06 July 2009

The Last Day

It looks like I'm leaving the male race--and living between two genders-- with a bang and diarrhea. I hadn't planned on either.

First, I'll get the yucky part out of the way: I have to drink a concoction that I might have enjoyed had I been ambushed with a batallion of the Soviet Army in Afghanistan. It tastes like Elmer's glue sprinkled with salt. Not that I've tasted that before, but it's the best analogy I can make.

Those of you who've had major surgery know about taking the bowel prep. It purges whatever's in your stomach. It's also, at this moment, purging my energy. But I don't think I could go to sleep: My stomach is an in-the-flesh Vesuvius or Mount St. Helens.

The one good thing about this is that I don't mind fasting. I can't eat anything; at least I have no appetite or desire to eat even for the sensory pleasure. Hmm...This just might be what I need to do in order to lose weight.

But, as they say, one has to suffer in order to be beautiful. Tomorrow what I've described won't even be a memory, mainly because I'll be too drugged-up to remember anything.

At least, whenever my mind comes back into focus, I'll have other memories of today, my last in my current life. And they'll much better than anything I might recall of the bowel prep.

First of all, I talked with Dr. Bowers. In the middle of our conversation, I confessed something to her: "I want to be you when I grow up."

She's even more beautiful than she appears in the photos or on her show. But better yet, she is about as warm and empathetic as anyone you could ever hope to meet. The woman understands everything. Or so it seems.

Of course, one reason why she understands how I feel is that she felt that way. She said to me, "You know, I wasn't always the person you see now. I was unhappy and hadn't accomplished much." (She only became a well-respected OB-Gyn.) To which she added, "Why should you envy me? You're accomplished and a very lovely person."

Yeah, but...There are levels of accomplishment. And beauty. I'm not talking only about physical beauty. I think that she is spiritually radiant in a way that I'll probably never be.

Then again, in the spiritual world, whether or not I reach her level doesn't really matter, does it? I learn whatever I'm ready to learn in this life. And she learns what she can. I guess what she can learn and what I can learn are different.

While I was visiting Dr. Bowers, two photographers from OUT magazine came to her office. Apparently, the magazine is doing a piece on Dr. Bowers and her practice. At least one of their photographs captures me and Dr. Bowers talking. Since the focus of the article will be on Dr. Bowers, as it should be, I will probably not appear in it.

Then again, who knows. They also came to the Morning After House, in which I'm staying and in which I will be staying for four days after I'm released from the hospital. Carol, who is Dr. Bowers' partner, runs this place, which is an expression of her own love and caring. It's beautiful without being self-conscious: It's like home, only (at least in my case) nicer. It seems that no other gender-reassignment program has anything like the Morning After House.

Anyway, while I was gulping down the toxic brew and waiting for it to do its work, I was reading while reclining on the bed. One of the photographers felt that the way I was lying on my side in the soft late-afternoon light that followed a sudden rainstorm expressed the way the house felt to him, and asked if he could photograph me. I agreed, and that led to his taking some more photos of me. In one, I'm lying on my side but my body is more curved; in another, I am lying on my stomach and my head and arms are hanging off the foot of the bed as I'm reading my book, which is on the floor.

He gave me copies of those photos and promised to have a copy of the magazine sent to me, whether or not they use any of the photos. I hope they do, not only for a few moments of fame, but because of something else those photos convey.

In them, I am a woman. It's not just because I'm wearing a very feminine casual outfit ( a tiered purple skirt with lace trimming and a sleeveless knitted pink sweater) or the way my hair is falling. Rather, it has to do with the way I occupy that space: I have not taken over or conquered it; I lived in it, or more precisely the moment which was the space that was shown in those photos. And, oddly enough, something about the way I reclined--that made the photo dynamic, in the way that sashaying is a form of motion.

Finally, much of this last day before my surgery has been spent with a Southern couple and their MTF daughter who is undergoing the surgery. They sent their younger son to stay with the mother's parents, who brought in a bunch of their fundamentalist relatives and freinds to preach at the boy. No matter what he does, they berate and abuse him for what his sister is doing.

When I met the couple last night, the mother was in tears and the father looked like he wasn't too far from them. I listened to them, held their hands and just spent time with them. Today, we went to the hospital together and the young woman's mother has brought me a couple of things that I'd forgotten. My operation is scheduled for 6:00 tomorrow morning; that young woman's will follow mine. And we have all promised to stay in touch after we leave.

The mother said I am a hero. She should meet my mother. And my mother should meet her.

If and when that happens, I will have become what some like to call a "new woman." And I'll be in excellent company.

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