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Being Joanna
A Being Erica Fanfic

Regret 2 NHS

Under the medical care of Dr Dee Dee (I couldn't call her Dr Denton with a straight face) and the encouragement of Dr Erica, I made steady progress toward being released from the hospital. I had obviously regained my strength so I had been transfered to the psych floor until such time as I had conviced them that I was not a danger to myself or others and also that I had some means of sustaining myself outside the hospital. I had not been back to Dr Erica's office since my trek to meet Dee Dee in the past. Instead she used space at the hospital to talk with me which is where Dr Erica and I found ourselves now.

"We need to facilitate your departure from the hospital, Joanna. Having these chats while enjoyable in real time instead of in my office is eating into my personal and mundane professional life."

"What is it that you do mundanely, Dr Erica?"

"I am managing partner of the fiction division of 50 / 50 Press. We do e publishing."

"Fiction! Dr Erica, I have several manuscripts of compelling transgender fiction that are copyrighted but not published anywhere. I checked just before my unfortunate circunstances and they still are on my Google Files account. Perhaps if we could find a way to publish them, I would have an income which would enable me to start my new life."

"I don't trust myself to evaluate your fiction since I am biased in your favor. It wouldn't help you or 50/50 for us to publish you and the material not be comercial. I'm going to send Brent Kennedy from our office to meet with you and to evaluate your work. Please give him total access to your manuscripts and I will promise to safeguard your rights. I trust Brent and you should too, after all he's married to my partner, Mrs. Julianne Kennedy. "

"Thank you Dr Erica. "

"Hi Brent, this is Erica. I'd like for you to evaluate the fiction manuscripts of Joanna Wolfe for possible publishing by 50 / 50 press. She's a transwoman and her take on life may be something that is comercial."

"She's recovering in the hospital from an unfortunate suicide attempt that she regrets and now she's committed to her new life. She's in the psych ward room 2102 phone 555-2102"

"I've been counceling her so I don't feel unbiased to evaluate her but I will be very interested to see if you feel like her work is saleable. I'll request that she starts a new work for evaluation so we can see if her style has changed after the experiance."

"Thank you, Brent. Good bye."

"Brent will be in touch with you soon for an evaluation. I'd like for you to email copies to him at [email protected]. Also I would like for you to start something new so we can see how your style has changed and email him as well. He'll not only evaluate the concepts and writing but also decide if you re writing under editorial direction would improve the manuscripts."

"Thank you so much, Dr Erica."

"If we are to have another professional relationship, you might like to go ahead with the deed poll to change your name legally. I've got my brother in law, Lenin Crosby, coming to help you out with that pro bono. He agrees with me that he'd like to help you get started with your new life. And that was even before we decided that you might be a potential client of 50 / 50 Press."

"That's wonderful Dr Erica, thank you. I've decided that I would like for my middle name to be Ruth. My Aunt said that was what my mother was going to name me if they had known I was a girl. My Mother still wont talk to me about it. So I'll be Joanna Ruth Wolfe."

There was a knock at the door right about then. Dr Erica got up to answer it as she finished talking to me.

"That's a wonderful choice, Joanna. That must be Lenin now. I'll let him in and let myself out so you two can get the paperwork done."

"Hi Lenin. This is Joanna Ruth Wolfe. Thank you for coming. I'll leave you two to go over the details of her name change."

"You are welcome Erica. Hi Joanna. I'm Lenin Let's get started"

We went thru the legal paperwork and before long I understood what was expected and we had the papers ready for filing. I was very pleased that legally that I would be not only Joanna legally but recognized as female on paperwork with Dr Dee Dee's letter. My birth certificate however was governed by Georgia law and they would not allow me to change that other than alter the name until I had Gender Affirming Surgery.

I worked on a new story like Dr Erika had requested and waited with anticipation of Brent Kennedy to come to see me. I also multi tasked on my writing breaks to find an apartment with the aid of another of Dr Erika's friends, Jenny Zalen. We were holding off committing pending my possible publishing contract. if that materialized, I would be ready. With satisfying the trifecta of being of sound mind, having a job and a place to live, I could be released from the hospital and go on with my new life.

Finally I found myself face to face with Brent in the room where Dr Erika met with me. He had evaluated the manuscripts and seemed excited by them. He asked me some questions about them and the manuscript that I had just written including where I planned to go with it to bring it to completion. At the conclusion of our meeting, he set up another one with him, Erika, Julianne and me via video conference. He told me that it was possible after that I might be offered a contract.

Cutting to the chase, I was offered a contract with enough of an advance to get me set up living in an apartment that Jenny was able to help me find. Dr Dee Dee was able to get me released when my name change went thru and I was able to sign the contract with 50/50 press .

FInally I was home in a sublet furnished apartment, buzy both finishing writing my new book but also working with Brent to revise the earlier maunuscripts to bring them up to the level we all knew I was capable of now.

Interesting enough, Dr Dee Dee was both a Gynecologist and a Endocrinologist. It did not surprise me that she carried a great many trans patients since she had such a burning desire to follow in her father's footsteps and help people like her departed sister. She became my primary care doctor.

Based on Dr Dee Dee's remembrance of all of our Joanna time in Jr High and High School, Dr Erica came to Dr Dee Dee's office with a letter giving permission for HRT. She used the time travel thing on herself to become a board certified therapist as an online student. Not only was she able to help me better but it helped in her personal life. It explained to her friends and co-workers her obvious talent for helping others in her life. I had already had medical monitoring and supply of the male hormone blockers that I had been getting on the internet before. Now I would be starting HRT for the second time in my life. This time for good. Dr Dee Dee gave me my first shot of estradiol and all was right in that corner of my world.

I wanted so much to succeed that I worked so hard on my physical transition with Dr Dee Dee and my professional growth with Brent as my editor. I saw Erika Strange, as the head of 50 / 50 Press's fiction division but not as Dr Erika except for mundane monitoring of my mental state at Dr Dee Dee's office. Even though I was taking good care of those aspects of my life which seemed the most urgent for my well being, I was beginning to see that Dr Erika was right when I had left out whole catagories of things when I listed my regrets.

My one window out of that focused world was Goblins. Brent and I would take a whole day regularly to work on editing issues at 50 50 press and when it was time for a meal or a break we went out to Goblins who rented out 50 /50's office space.
Goblins was an upscale bar, coffee house and restaurant all rolled up into one run by a lovable gay married couple, the big lovable outgoing teddy bear Ivan and his husband a compact and introspecive Dave.

Before when I had been in Goblins it had been with Brent. Ivan had made sure that we were at a quiet table and were not disturbed each time. Only this evening, we finished up early since Brent was taking Julienne out for a romantic dinner. I didn't feel like cooking, so I found a table with a view of the stage and ordered my dinner. Ivan came over and smiled at me.

"May I join you or are you expecting someone to meet you here?"

"Sure Ivan, I just realized that while I know a lot of people, they are mostly professional relationships. I guess I've been too busy to let others into my life."

"Girlfriend you just said a mouthful. I'd like to be your friend and not just the guy who makes the best mochachino in Toronto. You are the first transgirl to frequent Goblins even though Dave and I try to make it a welcoming place."

"Oh goodness, you read me? I want to take a more public accessability once the book comes out, not as an activist mind you, more like an example of how normal we mostly are. I just wanted a little time to try to learn to fit in before I have to share my life. What were my cue's?"

"Nothing you did, Joanna or failed to do. You are a perfect lady and you are lucky enough to not have any male puberty issues to overcome. It's in your eyes. Something showes when you have been rejected as dead from your family. I've seen that look on too many of my friends in the comunity at large but prticularly hits transgirls like you hard."

"Losing my family has caused a hole in my life. I picked up and ran away to try to get away from their shame for me. I left behind those who helped me early on in life since I let religious chains keep me from my true journey then and parted from them. It's only after my near suicide that I finally renewed ties with them through Dr Dee Dee."

"You'll have to make your own peace with God. The legalists, like those who would turn their back on their own child, have their own agenda. You'll want to decide if you are willing to be bound by their own chains."

"You are right, Ivan. I guess you did see me wince when I saw you kissing Dave. Just since I was raised that way is no reason to hurt a friend. I do count you as a friend. Please forgive me."

"Of course, girlfriend. You really need to find a way to forgive yourself and get loose from those chains. When you are ready, I can clue you in o the social sceen for the community here in Toronto. You really need to form some friendships with some other girls like you. Just let me know when you are ready and I'll help."

"Thanks Ivan. Know now that I'm letting loose from that particular hang up of mine here and now. I love you guyes and a girl in a glass house like needs all her friends. You are right that I need to work on the whole mess and I am going to make that a priority."

"You go girl! Loosten up and have some fun tonight!"

Ivan got back to tending to other customers and I got up to tend to things in the little girl's room. But I never got there. Instead I walked into Dr Erika's office.

"That door is a bathroom. Feel free to tend to things before we start."

"Thank you Dr. Erica. I'm glad you know the value to a woman to have access to a bathroom when she needs one."

I took care of things in there and was much more relaxed as I joined Dr Erica at her desk.

"How are you settling in to your new life, Joanna?"

"Medically and professionally I seem to be doing well. But you know that already. I seem to be letting old ideas about religion hold me back. I can't do anything be about my family rejecting me but I don't want that to hold me back from being friendly and making friends."

"Ivan is right that you ought to be around other transwomen. Since you are presently the only transwoman I have for a patient, we need to find another outlet other than group sessions for you to be around others like you."

"You are right of course but I'm not as comfortable as I would like to be in social situations."

"Tell me about the National Honor Society State chaplain election that a girl in your high school was seeking. You wrote: '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' "

"That was Beth Howard, a senior girl that I hardly knew as a sophmore. I was running in those circles a little since as a freshman, I lucked into being a student council repesentative by being the next highest vote getter when one freshman left school at mid term. At the end of my freshman year, I ran for Student Council Treasurer and used the nick name the senior jocks had for me "Georgy the Gritz Gobler". My campaign slogan was that I would not be Gobling Gritz, that I would be serving you. It worked so well that instead of being a laughing stock, I became kind of a mascot for the seniors. I defeated a rising senior girl to win election. I also was the face of the elections being the only one pictured sharing the front page with a picture of the Lt. Gov. of our state who spoke at our school. Instead of showing understanding for the girl who wanted to being Chaplain, I spouted bible verses like my Dad used to put down women instead of understanding the true meaning of what the bible was teaching."

"And if you had to do it again?"

"If I had it to do again, I would support her in spite of being questioned by my Dad and to explain to him that ai did not feel legalism was being true to the bible's teachings."

"Let's find out. Make sure you make allowances for the change that you introduced earlier."

The room started spinning but when it stopped, I was George again. A different George since I still had not gone thru male puberty with a few hints of female charactoristics that I covered up with elastic and the way I dressed. I stopped and looked on the clock in the hall way and discovered that I had about a half hour before home room. I was about to head for Nr Shefield's room when I had a nudge on my right shoulder with a feminine finger. I turned around and saw Dee Dee.

"You were so smart to get permission to go to the home rooms to collect student council dues as Treasurer, George. It makes it easier for you to sneek out to be you know who. Here's the key to the secret dressing room. Break a leg, Jo."

Dee Dee, as she put the key in my hand which I held on to tightly, looked around and then snuck me a quick hug, turned me towards the gym, patted my fanny and sent me on my way. Fortunatly on the way I took a slight detout when I saw Dr Erika in a janitorial uniform cleaning an empty classroom.

"George, you having Dee Dee as a 'sister from another mother' had changed your Jr High experiance since you as George acted the role of Dee Dee's boyfriend in public while she and her parents made some Joanna time for you in private. They actually moved into a new development in the Campbell High School district out of the Wills High District so you both could continue to go to the same school. But you couldn't be her boyfriend in High School. Besides not being believed, Dee Dee needed to be free to have a real boyfriend."

"I remember now and I know what this key goes to that she slipped me. Dee Dee had nailed down the freshman spot on the Panther's cheerleading squad when she tried out. Durring Joanna time she drilled me on another cheerleading part that I found out when I was able to do it in costume was for the departing secret mascot's replacement. Her parents rented a profesional type Pink Panther costume for me to do the tryouts in and I won the part as secret mascot. This key is to the dressing room where the costume is stored where I'll change and then join the cheerleading squad for the pep rally for first period."

"You get to hang out with Dee Dee as part of the cheerleading squad. You did it all last year as a freshman and now you are back this fall as a sophmore to do it again."

"Thanks for the heads up! I gotto go find my head and the rest of me."

I giggled and moved on to my destination which I already knew about except the first time around, I had no clue that particular door would be so significant to me now. I arrived at the secret room, let myself in and got changed and then bounced out as the Campbell Panthers Mascot into the hall way where the rest of the squad waited including Dee Dee.

It was really fun to cheer for the team and perform for the students. All too soon the pep rally was over. The cheerleaders covered for me as I disapeared back into the secret room to get changed into ordinary George. In keeping with the status that the Senior Jocks had confirmed on me as a sort of mascot, I was accepted into the cheerleader's clique as if protecting me from the Jock's teasing. It was one cover upon another so that no one would suspect the geeky guy that hung with the cheerleaders was actually on the squad.

The rest of the school day went kind of normal for the role I had now. I was a protected person since the jocks had made it known that I was under their protection and only they had the right to tease me. I also stood out since I was the improbable Student Council Treasurer. My surprise was when I was motioned over to a table of senior girls by none other than Beth Howard and indicated that I should sit by her.

"Hi George. Thanks for sitting with us so I could talk to you. I know that your Father is a big stickler for a strict interpretation of what the bible says. I'm going to run into people like him running for Georgia NHS Chaplain. Dee Dee says that you are the smartest and most compationate person that she knows. Do you have any clues on how I could talk to them since you have witnessed what they are capable of from close up."

"At first look what they say makes a lot of sence to someone who's head has been filled with that. Being so hung up on things not to do, they have earned the label, as legalists."

"So they are the kind of people who feel better about themselves by pushing another person down. They have a lip service to the grace of God but they feel better about what they do and don't do concerning themselves."

"They don't realize that by judging others, they reveal what kind of person that they are in reality. 'Judge not that you be not judged'"

"So what about the verses from Paul's epistles that they use to put women down?"

"Remember that when interpreting the scripture, it's more than just the literal words. You also have to consider the context of the writing as well as the times that they were written. Remember in the early church, women were not allowed to participate at all or even be present when the believers gathered to worship. While Paul's rules seem very restrictive to women takeing part in worship and leading, these were radical steps designed to give women their first voice in the church. He realized that in going from no participation or presence in worship to becoming a part of worship, things needed to be done in steps so that the people could adjust to what was right. By the same token someone reading those scriptures today should interpret them that we should be eaqually radical in integrating women into worship as Paul directed to the early church in his time."

"That's a very refreshing insight from a man, George. Have you talked to your Father about the way you feel about this?"

"No, but I intend to do so. I hope that I can do it in a manner where it's less likely that he'll interpret it as directed as disrespect towards him instead of a different religious view."

"Good luck with that, George. I see that you don't have all the answers either but you are very knowledgable about the bible. I hope he listens and doesn't shut you down."

I spent an enjoyable lunch with Beth and her senior friends. Actually Beth's conversation with me was overheard by the others at the table since we made no attempt to make it secret. It started an interesting conversation among the girls about not only how women were treated in the church but also in society at large. I learned that male privalege was something very real by the experiances of the girls being slighted as compared to their brothers and other male aquantances. By the time that they were thru, I could see how being looked on by the senior jocks as I had, that even I had some aspects of male privalege withdrawn from me.

The next topic of discussion was this year's chearleading squad after the new members had been integrated into the mix. We spent the rest of the lunch period praising the new mascot that with only one year on the squad, was surpassing in dance the one before.

I guessed that no matter how good that I was in following the routines that there would be variances from what the last person in the suit did. It made me feel good to know that my skill was appreciated. I hoped my poker face was good enoough to let them see that joy on my face since it would be difficult to explain away.

The rest of the school day proceeded normally. I had Dee Dee in all of my afternoon classes and we got to talk before and after class in the cheerleader clique where I orbited at the edge. I was close enough to chime in but far enough away for my supposed status as protected.

Finally I got to go to the National Honor Society meeting after school. I could freely participate in activities since I was close enough to walk home. Most of the time my parents didn't know exactly what club I was in but that
I was staying after school for a club. That's how I was able to participate in cheerleader practice without letting them know exactly what I was doing. I took my place as part of the general membership. I was an officer in a lot of clubs but not this one. When the time in the meeting came up for new buisness, we were told of Beth's desire to run for state chaplain. In order to do so, it required a motion by the club to place her in nomination at the state meeting. Beth's friend Jill made the motion and I raised my hand and was called on to second the nomination. I was so pleased that our club was sending Beth as our nominee for State Chaplain. This time I had taken a stand that I could be proud of taking. I expected that soon I would be asked to account for my actions by my father. I felt like I could express what I needed to say. Once I had done that, I could leave behind the nonsence like my reaction to Ivan and Dave.

The next evening passed quietly enough. As active as the rumor mill was, I did not expect it to catch up with me that night and I was right. However, in my first period class, something happened that rocked my world. In front of the whole class, before he started on history, our teacher and head football Coach Sturdivant, asked me to be the team statistion. I would attend practices and all games in the press box taking stats for the team. I accepted of course. I could not decline since that would have revealed me as the Team Mascot. Dee Dee was in the class and heard the whole thing. After class we found a safe place to talk about it.

"Oh Jo! I am so sorry. Somehow I feel this is better for you in the long run. This way you can retire as mascot without anyone knowing. You'll still be part of the clique as a part of the football team. You can still cheer us when we score after you record the details."

"Well it will make things less complicated."

I had forgotten it but the Coach asked me in just the same way the first time around. Of course then there was no conflict since I wasn't part of the cheerleader squad.

"I'll get the costume laundred and break things to the rest of the squad. We'll need to recruit and train a new mascot as soon as we can. In the meantime we can do without like we have done in the past. Later on the squad will get together with you to give you the proper send off that each mascot has gotten."

"Thanks for looking after me Dee Dee and seeing to this."

At home I had to break it to my Father about joining the football team as Statistician. It was a pleasent chat and he was truly happy for me. I think that the good news took the edge off him questioning me over him hearing that I nominated a female for NHS Chaplain. I was able to voice my concerns in a manner consistant with him not feeling that I was disrespecting him. While he wasn't too pleased to hear my view differed from his, instead of dismissing it out of hand and sticking to the party line, he told me that he would study it. I hoped that study would help him be a little less judgmental in his dealings with others and especially me.

Not as surprising, I ended up spinning in my head and winding back in Dr Erika's office.

"Are you satisfied with what happened, Joanna?"

"Yes, Dr Erica. I know that just taking one stand for grace and understanding was not enough to solve things. I have begun both here and then looking at things in different ways. I feel that Kirk's son David might have been addressing me in Star Trek II instead of Kirk: 'They are good words, that's what ideas are made of. You should listen to them.' I have listened and I plan on continuing to listen to them and allow myself to change."

"But that is only half of why you are here, Joanna."

"Another regret?"

"You had so many friends in High School even being the geek and even more so being a 'Peter Pan'. What you have been doing is important, Joanna but your new life won't be complete without letting in more than the professionals who want to help you but ordinary people. People have so much to share with you if you'll only let them in."

"I guess that if I want to be open as a Transwomen, I should be comfortable enough to associate with them. And they do have things to share with me since I haven't been openly a woman for long no matter how I look."

"You have my blessing to go meet the people that Ivan knows. And to loosten up and let other people into your life as well. Don't judge everyone's reaction by your parents. You are a good person and they are the exceptions."

"Thanks Dr Erika. Guess my bathroom break is over, huh?"

"See ya, Joanna"

I walked back thru the door I originally had stepped thru to enter Dr Erika's office. I came back and found Ivan and smiled at him.

"Ivan, I place myself in your hands."

"It's about time, Girlfriend. know Dave and I feel you are family and we see how you love both of us individually and together. You've got to let the mundanes in but also give room for family so you can have a family of choice."

"You are right, Ivan. I've been so into my own issues that I haven't given a chance to let anyone that I don't already know in."

"For tonight what I would like for you to do is to eat, drink and get tp knpw some nf the best people in the world who also frequent Goblins. And I want you to try at least on song since we are doing Karioke tonght. Don't worry about getting home tonight since I'll be your designated driver."

"Thank you Ivan for caring so much for me."

"You are so welcome, Girlfriend."

I did as directed and had a wonderful time. I didn't get plastered but I had a nice buzz going that helped me to relax. I met a whole lot of wonderful people. A young soulful singer named Kai sang something otherworldly that touched my soul which seemed very much before it's time. At one point Dave, Ivan and I planed out a day to introduce me to the community including me finishing up at an open Transgender Support group, that I was looking forward to joining.

Finally my number came up and as I looked out in the croud I saw Dr Erika and her Dr hubby. I sang for all I was worth, Ariel's theme from Disney's Little Mermaid, "Part of your world." I must have done well since the emotion that I sang with was witnesed on many of their faces including Dr Erica. The applause at the end was intoxicating. I wish I could say that I found a special gentleman but I wasn't ready for that. The result was better as I was welcomed to a table of women when they found I was sitting alone. I made several new friends that night but no better than the girlfriends who accepted me as one of them.

I was glad that I listened to Ivan but even more that I got a 2 for 1 regret handled both of Ivan and Dave and also of Beth of the NHS. And to top it off, I could have a good time with new friends. Who knew?
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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