Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Andi/Andy : Freshman Year Down, Summer Starting

So I just realized that there's nobody who might come in and look over my shoulder as I post something here, two weeks after getting home, and I guess this means that I'm just used to this?  That I'm going to be Andy for life and maybe going back would be harder than staying this way.

The funny thing is, Andy probably could have updated the blog with his/her adventures as a freshman girl all year without it being a big deal; his roommate was a cool lesbian who is really into writing slash fanfic for some detective series and even if she didn't believe "Andrea" used to be "Andrew" before visiting a magical inn, she would absolutely have been into someone writing about their life as if they were really someone else dropped into it.  Me, I got a jock who gave me a hard time every time I said I'd been to the museum or streamed a movie that was not built on explosions.  So much more testosterone in the room than I wanted!

The whole floor was guys, which was some crazy immersion therapy, even after having been Andy for the previous couple years, because we could always come home and have each other and our parents know who we really were, or really had been after Andy unilaterally decided he wasn't going to saddle me with his long covid by switching back.  Now it was 24/7, and it was kind of either be Andy or go nuts.  Not that most of the guys on the floor were like my roommate, or I was at some boys' boarding school where you could go weeks without seeing anyone else or anything like that, but when you're surrounded by guys during your just kicking back/studying hours, it starts to mess with what you think is normal for at least that part of your life, it can kind of bleed over into the rest.  I wasn't quite a complete idiot in less than two weeks, but I did kind of notice the way I was talking about girls with other guys after a while.  Not disrespectful, I hoped, but much more "them" than "us".

Plus, I spent less time with folks who knew me.  I thought I'd see Mack occasionally, but the day in September when she came down for the Janelle Monae concert was kind of uncomfortable.  She looked more grown-up than she had before - she'd gotten her hair curled, put on some makeup, and padded her bra a bit - but even though I'm just a year and a half older than she is, officially, folks looked at the college freshman hanging around with the high school junior kind of weird.  Not much, but she pointed out that I'd just get to know more people who would wonder what our deal was if she kept coming down for stuff.

Cindi and I thought we'd be seeing more of each other, too - she's going to school in New York, and that didn't seem quite so far, but apparently it is in the Northeast, especially since we left our cars back home.  Even with regular buses and trains between the cities, you're still maybe looking at leaving later than you would and coming back earlier, her roommate was not going to let me crash in her dorm room (and that's reasonable! I wouldn't want her trying to sleep around my roommate!), plus you often can't just go straight there, but there's stops in Providence or Hartford or New Haven or whatever.  It's a huge hassle, but whenever one of us implied it was a huge hassle, the other felt slighted, we found we had less to talk about at Thanksgiving, and...  Well, not sure exactly when we broke up, but we did.  Not like Andy and Len - we're still following each other on Instagram and stuff - but it got weird for a while.  She's blossoming, but I kind of had a bit of a "I shouldn't even be dating anyway, because it's all a lie" funk.  I haven't seen her since coming home.  I hope it's not too weird.

What is weird is how much Andy has committed to my life/his life/her life.  I was still mad at her when I went off to Boston, and Thanksgiving was kind of weird, but by Christmas I'd sort of settled into the whole guy's dorm thing, and started talking about changing my major and looking at other parts of the class catalog.  It still kind of felt like giving up, but Andy's recovery has been kind of slow, and I kind of think about the number of hills I walk around campus or the time I spend on public transportation and I'm not sure I'd swap good lungs for ovaries.

Spring semester was more fun, though - I knew the city and campus better, the classes were more interesting, and making Andy's life my own has made things a little smoother.  I do, occasionally, wonder if this electrical engineering major would have been more difficult as myself.  I haven't been a jerk, I hope, but Andy and I have been noticing the way teachers and classmates have been treating us a bit differently for the past few years, and while this isn't entirely easy mode, I do sometimes wonder if I'd be on track to getting frustrated as myself and even wind up reverting to some more traditionally-feminine major.

(Looks at all those "myself"s and sighs)

I'm going to have a real hard time with the whole "I'm a guy going forward" thing, aren't I?  I've kind of got to, because Andy is doing more to embrace his - her! - feminine side.  It's getting warm, and I can't miss that she's shaving her legs more, letting her hair grow out, and hasn't made any comments about clothes or makeup or anything being weird since I got back for the summer, aside from wearing wedges most of the time and saying she misses being taller.  Heck, she wears actual heels at work.

(But more about that later!)

-Still kind of Andi-with-an-i in my heart.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Jonah/Krystle: Well, I've got news

Sorry I haven't been posting much.  It's the usual deal:  I've been just being a regular single mom for the past few months, and this is kind of a blog about people finding themselves in new lives, and that hasn't been me in a while.  I've been pretty confident, doing okay as Krystle, to the point where it kind of seems right.  I kind of think I remember more of my life like this than being Jonah, and wonder if I should stop using that name even here.  This is me.

Or, you know, until last weekend.

Gabriel was in town.  He shows up for a long weekend every couple months, and the nature of it sort of changes depending what our lives are like.  Sometimes he comes with a friend, often that friend comes with a girlfriend, sometimes we hit the sights and restaurants, one time it was mostly a Pelicans-Knicks game, sometimes we spend a lot of time in bed, sometimes it's just two pals hanging out.  When anyone asks, I say it's a great friends with benefits relationship, and a lot of my girlfriends say they couldn't do it.  I sometimes wonder about that, because sometimes I think about how uptight I was about sex even as a horny teenage boy and also wonder if having been a guy just lets me just be buddies more easily.

I haven't really been keeping track of which weekends are like what or anything, but this past one was just us.  Well, not just us - Moira is playing tee ball and had a game Saturday morning and they we did a trip to the zoo - but the nights were ours, and the plan was to spend them at his hotel while Moira slept over at a friend's.  And that's how it went; we went to one of the zillion nice restaurants in town and had some time to kill before the jazz show he'd purchased tickets to, so we started walking along the beach.  I had taken my heels off and was enjoying walking barefoot, and had just pulled out my bag to put a wrap on, because I've kind of acclimated to what people here call "chilly" even though I spent most of my life in New England, but as I was saying that, he coughed and I was about to turn around and ask what his excuse was.

And then he got down on one knee.

I don't remember exactly what he said - it wasn't any sort of "never met a girl like me" thing, but that he'd never been drawn to someone so much, even when we weren't nearby, and that I always seemed to know how things should be even when he was drifting or I said that I felt overwhelmed, and he'd been kind of afraid to move forward because I was so independent, but, well, we hadn't seemed to just be friends for months, and it was time to make it official.  Would I marry him?

My legs went weak.  Like, weaker than when I woke up as a grown up woman after going to bed a teenage boy, weaker than when I slept with the creep wearing my old face because it seemed like the only thing I could offer him to become myself again, weaker than when I found out I was pregnant, weaker than after I'd just given birth.  Why?  I mean, why?  My life had changed so much in a moment before, and this wasn't close to the same category, was it?  But then, when had it really changed in a way that made things feel more solid?  Like, all of that was ways in which I was going to have to adapt in a way where I would have to rely on myself more despite not having any idea of what I was doing, and this was being told I was good at my life and made someone else's better and I wasn't prepared to hear that.

All that went through my head in a second, and I said yes.  He took the ring out of the box that, quite frankly, I hadn't paid any attention to, we kissed, and some of the other folks on the beach applauded.  

The rest of the night was kind of a daze - there was music, there was sex - and then the next morning he checked out of the hotel and we went to pick up Moira, together, because his flight wasn't for hours.  On the way, we talked about just what we do at this point, because while Moira really likes Gabe, she's a kid, and would this be too big for her to take in?  Like, what if she said she didn't want Gabe to be her daddy, or even to be around all the time?

That didn't happen, thank God.  I sort of turned the ring around, kind of hiding the diamond so that it didn't become a whole topic of conversation with the other adults until we got back to our place, and then tried to explain to her like she was a big girl that Gabe and I had decided that we should all be one family, and we really hoped that she liked the idea.  She had a lot of questions - was Gabe going to be around all the time now?  Where would he sleep and put his things?  When were we getting married?

We'd talked about some of them - Gabe could work remotely from anywhere, so we would probably look for a house over the next few weeks and he would move in when we found one, although that might take some time.  We'd probably get married next summer, which seemed like a ridiculously long time to her, but I pointed out that we had to make sure we could find a date that worked for Momma K and maybe her daddy Jonah and definitely Grammy and Grampa Glass, and Big Moira and Auntie Karla and maybe even my friend Jordan, and that meant planning a long time in advance.  But what if we changed our minds before then, and I told her that a man doesn't buy this kind of expensive ring unless he was really sure we wouldn't change our minds.

She said it was pretty, especially since Mommy almost never wore jewelry besides earrings.  I said it really was, although to myself, I was kind of thinking it was heavy, this weird and unfamiliar weight on my hand.  Not, like, in a way that meant more than that, I don't think - not like my breasts did when I first turned into a girl! - but I do feel it and my brain is doing its level best to treat it as a reminder that Gabe loves me that much.  Although sometimes I kind of freak out when I bang it into something.

It's really new, and while the reactions have been mostly good.  I almost think that this might be the thing that gets Mom to be okay with all this, even more than Moira, like I'd passed some sort of girl test.  Jordan kind of can't believe it.  When I sent Moira's namesake a photo she called me up immediately to screech into the phone.  Klara and Momma Kamen are really proud of me, which is weird.

Krystle/Mackenzie...  That's complicated.  She barely remembers Gabe from when they were kids, but kind of wishes I had found someone who had never met her at all.  She's never going to forgive me, I know, but we're a little more cordial these days (I think finally being old enough to date without it being too weird and starting to look at colleges has her treating my life less as what she should be rather than what she could have been).  She's not going to say "good job", but she's not automatically going to "why are you fucking my life up so much" anymore.  Gabe seems like a good guy to her.  Probably the best I can hope for from that end.

So all that happens, and I kind of feel like my feet are just now touching the ground again.  And while I don't exactly have a lot of fantasies about a fancy wedding that have been in my head since childhood, Penny tells me that I should prepare for the next year to be insane anyway!


Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Jonah/Krystle: Regular Life

Things have gotten more normal in the neighborhood since things got weird with Leroy at a wedding.  Not necessarily more enjoyable - the long and short of it is that I like hanging around with Leroy a lot more than Larry, and might have enjoyed dating him, but he's not going to break up with his brother, is he?  I suppose it's possible, considering both the relationship I have with Karla and the one original-Krystle did, but I don't suppose it's really that common.

We still see him around, of course; heck, he was very excited about Moira's Moon Girl costume when she came around trick-or-treating a week ago.  I kind of wrapped the cape for my storm around my torso when I got to his place, not to be taunting, although I have to admit, it's getting kind of hard to remember if I would have been weird about a girl I liked walking around all sexy if things had gone wrong back when I was a guy.  I've been Krystle long enough that I don't have as many "yeah, I get that" moments as I used to.

Though I'm not really a girl any more, am I?  It was crazy enough with the move and everything last year that I didn't wind up doing much to celebrate the big 3-0 that the 1992 birth year on my driver's license would imply, which is fine, considering I haven't actually lived that many years, but I am on the other side of thirty now, as far as the world knows.  Working at the gym keeps me in good shape, but not like the Tulane students who come in and just look like they could all be Lululemon models or something in their yoga pants.  I'm kind of cool with it, although I am starting to get more inquiries from Momma Kamen as to whether there's anyone I might like to settle down with, because I'm not getting any younger (then again, I'll worry when I start hearing that from my mother).

Still, I feel pretty good about how I am, good enough that I wasn't looking to cover up when I made my Halloween costume.  And, yes, I made it.  It's not that fancy - I pretty much started with a one-piece swimsuit and put some gold trim on it and a pair of thigh-high boots that were on their last legs anyway (basically spray painted then glued together for the night and ready to fall apart right after), with the cape not much trickier, and the white wig can from a thrift shop.  But I had a bit of a laugh at myself sitting at a sewing machine making costumes - just so macho, right?  Well, wait until you've got an active little girl who regularly rips out seams or destroys the knees on her pants to the point where they are basically salvaged by making them into shorts; you'll learn to sew no matter what you thought about taking home ec back in high school!

But you know what - I really felt good about it!  This was probably the most fun I've ever had on Halloween; Moira is kind of the perfect age to really enjoy dressing up and knocking on the door of a bunch of neighbors that she knows without being ready to crash by the end, they had a little party at school, and she had knows all of her character's moves and poses and stuff, so she could be a little ham.  I know a lot of the other local moms & dads, so there was something to talk about.  And, believe it or not, it's kind of a totally different experience putting on a sexy outfit that you've made than one that you bought off the rack and which doesn't quite fit or seems like how someone else wants you to look.  You're more actively choosing to push your cleavage up and out or something.  Maybe.  I don't know how all that stuff works beyond feeling like I was under a lot less pressure than dressing up usually has me feeling.

(Although it's not lost on me that I might not feel quite the same way if I were still in Cambridge rather than New Orleans)

So, anyway, did Halloween, then the next day Moira went to school and I went to work and things were normal again, and it's kind of a pretty good normal.


Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Lucas/Cora: Kids These Days (one of these days being Halloween)

Happy (Belated) Halloween from a girls' boarding school, which is certainly not a place where I should feel nervous during spooky season after I've already learned that seemingly placid places in New England have uncanny power!

Before I get into the expected/sort-of-sexy "wow, Halloween costumes and parties are crazy when you're suddenly a teenage girl" stuff, I just want to say that I am kind of finding myself with a new appreciation of what life is like for teenagers these days?  I've probably been as guilty as any man in his forties about saying that kids today have it easier than we did - and they do in certain ways - but I kind of feel like the subjects are a little more advanced than the last time I was a teenager, the expectations for extracurricular things are higher (and not just because we're at a fancy boarding school), with more homework, and the phone never freaking stops vibrating.  I feel like I had maybe a dozen friends in high school, but everybody in the cheer squad wants to be Cora's bestie, there are people talking to me in every class, and I've got no idea how many of the people I'm supposed to interact with online are close and how many could probably be safely ignored.  It's something like a hundred people!

It's made it hard to sit down and document all this, especially when you're already documenting the surface part of your life on Cora's social media.  And Halloween was something else again, as Marilyn got us together one night in early October asking what our Halloween plans were.  It seemed pretty early, but she and L.J. kind of laughed, saying that girls like us didn't just have one costume, and put a lot of effort into it:  We'd need one which was school-appropriate for the actual Halloween, one that was more playful for the in-dorm party the Friday before, and one that was pushing some boundaries for the off-campus one she'd accepted an invitation to on Juliana's behalf and that Cora and Leda were expecting me and L.J. to turn up at.

I was going to be Barbie at the last one, because a teenager with Cora's face, blonde hair, and figure couldn't not be Barbie at some point this year.  L.J. suggested some anime character that Marilyn could do as Juliana without it being weird, her being half-Asian and all, and said he'd borrow one of my cheerleader outfits for that.  A little easy for him, but I'm not going to suggest my 15-year-old son try and pull off some college girl's outfit.  We did Star Wars for the dorm party - Marilyn as a Twi'lek, L.J. as Rey, be with the original Star Wars Leia buns - and then on Halloween itself we attended classes in a Star Trek uniform (Marilyn), a sailor outfit with loose-fitting pants (me), and some simple kitten ears and whiskers for L.J.

I can't speak for the others, but it was very strange for me, especially the off-campus party where Marilyn put me in heels and did so much work on my hair and makeup.  I got hit on a lot, and I'm sure that a lot of them were probably college kids who shouldn't be hitting on teenagers.  It wasn't nearly as flattering as I presumed it would be, and it didn't seem very comfortable for L.J. either.  We left pretty early, though Marilyn stayed another couple hours, kind of amused when I suggested it was dangerous, saying that the boys were twenty years behind her.

Actual Halloween was more relaxed, although, as Marilyn looked at herself in her blue Starfleet uniform, she said she wondered if Juliana would mind if she kept it after we went to the Inn next year.  They're not far off in height, after all, and the girls' parents didn't seem to blink at the expense of some of these kind of fancy costumes showing up on their credit cards.  It's kind of nice to have these girls' money, even if we're not exactly in a position to take advantage of it at the school

So that was a weird situation.  Now to finish an essay between cheerleading practice and bed.


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

L.J. Porter/Leda Holbrook: Parents

So, I guess you've met Mom & Dad, or Juliana & Cora as I guess I've got to call them.  Things are going about as well as can be expected, I suppose, although that's not exactly great.

Don't take that the wrong way - for as much as this has got to be as weird for them as it is for me, they've put me first at every chance over the past couple of weeks, from making sure I knew what to do with a bra to where to wipe, and doing their level best to get me up to speed after skipping a grade.  "Juliana", especially, is always ready to jump in when I look like I may flounder talking to Leda's friends at the lunch table or something.  I appreciate it.

But, well, like Dad mentioned, things weren't great before all this, to the extent that maybe I should have known it was falling apart.  Sometimes, when I get back to our suite or they think they're alone in the bathroom or something, I'll hear them snapping at each other more, like Dad thinks Mom is trying to make him look foolish or only helping him half as much as me, and apparently the trip to Old Orchard or getting rooms at the Trading Post was the other person's idea.

And on top of that, Lena's got her own parents, and they apparently were worried sick about her being stuck in Maine, supposedly sick with Covid, and only texting rather than answering the phone.  The first time I picked up, they scolded me and asked a million questions, and it was really weird talking to these two people I really didn't know for like forty-five minutes, trying to remember what details would throw them off.  They've actually called every night this past week, and while I kind of appreciate that, too, it's also sort of intense?  Like, they're trying to be nice, and I'm scared that I'll say something that makes them even more worried.  Which maybe they should be, but according to everyone who's ever been at the Inn, they'll never believe why.  For instance, when Krystal/Mackenzie told me about how her own mother didn't believe her, even though it would explain a lot...?

Fortunately, the real Leda seems pretty cool; we text a lot, although she doesn't always respond right away and is kind of quiet about what sort of situation she's landed in.  She's doing her best to at least help be with running, to the extent that she can via text from wherever.  I need it - for all that cross-country looks like it's just running, and making sure you stretch beforehand, you've kind of got to know the road and have a plan for when you're going to give yourself a little more time for deep breaths and the like.  I did badly enough on my first practice day that the coach took me aside to tell me to let her know if there was any long-covid related shortness of breath or stuff like that, but also warning me that I could lose "my" scholarship if I can't run, so, no pressure.

The guy living my life seems okay.  He mentioned that he was going to have to break up with my girlfriend, which is a bummer, but he's like 40 and apparently not a creep, so what can you say?  We weren't actually doing anything, really, but it would still be gross.

Well, just thought I'd check in the way Mom & Dad have.  Now I've got homework - is it still homework at a boarding school? - and kind of glad to have stuff to fill me time.


Monday, September 04, 2023

Lucas Porter/Cora Devers: Schoolgirl Stuff

So I see Marilyn is returning to her maiden name well before we can use our first names.  That's obviously the smallest change our family is undergoing, but it might be telling somehow.

I shouldn't be bitter, I suppose, but I can't help but notice the irony that we'd made the decision to separate just as I was going to need her help more than ever, because, as Marilyn mentioned, the whole family has become teenage girls, and though it's not a competition, I've maybe got the worst of it.  What Marilyn sort of skipped over is that she and I have clearly become the popular girls.  I had to turn Instagram notifications off because Cora's phone hasn't stopped buzzing since I started charging it a couple weeks ago, and she's asked me to try to keep it up because she envisions riding social media popularity to stardom or something like that once this is her life again.  Her account is actually milder than I feared - it's not bikinis and underwear or anything, but a lot of short-shorts and crop tops to emphasize that I've got a heck of a figure for someone turning seventeen just before Christmas.  And she clearly knew it; when I tried on one of her uniforms, I thought she must have had a growth spurt over the summer, but Marilyn says it doesn't really work that way for girls and showed me how much it had been hemmed up.  Cora, apparently, is that sort of girl.

And, yes, it's not just lots of social media photographs and short skirts - her phone is full of texts, that she's been busily fielding until I let her know that we were around, and it's a lot.  She keeps track of dozens of friends, is apparently a central part of the cheerleader group chat (eek!), and there are a lot from boys.  Some of them are safely in Malibu or that general area, but a disturbing number are in Burlington or that general area - some in high school, but more than a few at the University, and while real-Cora says I don't have to do anything I don't want and that honestly, me getting touchy with anyone sounded kind of gross to her, I'm not that big.

(Oh, and Marilyn didn't mention it, but Juliana is apparently also that sort of girl, and Marilyn has spent some time trying on her outfits and such, and apparently Cora and Juliana share clothes all the time because her new boobs are just as big and perky as mine, although she's got a bit more of a butt than I do.)

So, that's a lot, and obviously L.J. is going through it too.  He's not dealing with quite the exploding phone we are - Leda, apparently, is at this place on scholarship, which is going to be a lot of work for him - he's a year behind the girls and wasn't taking a lot of the top-level courses Leda was, and that's before you get to the cross-country team.  I suppose that there are worse sports for him to have to try and fake - imagine how exposed he'd be trying to play field hockey - but we're mostly concerned with trying to work our way through the summer reading list in a just a couple of days right now.


Sunday, September 03, 2023

Marilyn Vance/Juliana Nakamura: Family?

Where to begin?  I suppose with the obvious - a week and a half ago, I was your average white suburban mom, complete with all the tension behind the placid exterior; now I'm a teenager again, and from what I'm told and can see with my own eyes, a Japanese-American father and a Latina mother, crossing my fingers that my high school Spanish from almost twenty years ago will be enough for me to fake it.  My husband and son are in a similar boat, although I'm sure that they feel having a different gender is a bigger deal than a different ethnicity.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know the gist of it, although I suppose it's worth going back a bit to understand what I'm dealing with here, although I'll try to get right to the point:  My marriage to Lucas was basically over before all this, and it was kind of a relief.  The end was better than the long decay leading up to it; instead of worrying about not being enough or resenting how success for one of us always seemed to lead to sacrifice for the other, and then worrying about how all of this was affecting L.J., deciding to divorce let us be practical and start to plot a way forward.  We've even been closer to friendly since we started hashing things out.

There was a kid in the middle of this, one who is probably reading this as I've encouraged him to read the blog and maybe contact some of the other authors who have been through what he's dealing with now, and while we obviously couldn't have expected this, we knew that the split was going to throw his life for a loop.  So, maybe underestimating him a bit - L.J. is 15 and feels everything so strongly! - we planned one last family trip.  We used to visit the coast of Maine every summer along with cousins, but that changed when Lucas's job took us from Prince Edward Island to Vancouver six years ago, and we were looking to recapture that before telling him everything just before we flew home.  But the place we booked was the Trading Post Inn, there was leftover luggage in our closets, and...

Well, you probably know the drill.  I'd been doing a morning run for the previous week, so I had my phone's alarm set, and when it went off I sat up quickly, feeling surprisingly refreshed and alert.  At first, I presumed I was just having a good morning, and didn't notice anything particularly amiss as a silenced my alarm, looked over to verify that Lucas was still a stationary blob under his covers in the other bed, and walked to the bathroom.  My skin was a little darker, but I'd picked up some color over the past week, and I didn't notice that I had much longer hair, jet-black at that, until I pulled off the headband I sleep in.  By then, I had turned the light on and was taken aback by what I saw in the mirror.

I didn't scream - at first, I thought that this was a dream where I had to live out some sort of weird fantasy of Lucas's, but when I stomped over to his bed and ripped the covers off to show dream-Lucas that I wasn't putting up with this...  Well, I'll let him describe himself and how he reacted; same with L.J.  Our son figured out about the luggage in his closet first, and that's how I've learned about Juliana Nakamura.

She, Cora, and Leda are classmates at the Burlington Academy for Girls in Vermont, and had come to Old Orchard without their parents to attend a music festival before returning to school.  I won't "doxx" Juliana and her friends, but suffice it to say that they have seemed to handle their change as well as can be expected, faking a story about testing positive for Covid before flying home, editing the photos they hadn't uploaded to social media because they were just boring pictures of them in their hotel rooms and sharing them in support of this story, and somehow rigging things up so that they could text home from their computers until we arrived.  Their parents have obligingly changed their flights so that we would go straight from Portland to Burlington where they are apparently best friends and suite-mates, rather than returning "home".  We didn't do anything so advanced for the people taking over our lives, although we did send emails to our employers and school district about our own positive Covid tests.

We arrived yesterday, and we're still trying to sort out living arrangements - Cora apparently had the single room while Juliana and Leda shared the other, but we're kind of not sure whether I should let Lucas and L.J. bunk together, or if he'd be more comfortable in his own room rather than sharing with his parents, or if he'd rather have me with him in case he needs to handle female problems on short notice.  We haven't mixed a whole lot with the other students who have already arrived yet - I get the impression that this group can be a little clique-y - but I'm already worried about L.J. a bit.  The last week or so has been a lot for him to take in, from proper hygiene to just rolling up stockings like you've been doing it for years.  He doesn't want to put makeup on, but his bare face does not look like what Leda puts up on Instagram, and his idea that he wouldn't need it in an all-girls' school showed that he hadn't really absorbed how that sort of thing can be more important among girls than in terms of attracting guys.

The thing that is really making me question myself, though, is that while I know it's only been a week, it sort of feels like "Leda" takes advice from "Juliana" better than "L.J." does from "Mom".  I don't know if I can explain it, other than him addressing me by that name even when no-one else is around, to try and make it a habit, or asking "how would you try to blend in?" when I try to tell him what he should do.

That's my question to the other former Inn guests:  How do you stay someone's mother when you've got to be something else practically 24/7?