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Table of Contents
"Where dreams are the stuff reality is made of"
- Explorations: Remembering to Forget, an editorial
- Melanie's Transition Diary continues
- Too Old to Die Young: a poem
by , Editor
"Remembering to Forget"
I've gone through nearly five years since the first moment I seriously considered becoming a woman. I've had hormone therapy, RLT, SRS and learned to pass so well, that close friends are amazed if I tell them of my past. I get wolf whistles, horn honks and heads turning most everywhere I go. So what is it that makes me still feel like a man in woman's clothing?
No matter how successful I was, no matter how accepted I became, I still could not shake that inner feeling that something was missing, that somehow I was not the same as other women. And I desperately wanted to be. What more could I do? What else could I be?
Then it hit me: You can't become someone only by being like they are, but must also NOT be like they AREN'T.
What does this mean? It means that people and roles are not only defined by what the INCLUDE but also by what they EXCLUDE. But for me, this goes against the grain! Becoming a woman should be an ADDITION to my life, not a DELETION of any sort!
Any yet, I knew it was true. All I had to do was look around me at some of the other TVs and TSs I knew. How many times have you seen a gorgeous CD who slinks up to the bar and says, "Gimme a beer!"? There may be any number of ways a woman might order a drink, but that is definitely not one of them! The point being, this person had done all the right things to be completely passable, but had ALSO done something that was specifically not part of the role.
This is fine for passing, but what about for my mental state? Was there something I was doing MENTALLY that I needed to stop?
Yes there was. I was keeping the memory of Dave alive.
You see, all through transition, especially AFTER surgery, I enjoyed my new role by constantly comparing it to the old. Every morning when I awoke, my hands would find their way to the new smoothness between my legs and I would smile, thinking back to how it USED to be and how much better it was now. Then, throughout the day, every time a stranger accepted me, every time I attracted the interest of a man, I thought about how that never would have happened before, and the strangeness that it should happen now. What irony! What magic! What a mistake!!!
I was engaging in a mental activity that no woman has ever gone through. My whole euphoric experience was built on patterns of thought that were not appropriate to the feminine role. I had been everything a woman MUST be, but was still being something they MUST NOT! In a sense, I had not become a woman at all, but only a very successful transsexual.
But to give that up! To let go of that comparison that brought so much pleasure. What an emotional loss! Did I really want to do that? Who would know but me. Who, indeed....
Suddenly I realized that all through transition I had been telling everyone I met that I used to be a guy. I even carried an old photo of a bearded me in my purse to whip out and shock people. I enjoyed that. To me it was measurement of my success as to just how shocked they were. Every time it happened, I felt so PROUD of myself - so accomplished - so SPECIAL. And therein lies the problem. If I based my "specialness" on having been a man, that man would always be a part of me.
I had a lot of justifications for telling, of course. Mostly, it seemed the only truly honest thing to do. After all, I really WAS a man before, and wouldn't it be lying to keep it hidden? In fact, the closer the friend, the bigger the lie it would be.
Well, from a logical standpoint, that is true. Physically, I WAS a man. But what about the emotional side? Did I ever FEEL like a man, no. Did I ever THINK like a man, no. Did I ever THINK OF MYSELF as a man, no. I never felt like a woman either, but only because I didn't know what a woman was supposed to feel like. But for sure, I never felt like a man.
And what was my purpose here? To revel in a job well done? To have a way to become the center of attention at any party? Surely those are interesting powers and temptations, but was it what I really wanted for my life? Was it the kind of person I had fought so hard to be? No.
Then what was I to do? Did I need to hit myself over the head and become an amnesiac, waking up in some unknown park, wandering the streets of a strange city, then begin a new life never knowing of my male past? Maybe in the Twilight Zone, but not in Burbank. They don't allow that kind of thing here.
So how do you go about intentionally forgetting something anyway? Well, it depends on what you are trying to forget. Okay, then, what was I trying to forget? That I ever was a man? Not really... I don't think I could EVER forget THAT! What then? What else was there? If not facts... Ah! That was it! I didn't want to forget the I WAS a man, I wanted to forget what it FELT like to be a man!
All right... so how do you go about forgetting feelings? Well, actually, it happens by itself. The more you find yourself separated from situations that created those feelings, the less you will remember them UNLESS YOU CONSCIOUSLY KEEP THOSE MEMORIES ALIVE.
That was my problem, I had not let go. I was constantly regenerating those feelings by the very act of comparing the present ones to the old ones. Each time I did this I dredged up the old feelings and gave them new life.
The solution was simple: let it go.
Once I realized this, implementation was easy. When I awoke each morning, I still might examine the female nature of my body, but not so that I might compare, rather so I might simply enjoy it for what it was. On the street I would simply smile to myself in response to a wolf whistle because it made me feel good to be attractive. At work, my conversations lingered less and less on the gender aspects of my history and more on the things I had done, the place I had gone, and the current and future activities I was engaged in.
And I made a commitment: to begin to lie.
No longer will I share my story with new friends or acquaintances. Depending on the situation, there are some who will find out, either by circumstance or from others, but they will NOT FIND OUT FROM ME. When I speak of my past, I will no longer temper the truth by saying, "when I was a child", but will bold-faced state "when I was a little girl" AND MEAN IT. Because although it may be a lie in terms of logic, it is God's honest truth in terms of feelings.
This week I have made an appointment to change my school records to Melanie from Dave, and I am beginning the process of altering my birth certificate and obtaining a legal name change. I have spoken with a counselor, and will be registering for the spring semester for continuing education at the community college. On Monday, I'm calling Parks and Recreation to find out how I can volunteer to help backstage at the local amateur theatre. And all of the new people I meet will only know me as Melanie.
Does this mean I will no longer write about transition and gender or no longer be involved in the community? No, the KNOWLEDGE I gained is valuable and is the basis for my current and future career. I intend to expand my efforts in these areas and explore the relationships between the genders as far as I can. But all this will be done under the name that I was born with, whereas all my personal relationships will know me only under my step-father's name that I have used since I was nine.
It may not be a perfect solution, but with the nature of my work and my career, a perfect solution is not possible. Yet it is a far better solution than I HAD been employing.
Now... now that all this is said and done, how do I FEEL? I feel like all the woman I ever wanted to be, because although I know I used to be a man, I can't seem to remember what it used to feel like.
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