A Learning Experience Ch. 10

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— Changes. Less than a year of time has flown by… and yet it seemed to stream back a millennium. How exactly do you describe such changes as those I had experienced? The answer of course, is you can’t… to my gentle readers, who have been pulled along by my words, thank you for sharing what I learned, what I felt… what I lived. But I had changed… and so thoroughly as to make Jack into a ghost. Because if I have managed to show anything by writing this, I pray it is the fact that a transsexual only really changes on the outside. The little girl that was born and given the male name ‘Jack’ was deeply harmed by the fight she had to make to push the male personae aside she had been forced to build against her will. Let alone the fight to make her body accurately reflect her feminine gender.

This was a very early period for Josie, she learned how to survive one day at a time with the help of a rare few heroes and heroines. Why they helped her, and when, and for what reason… these were many and varied. For sexual reasons? Of course, its why so many transsexuals have ‘issues’ with what others view as either basic sexual orientation, or sexual fetishes. Its why so many are drawn to the street, to surviving on our sexual abilities and allure. Because others made it seem like it was a defining characteristic… instead of a simple genetic mistake. But really we almost have to react in a desperate way to ‘catch up’ with our genetic sisters… remember… I had no female childhood… such a waste of time was all of that pretending.

One last chapter to explore here. Josie knows who she is, now she must prove herself as the person she believes herself to be. She will have to face unbelievable opposition to her origins as more people grow jealous of her abilities, they will use any embarrassing background against her, so she will always have to be careful who she tells her most confidential secret to. She will learn to keep her Doctors as far from her as possible, as a relative or spouse working in a medical office could give her away as easily as anyone. Many trials are on her horizons, her SRS, additional minor plastic surgeries to approach the perfection as a female we always saw in our mirrors. Mostly a long and painful road… gentle reader… I do thank you for sharing the ride, many have helped me write this, and to you all… Cheers!

For My Melissa:

Troubled times… Caught between confusion and pain, pain, pain. Distant eyes… Promises we made were in vain, in vain, in vain.

If you must go, I wish you love, You’ll never walk alone, take care, my love, Miss you, love.

Someday love will find you, Break those chains that bind you, One night will remind you, How we touched and went our separate ways. (Separate Ways – Journey) —

I awoke two days before the Bowie concert at our college with a screaming headache, brought about by my newest love, good champagne! Many things had gone to my head lately and that was only one of the minor problems I faced. Happily, Mel was not at all a problem and had remained the stalwart friend and lover she had always been.

But things had changed radically for me in the last few days after becoming a full Mistress in the Sisterhood. My parents tried any and all options to entice me to return to male form. Many school and monetary options were ‘dangled’ in front of me to lure me away from becoming female, along with any threats they thought might be worth throwing out there for effect.

Perhaps this is a good time to write a little about how I had been treated over the years by my parents, after they recognized I was simply NOT going to behave like my brother or most other young men my age. My only sister had always had leanings toward becoming a lesbian, but my parents dodged this issue by always saying she was just ‘a tomboy’. She hated playing with dolls, dresses, or makeup, causing many fights and terrible discord with my mother. On the other hand, I was told to watch John Wayne movies to try and learn how to act like a male, and they constantly bought me army men, army uniforms, and plastic guns. When I found male friends to play with, they enjoyed trashing or stealing my toys, while pushing me around as only boys of that age do. So I typically became friends with neighboring girls that were somewhat tomboys, and that would stick up for me to these boys. Why they did this was complicated, but had a lot to do with my willingness to pay more attention to them than any of the ‘regular’ boys were willing to do at that time.

As with my toys, my sister had been generously given the finest dolls, dollhouses, and even tea sets and hostess dresses. And they went into the same corner of her room that all the feminine toys would end up in. As she grew up and went to high school, being 5 years older than I am, she rarely even gave her old toys any interest. And I would sneak in and play with them whenever I could. This crazy reversed set of interests went on for our entire early years, and we both knew erzurum escort of the others wants in this regard, poking fun at them from time to time. She would invite her junior high friends over and they would giggle with each other, endlessly dressing me in makeup, petticoats, and dresses, then having me serve them ‘tea’. Sis never let it get out of hand, she knew how much I enjoyed it and would tease me too, but was always my protector. In return, when I needed to go clothes shopping for myself, I always had her come with me, so she could buy some male clothes for herself if she wanted and always had the last word on which clothes I bought. This was fine by me, as even the thought of buying male clothes could cause me to feel ill sometimes.

We both wished our mother would recognize the writing on the wall, and leave her to be as butch as she wanted to be, and then raise me as a little girl, who was absolutely thrilled with playing with makeup, dresses and anything feminine and frilly. Instead, we were each forced into our gender boxes, and I can’t help but wonder at the enjoyment she gave up for that rigid belief that we had to be raised as our physical bodies dictated, it had to have been hard whenever she finally realized what she had sacrificed just to make our genders match society’s norms. In the meantime, my sister and I got more and more screwed up with life, at least I know I did. I never was able to adapt mentally, even though I was able to hide my feminine side to a much better extent than my sister could hide her masculine side. Many times we have wondered what our mother’s doctor had used as an estrogen enhancer to help with our conception, our issues seem like too much of a coincidence.

I always worked very hard, at whatever I put my mind to, but after working so hard to achieve a paycheck, after putting in long hours performing backbreaking tasks, I would typically blow the money on trivial items, or give it away to friends or even strangers. Dr. Goldmann said this had to do with the deep psychological issues I had with my own self worth, and the degradation I felt hiding my true gender. In any case, because I was now living with Mel, my “spending ways” had to be curtailed and I let Mel handle most of the finances for us, and she gave me an allowance for various things. I trusted Mel with my life, and she’d never proven me wrong.

Sometimes she would let me order our favorite champagne when we were at the supperclub, like last night, but we were now living together and we tried to stay as frugal as possible. We were two schoolgirls after all! Last Monday we had moved into a small, but very pleasant two-bedroom apartment a few blocks from the supperclub, well within reach of Cindy’s house and the college, as well as Andy and his father.

But it was far from my parent’s home and old friends, which suited my current status in life, I was a female now, and wanted to steer clear of anything or anyone that might possibly have any ability to drag me back. Mel brought much of our furniture from her parent’s house to keep costs down, but we also bought a few small pieces to finish it.

I bought a ‘new’ used car, a red and white 1961 Chevy Boat-tail Corvette Convertible with fuel injected motor, fast cars would always be a part of my life, whether male or female, that had turned into a very real fascination for me. But I mostly kept it in the garage, continuing to commute in my Chrysler 300 that my father had given me when I’d turned 15. Well, he kind of ‘had’ to, after challenging me to find out what was wrong with it, I completely tore down the motor and laid out all the pieces on the front yard! It took me several weeks to get it working again, it was the first and last time he ever said he was proud of me before learning of my sex change. Anyway, it turned out to be a very dependable and extremely comfortable car, with all the luxury bells whistles, it had a very special engine, the reason it took so long to re-build, that was created as a NASCAR pace car in the sixties. The massive two and a half ton chromed monster had more horsepower than anyone would ever really need.

After a light breakfast and some serious sex, Mel and I got ourselves together and piled into the old Chrysler for our commute to school. It was a cool morning that first Wednesday in October, and I had a million things on my pounding brain, and Mel, while trying to understand everything, wasn’t helping at that moment.

“But why is he calling it the ‘diamond dogs’ tour,” She was saying, “When the contract says it’s supposed to be a ‘ziggy stardust’ tour?”

“Probably why he’s firing his manager at the moment,” I patiently replied, “and also how I got the contract that I did. From what I understood while talking to one of his lawyers, he’s become smitten with the whole Philly ‘vibe’ and he’s looking for a house, a studio to do his recordings, backup musicians… everything.”

“So now he wants to back out of the whole concert with us?” Mel exclaimed, “I mean, ghpops.com after everything we’ve done to get this thing ready… pfft!”

I understood her frustration, my mind was trying to break through the terrible fog that had been created by the champagne, when suddenly it began to clear completely.

“Baby! You really gotta patent your hangover fix,” I said as I kissed her on those luscious lips, “it just blew my hangover away, like it never happened!”

“Hah! Its only aspirin and tomato juice,” she laughed, “and everybody knows about it except you my darling… but thanks for the kiss!”

Now that I could think again, traffic was at a standstill and I began looking at my watch, as well as options for this morning’s meeting with Bowie’s representatives. They would insist on finding a way to back out of the concert, as Bowie no longer had any interest in continuing the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ tour.

There was nothing wrong with his wanting to move on with his newer songs, the Diamond Dogs album was a huge success with ‘Rebel Rebel’. He really wanted to stop the touring and get back into the studio, which I understood completely. He probably had at least half a dozen new hits ready to be laid down on tape, and here he was plodding through something he had done a hundred times before. I had to come up with some reasoning that would turn his head, and make it… different… for him, and most especially, the audience this time.

Gradually the traffic cleared as well as my head, and I found myself gliding the big Chrysler into the school’s main parking lot. I asked Mel to take notes for me in our advanced accounting class, while I got ready for our meeting with the attorneys. I grabbed my book bag, kissed Mel just as hard as I could, and we split up. My 5″ heels clicking along the wet sidewalk was all I heard, until…

“Hey beautiful!” Andy called out to me, “What’s up?”

“Hi hun,” I replied quickly, “you called Nancy right? This meeting will be over before it starts if…”

“Of course!” He said, “She’s been given all the specifics, no problemo! Now… just what are you going to tell these Hollywood shysters to make ’em back down?”

“Are you kidding?” I leaned my head onto his shoulder and laughed, “I’m making this up as I go!”

Andy threw a comforting arm across my shoulders as we both shared a long laugh together knowing we would need to come up with a miracle to save this mess. Nancy was Nancy Callaghan, the teacher/adviser for the Music Club and had to be involved to sign-off on all of our negotiations at some point. As we got up to the Music Club office, I saw a pile of pink notes on my desk. Someone was busy this morning trying to get hold of me. Luckily, they were mostly FYI messages from my Mistress, letting me know they had put together a set of the best photos their production people shot during the show last Saturday at the supperclub. Also, that a courier would be arriving any minute to deliver them to me personally, so she said I better get my butt in gear and arrive soon, or he’d miss me, that sounded like Sara!

“Miss Josie?” Barb, the latest office temp we had brought on was wanting me, “There’s a messenger out here looking for you!”

I ran out to the front office to sign for the packet of promotional pictures that had been taken the night Queenie had made her first appearance, grabbed the envelope he was carrying and went back to my office to spread them out over my desk. The one of me getting out of the big back door of Sara’s limo was, without doubt, the best one.

It was 8:45am and our meeting was at 10. Somehow, between now and then, I had to come up with a strong enough concept of using the costumed characters we had toyed with last week to form a full cast to back Bowie up onstage. We would need to increase the number of players wearing Infinites’ costumes. Create the characters and further, build a costume for each one. Something along the lines of creating a costume play like Cats, all within the next 24 hours… simple!

I had Barb run out to a local drugstore to buy all the Ladies and Entertainment magazines she could find. Then, with a good pair of scissors and a glue stick, I literally cut and pasted together Bowie’s new backing cast of ‘Infinites’ characters. Starting with Queenie of course and her double, I had now added no less than 14 other fully costumed characters!

It took me longer than I’d hoped, so I had to let the meeting start without me, leaving Andy in the lurch trying to argue our points without any backing. The attorneys had been well briefed on what they needed to accomplish by the end of the meeting and were already pushing cancellation releases under Nancy’s nose, trying for a quick signature and finish, so they could get back on a jet plane to LA and forget about this crummy little college in the middle of nowhere.

Melissa and I strode in looking cool and confident. She gathered up their black and white copies of releases and handed them back to them as I handed out my colorful portfolio of what we proposed. What the attorneys never figured on was an attack from the creative side, and not from any legal angle. I knew that at least one of Bowie’s Design Coordinators would be present, they always send one to handle any questions about design changes that were needed. Well, we just turned it around and forced them to okay OUR design revisions!

You would have thought I’d just given each of them wedgies the way they howled at my ‘ignorance’ and ‘complete lack’ of negotiating ability as a ‘woman’. They didn’t have a clue that they were technically only wrong about one point! Nevertheless, their Design Coordinator took my ideas and looked at them thoughtfully, smiled at his companions (who he probably hated worse than I did) and told everyone that he would pass the concept art on to his boss and would have an answer for us in an hour or so. As our meeting broke up for lunch, as well as to allow them to decide on our ideas, I saw their Design Coordinator lean over to one of the attorneys and point to the picture of myself in the ‘Queenie’ costume. He then nodded across the table towards Mel and I. The attorney gave a double, then triple take, after which he simply stared at us with his mouth open as we walked outside.

There was no way to know if this person’s ‘boss’ would really risk asking Bowie to consider playing Ziggy one more time, with some of his ‘Infinites’ on stage with him, or not. Sara had told me that some of our interview for the local news report made it onto ABC’s global feed. Could be he’d already seen me… and either loved what he saw… or hated it. No doubt, we would be getting our answer after lunch, and that, as they say, would be that.

We all tried to keep a positive attitude throughout lunch. Nancy was especially kind, buying our lunch and telling us how impressed she was at our response to them trying to cancel such an important show at the last moment. Andy and I explained some of what we knew was driving their concert promoters, and why Bowie was looking to cancel. Then I quietly told her that Mel and I had been the ones inside the two ‘Queenie’ costumes that I had proposed for them. Nancy was one of only two college staff members aware of my sex transition, and her reaction to this was priceless.

“B-But…” Nancy stammered, “You mean… that can’t be you… I was sure that was just another picture of some magazine model you’d cut… out… OH MY!”

We all laughed for a while, and then walked back to our offices to wait for their Design folks to make up their minds. As we made it through the doorway of the Arts building, the Design Coordinator from the meeting was waiting on one of the couches just inside the doors, and jumped up to introduce himself once again.

“Excuse me, Ms. Hartman?” He asked, “I’m Phil Linder, and I was wondering if I might be able to speak with you privately somewhere, preferably somewhere that I could use a phone?”

I looked over at Mel, Andy and Nancy, and asked them to excuse me, then…

“We can use my office if you wish,” I told him, “That should be private enough.”

“Excellent,” he continued while indicating I should lead the way, “It wasn’t until just now that I was really sure it had been you in the ‘Queenie’ costume you showed to us in the pictures upstairs.”

“Is there any problem with that Mr. Linder?” I asked.

“Oh, the attorneys wanted to bully you no end!” he was laughing now, “what with using our copyrights without permission, and…”

I stopped in the middle of the hallway, heart pounding while I got ready to defend myself and the school, but then…

“Please Ms. Hartman,” he continued, “that’s not at all what I’m interested in. I’ve sent our lawyers back to the hotel to wait for me. I only want to discuss your design ideas, and if we can come to an agreement, they can re-write another contract, but that will be the extent of their purpose here… you have my word.”

“Well, why all the talk about?…” I tried asking, before he cut me off.

“I’m sorry, as I said,” he continued, “that was THEIR idea, and typical for attorneys. I have no patience for such strong-arm tactics. First, because they are wrong, we have no real ability to copyright these characters right now. No, what I would much rather do is work with you and come to an agreement that will give such characters as ‘Queenie’ a true copyright for David, instead of the ‘quasi’ status it has now.”

Hearing this I turned and continued upstairs to my office. Once we were inside, he asked to use my phone. I nodded my consent, although confused, and began to leave so that he might have privacy.

“Ms. Hartman?” he was asking plaintively, “please stay if you would…”

“Please call me Josie, Mr. Linder,” I said, “but I thought you wanted to use…”

“Thank you, call me Phil,” he continued, “I’m just going to connect you.”

Somehow, this explained everything for him as he turned back to the phone, and yet I was even more confused than before. He dialed a long series of numbers and then talked to an overseas operator. We seemed to wait forever… then everything turned very surreal.