Reflections of a fourteen year post-op


(Taken this month)

Hi.  I'm Melanie Anne.

I'm 53 years old, a professional teacher of fiction writing, parent of two, still married to my spouse of thirty years but living with another woman, my soul mate, for the last eight years.

I'm also a fourteen year post-op from sex reassignment surgery.

Welcome to my life....

Journey's End

Let's recap:

You go into transition, start hormones, and live for a few years in the new role.

Along the way, you change your behavior patterns to better fit in.  And, you discover that you don't have to learn how to be feminine, you just have to stop all the masculine behaviors you put in place in your youth to mask your natural feminine tendencies.

You have surgery, maybe several to do nose, breasts, and other attributes, so that your body looks less like a man and more like a woman.  But you still feel that you started out as a male, physically, and can't quite shake that feeling.

You spend more years, maybe a decade or more, living the life, but always feeling incomplete somehow - not like other women, but certainly no longer male.  You don't feel you really belong like other women do because you've had experiences they never had during your male life.

You find that in trying to fit in, you are acting like a woman just like you used to act like a man.  But it feels like an act, and that prevents you even more from belonging.

Then, for whatever reason, luck, epiphany, or the intervention of a trusted friend or lover, one day you drop your guard, stop acting, and just let yourself be.  And you discover that behind the act, you are actually the same as the person you have been pretending to be.  It is as if for years you had been wearing a mask that was in the image of your own face.  Everything is the same, but it stood between you and reality, deadened your senses, and left you emotionally isolate.

You take a giant leap and begin expressing yourself without filters or precautions, just as you are, but only around the house.

You take an even bigger leap and try it out in the world, at a market, sporting event, or shopping trip.  And it plays.  And you can't understand it because you pretended for so long, guarded every moment for so long, that you find it hard to believe anyone buys into your expression of yourself as you really are, without enhancements or deletions.

You start being yourself everywhere, with everyone, and even old friends have nothing to say except that you seem to be really happy and are looking good.  But inside, you feel like you are being far more feminine than you ever allowed yourself to be in the real world.  And yet, they don't notice a difference because your act was so "right on," that it accurately represented the real person underneath, all those years while you felt like you were hiding.

Finally you accept that you really are that feminine, but even more astounding, that other people find it quite natural for you to be that way, and remarkably, due to the subtle changes that have occurred to your body over the years, your behavior perfectly matches the way you look.

And then you begin to realize that if you really were one hundred percent male physically to begin with, your body couldn't have become what it is.  You see that there are certain underlying skeletal qualities and perhaps biochemical, soft tissue, and nerve qualities that simply don't occur in men.

It strikes you suddenly that perhaps you weren't really a man with a woman's mind, but maybe even your body was intersexed.  Beyond that, perhaps you have so many female characteristics that maybe you were mostly female except for that one thing that had been between your legs.  Maybe, you were physically far more female than you ever thought, and that is why you always felt self-conscious physically before transition, and why everything from the way you forced yourself to move, or the facial hair you may have grown, or the clothes you chose to wear were designed to hide the femaleness of your body.

Yet you still feel separated from women because of your experiences as a male in society.  But one day, you realize that your mind, your brain, was always wired female.  And so, although you may have had experiences women don't have, the way you felt about it and the sense you made of it were the same as any woman would, if she found herself plopped down in the same situation.

A sense of sisterhood begins to develop with your true peers.  And as you consider that every thought you ever had, every feeling you ever experienced was a female one.

You remember your life.  You are forced to re-write how you thought of yourself.  Every meaningful moment of your previous history comes into question and must not be re-written to acknowledge this truth.  Armed with this new understanding, there are so many obviously clues in your behavior, so many times it was so obvious that you responded not as a man but a woman that you are amazed you, much less those around you, never saw it back then.

You begin to have convulsions, literally physical jolts as you lay in bed and find yourself unable to rectify the memory of your old male body with the female body you now possess.  You recall how you used to bluster and assume divine right to rule, and now, naturally, see all that from a woman's eyes.  And as you feel the femininity flowing within you and run your hands over your body, your breasts, your waist and hips, you jolt again, almost as if suffering an electric shock.

You simply cannot resolve the dilemma of two mutually exclusive views - your male past, your female present.  The paradox rips through your body with another jolt and you think, "You can't get here from there...."  And yet, you must admit, that whether you could have gotten here or not, here you are.  You are a woman, just like any other.

No matter, you still lament that women have had a lifetime of experiences in being treated as females, and your chance to have that for yourself is long past.  Too much youth gone - too many years lost.

But wait.  Though you were given the status of a man due to your apparent physical sex, those around you, those who came to know you, subconsciously tuned in to the female patterns of your mind, even though you thought you had masked them through masculine expression.

It wasn't that you acted femininely back then, but that what you thought, how you put your logic together, the priorities you had, all of these dynamics sent out waves of female energy in all of your interactions, in everything you ever did or said.  You were a man (to them), you had the status, you came off as masculine, but the underlying flow of your mind could not be hidden.

So both men and women responded to you as they would to any woman.  They treated you like a man, but interacted with you as they would a woman.  It inevitably follows that you did have the same kind of life experiences as any woman, and that knowledge strengthens your bond with women at a very personal level.

Your body was always mostly female.  Your brain was always female.  Your experiences were tailored through the reactions of others toward a female mind, and so your mind developed.

And then the dust settles.  After fourteen years since surgery and seventeen since you started transition, you know you are a woman, always were, always will be.

Transition was the shedding of of any physical masculine traits.  Transformation was accepting the actual feminine nature of your soul.  Transcendence was the integration of your previous male life with the female one you now possess.

Journey's end is when the process is over.  You no longer look down the path for the next insight, but explore the land to which your quest has taken you.  From this vantage point you can see all three of these stages have now amalgamated within you, bringing you peace, fostering wisdom, and making you whole.

You stand before the mirror and drop your clothes.  You slowly move your eyes down your body, examining your face, your smile, the roundness of your shoulders, the rise of your breasts.  You note the softness of your skin, the natural grace of your stance, the beauty of the most holy of places beneath the curve of your belly.

The truth, the reality, the glory of what you have become wash over you, bathed in the illumination of the miracle with which you have been blessed.

While your life to this point has been one of arduous struggle, what you have been given is so great that you plan to live your remaining years in constant celebration.

So you reach for your camera and ask your lover to help you document the wonder of it all.

To share the pictures is to share the joy.

The becoming has ended.

The being is begun.

Journey's End.

 

Melanie is a prolific author, musician, composer,
teacher, theorist, and successful businesswoman.

She is also the founder of the first Transgender Forum on America Online
and the creator of the world's very first Transgender Support Web Site.

Visit Melanie's Home Page

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