides, (though it may be something of a rationalization), I have had very little sleep, drove over 400 miles twice within four days, and have been drinking lots of coffee to stay awake.  Those factors may be the real cause of my dizziness, or at least contributing factors.

So, Iíll keep an eye on it as the days progress, and if it all clears up or at least improves noticeably, Iíll just go ahead with the surgery.  But if it gets worse, well then I guess Iíll have to reconsider.

Now, I really hope all the hubris is ended.  I honestly canít see any remaining issues within me.  Perhaps there are some, but I canít feel them, so they are hitherto unknown, and must not be very powerful.  If this is true, then this journal will likely take on a different tone during the final week and a half before my surgery.

Iíll keep you up to date on the (hopefully) mundane events leading up to the lip thingy, then weíll close out this little volume and move onto the final book in the trilogy.

If I donít have problems with the anesthetic, even considering the potential issues of slamming the olí bean, then Iíll wake up nice and fine and describe life on the other side: Will I feel as transformed as Teresa?  Will I just feel more confident?  Will it hurt?  How will life appear with the knowledge that I have been inexorably changed into a female in appearance?

If I do have problems, well, this little clambake might come to an abrupt end.

Iíll post these last few entries the night before surgery from our hotel in San Francisco.  If thereís another entry after that, I guess it worked out okay.  If not, guess it didnít.

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