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A Webzine Created and Edited by

Number 28

Table of Contents

"Where dreams are the stuff reality is made of"

An Origin of Two Species: A description of how two sexes evolved from one, how that developed into our social roles, and how the physical nature of the two species is changing in modern times.

Melanie's Transition Diary: part 27

Letters To and From the Editor: Reader questions and comments and Melanie's replies.

Explorations

by , Editor

An Origin of Two Species

Imagine that to begin with, there was only one sex. This was because there was only one kind of mind. This mind had no space nor time sense, and was only aware of mass and energy. A brain that would develop such a mind would have no ganglia, but only a single whole brain neural network and its attendant biochemistry.

As creatures with brains of this limited nature evolved, those with greater processing capacity survived to pass on that quality down the evolutionary line. It may be that this would occur with organisms that had but a handful of brain cells. As long as the cells constituted a single neural network in a single biochemistry, a minimal system of response would exist. There would be memory, for this kind of brain could learn. There would also be pre-conscious, for this kind of brain would allow the organism to habituate or sensitize to various stimuli over time. There would not be, however, a subconscious or conscious, as there was no spatial or temporal capacity to anticipate or put things in context.

When it came to survival situations where context or anticipation would increase the odds, this simple organism could not take advantage of them. But, through random variation, it is not unlikely that some mutated variety of brain might develop more than one neural network, and in so doing, enjoy two new dimensions of awareness: space sense and time sense.

At this stage, the creature's mind would be perfectly balanced between the two appreciations. Through natural variation, a creature might develop lobes of the brain that favored space and time appreciations respectively. So, although it could now employ experience and apply it to the future, when situations arose where the context was at odds with anticipation, the creature's mind would go into brain-lock. This poor organism could not longer respond to immediate stimuli, and was trapped between what the bigger picture of surroundings indicated versus what the progressive direction indicated. Like a deer, frozen in the headlights of a car, this early thinking machine would stand in the road until it was run over, or more likely, eaten.

Through random mutation, some creatures might have more or simply more efficient neurons when it came to producing excitatory neurotransmitters or inhibitionary neurotransmitters. Those that had more exciters favored the neurology. Those that had more inhibitors favored the biochemistry. As a result, these minds were no longer balanced, but could actually pay more attention, with more accuracy to one appreciation or the other.

The downside of this kind of split, is that while more attention is being placed in one direction, it is being deprived from another direction. So, each kind of mind could be "blind-sided" in the area it saw less clearly that its adversary. Those creatures that tended to group together in binary pairs, would have a greater chance of survival than an unbalanced individual alone. Each could see clearly into the other's blind side, and together they could peer more deeply into space and time, context and anticipation, than any single organism could by itself.

The more specialized the minds of the bonded pair became, the more successful the survival value. But, of course, this required the organisms to be attracted to one another, for if they were not, their line died out in favor of those that were. Spatial and temporal creatures became attracted and bonded together for survival.

The mechanism for attraction was sensory stimulation that indicated an opposing bias in neurotransmitter production. The sex hormones Testosterone and Estrogen each have an impact on the production of neurotransmitter. Testosterone triggers the creation of more exciter neurotransmitters (such as Seratonin). Estrogen triggers the creation of more inhibitor neurotransmitters (such as Dopamine). In addition, each ganglion of the brain has "L" cells and "R" cells, which are suspected of producing exciters and inhibitors.

Let's jump ahead to the human species and see where things ended up. At the twelfth to fourteenth week of pregnancy, a flush of Testosterone either floods the brain of the developing fetus or it doesn't. If it does, for a two week period the brain is bathed in exciters. If it doesn't, the brain is bathed in a greater ratio of inhibitors. This hormone wash affects the production efficiency of the L and R cells. During this time, the lifetime efficiency of these two kinds of cells is established by the wash and set into the cells. From this time forward, the biochemistry in the ganglia will favor Seratonin or dopamine - space or time.

The hormone wash recedes at the fourteenth week. The newborn human, therefore, is almost nearly balanced in appreciation of space and time, with only a slight bias toward one or the other. This helps the youngster who is below reproductive age to function as efficiently as possible as a balanced individual in behalf of its own survival.

Once the infant reaches the age of puberty, hormones in the body simultaneously do several things. Secondary sexual characteristics show up that make the spatial and temporal minds more physically attractive to each other so that they will bond. Reproduction is enabled. And, a second flood of hormones enters the blood stream and the brain to tip the nearly balanced mind heavily in favor of space or time appropriately.

All of these well-timed functions serve to ensure the greatest chance for survival of the young, and the greatest chance for survival of the species as a whole.

Before society, men were men and women were women, for any other arrangement, deviation, or lack of bias led to a lessened chance for survival. When society grew naturally as a fractal reflection of an organisms natural organization, it was based primarily on a structure, as opposed to a flexible, dynamic system. This is in line with the immediate survival needs of the society.

Such a structure would best survive if spatial thinkers were motivated to employ spatial skills and temporal thinkers to employ temporal skills. And, since the functions of child-bearing and territory-taming had fallen into line with the mental bias of the two species of organism, it was quite natural that those would be the jobs incorporated into the society's structure.

To motivate each species to function according to its capabilities at the greatest efficiency, rewards and punishments evolved that were appropriate to each kind of mind. The rewards functioned as exciters and the punishments as inhibitors.

This worked fine for several thousands of years. The initial heavy bias created an inverse bell-curve that was so spread to the two sides (space and time) that it was almost truly binary. The world was inhabited by spatial thinkers who were more or less alike, except for experience, and temporal thinkers, who were equally cut from a single cloth. But, as society became so successful at its task that it moved farther and farther away from immediate survival needs, those natural variations in the bias toward space or time had a better chance for survival. The trough in the bell-curve began to fill in. Same sex partnerships began to find ecological niches in society where they could prosper. Some women were born with a bias still temporal, but more toward the spatial, and some men born vice versa.

In the present day and age, there are more individuals in the trough than ever before. Some are even born to the bias opposite to what their physical sex would indicate. Many of these are unhappy when puberty hits because the meatball is stewing in the wrong juice, so to speak. Even those that are born to the bias consistent with their physical sex may be so close to the center that the rewards and punishments offered by society are no longer appropriate and fail to function as intended. Spatial women tend to become feminists, because as spatial thinkers, they are more interested in territory. Temporal men tend to become cross-dressers, for as temporal thinkers, they are more interested in environment.

But, this is all part of the natural evolution of a society. The rigid nature of the roles provided is essential during survival times, but hard to change as the society moves more toward information and relationship than physical organization. Structures cannot really be changed, but must be dismantled and reassembled in a new form. An information society requires a more flexible form, more like a Rubik's cube, where it always maintains its integrity as a cube and corners always remain corners, but the arrangements in which it might be manipulated can bring an astronomical number of variations to bear.

And this is supported by our bodies as women are growing in height as much as an inch per generation, puberty ages are dropping consistently, and the average testosterone level in men is dropping as much as twenty-five percent per generation. All of these things lead us through an evolutionary period in our society in which the spatially/temporally balanced individual is more suited to the new tasks of our times than the highly biased men and women of old.

So, men and women: they aren't what they used to be. But that is as right for our time as being almost binary was for theirs.

Note: the preceding article is an excerpt from my new book, Mental Relativity: A New Theory Of Mind. To read other articles and find out how to order your own copy, visit The Mental Relativity Home Page at http://heartcorps.com/mental-relativity/

Boiled In Oil

Book One: The Promised Land

From Journeys & Transitions by

April 4, 1992

Spent a real horny day (if you'll pardon the vulgarism). I could barely keep my mind on my work. Seems that this happens every month in the 5th or 6th day of the 10 day Progesterone cycle. Lasts until a couple days after I go off the Progesterone. Fortunately, tomorrow is my support group meeting. Who knows but what I might get lucky!

It seems everything is falling behind while I work on the Story Software project. I've been working on the math for the algorithms the last few weeks, verifying and expanding upon the basic equations of Mental Relativity that drive the software system. (By the way, we had a full page ad for our story software on the back cover of the Daily Variety the day they announced the Oscar winners!)

The programmer we hired to write the thing has not been working out. He couldn't bring himself to start on a program based on a system for which he had no proof that it worked. He is extremely hard-science based. Now, most of MY work on this thing over the last two years has been in conceptual models. These are as accurate as any math, since each aspect of the model has a basis in math. But rather than being able to grasp the holistic view directly, the programmer needed a male logic style of step by step math progression. So, I worked that out for him. THEN, I had to meet with him separately from the rest of the development group, praise him for how far his scientific grounding and knowledge exceeded mine, tell him how much in awe I was of his abilities and how much poor, little, confused me needed him to set me straight. Then, he took me seriously. Now he is "inventing" the same work I did two years ago and thinks it is HIS idea. Men!!!!!

April 9, 1992

Yesterday I started work at nine in the morning and finished up at midnight! Today was another presentation of the story software - the first time we have tried to teach the dynamics of the structure.

Speaking of clothes... I bought a couple of new items at the Contempo Fashions 75% off rack. One was a size 10 pair of spandex skin-tight pants. I always wanted to be able to wear something that form-fitting without worrying about what they outlined (if you know what I mean). Boy, did I feel sexy wearing that to the Academy Awards party a girlfriend threw. I had a bright red vest and a black lace-edged top, with a white and black bead necklace. God, it's great to be female!!!

I just gave a call to the first guy I ever had a relationship with, just before going full-time. It's funny how I never thought of that as a gay relationship. I'm not really interested in sex with him now, but just want to get a little closer, so we're having lunch on Monday.

I do feel the lack of a man these days, but not in a negative way: more in a positive desire than a negative want. I think I'm going to have to start making myself known at some social groups (Sierra Club, poetry readings, film and sci-fi symposiums, etc.) It's not the erotica so much as the feeling of being attractive to someone and having him take care of me a little.

Dilating is down to once a day with no loss in depth. Oh, by they way, today is the 3rd month anniversary of surgery. Funny, but it seems a lot longer than that. In fact, it seems like I have been like this all my life. And it sure feels good.

I had lost touch with my body during transition so as not to have the constant reminder that I wasn't who I was "pretending" to be. And it has taken these three months to slowly open my clenched eyes and realize that now I AM who I wanted to be. And every day, as this happens, I get more and more in touch with my new body. It is so magical, so wonderful. I feel like I'm living in Fantasyland!

Just walking into work, wearing a new dress, sashaying a bit extra when I pass a cute guy, giggling and smirking and hugging and pouting, and tasting all the forbidden fruit for womanhood that men are denied: all of these commonplace things to me are so special, so fulfilling, that sometimes I think I have reached my capacity to feel good!

April 12, 1992

I have a bit of the "downer syndrome" this week. A few months ago, Chris said he thought Keith needed an adult male role model in his life, and volunteered (if I wanted) that he would be glad to take Keith on the occasional outing. Kinda like the Big Brother program.

Well, Chris was busy at work until this last week, when he suggested that he and his brother would like to take Keith to Venice beach for the day today. Mary and I had talked and both realized the necessity of this kind of role model for our boy. He will be 13 in May, and needs (as Robert Blye says in "Iron John") someone to guide him in the rite of passage to manhood. Someone who shares the "fire in the belly".

As a child, I NEVER understood what drove the other boys to do the things they did. I was a quick study, though, so I learned to fake it all pretty well at an early age. But I was just going through the motions. I never really "got it". And I felt completely rejected, totally the outsider in what was supposed to be my own peer group.

We got our first video camera when Keith was three. The first time Mary used it, I asked her to video me playing football on the front lawn with Keith. I did this because I never played football with him and wanted him to have a record of his daddy playing football with him when he was older, so he would know he was loved. Stupid, isn't it? But even now, I feel like I was never a dad or a mom, but just a parent.

When I hit puberty, the other boys saw the light. I just got more confused. I didn't see the light until a couple of years on estrogen. Now Keith is making that change. He is going to that place I cannot lead and cannot follow. I will never know what he finds there. And it feels like the same old rejection again.

I have girlfriends now that I can share with, and I feel more the woman for it. But I still feel like I am letting down my son. Like I am handing over the responsibility for his education to become a man to Chris. And I am.

But the rotten part is, I KNOW I haven't a clue how to relate to the post-pubescent male. I never was one. All this makes me hurt and confused and guilty and sad.

When Chris picked him up today, I cried as soon as he was out the door for about half an hour. I called up a girlfriend and she understood, but a woman only has to give up her child to a wife, not to ANOTHER dad!

I don't like how I'm feeling right now.

April 16, 1992

In the last two weeks I have given up all the old parts of me that I just couldn't part with but weren't appropriate. You know, like when you fill up your garage with stuff you'll never use, but is too good to throw away? Well, that little trip that Keith took with the boys was the catalyst that pushed me the last step into transition.

You see, as long as I maintained certain motivations or methods of thinking, I was keeping the door open to going back to being Dave. There were a lot of things I liked about Dave. In fact, there were a lot of things a lot of people liked about Dave. Some of those could be integrated, but some were simply no longer appropriate. And yet, in and of themselves, they were perfectly wonderful viable aspects of my old self.

Getting rid of them? No could do! But Keith's little trip made me face all that: that some perfectly good things had to go, or I would never be able to think of myself as a woman. So, Sunday night, I did not go to bed. I just stayed up all night, went to work the next day, then went to bed Monday night for the first time in 36 hours. Why? Because I spent all that time gently feeling which parts of me had to go, embracing them, pointing them away from me and giving them their freedom.

Like toy sailboats, I watched them recede. Then, being more and more tired, my consciousness shrunk from exhaustion to the point I lost track of the little toy boats. When I awoke Tuesday morning, I didn't not know where they had gone. In fact, they had vanished so thoroughly that I could not remember what was in them. I knew I had sent part of me away, but I just couldn't remember which part. Still can't. And so, I cannot mourn its loss.

As soon as I awoke, I knew I felt myself to be a woman. Not an approximation, not a pretender to the throne, but a woman in every sense of the word, as much as any genetic female that ever breathed.

At work and with friends, the results were immediate. I found myself completely unselfconscious in conversations with girlfriends or hugging a male former co-worker who came by to visit. My relationship with Chris was immediately affected (and not for the better, I might add). This closest of friends was now "one of them" and somehow not attuned to my feelings anymore, in the space of a couple of days.

April 20, 1992

Interesting how, when the smoke clears after surgery, you begin to see all the potentials in your life that you never considered before, and also the inequities you never noticed before. I find myself drifting farther and farther away from my male friends, including Chris, the person to whom I had been closer than anyone. Somehow, I just don't share much common ground with men anymore. I can't quite figure out if it's something to do with the post-op hormonal changes, or just spending so much time in the new role, or making girlfriends, or finding myself, or what. But it is a very real experience.

These days, I can't fathom what he is thinking or how he feels. I seem to remember that I used to, but that could be a delusion as well. Just how did I used to feel anyway? I just can't seem to remember. Was I happy most of the time? Was I sad and hit it? Did I think a lot about being female? Was it hardly ever in my mind? I really can't remember. That bothers me, but it also makes me so much more aware of how I have lost touch with maleness. I know I've lost something, I just can't remember what.

On the other hand, I find my relationships with women are beyond improvement. I am simply accepted (as far as I know) as one of "us". The issue of gender seldom comes up. When it does, it is like even they had forgotten about my past. A while ago, a girl at work said she had never been in Girl Scouts. I said I hadn't either. A half a minute passed before her mind told her there was something not quite right there, and she turned to me with a smile and said, "Oh, for heaven's sake!"

About guys as romantic interests: What a weird thing to be sleeping with Mary without "sleeping" with Mary. And, not even knowing if I want to. I can imagine sex with other women, and I can certainly see which ones are attractive. But those thoughts never occur to me when conversing with them. On the other hand, I can't seem to hold a conversation with a guy, even old friends, without wondering what he's like in bed.

I feel so much different from the men now. I look at their intensity toward completing goals. Sure I have goals, but all mine are more like directions I want to move in. Theirs are more like all-consuming end products, where nothing matters unless it gets them there. How can you relate to that?

April 22, 1992

I met a wonderful writer on America Online the other night and carried on a great interactive conversation with him for nearly an hour before my former self entered the picture. Then, he politely withdrew and I haven't heard from him since. I don't know whether I should lie to these online acquaintances or just make more opportunities to meet people who don't care.

Tomorrow is another story software class. I'm really getting sick of working on it because I am not getting what I want out of it yet. What I want is fame, plain and simple. I want to be a "personality". I want my own talk show, dammit! In 1977, I spent hundreds of hours writing and promoting my first screenplay, taking it all around town with models of the sets, sample audio tapes, original commissioned artwork, etc. But nothing ever happened. In 1979, I spent a year and all of an inheritance I had and also the death benefit from Mary's mother to make a low budget feature. No fame, no money. In 1981, I worked on a feature documentary for next to nothing for another year. It was never realized. In 1985, I started a video duplication company: lot's of work, little money. In 1987 I made Cincinnati Bones, an anti-drug film, but they did not put it up for awards and I lost eight thousand dollars making it. In 1989 I worked for one third my normal rate daily until five in the morning on the promise of a feature film to direct. It fell through. In 1990, I edited a feature called "Social Suicide" for ten thousand dollars wage for the whole year and put in eighty hour weeks including one span of twenty-four straight twelve hour days, eating lunch and dinner at the editing console while I worked. It has never been released. Now, I'm putting in long, frustrating hours on the story software project... making enough to get by, barely, although it is more than I have made before, but with the high cost of surgery I have nothing to spend on myself. And the fame is still "in the future."

I'm really getting burned out. I mentioned it to Chris and he called the company Prez in to cheer me up with news of what they were trying to set up for me in the fame department. By the time he was finished, I started crying 'cause they just didn't understand what I wanted. It took me half an hour to get myself together. After dinner, there were were again, working until eleven p.m.

Letters To and From the Editor

Once again all you clever and curious readers have sent me a plethora of interesting and insightful letters. Here are some excerpts of your letters with my replies. (Reader comments are in italics. Reader names have been eliminated to avoid any potential embarrassment.)

In a message dated 96-01-08 03:20:55 EST, you write:

As an aspiring screenwriter, your software sounds and looks impressive. However, how easy is to use? It also seems as if it would be a bit complicated. How did you come up with the idea?

Here's some information for you... How easy? How complicated? Well, how easy are stories? Our story software was not designed to make writing easier. It was designed to make it harder. It forces you to look at all aspects of your story - even those you usually forget to consider - to make sure that your story is both complete and consistent.

Our product is two things - a new theory of story that took fifteen years to develop (which is why it is not possible in this format to describe how we came up with the idea) - and also the software product that helps authors use the theory.

The theory itself covers all aspects of writing. It has two main branches. One deals with the underlying dramatic structure of a story and the other deals with the manner in which that structure is related to the audience by the author. In the revised theory book coming out in mid March, you will find it divided into two sections reflective of these aspects: The Elements of Structure, and The Art of Storytelling.

The Elements of Structure section deals with identifying, defining, and describing the basic building blocks of every complete story as seen in Character, Theme, Plot, and Genre. The Art of Storytelling describes how these elements are put together to carry a story through the Four Stages of Communication between author and audience: Story Forming, Story Encoding, Story Weaving, and Reception.

The software takes the dramatic relationships described in the theory and constructs a flexible "story engine" that constantly shifts the relationships between dramatic elements (such as a Story Goal, Main Character Focus, Subjective Story Problem). Because it is so precise, the story theory had to develop new terminology (like that above) to describe dramatics in such detail. That is the biggest drawback is the learning curve required to become familiar with some new terms. But each new term describes an aspect of what is really going on in stories that has likely not been defined nearly as well before. And, of course, there is always the Story Engine, which is not to be found anywhere else.

Right now, we have two different products that incorporate the Story Engine. One is Pro which has a more extensive Story Engine and therefore provides greater details about your story. The second is the Writer's DreamKit, which is designed as an entry level product, to hand hold a new user through the unfamiliar world of the story theory. Included in the DreamKit is a StoryGuide workbook, which takes an author from concept to completion of a complete story using the software. An experienced professional level StoryGuide will be available with Pro around Mid-March, both in the new programs sold and also as an upgrade for those who bought Pro earlier.

I hope this gives you a feel for the Story Development Products.

Thanks for your interest, and best of luck with your writing projects.

Melanie

In a message dated 96-03-02 03:32:49 EST, you write:

Have you read Kurt Vonnegut's "Venus On The Half Shell?" In this book the main character spends a lot of time with an android that thinks, feels, remembers etc. just like a 'born' human. The question becomes, is she human even if she is 'manufactured'? The inescapable conclusion is yes...these are the things that make us human hence to have these things is to BE human.

Sorry for the delay in replying. I've been busy putting the final touches on the first draft of my new book: Mental Relativity - a New Theory of Mind. I should have the first draft in the can by the weekend.

I actually haven't read any Vonnegut, though I always enjoyed him in interviews. Is he still kicking around? In fact, the story line you mention is not unlike "Metropolis". I've gotten so burned out on this whole gender thing, I don't even care what I am any more. I just go through the day having a good time, reacting to things as I feel, and dressing as I please. Let people make their own assumptions. Most assume I was born this way. Fine by me.

Sorry if there is a bit of shortness in my tone, but I've answered literally two or three hundred letters in the last two months about this same subject. I'm quickly getting to the point where being up front is more of a cost than it is worth. Protecting others from being hurt by finding out is causing me all the grief I might save them. Enough, already! Not to be callous, but at this point, I'm more concerned with just being myself.

I suppose part of the problem was my sense of responsibility at having posted ads in personals columns on the web. If I wasn't up front, then I'd be entrapping people. So, I've changed all the ads I could get back to so that I only list myself as looking for friends because I like people. In that way, there's no hint of romance, and I don't feel responsible for anybody's heart.

I'll never intentionally hurt someone emotionally, but I think its high time to stop hurting myself to make sure I don't do it unintentionally.

Sorry for the catharsis here. It's a good day to change.

Melanie

In a message dated 96-01-10 17:30:49 EST, you write:

I have visited your web page and I came across your work of fiction The Reluctant Girlfriend parts 1 & 2 ..I was wondering if you had any more work done in this fine work of writing , you kind of left Christofer - Christine in a sort of limbo if you have any more or other fiction please e- mail me some work or share it with others in TCF area under files -- fiction and fantasy.

Actually, I didn't write that story. In fact, in my introduction to each of the parts, I try to go out of my way to say so. Still, most people don't read my intro, just jump into it and because Melanie Brown has the same first name as me, they assume I wrote it. I'm going to have to go back, I guess and REALLY spell it out.

But, in answer to your question, I haven't heard anything from Melanie in years, and have no idea if she ever wrote a continuation. I think I'll post a note in Subversive 28 to make sure readers know I didn't write that, and then also ask if anyone knows whatever happened to Melanie Brown.

Since you are on AOL, you might want to post that question on one of the gender boards and see if she turns up. If she does, send her my way!

Melanie

Date: 01/12/96

My reply to a reader who had negative feelings about my selling a book version of my diary as selling out like all "those other people" who cash in by commercializing their personal lives:

As for commercializing my personal life, money is not the reason I list my material on the web.

Why do I do it then? Well, for one thing, I have always felt a kinship with both Anais Nin and Virginia Woolf. I simply like to experience new and different things, then share my experiences with all who would like to see what it feels like without really doing it themselves.

For the gender community, most everyone I met marveled at how successfully (is that the right word) I went through my transition. I learned how to move, look and talk more like who I wanted to be than almost anyone else ever did. Of course, that is because I tackle everything I do with full gusto. But, it also makes me feel good to excel.

Along the way, however, people keep asking me how I managed to find my voice. So many, in fact, that it got to be a royal pain in the neck! My solution was to spend one day videotaping an explanation of it in my back room, and one more day editing the best takes together on a home system I still had from my days in the movie biz.

I made it available at pretty much what it cost me in materials and time to fill the order: $20 each. In two years, I sold about 1,000 of them world wide. The "profit" on each item was less that $5 after expenses, and I used that $5 to underwrite other work for the community.

Another big reason I did the tape, was it gave me an opportunity to appear on camera and share part of my personality, which gets back to Anais and Virginia. $2,500 per year to someone making six figures doesn't even matter. I did it for fun and to help others.

A couple years before that, I started the America Online Gender Group from scratch as an on-line support group for the community. I was the first. In a year we had 500 members on-line. In two years, we had 1,500. I resigned as head of the group two years ago because I wanted to finally leave the community behind. I've only checked in on it a couple times since them. (In fact, I had them take me off their mailing list!) Now, that community is over 5,000 strong, and provides the best on-line support for the gender community in the world, including message boards, downloadable files and such.

The point of this is, that while I was heading the group, I began to publish my transition diary, serially in my newsletter for the community, The Subversive - again, like Anais Nin. Once I finished it, I uploaded the entire trilogy to AOL so anyone could download it who wanted to. There have been almost 1,000 downloads. That was the last thing I did for them before I dropped out.

Now, along comes the web. As a writer and composer, and artist in the general sense, I immediately became enraptured by the opportunity to express my work. I'd always grieved that it was so hard to find a publisher, but now, for the first time in history, one could self-publish to the world!

So, I put up my poems, and then I put up my stories, and I built my home page. And then I thought, "Should I put up my gender writings?" I worried over that for weeks. Who was I? Who would I be perceived as?

In the meantime, I set up web pages for the company. And I linked the company page to mine, so I could be more than just a name as the co-creator of the story theory. I wanted people to know me. But not who I was, who I am.

But still, some of my best writing (certainly the most heartfelt) is in my diary. Could I never share that - kill the best baby of my creative muse?

Then it hit me that I didn't have to put it all on one page area. I could create a separate gender area for my writings that you couldn't get to from the main page. Then, I could give my URL to anyone I meet and they would see who I am now. But, I could also post my URL for the gender page in the gender community, and I would get to share my journey (ala Anais and Wolf) and help others in t he process (you should SEE the notes I get. Three or four times a year, someone writes to tell me they were on the verge of suicide when the stumbled across my pages. For the first time they knew they weren't alone, and now they are finally seeing a counselor and working it out.) Very gratifying.

Now, why charge for this stuff? Why does ANY artist charge for the stuff he or she creates? Because we have created something worthwhile and want to be compensated, that's why! Some people explore Africa and the outer frontier and are hailed for their bravery. I have explored the inner and wish to be (at least a little) hailed for mine as well.

Actually, what I get paid for what I create BARELY covers the cost. AND I provide all that same information FREE on my web pages. All they buy is the convenience of holding their own copy in their hands instead of the inconvenience of reading it on a computer.

Anyway, I said all this for no reason other than to clarify the issue. I sincerely hope you don't take it as an attempt to change your mind about anything or sway your opinion. I just like to create and share, and this letter is part of that too. I've created something; I share it with you.

Melanie

In a message dated 96-01-12 03:20:32 EST, you write:

1.)In the future, hopefully near!, do you have any plans to get married? Its a bit strange, but every time when I check in,(normally every month to see new stuff.), you seem a bit....well, a bit lonely and I thought maybe you needed a boyfriend or maybe even a husband to satisfy your needs and wants. It would make your strife and anguish justified to finally see the culmination of your efforts...Well, what would I know?

I don't know what will happen in the future. Mary is an excellent friend and companion, but we are more like Waston and Holmes. I still need a love interest in my life. Whether I cross paths with guys who are casual dates or find one who becomes a steady relationship in one mode or another, only the fates can tell.

2.)As a person with experience of both genders, what methods/ways/secrets do you employ to get a successful relationship started? I know I'm just a Sophomore in High School and all, but it still would be nice to have someone that I can have a close friendship with, outside my family.

Are you kidding? If I knew that, I'd bottle it and sell it! I just try to put my best foot forward and then figure out when to show them the club foot.

3.)Are you human? Yes, this is redundant, but I just can't help wondering that. I mean, you're so beautiful and then! I mean, I've read the books and magazines about M-F T.S. that look like men in drag and all, but you don't bear a single resemblance! Its remarkable!

Thanks.

And also thanks for the kinds words about my web pages. I enjoy playing in this new art form.

Melanie

In a message dated 96-01-12 23:19:12 EST, you write:

Can you tell me your values????

By the pound or the hour? (Just kidding!) I suppose you mean, what do I hold as important, or perhaps even how I define "right" and "wrong".

Well, both importance and right & wrong are all tied up together for me. First of all, a tree or a rock or star doesn't mean anything without someone experiencing it or its effects. What I mean is, value is in the eye of the beholder. What to I personally value? Well, I value how an individual feels about others, and how they act based on those feelings. We all know about love and hate: both come in varying degrees and right smack dab in the center is neutrality.

What I value is anyone who wishes others well rather than ill. The more they wish well, or the more often, the more I value them. I value anyone who does positive things for others, rather than negative. The more positive someone's effect, the more I value them.

I don't believe one is required to sacrifice to help others. By sacrifice, I mean to make oneself emotionally hurt to prevent emotionally hurting others. Also, I don't believe one is required to hurt oneself physically in order to prevent others from being hurt.

Of the two, peace of heart and fulfillment are much more important to me than physical success, though one often depends on the other.

So, to wrap all this up, I can appreciate a tree or a rock or a star by projecting upon it my own feelings about beauty and wonder and physical joy as well. I can appreciate anyone who seeks others well, and will appreciate them even more if they act upon that and find themselves feeling even better themselves for the effort.

Is that the kind of things you were looking for?

Melanie

In a message dated 96-01-13 09:36:03 EST, you write:

Are you actively searching for contributors, or are you currently using the site as a one-woman forum? The later editions seem to be authored entirely by you, so I thought I would ask as I have some material you may be interested in.

Hiya, Wendy! Thanks for the offer. These days, however, I don't accept submissions. I am just trying to get the rest of my diary published and move on. As it turns out, I have four more years of diary backlogged, so it will take some time to get that up on the web. Once it is, I don't expect to do anything more in the gender area, though some of my other work may occasionally have value in that arena, and if and when it does, I'll upload it there.

Anyway, thanks for the offer, and best of luck to you!

Melanie

In a message dated 96-01-14 14:38:01 EST, you write:

Boy! That is my kind of luck!! You are the prettiest and sexiest TS I have seen on the web. A beautiful face, and great body! So What is wrong?? I live 3000 miles away!!!

Hiya, Kent! Thanks for the positive vibes. Yes, the web can be a frustrating place. It's like window shopping when you haven't got a dime, or maybe more like the Home Shopping Channel if you haven't got a phone!

Anyway, thanks for the note, and keep in touch if you like.

Melanie

Date: 01/19/96

My reply to a reader who opened a discussion on the philosophical aspects of being honest in openly presenting oneself as a transsexual.

You mention honesty in presenting oneself to others. Since you are of a science background, let me share my thoughts on honesty with new acquaintances. Part of honesty is the collection of facts about yourself. Some current, some past. Another part is the emphasis each has in your life. Some things are big others small, some ongoing, others over. Sharing everything up front is honest in content but dishonest in context. Withholding something reflects how you see yourself, telling all reflects who you really are.

For me, I like to meet someone first before hearing about their secrets or sharing mine. I don't want to know that someone spent a month in jail when they were a teenager until after I've sat across a table and shared coffee with them. It has been my experience that first impressions are important, but not as a lie to be shored up but as starting point that reflects who a person is trying to be. Once I understand how he sees himself, then I can put whatever else I find out about him in context. Some revelations may be show stoppers, but more often than not, it simply enriches his character unless the problem aspect is still on-going. That is the only true dishonesty - pretending something is over when it is not or that it is happening when it isn't.

Melanie

In a message dated 96-01-18 21:46:40 EST, you write:

I'm curious to know what your relationship is with Mary these days.

Here's what's happened with Mary and me. Of all the strange things, I myself got uncomfortable sleeping in the same bed with her and moved out into another room in the house a little over a year ago. Since then, I've been very lonely from time to time. Other times it's great!

I never liked the way Mary kept house, so in my own room I can decorate and clean to my personal standards. Also, I can be alone when I want to in my own personal space.

When we go on trips (like to the mountains this Christmas or Las Vegas last weekend) Mary and I share a bed again. It's fun to have someone to snuggle with again. Still, it's also good to get back to my own personal space when we return.

Mary is not lesbian, nor am I, but she never had any trouble continuing to be physically friendly in public. Me, it embarrassed. So, I'm afraid I put an end to that too.

The hard part is that by maintaining the relationship, it makes it more difficult to attract men. On the other hand, I've never met a guy I felt was a match for me. So, maybe a lot of this is my own ego, but it's the only ego I've got! It's just me. Mary has found a way to make it all work for her to her own satisfaction. I'm not as satisfied, but I really don't know what I want. Do I want to move in with a guy and have a more traditional relationship, or do I just want to date,. but stay here for the most part, or would I rather live alone (especially after the kids leave). I just don't know. None of those is wholly appealing, though each has its attractions.

So, as you can see, the nature and evolution of my relationship with Mary has really always been and continues to be in my hands. I just don't know what to do with it!

Melanie

In a message dated 96-01-19 15:38:25 EST, you write:

So, not that I'm turning this into an interrogation or anything but....

Where are you from originally?

Alhambra, California. When I was a year old, my parents divorced and my mom and I moved into my grandparent's house in Burbank. I've been stuck in this town ever since!

Hobbies?

I love to write - anything in any medium, I like hiking more than just about any other outdoor activity - camping is pretty cool too, I collect coins - I enjoy ones that are almost (but not quite) uncirculated because you can hold them without fear - and also ones that are well worn for they must hold quite a history in every atom of metal smeared off their surfaces, I enjoy composing my own music and multi-tracking and overdubbing both the orchestration and the vocals - I could stand more time to devote to that, I like philosophy - but I don't like discussing the same issues over and over again - I like to move on to new things, I enjoy travel - both from the thrill of passing through territory and also stopping to investigate certain areas in detail, I HATE plane travel - I like to have more control over my destiny than that - but I do like train travel - love to drive and be driven - and I'm hoping to take my first cruise sometime in the next couple years, I also like to read - but am so busy creating things I don't make enough time to be a consumer of them - I really enjoy a rip snorting adventure movie - the X files - old sci fi - HEY!!! This is getting WAY too long!!!

Big family?

I grew up as an only child, but my dad remarried and raised two boys and two girls, so I have a big extended family of half-brothers and sisters.

Any pets?

I have an eight year old husky/shepherd, three cats, two kids and a tank of guppies.

The two kids are my son (almost 17) and my daughter (almost 13), and they are pets as well.

Fav color?

Red, but only on Tuesday

What do you do (in between paychecks! ? :)

Starve. Also, I am a professional philosopher. No kidding! Part of what I do is as a story theorist/teacher with the story theory and software I co-developed. I also do a lot of writing about psychological issues using the same model of psychology I developed for story theory.

I'm thinking of having a business card made up that says, "Melanie - Muse"

Do you prefer crunchy or smooth peanut butter?

I'm more into the shape of the jar.

Biggest regret?

That I have a past that follows me around

Fav cuisine?

Mexican, followed by Italian, American, and French. Chinese and Thai ain't bad either.

What's your sign, babe?

Wet Paint (and also Pisces on the cusp to Aquarius).

Birthdate?

1953

Last movie you saw?

12 Monkeys ("I'm a rodent, Jim, not a marsupial!")

Do you like foot massages?

Cyberfootsies... Actually, I was at the big annual convention for Show Biz companies here in L.A. one year, helping to promote the software based on my theory of story. A charming black man about 6'4" whom I didn't know came up to me as the show was closing. He noticed I was wearing heels and said, "You look like your feet must be killing you." I replied that, yes, they were in sad shape. He said, "Let me help", put down his brief case, got on his knees, took off one of my shoes, massaged my foot, put the shoe back, took off the other one and did the same. He stood up and said, "How's that?" I told him it felt much better and thank you. He said, "My pleasure," tipped his had and walked away. This all happened in the midst of several hundred scurrying people. Best foot massage I've ever had.

Melanie

In a message dated 96-01-24 20:31:06 EST, you write:

I want to come down and meet you, but I'm scared I might like you.

I absolutely LOVE this line from your letter. It's good enough for the best of screenplays! I really understand what you mean, though. I'm just a bit jaded about the whole thing since I've had to share that news so many times before. Anyway, coming down to see me doesn't commit you to ever have to see me again, you know. But, if you did find you liked me, that could create a real dilemma for you!

As for the religious issues you mentioned, the way I see it, God doesn't make mistakes. When kids are born blind, it is for a reason. But God also gives us the ability to learn, and if we learn how to make a blind child see, it is just another side of his plan. So, for me, I had a birth defect of another kind. Something that happened to the chemicals in the brain before birth gave me a female mind in a male body. And God did that for a reason. Already, it has lead to the story theory and to a new model of psychology that can really help people get out of a painful heart, and these things would never have happened unless I was born that way to begin with. But, God also showed us how to improve that birth defect with surgery, and now I feel much more complete than ever. Anyway, that's my view on the religious side of this.

As for the new measurements you asked about regarding my bust surgery, well, if I try real hard, I can cram myself into a "C" cup, but I fit a lot better in a "D". Since I'm 5' 10" and 140 lbs, it really stands out on me. I was expecting to end up more or less average so I could fit into the crowd. I should have known that's not my destiny. Now I have a figure like a Playboy centerfold!

Melanie

Date: 01/27/96

My way of breaking the news about my past to one of the guys who responded to one of my web ads in the personals section.

Once upon a time, there was this guy, and he didn't feel like a guy inside for all of his life, since being a little boy. After getting married and having two kids, when he reached about 36, he found no fulfillment in all of that, nor his successful career. So, he decided to try life on the other side, and step by step he did.

First he just dressed up that way to see if he liked it better. Then, he started hormone therapy so he could change the way he looked. By then, he though of himself as she instead of he.

She kept her family together through all of this and even saved the marriage. She began two years of living in the new role. During that time, her career became more successful than it ever had. She edited a major feature motion picture and then went on to create a new theory of story which became software known world-wide. She made more friends than she ever had before, experienced emotions she hadn't felt since being a child, and STILL kept her family together.

After the two years, she had sex reassignment surgery, which was four years ago. Now she is so comfortable in her new role and it comes so naturally that no one ever knows about her past unless she tells them. But because she feels that kind of information won't let her be a true friend unless she shares it, she looks for the right time and then tells anyone who might be hurt if they found out later.

She has been very successful in her various endeavors. She started a gender group on America Online that now has 5,000 members. She also created a video tape on how to speak femininely and sold 1,000 copies. But, two years ago, she finally had to move away from the gender community, as she really didn't relate to it anymore because all her concerns during transition had faded away as do all details that no longer affect one's life.

So, today, she is happy, more so than ever, successful in business beyond her wildest dreams, popular both with her girl friends and also with men, enjoying teaching her story theory (she will be teaching a four week class at UCLA beginning next month), and she has STILL maintained her family, though she and the mother of her children have different bedrooms, they both share a love of the kids, and also are the best of friends as girlfriends can be.

Her only unfulfilled dreams for the future are to share the work she has done with Mental Relativity, because it can help people solve problems in their own lives, use some of her growing royalties to do good and charitable things to help others, and to meet a wide variety of people, both men and women, who will fall in all ranges of closeness from casual acquaintances to lovers. And being strong of spirit, kind of heart, and hopeful for the future, she is living happily forever after.

The end.

Undated

Where do you stand on "lying" as it pertains to philosophy? I've read Sissela Bok's book 'Lying' and it really posed many questions.

Lying is the best policy for the short term, honesty for the long term. First impressions are more important than anything that follows (personal experience here). If we look at a chemical reaction, sometimes a reaction will never happen because you can't get over the entropy. Only if a catalyst is added or an element of entropy removed can things proceed.

But, is proceeding a good thing? It has as much chance of being good as being bad, so it is neutral in the objective sense. However, what is viewed as good may be seen as bad by someone else, depending upon one's motivations and purposes. Also, those determinations may change from context to context. So, first of all, anyone who says lying is either good or bad all the time is lying. (Just kidding!) It simply means they have accepted a given that is not really given. For them in their experience it may have always proven true that lying is bad or good, so for them the subjective given is absolutely accurate. In the world at large, however, lying can sometimes lead to good and sometimes to bad, depending on who is evaluating the results and in what context.

So, although each of us can make a determination that in a particular case at a particular time for a particular purpose for a particular person lying may be definitively seen as good or bad, the overall answer to the all-encompassing question has to be "maybe".

Melanie

Dated 96-01-29 05:02:30 EST:

My reply to a reader lamenting the loss of a close relationship.

Whenever something or someone in our lives shines that brightly for us, when they are gone all we see is darkness and their after-image, burned into our souls. As long as we can hold onto that image, it seems as if they are still with us, but eventually, as with all things, the image fades and our experiences with them are forced to move from the present into the past and become part of our memories instead on continuing to affect our conscious awareness.

We need strong memories to feel our lives have been full, but we also need people in our lives for every moment, so that the present is joyous as well. Those who never have this live a gray life that is steady and safe. Those who dare to love put themselves at risk, and feel both the thrill and heartache of life more strongly, with higher peaks and deeper valleys.

I believe that to keep balanced and neutral, while safe, is not much different than not having lived at all. It is through both our triumphs and our tragedies that we feel alive, and so we must rejoice in both. If we can only bring ourselves to look at our pain as a background against which our happiness appears even more golden, then we can revel in the moments that shine, and use the darkness to help us hold the after-image a little longer.

Melanie

In a message dated 96-01-29 08:35:27 EST, you write:

I've often wondered. How can you know you don't "feel" like a particular thing, when you have no frame of comparison. (i.e., how does one know they feel like a Buddhist, when one has always been a Catholic?)

It's easy, actually. Think of tuning forks. Those are our minds. If we operate at the same frequency, we resonate. If we are at different frequencies, we don't. As I was growing up, I didn't resonate with guy stuff, but I did with girl stuff. One does not have to have a physical shape to know at what frequency one's mind works.

So are you saying that we as people can learn anything? even counter to genetics, etc.? Not to be combative, but regardless of one's devotion and perseverance, aren't we still bound by the forces of nature? i.e. no matter how "Black" some acts, they will never be African-American.

There are many physical forces that make us who we are. One is this: In the 12th to 14th week of pregnancy, the brain of a developing fetus gets a hormone wash of either testosterone or estrogen. This is scientific fact. Also fact is that testosterone greatly increases the amount of Seratonin in the brain for that two week period. Estrogen increases dopamine instead. Seratonin excites the neurology, giving more preference to that over the biochemistry. Also, Seratonin has an effect on the L and R cells of the ganglia (the little neural networks of the brain) The L and R cells make the Seratonin and dopamine. Dopamine, during this 2 week period, has the reverse effect, favoring the biochemistry in a dynamic sense, and the other of the L and R cells in a structural sense.

After two weeks, this wash or hormones has provided a foundation for the dynamics of the mind, favoring either the neurology (our space sense) or the biochemistry (our time sense). In addition, after it recedes, the L and R cells continue this bias for the rest of your life, because they "set" into certain levels of efficiency in production.

This is what separates the boys from the girls: a mind that favors space or a mind that favors time. But this is not binary, for our life experiences can either support or go counter to that locked in bias of the brain. As a result, any individual might be one kind of bias by physical determination and the other by training, and to varying degrees. This is what gives each individual the opportunity to fall anywhere in a range as far as the overall balance of the brain.

The problem is, if one's training and cultural indoctrination are completely counter to one's brain bias, there is an internal conflict that leads to dissatisfaction. This is only enhanced when puberty strikes, and suddenly the meatball is stewing in the wrong juice. The production of the L and R cells continues to produce a bias in the neural networks of the ganglia, but the chemistry of the brain as a whole, outside the membranes of the ganglia, takes on the opposite bias. One cannot be happy in this situation.

So, for a "normal" individual, one can be comfortable having one kind of bias that is supported by the hormones of puberty, but is trained in the alternative point of view. But for people like me, regardless of how you are trained, the hormones of puberty are constantly in conflict with the hormones of the neural nets. This is intolerable. It leads to a loss of emotional depth, a feeling that there is something missing in life, a desire to "resonate" with the other side of life at the deepest neural centers.

We don't know this when we start out. We just know we haven't found fulfillment in life and "feel" that maybe the answer lies on the other side. So, in the face of all the fears and drawbacks, this conflict at a biologic level in our brains finally drives us to move toward that other side. And when we start on hormones, our brains finally give a sigh of relief. But, we are not totally free until surgery which finally stops the hormones that hurt us from being generated by our bodies. And then, for the first time, we think like everyone else, biased as normal men and women and directed by our personal experiences.

If first impressions are deceptive (whether intentional or not) what does that do to the integrity of subsequent impressions?

First impressions are only deceptive if they are not part of the truth - if they are counter to the truth. The capital "T" truth is simply to big to communicate all at once. It MUST be doled out over time. Part of what we are is the information about us. Equally important is the manner in which we respond to things. How can that manner be communicated in a first impression, since it is so context dependent?

So, one has a choice, putting one's best foot, worst foot, or several toes of each up front. One cannot put both feet forward. One must also consider who one is and what one is. What I am is a transsexual. Who I am is a woman. My body is probably XY, my brain has an L/R ratio that is only found in females. What IS the truth, and why would I want to put up front the aspects of myself I no longer live?

More important, what do I know of the person I am meeting. Maybe my background is nothing compared to his. Is he a murderer? A thief? Will he beat me? Is he a bigot? If I tell him this will he hurt me? Has he ever been in prison? Did he ever do anything he is not proud of? Do I expect him to greet me my saying, "Hi Melanie! I once hit a dog with my car on purpose when I was a teenager. I felt so bad about it I have made a career of helping hurt animals. I thought you should know that up front, though."?

No, I want to meet someone who shows me a part of themselves - the part they like. I will do the same. Then, let us discover more of each other until we understand who they are now. Then, let us find out who they WERE and see if it makes a difference.

Melanie

In a message dated 96-01-30 20:57:14 EST, you write:

1) The STIGMA and our children, what has it done to their lives? How do they cope? Do they resent you for bring this down on them? What can you offer them that could counter what the have to deal with?

I don't think their situations in life have been significantly altered. Also, I know they cope just fine. Resentment? No, I think more like disappointment and feeling a bit like they are stuck with a situation they don't deserve. What can I offer them? What can any of us off our children but security and love.

2) Loss of intimate feelings, I've already told you how I feel about this.

No matter how you try, you can't feel the same about each other. You look different to her and she will feel different to you. Not all at once, but one day you'll realize you are no longer a married couple but a couple of married people.

3) Swallowing changes ... this seems like such a harsh view. I've never been any good at pushing my point of view on anyone. Is there any other way to work through the changes without forcing them?

Would this happen if you were against it?

4) The deep hurts, what are they? How clearly did you anticipate them?

For me or for them? Emotional loss of ones so dear in the manner of my dreams. I killed my future and have stolen another. I think I like this one better, but how can I tell for sure?

) What can you do now as a woman that you couldn't really do before as a man? Is it more a way of how people relate to you than what you can do?

I can express myself without a second thought. That is all.

6) Is it REALLY worth it? What tells you that you "know" it was definitely the right thing to do. Is there something you can put your hands on, touch it, feel it, see it, describe it?

Nope. It is just being able to act and react without evaluating it first as to how others might read it.

7) Sometimes ... it doesn't seem worth it, why? What does your depression bring out in your thoughts and feelings? Are you depressed more or less often than before?

Wouldn't it be nice to act as one felt without having to mutilate one's body to do so? But what about that small voice that would never be satisfied in the old skin? My depressions now are deeper, but my joys richer. I haven't changed the channel, just upped the bandwidth.

8) The "long run", do you think you will ever stop thinking of yourself as a TS and begin thinking of yourself as just a human being named Melanie?

Don't be so binary, I edge toward that every day, never to arrive.

Melanie

I'll end this edition of The Subversive with a reader's letter that asks no questions but rather sums up the feelings many of you have expressed.

Date: 96-03-17 14:46:47 EST
To: Melanie XX

Dear Melanie, I'm a 42-year old crossdresser just coming to grips with my "gift". I was fascinated by your online chat regarding "Mental sex" and the physical origins of it in the brain. I do understand that the concept is independent of physical gender, sexual preference, etc. but I had a quick thing to share with you.

After I was conceived, my mother's doctor's discovered that her uterus was too small, and would endanger my life. Their solution was to give her large doses of the estrogen of choice at that time, to accelerate the growth of the uterus. It worked, and I'm here, big healthy and male. However, I wonder now if that extra hormone bath may have shaped my brain a little differently. My first sexual awakening of any kind involved fantasies of wearing women's clothing, and it came as a shock to me.

30+ years later, I am just beginning to learn to love and accept myself, after "coming out" to my therapist and my wife. keep up the good work!

(I'm also a member of your work community: keep up the good work, there too!)

The Subversive #28

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