After Life

Book Two: Purgatory

From Journeys and Transitions

by Melanie

Chapter 94

Melanie is a Fucking Asshole

AUTHOR'S NOTE:

In this entry, I make a total jackass of myself.  I dump all kinds of crap at Teresa's door - ignoring all the love and support she has given me, and basically blaming her for just about every problem I was suffering.

In fact, I seem to have done that repeatedly in this journal, which just goes to show I'm a fucking asshole.

In reality, Teresa has a been a saint, my guardian angel and protector, and as long suffering and constant in her love as any lover ever has been in this history of human relationships.  But was I grateful?  Did I acknowledge it?  Did I even notice?  No.  I just bitched and complained and blamed her, and essentially kicked the kindest soul I have ever known right where it hurt.

I hesitate even now to publish this entry, as it just points out what a jerk I am.  But I am a jerk, and if this journal is to be true, I cannot choose to hide it.

So, in reading this entry, please realize and keep constantly in mind that Teresa is the most wonderful woman I have ever met, and based on what I say below, I have no idea why she would tolerate, much less steadfastly support, a worthless wretch like me.

November 28, 2005

Yesterday was pretty uneventful.  Not much changed today either.  I found myself pretty exhausted both days, partly from the long drive, and perhaps partly from the minor concussion.

Yesterday, I was finally able to stop using Tylenol all the time, but did need a half-dose before bed to kill the low level headache.

Today, I just suffered with the minor headache, and was doing pretty good until I had to schlep the large trash can up the long hill to the main street.  Since then, the pain has definitely made its presence known.

It started snowing today Ė our first snowfall in our new home.  It is a different kind of snow, or rather, a different kind of fall than we had in Pine Mountain Club.  Down there it always seemed tenuous, ready to stop at any moment, and handing on by the skin of its little white teeth.  But up here, there is the opposite sense that, in fact, it might snow at any time, and you damned well better be ready for it.

I keep thinking of the 49ers one hundred and fifty five years ago, looking for gold, trying to survive up here, and having no idea as to how much snow would fall or how cold it would get.  You know, weíre just a stoneís throw from Donner PassÖ.

Speaking of being stuck close to safety but eating your own, I sometimes feel a little like a fox in a trap chewing off its own foot in the attempt to escape.  For example, my little pounding incident the other day is pretty much that.

Then, though Iíve been eating lots of chocolate today (at the expense of my diet) in order to keep from being depressed, I canít help feeling down when I look over and see Teresa looking so genuinely female, and then look in the mirror.

God, I know she tells me I look good, and Dr. O said nothing was necessary, but on days when Iím tired like yesterday and today, everything droops so much.  And you know, thereís also the problem of having previously been quite happy to be within range of normal female, and then having to look at Teresaís perfect female features.

I keep having to fight the tendency to compare myself to her.  On my own, or in a relationship with a guy, I could build some self-confidence.  But next to her every day, her perfect face, her perfect body, God, it just drags me down.

When we are in bed, well I canít see myself.  All I can see is the boobs and the snatch, and the smooth arms, and so when I hold her in mine and see her, it is a bonding of equals.  Those moments are so special.

But waitÖ  Even then, I have some problems.  She is so feminine in bed, and so comfortable (now that her surgery is done) with expressing that femininity, that I often feel either like her butch lover, or sometimes like her husband.

Whenever we meet crossing a room and hold each other, she puts her arms up around behind my neck and clasps her hands there.  I end up holding her around the waist.  Makes me feel like a damn guy.

Well, not all the time.  If I REALLY put the whammie on my mind, I can force myself into a perspective where I feel equally feminine.  But I have to force it.  Yet, the opportunity exists to do the same thing to her before she does it to me Ė to put my arms up around her neck.  Sheíd probably like it.  So why donít I do it?  I guess because she looks so feminine, so female, and I have so little confidence in my appearance that it just wouldnít seem right somehow.  Iíd feel silly doing it Ė like a guy trying to play woman in the bedroom with his understanding wife.

Yeah, I know this is all self-generated.  Teresa loves me.  She supports me completely.  But donít you see?  Thatís the problem!  She supports this male-looking dude who plays woman and treats me like a woman when every other damn creature on the planet would see me as a man if I didnít dress up in costumes and plaster my face with a mask.

And, yeah, I know that is probably not true in reality.  But, try as I have, I simply cannot change that view of myself.  Not when she looks like she does.  Not in comparison to her.

Then today, she called me to come in to see something.  She was by the mirror in the bedroom.  She pointed to her jaw line.  For the first time since surgery six weeks ago, the swelling has gone done enough to see the line of the future jaw.

When last we saw it, just before surgery, it dropped straight down from the ear, then cut straight to the front Ė an exceedingly square jaw by any definition.  And mine, in comparison, had only a short drop from the ear and then ran at a nice angle to the chin.

Mine hasnít changed, but now hers cuts in a graceful curve directly from the bottom of the ear with no down-drop at all, and gently curves to the chin.  Whereas now, by comparison, mine drops down square and cuts a straight line to the chin.

So you see, even though I have not gotten any worse in reality, by comparison I have gone from being far more feminine, to far more masculine.  And every time I see Teresa I am aware of this.

Whatís worse, only half the swelling is down, and from what Iíve seen of others, in the next six weeks, the feminization will be the most dramatic part of all.  Sheíll look totally female, totally feminine, and completely wonderful.  And where will that leave me?  Feeling even worse than I do now.

So what do I do?  Is there anything I can do?  Will my lip surgery help a little Ė a lot?  Will it do the whole job and make me see myself completely as her equal?  Or will it be such a small drop in the bucket that even if it pulls me a small step ahead for a moment, by the time she completely heals Iíll be miles behind of where I already am?

Iím sorry.  I wish I could just judge myself by my own worth, but I just canít.  Iím not that kind of creature.  And already it is clear that Iím going to have to go through all kinds of pain and suffering and risk and procedures and financial setbacks just to get even enough with Teresa that it doesnít depress me every time I see her.

Problem being, or course, that we donít have the money for any of that, canít even pay the bills that are currently due (unless we spend the money I need for my lip surgery) and wonít have any money for quite a while, if ever again at all.

And where does THAT leave me?  Trapped in Purgatory, as it appears now.  All I can hope for is that if I keep losing weight, keep trying to build back my reserves by catching up on the sleep Iíve lost for the last six months, and get good results from the lip surgery, maybe Iíll feel differently than I do now.

But unless I can find a way to improve my self image, I have no idea how Iíll ever escape this depression.

Evening

As usual, Teresa tuned into my mood, and asked me if I was depressed.  So I replied in the affirmative.  She asked why.

But this time, I did something different.  I said, ďI really donít want to talk about my depression.Ē  I just had a feeling that talking about it would make it worse, so decided to see what happened if I just kept the causes, especially the ones listed above, to myself.

Then, Teresa asked, ďAm I the cause?Ē  To which I replied, in as jovial an inflection as I could muster, ďWhat part of ĎDonít what to talk about itĒ donít you understandÖ.?Ē

So, she came over and sat by me, and told me why she was depressed (a number of issues, not having anything to do with my unstated issues.)

Naturally, when one party to a relationship discloses something, the other is expected to follow suit.  If they donít, it is a tacit rejection of the openness, and a closing of the channels of communication in the relationship.

But, I chose to not divulge, but simply to change the subject to the interesting thing the cat was doing, cleaning herself on my lap.  I didnít do it in a harsh or ham-handed way, and I didnít reject her previous overture of disclosure.  But I just didnít feel like getting into the details of it.

And, strangely, both our moods improved.

So I had to think about this for awhile, which I did, and I came to the following initial conclusions.

Iíve been so open with Teresa that Iíve lost myself.  I share every little detail, and while that feels liberating, it also robs me of anything in myself of which she is not aware.

In addition, by putting all my concerns in context of telling her about them, it puts her into the picture.  And that makes me comparative.  But by keeping my feelings to myself, I can deal with them in such ways as evaluating how I look based on my own assessment, not on how I look relative to her.

And besides, she has changed so much already, that I, for the life of me, can no longer accept the knowledge that she used to be a boy.  ďBullshit!Ē I say to myself, when I consider that history.  ďIt cannot be, and I wonít believe it.Ē

Yep, it doesnít matter that Iíve seen the old pictures and known the old Teresa for almost a decade.  Her look already, even at only halfway to the unswollen end result, is so female in a way that is totally undeniable, that the mind sees it at some primal level as impossible that anyone could start out as a boy and end up looking like that.

Iíve never seen that before in any other TG person, save for K and perhaps some of the other Dr. O graduates Iíve never met ďlive.Ē  Its unnatural, I tell you.  And the only way to deal with it is to deny the past and embrace the present.

Which leads me to another reason I discovered that I wanted to remain mum.  If Teresa, then, is in fact the real thing, a real woman, who was born female (which is all my mind can fathom), then what the fuck do I hope to gain by telling my TG image problems to a woman!!!

That is the last kind of person with whom Iíd want to share my insecurities about my female identity.  Itís like going to the king to lament that you werenít born of royal blood.  Yeah, thatís sure to help you work out a depressionÖ  rightÖ.

So here it is then:  One big way in which our relationship is going to have to change is that I can no longer discuss TG issues with Teresa.  She is a woman, always was, always will be.  And if I talk things over with her, Iíll always pale in the face of her authenticity because Iíll always be the one who converted while she was born into that religion.

Doesnít matter what the fact are; thatís how it feels.  And depression is not about logic.

Therefore, I feel a LOT better keeping it to myself.  Now I just need to get used to living with a woman instead of a comrade, with the opposite sex (or at least the one 90 degrees over from where I am) and not of my gender or transgender at all.

That does two things:  One, it separates us.  We are no longer peas in a pod.  So, I do feel the loss of a kindred soul, someone who can understand me without explanation, a traveler in the same boat.  But it also eases the relationship insofar as it no longer required me to compete or compare with her.

Sheís a born female.  Iím a transgender person, striving to become more female.  I can never aspire to what she is.  But because I no longer conceive of her as having come from where I am, sheís out of the picture when doing comparisons.  Instead, Iíll compare myself to other transsexuals and since Iím still, even today, far prettier than most of them at any age, and certainly than almost all at my age, I can feel good about how far Iíve come.

One problem is that Teresa now wants to become even more active in the TG community, show up regularly at Cocoon House, go to get-togethers, maybe even invite people to the house.

I swear, if she invites either post-op Dr. O folk here, or pre-ops who then return when they are healed, Iím going to lose it.  Thatís just grinding salt in my open wounds.  If she wants to be that insensitive, then she better damn well wait until she helps me make enough money to have the surgery and recover myself.  Then, maybe.  But before that, man would that be a slap in the face.

Itís bad enough sheís thinking of being involved with the community at all, considering how Iíve struggled to do to get away from feeling like part of that group.

You know, I would have felt so much better about myself over the years if she hadnít kept so involved with that community online, by email, and so on.  She even invited a few people over from time to time, but tempered that when she finally accepted how unsettled it made me.

Sure, they were good people, but every single time one came over, it just reminded me all over again that I wasnít really female.  Now that she looks so female that it stands as a shield to her against that kind of downer, she wants to get involved.  But what about me, left behind her in Purgatory, am I supposed to just suffer, or let her go off, be social with the community, and sit her alone at home, KNOWING she is with TG folk, and feeling just as TG because of it, even if I donít see them?

Well, weíll have to see how it evolves.  But every day, sheís back online, chatting it up or leaving messages.  ďSupport,Ē she calls it.  I call it pain.  And even if she doesnít talk about it, which she doesnít (due to my expressed feelings), I still know sheís doing it, and I still see the web sites on her computer screen.  Does she really think I donít know sheís still involved just because she doesnít talk about it?

And what business does a woman have anyway, rubbing elbows with transgendered males?

Nope, changes have been made, and they have ramifications.  Itís not the two of us dealing with transgender issues any more.  It is just me, and the woman I live with who seems bent on staying tight with that group while I wish theyíd all just vanish and go up in the rapture or something.

HmmmmÖ this has come out a lot more vehement than I intended.  I expected to write a hopeful little evening entry that I felt a lot better about myself by not talking about my issues with Teresa.  And itís true.  I do.

But once I start thinking about my needs instead of our needs, Iím starting to get a little pissed off at some of the things about her that cause negative fallout for me.

Double HmmmmmÖ.  I guess I better not publish this one, as it would likely lead to such hurt feelings that thereíd be some real problems created in our relationship, and Iím in no mood to have to deal with that right now on top of my own issues.

I think Iíll just see how it all goes in 8 days with the lip thing, and the recovery afterward, and then Iíll decide if this ever gets published and when.

Late Evening

Okay, so I blew it again.  She asked one more time about my depression, and I just let her have it.  I lectured and spewed out all the crap I wrote above in my usual, predatory oratory.

And after I finished, and after I told her I still was happier with the woman she had become as a mate that I was with the old person she had been.  Still loved her, more even, like her company better, and still valued all the wonderful qualities she had and still has.

So then, when the smoke cleared, I finally told her that this was all probably just another blow-up caused by all the tension Ė just another pressure value blow-out along the way.  And then I said I guess maybe I was just a little subconsciously anxious, with my surgery coming up in at little less than eight days.

And she said, ďYou think?!?Ē  Then she said she had already figured all that out - that it was just another phase in the process of dealing with my issues.  And she would continue to support me, and to be patient, when probably nobody else on the planet would have.

Sheís right, of course.  Separately, we are all fucked up, but together, no one can stand against us.

Now sheís put on a television program she found about plastic surgery of the face, so I guess Iíll go watch it, and start on this stupid unavailable path of cutting my face all to shreds as well, in order to end up looking different to everybody else and still the same to myself.

Barf.

FinallyÖ.

Just one more entry tonight.  Teresa and I have talked further about my mood.  She revealed that she had anticipated all these emotional effects on me that her surgery would have.  I asked, and she confirmed, that her patience now is her way of paying me back for the suffering she knew she would cause by making the changes she needed for herself.  To just do it, knowing what it would cost me, is not within her character.  She sees my current angst as a debt she owes, and her patience with my outbursts is her form of compensation.

She figures Iíll want about two more surgeries after the lips.  (We didnít discuss what they would be, but I suspect sheís right.  Iíll want the face lift, and then the nose fixed Ė and possibly some forehead work such as the brow bossing at the same time.)  But right now, weíre very nearly broke again, and it will take time to raise the money.

I suppose sheíll be patient with me until the whole series of procedures is over, but Iíd rather not put her through that.  I hope the surgery in one week has a big enough impact on my self-image, makes a big enough dent in my anxiety level, that I am far less of a negative force in her life, even while waiting for the wherewithal to obtain the other work.

I know that I certainly will try to walk with a more even keel.  Time will tell if I am able.

Tonight, though, all is well in Camelot, and after a few more upgrades to my web site, it is off to bed to be back on diet, back in the saddle, and back to work tomorrow.

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