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Being Joanna
A Being Erica (CTV Series completed 12/2011) Fanfic

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this story.. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement is intended. .

She told me that it was just after Dr Sarsh had gotten her first patient that she began having what she called the 'birth pangs' that she recieved before getting a new patient.  In this case the new patient was me. Like a mother who had carried several children to term, her pains witn me were not as severe as Sarah, her first.  That was good becasue instead of it taking days before I had hit bottom, it was minutes.

I found myself waking up in a hospital bed.  Every thing was pretty fuzzy but I knew that I must have done something desparate since my arms were strapped down.  I remembered something about running away and ending up in Toronto where I had purged every last trace of who I am.  From the way my stomach felt, I must have done the desparate thing I promised that I would never do. Before any other hospital staff came in to check on me, she walked in.  A cute brunette in a sundress like thw one I admired before what ever happened.  It seems that I had blanked out the rest.  She smiled at me and spoke in a soft voice that had an air of authority

"I'm Dr Erica and you are George Thomas Wolfe.  I'm here to help you."

"You can't help me.  I'm beyond help, being the lowest of the low. How could you know what I need?"

She came over and held my hand and whispered in my ear.

" Joanna, I know what you need and you are not beyond my help."

She placed a card in my hand which I read to myself.  Dr Erica, the only therapist that you'll ever need,  Results guaranteed.  I made a leap of faith knowing that Dr Erica was something special and that the therapy that she practiced was not ordinary.  I saw her turn to leave

"Please Wait! I feel okay.  I want to start now."

"Ordinarily, I would let you come to my office on your own after you finished here.  However, I can see that you really want to start so let's go to my office now."

She called me  Joanna!  I pictured myself in my most satisfied moment.  All dolled up as best I could without gender affirming treatment.   She took my hand and the world began to spin.  When it stopped instead of lying strapped in bed in a hospital gown, I was all dolled up the way I had imagined myself sitting in a chair in what must have been Dr Erica's office.

" Joanna, do you feel alright?"

"I feel fine, Dr Erica.  Thank you for the instant makeover.  This isn't any ordinary therapy that you do is it?  I'm glad that I'm going to be your patient, Dr Erica"

"No, this isn't any ordinary therapy.  The confidenciality goes beyond the substance of what we do here but the circumstances as well.  Is that something that you feel that you can handle?"

"Yes, I can do that!   I imagine that you already know that I can keep a secret."

"All too well. All of our lives are the sum of our decisions and those of others we accept that make choices for us. So we start with you making a list of regrets but these must only come from actions that you yourself took or failed to take in the past.  Sometimes even doing the right thing may lead to unintended consequenses if groundwork has not been laid. Any questions?'

"So it would not help to write down that I regret that I was not born female.  If I were then I would not be me.  I could write that I regret not revealing to my Mother sooner that I'm a girl inside and hope that doing so would have allowed her to realize who I really am."

"You've got the idea.  I'm going to give you some time to think about what you want to add to your list.  It's your list so you don't have to finalize it before we start but I'd like to have enough itmes on it so I can pick and choose what I feel you are ready to confront.  It should be mostly complete but you may have the chance to add to it later."

"Okay, Dr Erica. Thank you for giving me this chance.  I'll get right to it."

"Remember, think of specific incidents right now where you regret the decision you made and not generalities where you really did not have a chance to act in the way that you might have liked to do."

"Gotcha Dr Erica.  Thanks."

True to her word, Dr Erica disappeared behind one of the doors in the front of her office,  I had not had a real chance to look around but my attention was to the notebook that Dr Erica handed to me with the heading:  Joanna aka  George Thomas Wolfe. 
 
At first it was all about becoming whole as my plans formed about how I would tackle the task.  I discarded that approach as not embracing the wholeness of my life.  Sure being trans was a big part of my life woes but it was not the total answer.  Somehow I knew that just putting one regret down that I wasn't born a whole woman may fix something but I would not be the beneficiary.  Who ever came out of fixing my birth circumstances would not be me.  But bringing my life into balance by being the best me that I could be was the kind of wholeness that I could achieve in my life by maing good decisions in the future and learning from those in the past.  So I decided to go back thru my life to those decision points where my path could have been altered by my own actions.  So I started listing regrets

'To not have taken the poison and instead chosen to change my life by finding a gender therapist'

What I had hoped for in my heart was that I had not taken too much and that I would be saved, after I realized the true consequences of my decision.  Could it be that this regret was already answered by my being alive to be Dr Erica's patient?

'To have never gotten involved romantically with Thea since it was on false pretence that courting her would enable me to cure being trans as a replacement for Mags when she left me.'

'To have never gotten involved with Mags romantically since it was only on false pretense that courting her would cure me being trans.'

'To have taken the chance when I was discovered buying a dress by an unknown sibling to tell all to them instead of it being a wedge that broke us farther and farther apart.'

'To have moved out of my parents house once I had a job so that I could pursue being whole.'

'To have confessed sooner to my pharacist friend about my desire to take hormones and to pursue getting help to transition from that point.'

'To have completed college instead of skipping class and flunking out by reizing that chosing college was my means to deal with the trans issue. 

'To have only used the computer in my school work and not let it interfere with College and spcifically not get involved with Richmond and TEGAMES'

'To have chosen to go to class instead of skipping class to do research being trans. '

'To have chosen a real therapist in college instead of Suzy the Psychic'

'To have made better use of confessing being trans to my HS councelor so that I could have been helped without inerfering in my school work.'

'To not have taken the hard bible thumping line with a girl wanting to be chaplain for a club and support her knowing I was really a girl too'

'To have better explained the realness of being trans to my parents when they caught me and that not dressing as a woman would not solve anything but make me search for other outlets'

'To have talked with her instead of about her in expressing my discomfort of being the object of a jr high cheerleaders attention by saying hurtful things publiclly'

There were other things that I could write but these felt like enough to start out with to me so I closed my book and placed it on Dr Erica's side of the desk.  Then I wondered, how was I going to let her know that I was finished.  Then I giggled, a woman who was able to teleport me into her office out of a hospital bed would be sure to come back when called.

"Dr Erica, I've finished my list of regrets for now."

And Dr Erica came back thru the same door that she left.

"That was smart of you to call me Joanna. Ler's take a look at your list.  Well we can come back to the first one later.  Thank you for not stacking the deck with gender identity regrets.  That is part of what we will work on but it is not the whole story.  Even so you've left out whole aspects to your life.  Hopefully you'll trust me enough to add the rest as we go along.  I don't usually do quotes but this one seems appropriate. 

'For everything there is a beginning.' Captaain Spock in Trek II"

"Tell me about Dee Dee Tailor in Jr High and how she reacted to George,  Joanna.  You wrote: ' 'To have talked with her instead of about her in expressing my discomfort of being the object of a jr high cheerleaders attention by saying hurtful things publiclly'"

"Jr High was a decision point for me.  I always knew I was differnt but with the girls gong thru puberty and me not blossoming.  It was 7th grade biology that taught me about hormones and that made me realize that I could be a whole female.  It was also the time that boys were taking girls by the waist and walking them down the hallways.  I was a bright student and participated heavily in class.  Dee Dee picked me to try to get close to by broadcasting it to the class.  My come back was 'DDT is poison' "

"And what would you do differently if you had it to do over again?" 

"If I had it to go again, I would try to talk to her in private and find out why she was so public in expressing that she wanted to be close to me. I'd try to explain that my admiration was not romantic attraction.  She didn't seek revenge for my slight so maybe I could let her in a little and that would resolve it."

"Okay, let's find out."

The room spun and all of a sudden Dr Erica's office was gone.  In it's place was the bus pavillion of Nash Jr High which does not exist now.  I guessed it was no longer now but I wasn't ready for the next thing since I looked down to see me as a 12 year old.  I did the only thing that any reasnable person who was shifted in time by twenty something years.  I collapsed and passed out.

"You should have seen my reaction the first time I went back in time with my therapist.  I'm sorry  Joanna.  You can speak freely right now.  I'm the school nurse for today and we are alone.  I meant for you to see me as the bus attendant and get you aside to explain things but you figured it out too quickly and you passed out.  It is real.  You are back in time.  What you do now will replace what you did before and when you finish and come back to the present all memories will be of the new history you create."

"My goodness.  So I'm really back inn time and today is the day that Dee Dee surprised me."

"Yes. Joanna, I can't take an active role.  It's not permited.  So it's all you.  We can talk about your experience in my office when you finish. Do you want to see what you look like?"

"Yes! I would not have believed this if you had told me but I'm a believer now."

Dr Erika helped me doen from the exam table.  In the full length mirror on the wall, I saw a 12 year old George staring back at me.  Dr Erika smiled at me and handed me a hall pass.

"Your homeroom teacher knows what happened so you wont be counted absent or late.  This pass clears you okay to finish the day as well as gets you in homeroom.  Have a nice day, George."   

I smiled at her and hurried off to my home room.  I remembered it all and had no problem getting there.  I handed the pass to the teacher and took my seat in class.  It was clear from my classmates reaction that no word had gotten back to them of me passing out.  It was starting out just the way I remembered the day.  Even though I was vocal in class, I really had no close friends.  I wondered if that was about to change. First class after lunch was English so that's when things would be interesting.  The time leading up to it was a chance for me to get back in the flow of being a Jr High student.

It was interesting to observe the reactions that others had to silent me.  I wondered if being so smart in class made me as hard to approach as the beautiful girl.  That got me to thinking but I didn't want to change things lest I something I did would make Dee Dee put off her declaration in class. Finally Lunch was over and it was time for English. I guess I was a little too focused on my thoughts since I ran right into Dee Dee Tailor in the hall.  I scrambled to pick up her books. I stopped her with a look not of embarassment but purpose.

"Dee Dee, I really need a friend right now.  There is something I would like to share with you.  It's really private and I'd like to do it without attracting a lot of attention."

"George, I knew you were the kind of boy who could really be a friend.  I've been looking for a way to break the ice with you but you are too quiet for your own good mostly.  Why don't we go in together and ask Mrs Richards for an extra credit assignment we can do together."

"Maybe we could get a library pass and do some research on Medieval culture?  We have the Canterbury Tales and the Tempest coming up.  We could do a report to the class with some background on how people lived back then and how they are not unlike us, only the technology is different?"

"That's brilliant, George.  I know a table out of sight and hearing of the librarian.  We can get some work done and you can share what you wanted with me."

"I love it when a plan comes together!"

"A-Team? ,,, Well at least it wasn't a Trek reference.  Let me do the talking and you can join in when I start piching the medieval culture topic? Okay?"

"Okay, Lead the way Dee Dee!"

I followed Dee Dee into the class room and back to the back of class where Mrs Richards had her desk.  Dee Dee had explained our request  noting the medieval books coming up.  At the right time I chimed in about how much the class could learn by a presentation on Medieval culture.  She agreed with us, giving us both winks which led me to believe that we were now a couple.  Even though even Dee Dee would not have that idea after my news, I thought it not wise to correct my teacher. Dee Dee smiled and took the hall and library passes, Mrs Richards offered up.

I took the outline of what our teacher expected for an in class presentation of our report.  For the 2 of us this would be an easy A especially since I had been involved with the SCA in my now future life. We went to the library and excitedly stopped by the card catalog to find the dewey decimal for medieval culture.   After being surprised by the library's selection we brought a couple of the better ones to the table that Dee Dee led me to and we sat down.

"What is this that you wanted to share with me, George?"

"Dee Dee, I want to apologize for all the attention that I've directed in your direction.  You are a very stunning, beautiful and intelegent young woman.  You are a wonderful role model. On the inside from birth, I've been female forced unsuccessfully to try to live life as a boy like Renee' Richards.  I'd love to be your friend but I'm never really going to be anyone's boyfriend."

I could not help it since I said that all in one breath not stoping to breath leat I not get it all out. I lisnened with anticipation after I drew in one big gasp of air.

"Dear one, of course I'll be your friend.  I can see it in your eyes now.  Its real.  Everything you told me is real. I can see you just want to melt right now but you have an inner strength and patience. I'll keep your secret and you can keep my family's secret."

I nodded and looked into those hazel eyes of hers, I wanted to weep and hug for comfort but I had to play the male so that any casual observer would not get close enough to overhear us.

"Uh huh.  Goodness!  You are really taking this well.  Does that have anything to do with your family's secret?"

"I had what others thought of as my older brother only she really was my older sister.  I did not know for sure.  None of us even thought of the possiblity that she was a transwoman.  We found out too late when she dressed herself up one last time and then told the world goodbye.  We were too late to save her but I want you to have the chance she did not have."

"Oh Dee Dee, I am so sorry for your loss.  What can I do?"

"We are going to help you live like my sister should have been able to live.  I'm sure my Daddy will agree to help too.  Do you have a girl name?  My sister had one."

"It's Joanna."

"Well Joanna, girfriends tell secrets and I've got to tell you what I had planned for George if my girlfriend Joanna had not run into me today.  I was going to profess my love for him in front of the whole class.  I'm glad I didn't do that now.  I thought George was cute smart and safe.  If he were my boyfriend then not only would I be left alone, I could help him with his case of terminal shyness."

"I'm glad that you didn't do that to George.  He still thinks that girls have cooties.  He might have said something in the spur of the moment that would be regretted for life"

"Well initially, maybe being my boyfriend could help George with his cover.  Joanna, Sorry Sweetie but you dont make a very convincing boy.  And we will need a cover to be together now since I am going to help you.  We can talk more when you come over to my house after school to work on our project.  Call home and clear it with your Momma and my Daddy can take you home afterward. You'll be going on my bus with me after school, #11-32.  Okay?"

"Okay,  I think I have a quarter for the payphone at the Gym.  I'm sure it will be okay Dee Dee.  I guess we should do a little work now so we are not so behind on the project."

"Good Idea!  It's going to be fun doing this project with you, even though when we present it, you'll be pretending to be George."

We kept quiet event though I could not contain myself for the joy of finally having someone understand and accept me just the way I was. I was so happy and kept sneeking looks at Dee Dee.  To an outsider, I guess they would call us a couple, but I was sure I now had another girl for a best friend. 

Somehow, the extra confidence confused the bullies at Jr High and they left me alone.  School was a joy in my afternoon classes.  I made it to the Gym in between classes and used the pay phone.  Momma gave me permission to go home on Dee Dee's bus and have Mr Tailor bring me back home by 9:30 pm.  I felt the joy that I had found a friend and that she was a girl that I wanted to spend an afternoon with even for a school project.  I found Dee Dee and lined up with her when it was dismissal time and we rode her bus to her house.  On coming in the door, we had decided that we would tell her mother everything.

"Momma, This is George and we have a project for english together that we would like to work on.  Can Daddy give him a ride home? And, Oh yeah when we were talking, I found out that George is like Chelsea and her girl name is Joanna."

"Is this true, Joanna?"

"Yes ma'am.  I've always been female on the inside but my body doesn't match so I have to prentend to be George to make them happy but for me not so much.  I ran into Dee Dee, literally and we got to talking and we set up the project.  I sensed that she felt the attention I was paying her only for me it was as my role model.  She is beautiful in every way.  Me,  not being such good pretending to be a boy, still deals with girls like they have cooties.  Dee Dee said she was planning on doing something in class to make it easy for us to be a couple since that's what she senced I wanted.  After I told her the truth. She told me about her sister and that you all found out too late to help her.  I am so sorry for your loss, Mrs Tailor."

"Please call me Janet.  Dee Dee, you did the right thing bringing her home.  I want to help, you Joanna and I'm sure Dee Dee's Daddy will want to help too and he's a Doctor.  The important thing is that you have a hope and a future and people who love you.  If you need to talk, we'll be here to help.  For your part, young lady, please let us in and let us help you.  I don't every want you to feel like things are hopeless."

I was finally in private so I broke down and cried like the girl that I was.  Soon I was comforted in a group hug of girls of which I was one too.  Janet sent us upstairs to Dee Dee's room to work on our project aided by my medieval knowledge and the books we had on the subject from the library.  With the outline to work from we filled it in with topical material.  We had a plan of action and we divided it up among us on the specific things we wanted to present in our report.  We also planned to have some visual aids and wear garb for our report.  I wanted to waar a ladies gown like we were going to make for Dee Dee but I would have to settle for Medieval men's garb for appearance sake.

When Dr Tailor got home, after we sat down to a wonderful dinner, I was questioned again about my life as Joanna.
Due to the death of his Daughter, Dr Tailor had become an expert about transgirls.  He suggested a full exam for me in his home clinic which we all did together.  Then we sat down in the living room to discuss his findings.

"Joanna, basically, I've fouund that you have a normal boy's body even though we know you are a girl.  That is good since we can begin doing things to help you medically.  According to the Standards of Care Doccument for transgirls, We have to wait till you are 18 for anything permanent.  But we can give you hormone blockers so that you wont go thru male puberty which you have not started yet.  That way you'll just have to have a girl's puberty like any other girl who's had a hysterectomy.  What I will be asking of you for this is that you get regular checkups from me and also for you to attend therapy sessions I will set up for you.  So you'll have less questions, I'll become your doctor for everything else too.  Is this something that you would like?"

"Oh yes! thank you very much Dr Tailor.  I am a lucky girl to have all of you caring about me."

We joined together in a group hug.  Dr Tailor filled in the details of the plans he had to help me.  He decided that it would be safer for me to get the hormone blockers in a weekly shot.  He gave me my first that evening.  I had a sore bottom but I could not help to smile to know that I would never have to go thru puberty as a male.

I thought that maybe I was having a reaction to the shot since a wave of dizzyness wafted over me.  Of course I wasn't ready to identify what was really the problem.  When the room stopped spinning, I was no longer with the Tailor's.  I was back in Dr Erica's office.  Only I was not quite the same person I was before.

"Wow! Dr Erica what happened to me?"

"You tell me, Joanna.  What did you just with your day back at Nash Jr High.  You told me you had a regret that you called Dee Dee a nasty name when she surprised you with a public display of affection."

"I litterally ran into Dee Dee before the class and asked for her help and started a project with her so I could explain why it wasn't a good idea to do that to me in class."

"And what was the result of your discussion?"

"I outed myself as a transgirl and not only did Dee Dee get it but she and her family started helping me.  I had not known about Dee Dee's sister committing suicide.  I guess that's what I tried to do before I ended up in the hospital.  I recognize the outfit I am wearing now as the only female outfit I owned.  I was so much a coward to go against my parents that even after I was 18 I didn't get any help. I look like an ordinary woman in this even though I can tell I am still pre-op."

"What would a course of hormone blockers thru high School added to the HRT that you aquired shortly afterward eresult in?"

"A body like I have now.  What happened So that I ended up back at the same place with only the one female outfit?  How could I have forgotten how much love I was shown."

"Even though you did well thru High School with the aid of the Tailor's, eventually Dee Dee did find a worthy boy to date and you couldn't be in public the girlfriend you really were.  You grew apart going to different colleges.  She went away and you stayed home and commuted to campus.  What was the last straw for your friendship was that Even with all the help you could not stand up for yourself in the open and live as Joanna which prevented you from legal HRT and SRS.  Dee Dee could not forgive you for that fearing that you would leave her like Chelsea did.  Pushing you out of her life hurt less and you let her go since she had already done so much for you."

"And she was right.  I ended up right back here."

"Little steps, Joanna.  What do you want to do in the here and now?"

"I want to be Joanna openly.  I want to get the medical help I need to do that successfully.  I want to do something with the rest of my life.  I want to learn how to do that, Dr Erica."

"Well with that chosen, the hospital already thinks of you that way.  When they brought you in you were presenting as a woman, in those clothes, so they have you on record as 'Joanna Doe' since you had no ID. Your decision to befriend Dee Dee as a child gave you the gift of avoiding male puberty.  You are a very attractive woman, Joanna already so that should jumpstart your transiton.  The hospital will direct you to resources to help with transiton too."

"I wish I had become an outward girl and not worried Dee Dee so much when I turned 18.  Can I add to my regrets, Dr Erica."

"In this case, yes.  It was present before in your life but since there was not a big external struggle, you missed it then.  Here is your list."

I took my list from Dr Erica and added at the bottom.  'I regret that I did not become openly female at 18 and get the help I needed for a congruent life lived for real instead of hiding it in fantssy.' I realized that my relationship with Dee Dee was something that I would have to work on separately even if I became an outward girl to avoid us losing touch completely as we had done in College.

"So what comes next?"

"Your present life comes next.  If you make the same effort inn the present that you did in the past, then you'll have less regrets to deal with in the future."

"That is ..."

I felt a wave of dizzyness pass over me as the room spun.  When it stopped I was no longer dressed in the skirt suit which I saw hanging in the closet of my hospital room.  Instead of an icky hospital gown, thiss time I was dressed in a pink frilly night gown as I sat up on the bed.  It was as though no time had passed between the time that Dr Erica pulled me out to her office and her putting me back in bed as if by magic.

"...totally awesome, Dr Erica"

"I believe that this is your attending physician coming into the room now. Dr Denton."

I started to giggle at the name but when I looked up into the Dr's face it was Dee Dee.  A bit older looking very much like her Momma now, but still Dee Dee.  At the same moment, Dee Dee recognized that she had not Joanna Doe but Joanna Wolfe.  The clipboard dropped on the bed and we embraced like the 2 very dear friends that we were. 

"Joanna, Its been too long.  I'm very glad to see you even under the circumstances.  I'm not here to say, 'I Told You So!'  I'm your Doctor and I want to give you the best of care."

"Dee Dee!  I am so glad to see you too!  I want to make the most of this second chance and be the woman that I was meant to be.  I am so sorry for disappointing and worrying you so long ago."

"I'm glad to hear that, Joanna.  That will make your recovery so much easier since we will have a plan so you don't end up back here.  Who is your friend, Joanna?"

"This is my therapist, Dr Erica.  I can talk freely with her already so we have that covered."

"I'm Dr Denice Desire Tailor Denton.  Please call me Dee Dee.  I feel so embarassed being called Dr Denton mostly since the kids don't get the joke and I feel so old."

"Please call me Erica, Dee Dee.  Joanna is a special woman and I look forward to working with you to get and keep her healthy."

"What are the chances that both of us would end up in Toronto at the same time after growitg up near Atlanta Georgia?"

"I don't care about the odds, I am so glad you are here."

"Me, Too Joanna.  I'm glad that we will have plenty of time to catch up.  Now I would like for Dr Erica to fill me in on your case while I do the paperwork to identify you.  What am I going to find when I look up your ID?"

"I qualified as a immigrant Canadian citizen and I'm enrolled in National Health or what ever they call it all under my male name, George Wolfe.  Could we do a deed poll or what ever they call it here to change my name legally to Joanna."

"I believe we can take care of all that and more for you before we are done.  The hospital staff will continue to call you and treat you as Joanna by Dr's orders.  Promise me even though you are excited that you will try to get some sleep.  You need it and I would like for you to be refreshed for when I get back with the preliminaries out of the way and we can start doing some productive things to help you."

"I promise, Dee Dee.  Thank you for coming back into my life.  I look forward to our next session, Dr Erika.  I love the way we connect."

"Bye Joanna.  See you soon."

I watched as they both left together.  All of a sudden I was tired and I went into a peaceful sleep.

Chapter End Notes:

 

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this story.. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement is intended. .

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