After Birth

Book One: Into the World

From Journeys and Transitions

by Melanie

Chapter 108

Where it Ends

February 21, 2006

Yesterday was my 53rd birthday.  I didnít celebrate, partly because my daughter is driving up from Southern California to visit me in a couple days as part of her present, and partly because I really donít relate to my age.

In my formative years, 53 meant old, wrinkled, gray, and winding down.  Well, I may have a few wrinkles and my share of gray hair under the Loreal, but Iím anything but winding down.

Rather, life is just beginning for me.  The issues Iíve struggled with all of my life have truly been laid to rest.  In fact, the only remaining loose end is to tie up this journal once and for all.

It used to be where I had all kinds of trouble trying to keep my mind off this subject.  Now I can barely hold on to it.  Every day, the effects of the hormones continue to normalize my body, mind, and emotions.  And every day I slip farther away from having any interest or connection to this topic.

Oh, sure, Teresa and I speak of it, several times a day.  But really, our conversations are only about the changes I am experiencing, how her FFS is healing, and about possible surgeries in the future that we might pursue in order to look younger or prettier.  Iím sure that in the months to come, as her healing completes and as I settle into the peace Iíve finally found, weíll hardly ever touch on the concepts.

Concerns about what gender I am seem ludicrous, and quite honestly, transgender issues donít impact my life in any meaningful way any longer.  Iíve joined a couple of bowling leagues Ė one mixed, and one a womenís league.  I am completely myself and completely at home in both of them.  This is quite a departure, as I've actually hidden myself away every day since I began transition in 1989.

Sure, I've done a lot of things out in the real world - impressive things, like working in the film industry, being interviewed on CNN about our story development software, going all kinds of places that anyone in transition would fear to tread - and all with total passability and success (until my recent age-related troubles).

Yet during all this time, through all these "excursions," all the trips to stores, doctors, businesses, and entertainments, I was never at ease.  I always carried the fear of discovery within me, and as a result, I was completely unable to make friends in this role.  Despite the impression I may have given in my diary, other than the people Teresa has brought into my life, I hadn't made a new friend outside the transgender community in the last seventeen years.

I went out into the world, but I wasn't part of the world.  And I thought that was the best I could do - the best anyone could do under the circumstances.  I thought that's what transition was all about - being in the world without being read.  Still, it seemed empty, unfulfilling, and I lived with that constant vague background of fear.

I was right that transition was just about passing. But I was wrong that there wasn't anything more.

I would have stayed in that fragile shell of a life forever, convinced that was as good as life could get, if not for the chaos that entered my life last Summer when Teresa made up her mind to have Facial Feminization Surgery with Dr. Ousterhout, regardless of the cost to our relationship.  That was a really tough emotional decision she had to make.  I was dead set against her having surgery and thought it was because I loved her and didn't want her to change.

Prompted by a terrible fear of losing her and by my feelings of having fallen from the surety of passing as age took its toll, I started this most recent journal as a means of exploring for a way out of this mess.  I couldn't fathom it intellectually, yet I had the feeling that after her surgery, Teresa would be in a different place - a place I thought I had been, but really hadn't.  I felt she was actually to become a woman while I would remain a transsexual forever.  And I began to realize that I wasn't really afraid of her changing; I was terrified of being left behind.

As I wrote this journal, I sought with every part of my being an answer to the questions: Is this all there is?  Is there anything more?   I learned was that there was another step beyond transition that one could take.  A step I called transformation.  And the only way to get to that place is not just to overcome the fear, not just to put it aside, but to find a way not to have it at all, even in the background.

But how could that be accomplished?  Teresa had found the way.  The first step is to make yourself so undeniably physically female that you were completely free of any concerns of being read due to external factors.  Part of this is to make changes in your face to remove any remaining masculine traits from an objective standpoint - traits that most people would see as mannish.  The other part of that first step is to make changes to your face that make you look like a different, more feminine person to yourself.  If either part is not completed, you cannot even accomplish this first step.

The second step is to use the confidence you gain from these changes to drop your guard, let go of your inner protections, and put your self out there as you really are deep inside - the essence of our true self, in the hope (without the certainty of foreknowledge) that the true you will turn out to be female in spirit and appropriate to your new look.  Quite a leap of faith to make.

Some, like Teresa, have come to know their true selves in childhood, and have spent their whole pre-transition lives trying to hide that from the world.  So, after transition, SRS, and FFS, she didn't wonder whether she was truly feminine enough for the new look, but rather, after a lifetime of worrying about how she looked, gaining a confidence from her facial surgery through interacting with others that the game had changed, and she could express her feminine self as fully as she liked without seeming foolish, ridiculous, or inappropriate.

Others, like me, afraid at an early age that their feminine traits might be discovered, hid their own natures even from themselves, and believed they were just strange men, constantly feeling they weren't man enough.  And when the inner truth could no longer be denied, they go into transition, eventually abandon their protective fake male persona, but replace it with a new fake female persona, rather than show their true selves and run the same risk of seeming foolish, ridiculous, or inappropriate.

For this second type of woman, such as myself, before you can fully enjoy the benefits of facial surgery, you need to rediscover who you are, and uncover aspects of your actual Id that you never had the courage to explore before.  Then, you must embrace that self, and be ready to try fully expressing it when you finally have confidence that you look the part as well.

If you can make that leap of faith, and accomplish the physical requirements as well, then you truly can transform yourself and become a woman.  Yet, as my journal continued, and as I knocked each of these steps off my checklist, I came to realize that there was yet another realm beyond even transformation.  I called it Transcendence.

Transcendence is when one not only becomes what something is, but stops being what it is not.

That means that you need to mentally get to a point where you no longer feel transgendered.  That you actually believe completely within your heart that you are female, as fully female as any other woman.  I know everyone says they are from the get go.  I've said it publicly and within my head to myself thousands of times since I began transition.  But I never really believed it.  Not really.  No deep inside.  I always felt that deep inside, I was just pretending to be like other women - that I had many of their attributes, but that I still knew from when I came, still thought about transgender issues all day long, still felt in fear that some action, means of expression, or re-action on my part would alert men and women around me that I was not as other women, had not grown up that way, and would thereby give them a loose thread by which to unravel the truth of me.

But now, those worries have evaporated.  I'm making friends again in the real world, rather than in the protected enclave of the transgender community.  And in so doing, my daily experience base has shifted from transgender centric issues to normal female ones as a woman in today's society.  It's not that I expect to ever forget about my past, but simply that I now understand that to truly transcend from being a transgendered woman to simply being a woman, one's daily experience must reflect that of what a normal woman would encounter.  Plainly put, you cannot feel as a woman as long as you continue to think about transgender issues and associate with the transgender community.

A woman who was born female could associate with the transgender community as much as she wanted, but knowing for sure and unequivocally that she was a woman would make it just a group of people in which she was interested.  But it is different for those of us born intersexed, either physically or mentally or both.  We will always know from whence we came.  And the only way to feel as genuine as any other woman is to keep transgender issues as far out of your life as possible, so that your daily experience builds up a base of history in which your mind settles into the same normal female priorities and concerns as other women.

I have come to understand this does disassociation does not have to be permanent.  But it must be maintained long enough for you to establish new pathways in your mind - permanent pathways that don't include transgender considerations, even while the old pathways become that did include those issues become overgrown and eventually revert to normal female mental terrain.

For me, then, I need a sabbatical from the transgendered world.  I need to forget about it for a while and get on with a non-transgendered life.  Someday, when I have realigned myself to a born female manner of thinking, I may very well return, due to my experience, my desire to help others, and perhaps an innate liking for gender issues, rather than just transgender issues, that makes me fascinated as a thoughtful soul with the differences and similarities between the minds of men and women.

Or I may not.  If I do, though I will always intellectually be connected to my past, emotionally I will no longer feel part of this group.  While I am away, I will shift from being one of us to one of them, and when I return, you will be them and my us will be women.  I feel the tuggings of this already, and must admit that I slip ever more easily into this emotional state with every day that passes.  But the main issue is that I cannot full transcend until I leave transgenderism out of my life for a while, and the sooner the better.

I almost didnít write this entry at all.  In fact, the following entry called ďBook BinderĒ was the original Chapter 108, written on the 10th of February.  But in wrapping up this Magnum Opus, I decided to publish the diary in a downloadable form, had to format it with page breaks and such, and therefore couldnít help but catch a few snatches from the entries (though I tried very hard not to read any of it!)

In particular, I felt I ought to read the last entry one more time (Chapter 107) as I just had this feeling that although it said everything I wanted to convey, perhaps it was a bit abrupt.  And also I felt (and feel) that anyone who has invested their time and emotions in reading the entire tome deserved a proper ending with a proper conclusion.

In short, I found that there wasnít any sense of completion in that last entry, and realized I really owed it to my readers to pull it all together before I laid it to rest (as tempting as it was to just drop it where it lay.)  And so, this final entry: Chapter 108.

This then being my charge and charter, what do I say to bring the curtain down on a journey that has spanned seventeen years and almost one thousand pages?

All previous entries were about the way thing were at the time and where they might be heading.  Perhaps now is the time to compare where they began to where they ended upÖ.

But where to startÖ.

Well, shit.  Thatís pretty tough to do.  My initial inclination is to either be specific about particular aspects, such as physical traits or mental states.  Or, barring that, to take a general approach to the conceptual differences of life now and then.

Then Iíd make the grand juxtapositions of the two lives, satisfy my readers with a tantalizing tale of fantasy made reality, and go out with the proverbial bang.  Yeah, thatís what I might have done, even recently.  But somehow, Iím just not motivated to do the song and dance one more time.

You see, I got through this whole thing by turning it into art.  My angst became poetry, and my howls became song.  These days thereís really nothing to vent.  I used to be depressed almost every day of my life.  As the injectable hormones built up in my system and as the lip surgery has healed, those days became less intense and farther between until it has been over three weeks since I had even the slightest of downer moments.

I suppose that it really the most important difference to me.  I used to think changing my sex and living life as a woman was my goal.  In fact, the goal was really to find true peace and happiness Ė to feel comfortable in life, unafraid to interact with people as who I truly am inside.  Changing sex was just a means to this end.

I donít think any other means would have been able to achieve the goal, so Iím convinced  this was the only course that could have taken me here.  But once here, the ďchangeĒ part of sex change drops out of the picture, like a train you step off in a station in a new town.  There was a time, even just a few weeks ago, where there was still some erotic thrill, an emotional high in looking at myself compared to how I used to be.

For example, I would feel the smoothness of my skin and compare it to the rough skin I used to have.  Iíd look at my bustline while standing naked in front of the mirror and superimpose how I used to look.   Iíd lay in bed and let my hands explore the area between my legs while thinking of what used to be there.  And mentally, Iíd concentrate on how I had actually been turned into a woman in order to experience the most magnificent of orgasms.

Well, the orgasms remain magnificent, but now, my erotic thoughts are about my lover, or about enjoying the body I have.  And any thoughts of any other way of being simply donít enter the picture.  This is life as a woman.  No longer the life of a transsexual.

Even as I write that word, ďtranssexual,Ē I honest to gosh canít relate to it any more.  You see, as the new hormone regimen has built up within me, it has had many obvious, subtle, foundational, and unexpected effects on both body and mind.  And mentally, this hormonal soup continues, even now, to rewrite the operating system upon which my very thoughts are played.

Priorities gently shift.  Memories that are incongruent with this new perspective as simply lost, irrecoverably.  Emotions that donít grow from my revised mind are just not experienced any longer.

Forgive this meandering approach to what might be expected of a powerful, hard hitting, and concise denouement of this epic monolog, but I am beginning to feel that it is better to get across a sense of the truth that awaits those who are willing to travel this far than it is to hang a juicy word-carrot in front of those along the path as a less than honest but far more tangible motivating reward.

I guess what Iím really focused on is how life has changed, not how I have changed, though I suspect one cannot be fully explored without the other.

That being my assumption, let me begin with some other elements of what life has becomeÖ.

HmmmmÖ.  When I was talking with Teresa about what Iím about to write, we agreed that there was no way to say this without either sounding like Iím trying to put on airs, or am full of bullshit.  We figured that most who read this would either believe they had already arrived at this point (though they really havenít) or would be dead-sure convinced that nobody can reach this point, or worst yet, that they become inspired to try, but for whatever reason, just aren't built the way internally or externally to be able to achieve it.

Since I canít see any way around these reactions, let me just lay it down, and you can take it for what itís worth to you.

Now, I swear the following is the gospel truth.  This entry is the end of this whole journal, so like someone on his or her death bed, I have no reason to lie.

Here is is: I am female.

Yeah.  Thatís the one.  The one that a bunch of people on the transition road are sure they have already achieved, or are sure no one really can achieve, or want to, believe they can, but are forever barred from it.  It is the proclamation that either looks like Iím tooting my own horn or full of baloney.  But there it is.

 I am female.

Now I know Iíve said that throughout this chronicle of transition myself.  And I really thought I was, as many of you think you are.  But just as a student of Zen might think he or she is almost a master, the true master knows his or her inner truth with a whole different level of conviction.

My step-father, a born again Christian used to describe the certainty of the belief in God and the Afterlife common to his ilk as not being intellectual, but simply being that ďthey know that they know that they know.Ē  Thatís about as close to Zen as Iíve ever heard Christianity get.  But it also describes how the Zen Master finally feels, and how I feel right now about being a woman.  I know that I know that I know.

And how do I know, you may ask?  Well, thereís a number of things, I believe, that contribute to that surety.  First, it is the socializing that Iíve been doing out in the real world.

You see, even with all the places Iíve described going in the chapters of this diary, I was always afraid of being ďfound out.Ē  So the very first element of knowing you are a woman is having the concept of being ďreadĒ not even enter mind.

Now, at times (especially in my early and younger days), I was absolutely confident that I was passing.  But that should have been my first clue I wasnít a woman yet: I was confident I was passing.  What woman is confident sheís passing?  She might wonder if others find her pretty or clever or ugly or dull, but never in her life does she ever wonder if sheís passing as a woman.

How do you get past that?  Well, you have to be confident of your looks, probably first of all.  That seems to be the prerequisite to get any farther in true transformation.  If you donít think you look like a woman, you can't let go of your concerns and become more of a woman internally.

For me, I couldnít have arrived here without the lip surgery.  And I also needed the affect of the hormones to rearrange the fat, and now Ė even the muscles, of my face and body.  I never havenít had a minute in the last few weeks where I looked in the mirror and saw anything other than a woman staring back, by my own personal assessment.

That was the initial component I needed for all the rest to finally fall in place.  Now, as  side note, I realize that if a little lip surgery and some hormone use could tip the balance of how I appear to myself and others, well then, the balance is so near that some other set of circumstances (such as the ongoing aging process) might tip it back at time in the future.

After all, I quickly got through transition and was unreadable (but not confident) for years, only to see it gradually slip away with aging, which is why I needed the lip surgery and the effects of the hormones.

And that is one reason Iím still considering more radical surgeries of the bones with Dr. Ousterhout.  It would be kind of an insurance policy against ever having to lose my womanhood in the future due to physical causes.

You see, the physical really is very important.  The longer I relate to people while just being myself and get a positive reaction, and the longer I continue to see myself as a woman physically, the more Iíll be susceptible to some future degradation.  While the last remaining discussions of gender issues in my life with Teresa are fading away Ė before they are completely gone Ė I have to decide if Iíll have the surgery, for once life has fully settled in, the thought of surgery and even the potential need for it simply wonít come to mind, or at the very least won't seem appropriate.  I need to make my choice before my awareness of the problem is gone.  And if I decide that at this age, even should my most feminine features fade in the decades to come, that I would simply be aging as any other woman, then I will see no need for surgery (other than simple vanity).

Iím trying very hard to keep this one issue alive for me, to protect myself in the future, though it is difficult, as this too wishes to slip away from my consideration and become lost to conscious awareness.

Yet, having a perfectly female face and body now has, in the course of just these few weeks, enabled me to gradually shift completely into being female, both inside and outside at this point in time.

Thereís one other aspect of my physical self that was required to finally transform my own self image completely Ė the sexual aspect.

Forgive me for being crude, but I really feel compelled to share that I am about to divulge because I believe it to be crucial to those who hope to arrive at this place as well, and also it shares part of my joy and my motivation in proclaiming I am female.

Hereís the gistÖ.

I was on estrogen and progesterone (both as injectables which clashed with my testosterone before SRS and later as pills) during the first years of my transition.  But I eventually went off the progesterone because I felt it was causing health issues such as irregular heart beat and a complete lack of energy.  Turns out, these were actually caused by stress and caffeine and sugar and other elements, all working in concert, but not by the progesterone.

Nonetheless, I blamed the progesterone and stopped taking it many, many years ago.  As a result, my body was changed by the estrogen, but had none of the physical developments caused by that other major hormone of normal female puberty.

Now, physically, before transition, I already has a number of female physical characteristics.  For example, as Iíve mentioned before, I have ďthe elbows.Ē  As youíll recall, many if not all transsexuals have elbows that bend outward.  Just hold your arms out in front of you, palms up, and see if the line of the inside of the armpit down to the elbow continues in a straight line down the lower arm, or if at the elbow, the lower arm is bent significantly off to the side, away from the body.

Try it with guys you know.  Every guy Iíve ever tried has the straight arm.  While not everyone who says they are transsexual has the bent arms, everyone Iíve ever met with bent arms was either a transsexual or a woman Ė no men at all, not one.  Crossdressers always have straight arms like men.  Never met a crossdresser with a bent arm.  Thatís why girls throw like girls.  The purpose of the arm is to have the right angle to hold a baby to nurse, and it gives women that particular look of the elbows fitting right into the nook of their waists just above the hips.

Okay, thatís a biggie, but I, as many other transsexuals, had other elements as well.  My forehead is basically female in shape.  So much so that, as I have previously written, Dr. O. said out of over 900 surgeries, heíd only encountered three of our ilk who didnít need the forehead moved back, and I was one of them.

Yep, sounds like Iím setting myself up as holier than thou, and perhaps it is elitist.  But, it is true and pertinent to this discussion as well.  I also had naturally wide hips (female in shape), and never grew hair on my chest, as well as a few others (such as my narrow wrists or my naturally low hairline).

Teresa, who had much the same complement of attributes, has conjectured that we never really were men, but were at most, intersexed, though not possessing of the duplicate sex organs of a true hermaphrodite.  And, she has speculated that if we have that much already to the female physically, then what other mental attributes might we have been naturally assigned of a female nature.

So I must admit that I had a bit of a head start on this journey.  But, the point here is that puberty as an outwardly normal appearing male was really a false puberty, since even with all the power of testosterone, although it added such items as a beard, it never was able to overpower the basic female direction of the body in the aforementioned areas and others as well.

 The real issue is that much of the female development my body might have been craving at puberty was stunted and denied.  Therefore, when I went on a regimen of estrogen only and no progesterone, my body (and mind) were starving for the hormone, and all my development was incomplete.

As mentioned before, physically, I had breast tissue, but no real milk glands and areolas but no nipples to speak of.  The progesterone has quickly altered that situation.  By breasts are now soft, yet firm, the areolas have expanded and darkened, and my nipples are noticeably larger every week.  Also, they have become far more sensitive, and much more connected to my sexual experience.

Yeah, itís crude, but I really wish someone had told me all this years ago, and feel responsible for passing this information along before I disappear from the scene.

Now hereís the really crude one.  When I had SRS, Dr. Biber screwed up just a little bit and gave me such a tiny clitoris that it actually healed over and became completely invisible without any bump at all in the overall smoothness down there.  I had good sexual sensation, but it was all under the skin, and somewhat muted to direct tactile experience.

But, since Iíve been on the injectable progesterone, Iíve actually grown a clit.  Now I was led to believe this was impossible.  But, sure enough, there is now a little bump there, and when stimulated, it engorges its little self and become a larger little bump.  Iíve got two kids, so I know what a clit should look like, and now, over 14 years since surgery, I finally have a clit.  Imagine!

Well, psychologically, that makes me feel a LOT more normal, and is another element in my being, simply, female.  I must admit, the dose level of the progesterone makes me feel a lot like a teenager, kinda horny all the time, and I feel I am actually finally going through puberty for the first time.

 This puberty works with what my body and mind have been starving for all these years.  Iím just amazed that even after all these years since SRS on just Estrogen, and at age 53, I could be having normal female puberty development.  But there it is.

Oh, and perhaps most strange, during stimulation all the way through orgasm, I get wet down there.  Not just moist, mind you, but (as they say in those rude adult magazines) I cum.  Never used to.  Not until the injections, and probably also due primarily to the progesterone.

So take all that physical material together, and you can see how I almost canít help but feel truly female.

In addition, my body hair has become even finer, the muscles structure of my legs has changed, making my legs fuller and turning my bony knees into gently rounded ones.

Oh, and Teresa wastes no opportunity to remind me how large my ass is getting.  Iím finally filling out my jeans properly.  And then, there are other effects after all these years.  For one, my hands have gotten thinner.  They used to be wide, but muscle has been leaving the sides, making my hands appear far more delicate.  The skin all over my body has become so silky soft and translucent, and my pores have become far smaller making my face even smoother.

And, just as it did with Teresa, my Adamís apple (although smallish to begin with) is actually shrinking in size Ė another effect that doctors will tell you is impossible.  But I suspect that it is impossible only for crossdressers, not for at least some transsexuals who almost certainly have a body predilection toward female form to begin with.

In fact, we wonder, Teresa and I, if a transsexual's DNA is set up to trigger such developments in the presence of progesterone in a way male DNA is not, so that what would physically be impossible to do to a male body is just as possible for a transsexual body as for a fully female body from birth.

Well, I could go on and on as I am so happy to be built like this, to live in this body.  But, as I said, it is not in comparison to what was.  For me, it is just the joy of being a woman.  I like the skin Iím in, and I could never ever say that before just recently.

These changes are also necessary to become truly female, so I suggest you ask your doctor about injectable hormones to see what he or she says.

Now if the physical effects of these hormones is so nearly, no, actually miraculous, then would we expect any less of an effect on the mind itself?

I can tell you, that is the case.

I suppose since most have the good sense to stay on Progesterone from the get go, perhaps this happens to everybody in transition.  Or, perhaps you have to be on injections.  Or perhaps Teresa and I are special cases, overly intersexed, graced of a susceptible DNA, or some other unknown quality that sets us apart.

I have to say, knowing it will offend many, that in all my years before in the community, I have only met a handful of transsexuals who share those qualities with Teresa and myself Ė maybe one out of a hundred or less.  And Teresa has also found this to be the case.

So is it hopeless for all the rest to really transform into women?  Perhaps so.  Perhaps that why so many who have gone through transition, had SRS and even FFS, still come across as something in between men and women and remain in the community for life, while the ones who truly transform, actually seem more like women than transsexuals, and drop out and disappear into the real world, as I am about to do.

Yep, either putting on airs, or full of shit.  Think what you will.  I am female, and soon I will be gone.

Again, I didnít even want to write this, not because it makes me sound all full of myself, but because I just donít care about this stuff any more.  It is irrelevant.  But, I cannot in good conscious just walk away without being up front and totally frank and honest in sharing all that I believe is truth, based on all I have learned and experienced.

So the mind has been changed.  Because the butt is bigger, I woke up one morning and found that I was walking differently but couldnít define it.  Turns out, although Iíd always had a feminine walk (even before transition), I walked with my pelvis forward.  But with the changed center of gravity, and my naturally female hip bones, without consciously knowing it, I just naturally began to walk with my pelvis back, which also (as a by product) thrusts out my breasts.  For the first time in my life, I am comfortable walking.  My walk feels natural and requires no thought.  And my back doesnít hurt.  And I can actually stand up straight without straining.  Teresa says itís sexier too.

And what does butt have to do with mind?  Well, when you find yourself starting to move differently without any conscious effort, it affects how you think about yourself.

I think perhaps the most insightful thing I did was as soon as I felt changes happening due to the hormones I made up my mind to neither try and amplify them, nor to guide them, nor to resist them, but rather to embrace every change as natural and as naturally a part of myself.  So each physical element altered the way I thought of myself.

Now, before I started on the hormones, before the lip surgery, as you will recall from previous entries, Teresa showed me how to find that part of my heart and mind Ė my soul, where lived the true essence of myself I never knew existed.  I had always been too afraid to go there, lest it take control of me.

We all hide parts of ourselves from ourselves for different reasons.  I hid my true female soul because I am really not very practical, I get scared easily.  I defer to others, or would like to.  But I never had in my life a practical person who didnít mind taking charge that I could trust Ė until Teresa.

When I came finally to the point of letting go of control, with her guidance, my most feminine self emerged and I realized the depth of my femaleness.  Some women are tomboys, some women are of a practical mind.  But I am not, and I could not afford to give in to or even run the risk of that by being aware of that true inner nature.

Teresa is my protector.  She looks out for me now.  And she not only accepts, but encourages me to just be myself.  So, when there is snow to be shoveled or fuel for the pellet stove to schlepped in 40 pound bags, she does that.  And when a decision has to be made on some logistic issue, I have opinions, but if we disagree, I defer to her.

 You see, among women I am a feminine one.  How I ever managed to suppress all that for 36 years to be a husband and father and try (with marginal results) to run several business, Iíll never know.  But I hurt every day.

Being a woman is not something I wanted.  It is something I couldnít avoid.  I tried for decades to run away from it, to ignore it.  Even transition was the search for proof this was not me.  And even after SRS I simply replaced my old Dave persona with an equally fake Melanie persona in an attempt to protect myself from my own femininity by holding tightly onto control through the first nine years of my relationship with Teresa.

No more, though.  I have seen myself before lip and Ďmones.  And now that both of those are done and part of me, I can no longer resist against the pull of my own psyche to stop faking it and just be the woman I really always was.

Yes, I could go into details about how others treat me differently now that my mind has been opened by letting go and altered from my false patterns by the effects of the hormones in ways that can never be undone.  But I canít tell you anything about how I feel differently because I honestly donít remember what I used to feel like.

I can tell you that I finally just act, react, and feel about things directly from my insides, no filtering, no second-guessing, no false amplifications or distortions.  I never believed I could ever do that.  I couldnít do it if I looked like a guy.  I couldnít do it if I hadnít now entered puberty as a woman, finally.  I couldnít do it if my voice wasnít naturally female, or if any of these were not right and I got strange reactions from other women, or anyone I might encounter casually.

But the last few weeks have been the opposite of those negative scenarios.  With each passing day I became more and more comfortable in the role I have chosen and in expressing myself without reservation.  And though it happened gradually, I became aware one day that it had been some time since I considered the gender of my past, and that I was simply living life, being myself, and enjoying being a woman.

The thrill of comparisons was gone.  The former life is as if it were a dream.  And though I still communicate regularly with Mary and the kids, it is as a friend to her and as second mom to them.

As I have been preparing this document for download over the last week, it has been disturbing to be surrounded again by all those words on this dead-horse of a subject.  I look forward to letting the work speak for itself and moving on. The journey is over because it feels like it never happened.

It is after midnight and Teresa has gone to bed.  Iíll close now, and join her. And when I awake this whole wild diary of transition, transformation, and transcendence will start to fade from memory until perhaps it never comes to mind at all.

Sweet Dreams.


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