Saturday, March 04, 2023

Andi/Andy: Just Having a GREAT Senior Year

Sarcasm, obviously.

Andy and I talked about a lot of concerns in our last update, but at the time I felt I had really exaggerated them.  Not intentionally, just kind of writing more about the stuff that elicits strong feelings rather than the way things would probably be okay and eventually get back to normal.  But they didn't.

First, Andy broke up with Len.  And on the one hand, good for him!  Len always seemed to be a pretty okay guy, but maybe I just wasn't paying attention to things with his previous girlfriends or what, but he was really up in Andy's business all the time, acting like his girlfriend had to run all sort of things by him, and that's certainly not the way I want to be treated when I'm a girl again, and I feel pretty sure that Cindi appreciates me not doing that (although, uh, more on that in a bit).  Lots more touching than Andy felt he signed up for, especially when he wore anything that left skin bare or hinted at a figure (which he does a little more, because he mostly goes shopping with Shawna, and she sure seems to like crop tops a lot more than she did when we were hanging out)

On the other hand, it's ugly, because Andy really resisted the idea that his best friend would be a bad boyfriend for a long time, and he really didn't want to dump Len, so he's crying as he does it but still not relenting, and Len gets angry.  Not hitting-Andy angry or anything, but "bitch" was yelled a few times, and then he stews about it with other friends, maybe not consciously trying to outnumber me, but setting up situations where someone will say "I can't believe your sister dumped your best friend" and I'm just like "did you really think you were going to get me to talk shit about someone I shared a womb with?", almost wanting to tell them exactly how fucked up it was that they thought I was going to take Len's side against Andy.

Anyway, I mostly hang out with Cindi and her friends now, which is weird, because I never would have been part of that group as myself, but as her boyfriend, it's even weirder, because I'm still kind of on the outside looking in at time but from a different window, and there's a big part of me that still wants to hate them but also wants them to like me as one of them.  Ugh.


Okay, so I wrote all that in October and I guess didn't hit publish?  Anyway, Homecoming was weird because of all that drama, but we all survived.  Somehow, Cindi and I still haven't done it, mostly because there haven't been a whole lot of solo dates.  A lot of her friends were dating a year up, and so their boyfriends are off in college, or breaking up, and now the girls just hang and me and another boyfriend are kind of part of the gang.  The time it did look like we were going to wind up in bed, her period came early, and I totally get her feeling gross, obviously.  I'm almost feeling like we might wind up not, since Mom and Dad have booked a room at the Inn again so we can get back to normal after graduation.

Although as to what else comes after graduation...  I don't know.  Andy kind of blew my SATs and Achievements, and his/my first-semester grades were way below where they should be, even considering that we registered for classes last spring when we thought we would be back in our own lives.  I admit, I had a little trouble with his public speaking and Asian History electives, but I pulled off Bs.  He also had to quit one of my extracurriculars because it just wasn't working out.

I'm trying not to be upset.  Both Mom and Dad talk about a lot of people who got stressed out over the past couple years because the pandemic was constantly throwing them for a loop even if they never caught Covid, and we've certainly been under similar stresses.  Maybe I'm handling it better for some reason or another, or maybe I'm messing up in ways I just can't see.

I'm hoping that the essays I'm writing for my college applications will counter the hit my standardized tests and GPA have taken, but I don't know.  It's frustrating, because we can see the end ahead of us, and we really thought we'd be able to get through without messing up.


Monday, February 27, 2023

Jordan/Yuan-Wei: City Without Baseball

It's a silly thing to worry about, given everything else, but Spring Training has started, and even though the Mets look like they're going to be a force this year, I kind of wonder if I'm going to be able to follow them from here in Hong Kong.  I can - the internet is a thing, obviously, and I can easily afford MLB's streaming package, but trying to watch postseason games in the morning last fall felt profoundly wrong even if work didn't get in the way.  It would be nice to develop a rooting interest here, even if the quality of play wasn't great, but...  Well, there's a movie I found in one of the video stores in the Ladies' Market a few weeks ago called City Without Baseball, and while it's not really about baseball and how there should be more, the name isn't wrong.  There's no damn baseball here and, like, should I start following some Taiwanese/Japanese/Korean team at random?  Would that make me the same as the fucking hipsters from back when I was my original self who started "supporting" an English Premier League "side" out of nowhere and then started acting snotty when I called it "soccer" instead of "football"?


Okay, so this isn't really about baseball and rooting interests, but, like, that's the most obvious and harmless way that being Yuan-Wei in something approximating what the original Yuan-Wei's life might have become is messing with me these days.  The only time I actually speak English is at work or when talking with "Mom", and even she wants me to help her practice Cantonese these days.  I'm glad to, because...

You know what?  I should have led with this.  The person who was living the live of the lady now going by "Wang Chen-Ai" died a month ago.  It took us two weeks to find out because, I mean, why would you tell some random middle-aged woman in China that your grandma passed away, and neither of them really did social media.  It's not immediately some sort of tragedy in terms of someone's life being cut short because they aged fifty years overnight - I gather it was someone about the same age - so maybe something like that is going to happen down the chain, but it was a shock.  Fake Chen-Ai figured she'd had at least ten more years in her once she got back to being herself, but, well, sometimes a decline comes fast.

I don't really know what she's thinking, but she's seemed really shaky at times, so I've tried to spend more time with her.  She's been taking Cantonese lessons and appreciates when I help her practice, and about a week ago she said we should probably try to do more together, stuff that looks like mother/daughter but is just two people trying to get to know each other and the city we're supposed to call home on the one hand, and maybe trying to carve out some sort of corner where we can kind of be ourselves, and she says she and her father used to watch the Giants a lot back when they had just come out west, so I thought maybe that would be something.

Selfishly, I'm not happy but with this turn of events but kind of like the idea of not having to start over with a new fake mother every year or so.  I tell her that a lot of us have gone through something big like this, but she's kind of getting a lot of culture shock that she'd been able to stave off by leaving a lot of things to Chen-Ai/Bingbing and staying in, and I'm not sure of the best way to help.  There aren't fucking books on this!

(And, once again, I want to know how things got to the point where I'm the mentor/voice of reason!)


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Becca/Sam: I think I like my wife

Having a man's body and being a man are two different things. Every time I put on the suit, I felt like I was playing dress-up. Like I was in drag. That even though I have a muscular chest and a thing between my legs, I'm really a woman inside. And a very bizarre side-effect of taking a trip to the Inn, I was finding, was that I didn't want to feel like a woman. I wanted to feel like a man, be accepted by men, and be among men, even though I don't -- on the top of my head -- think masculinity is better than femininity. I didn't have time to worry about what kind of hormonal drug was coursing through my veins that made me want to get all rough and tumble, I just knew I was a person in crisis -- a hairy, muscular person.

I threw myself into being as good of a man as possible. I don't think most women would be able to Kill It as a guy on day one, but many of us are adaptable and have had to acclimate to things men can hardly even conceive of. Styling short hair? I've never had short hair but it wasn't hard to figure out. Shaving? A necessity now, so let's get good at keeping it neat. Matching a tie and a shirt? I can probably make more out of Sam's wardrobe than he could. Actually tying said tie? Well okay, I needed a few views on a YouTube video for that. But I got there.

I was rocking it, and getting confident, even if, amongst the men at work I felt like an outsider. Everything with them is sports, booze, money, tech and women, and I only know about one of those things, and not from the expected perspective. Still, I needed to gain experience in order to ingratiate myself with my new gender. 

I began to see sex as this weird missing ingredient in who I was supposed to be. I felt locked out of the full male experience by virtue of my lack of sexual experience. I felt like such a strange nothing-person adrift in a world I didn't understand, trying to navigate delicately between my old life and my new one. I knew I had some kind of sex drive -- my anatomy had a curious habit of awakening virtually unprompted. I didn't know what was doing it or what "I" was "into" only that I felt a gaping need for satisfaction.

I thought that I might as well direct this toward my "wife" Shannon. 

I felt icky about it at first. I'm an open-minded person but I've never been attracted to women before so trying to push myself over that hill and see a woman that way was a real barrier, even if Sam's body was telling me that was the way. It felt kind of like I was taking advantage of her, too, because she didn't know I was not her husband. I didn't, and don't, like the lying that goes along with this scenario. That's probably why I'd been distant for the first few months. I tried to convince myself that it would be doing her a favor to play the role of her husband, since he was not here to do so.

I wrestled with it. The first time we made love, it was an awkward affair. I gave her probably more attention than she was used to from the real Sam, which was maybe suspicious. I felt dirty about it and not necessarily in a sexy, fun way. But I am a woman at heart, and women know women, and I think it was probably easier for me to participate in that than a man in a similar situation who finds himself suddenly with a heterosexual woman's confusing and complicated libido.

I did some things that maybe she didn't expect Sam to do, because I knew they would be appreciated even if they were firsts for me. Coming face to face with her privates, I tried to be tender but I think I was a little clinical, but my body was telling me I was on the right path even if I didn't fully understand it. I didn't know what was supposed to be so arousing from where I was standing, but maybe the butterflies were flapping their wings just at being so intimate with another person for the first time in, oh so long.

Once we got to the main event... I didn't love it. It felt like work. It's a lot of motion and activity when you're a man, and I have to give some credit to some of my partners because I can see it takes some time to master the technique. I had this distinct feeling of finally getting "in" there and being like "Oh, shit." I mean, this feels good and all but... now what do I do?

Afterward, I was almost too embarrassed to face her. Having bad sex with her seemed to be worse than having no sex at all, like I had let her down and tipped my hand that something was off. She began to broach the topic of therapy, which normally I'd be all for but in this context was the last thing I wanted to do.

Normally I'm all up for talking through your feelings but I'd been drowning in a sea of unfamiliar thoughts and emotions so I didn't know where to start. I wonder if most emotionally-constipated men feel this way.

Time went by and we kind of tiptoed around it and I somewhat dreaded having to do it again, and somewhat hoped to get another chance.

That's when I started seeing her.

I had seen her from the beginning, of course... she lives in the same house as me. She sleeps in the same bed as me. I've even done her laundry so I have handled her intimates. She has walked around naked in front of me and not expected me to care. In fact she may have even noticed me averting my eyes shyly, asked me annoyedly about it, and I had to come up with some "baby it's not what you think" excuse that I don't think she's unpretty.

And that's true. I don't think Shannon is unpretty at all. She is classically very beautiful -- she works hard to keep herself in good shape, has a pretty conventionally desirable figure, and is obviously great at makeup and aesthetics. My feelings toward her were, at first, mingled bitterness and envy, a gnawing feeling in the pit of My Becca Stomach that she was winning at being a woman, way way better than me, even if I hadn't been transformed into a man. She just had this presence of a roommate that, unfortunately, had some expectations of me that I had a hard time fulfilling. 

And then one day... I saw it.

It was at the most random of moments. She was standing in the kitchen with her reading glasses on looking at some bills on her phone, dressed in a workout outfit and I saw her, like it was for the first time. The curve of her hips, her trim waist, that little sideways smile she does, the way her eyebrows furrowed... the particular size and shape of her breasts. I saw her as a person and a partner and an object of desire. It was like a magic box had opened to reveal a gleaming prize and it could be mine if I wanted it.

Normally I am very shy. I don't know how to approach potential partners, and as a result I usually let them dog me around pretty bad. But here... all the work had been done for me. I was married. I was a man, and this woman liked me, loved me, wanted me, or at least thought she did because of who I looked like. And I was starting to like her. I wanted to take her in my arms.

I realized I could take her in my arms. I wrapped my arms around her waist from behind just to see how it felt. She responded favorably. She nuzzled me, I kissed her, and suddenly it was like we had found our rhythm.

It still took some practice to really find my mojo in the bedroom, but I had found my desire. I began to really appreciate having a woman lay back beneath me, or sit astride me as the case may be, and use my masculine physique for her pleasure -- and mine. It was like woah. Something has changed.

Soon we fell into a honeymoon phase. I'm sure she has questions about what ever inspired it but I just told her I woke up one morning and it was like I was a kid again and we were newlyweds, which is all I can say. Life is stressful, life is hard, as parents of three, but we have that to look forward to, and I've gotten a real charge out of being her partner. I'm a changed person.

And Nevin, or "Corinne," I think, took notice...

Friday, February 10, 2023

Becca/Sam: One of the guys

My early weeks and months as Sam Platter were a complete nightmare. Every day I woke up I felt my stomach eating away at itself with anxiety. Being in a strange body may have carried some amusing novelty under other circumstances, but I'm a simple gal -- all I ever wanted was to live a quiet life. As Sam though, all eyes were on me to be a "hotshot" decision maker, bold and leading edge. I didn't feel like I had any choice -- it was one thing to risk my livelihood, but I had to support a wife and three kids and try to keep things stable until the real Sam could be restored.

I kept it to myself -- such a manly move -- and barely tried to build any trust with Shannon. I barely wanted anything to do with her, I even considered moving into another room to leave her alone. Not out of dislike per se... although it's true, I did feel pretty predisposed against such a pretty, skinny, perky, perfect woman who does Tiktoks with her daughters and everything. I just felt like, we didn't have anything in common and it was weird to try to push myself to be a "husband" to her. I didn't know what that meant or why I should try. I had other important things to do. I didn't, however, change beds, I just kind of kept on the low and focused my energy to the kids.

The kids are great. Obviously "Corinne" was taking up most of my time and energy. She and Sam had taken the trip to Maine as a "bonding" experience and I guess you could say it worked all too well. I took point on her as she headed into her junior year at high school. Being so dedicated to cheer and other activities gave my dad something to focus his newfound energies on. I wouldn't have thought he would take to it, but I think there's something to be said for the influence of one's body: knowing what Corinne-the-body was capable of seemed to stoke Nevin's interest in pursuing it. So we spent August "re-learning" back hand springs and flips and everything, things that people train themselves from childhood to get good at. I covered most of it because I didn't want Shannon to see how far backwards Corinne's development had gone. But 

I asked him about it and he said, in that gruff version of a teenage girl's voice he's got, "When I was Corinne's age, I was taking cars apart to figure out how they worked. I was a star runningback, too. You never saw me then. I was obsessed. When I caught something, I caught it bad. That's how it is today. I can't explain it, but doing all this... it get me going, you know?" Fair enough.

Then there's the two other girls, 12 and 9. They all have their own personalities: the middle-child is a musician and fills the house with the sound of piano practice, and the other is a budding artist. Part of me admires how picture-perfect it all is, and part of me has my stomach turning because life was sure never like this for me and I don't know quite how to process it. So I could only focus on work, and I hated work. My life felt like a nightmare, made worse by the bizarre fact that I felt like my dad was thriving.

(I occasionally thought about what if the situations had been reversed and I had been the young girl and he the dad -- I didn't think I would be any better of a Corinne and I knew he would just mess up as Sam, so I had to comfort myself that this was for the best.)

Being at work every day put me at odds with my body. I was the caretaker of a male anatomy and it was weird. The guys saw me as one of them. It was intoxicating and withering all at once because I felt, deep down inside, like I was a fraud, a fake. And not just because I didn't know what I was doing at work.

Men. I understand men and I'll never understand men. But it's true that so much of who and what they are is filtered through sexuality. It was gross hearing the way some of these guys talk to each other, but I couldn't bring myself to speak up. Maybe I was becoming more sympathetic because my brain was basting in those same hetero-male chemicals, but I couldn't quite spare it with my own sensitivity from years of being a woman. But there was a distance between me and the other guys at work that I yearned to bridge, but I could only do so by plunging further and becoming more of what I appeared to be. I had to be a man. I had to increase my experience.

I had to... sleep with my wife.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Becca/Sam: Tumbling

So where we left off, Nev/dad/Corinne was stumbling in the door, on time but soused. Of course, our deal wasn't that she wouldn't get drunk, only that she would be home on time, and she was, so while I was upset, I couldn't exactly take it out on her. The spirit vs. letter of the deal, you know.

I just worry. I worried about him when he was a grown man (I had to make sure we were geographically very distant for most of my adult life to make sure I didn't have to worry... which is something I do feel guilty about) and I worry about him doubly now that he's in this body. I worry that he's behaving himself, I worry about falling back into old habits, I worry that other people don't do things to harm him or pressure him into things that he's not ready for, or that Corinne shouldn't be ready for. There's no end to the worry. 

I mean I sure remember what it was like to be a teenage girl. You're both a kid and an adult at the same time. The world sees you as an infant to be protected and a sexually mature being to be exploited, and you yourself probably aren't sure what you are... even before factoring in having lived the life of a grown man. You have no responsibilities, but no say and no freedom, but also a lot of pressure. I get it, I'm sympathetic, but in the specific case of Nevin Moran, I think he needs to be watched.

I mean, this is a guy who has been engaged to three different strippers (he only married one.) That should tell you exactly how much he values the female body and for what. There's a certain amount of fox-in-henhouse concern as far as letting a guy like that walk around with the body of a teenage girl. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt... I described to you the way he appeared to have changed and gotten very clear-headed once the transformation hit, but at the same time, on day 3 he spent several minutes doing jumping jacks just to demonstrate how bouncy his breasts are. The man is predictably unpredictable. At least it helped him burn off some of his energy.

So, back to early days: I put in a call to the original Sam to reassure him that his life was in good hands (and his daughter's...) I won't say exactly who they became (unless it becomes relevant to my story) and to be honest he seemed kind of... unconcerned? I mean, you've got a complete stranger bedding up with your wife, I expected a little bit more pushback. That struck me odd but perhaps it does have something to do with who he became, or maybe just what sort of person Sam Platter is.

With Dad adjusting well to his circumstances, I was free to settle in for a long flight back to the Bay Area. To be honest, I had hardly spared myself much of a thought, given how worried I was about my dad's behavior. But a creeping dread was starting to flower in my gut. I was going to start trying to do a job I had never done before. I was going to have to take the role of provider and partner in a family when I have been painfully single for many years and certainly never close to "married with kids." Truth be told, the work part disturbed me more. I thought that as far as family went, I would simply be "me, but in male form." It was a secondary concern. On the flight, I familiarized myself with my new "wife," Shannon, and "our" other two kids.

She seemed like a perfectly ordinary woman from social media. I hate to admit it, but there was a pang of dislike for her from checking her Instagram. Don't take it personally, but when you see a pretty blonde lady with money who looks youthful and fun, who also has three beautiful kids, it tends to stir something up in me, like I'm not stacking up. I tried to rationalize and say, give her a chance, you have to cohabitate with this person and play the role of their spouse. Don't let petty anti-feminist jealousy get the better of you. Don't compare your lives.

So we got home, and for a few days, I kept my distance. The new school year was starting up and we needed to get "Corinne" set up. This was going to be a laugh... Corinne's life was cheerleading and gymnastics. My dad couldn't even get up out of a reclining chair without assistance. I told him he would be forgiven if he wanted to do something else with his time as Corinne, but he was shockingly gung-ho about the idea. I think he was very taken with the possibilities of his newfound co-ordination, energy and athleticism. At least, I hoped so, because the other alternative was because he wanted to get into a room with a bunch of half-naked underage girls.

But, no, it seemed like a sincere effort. Nevin was very impressed with himself when he found out he could do not only a split, but a standing split, as demonstrated on Corinne's Tiktok. Anything he saw her doing he would attempt, although it's not like he was able to emulate her tumbling, which undoubtedly took years of experience.

So we hired a secret coach who wouldn't be able to tip anyone off that the "girl" had 0 gymnastic experience to try to get her up to par, and by the end of summer, she was passable.

Me, I was focusing on work. Every time I put on the suit, I naturally felt like a fraud, like I would go into the office and be shown the door, but Sam did provide me some long distance guidance that helped set me up for success. The feelings of fraud, the impostor syndrome, abated after a while. It was certainly very weird being spoken to as a man -- getting the baseline respect that most people deserve, along with masculine bro-like camaraderie... the gap between wallflower Becca and expected-bro Sam was pretty wide and hard to bridge, and I hoped nobody at work noticed me being a little more soft-spoken and sensitive to others.

Outside of the office, I spent time at the gym. That was sort of my getaway. Like dad, I did come to relish my new physicality -- not that I'm trying to "get muscular" but it's nice to feel like I can occupy this body with activity... do a few minutes at a high pace on the treadmill, lift weights, etc. It had the benefit of keeping me separate from Shannon and any expectations she might have.

I thought, as long as I stay active enough in "the relationship," nobody would have any reason to say boo about what I was doing. Help with the kids, help around the house, whatever I'm needed for, but maintain a respectful distance between myself and her.

But that could only last for so long...

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Becca/Sam: When the child becomes the parent

Okay, it's Saturday night. I've got a verbal promise from "Corinne" that "she'll" be home before midnight. Sandi's gone to bed, as have the other kids, only I am awake to stand guard. I've poured myself a coke with just a little bit of rye in it, let's continue our story.

Like anyone, I've been curious over the course of my life what it would be like to be the opposite sex, but I happen to think it's a particularly male form of ego that suggests a woman would want to be a man. I don't covet big biceps or a handsome jawline for myself. I miss my long, tangle-prone hair, I miss my soft, short, curvy body, I miss my clothes. Knowing there's a potential timeline for a return to my old self -- if I play my cards right? -- helps me face the day to day realities of being Samuel Platter and try to make the most of it.

Naturally, looking at what happened to me and my dad, I thought there was some kind of cosmic intelligence at work here, some divine sense of humor. I woke up in the body of a man close to me in age, and he my daughter, a teenage girl. That doesn't seem like a coincidence to me, but investigating the rest of this blog indicates that it's 90% likely that it was just a roll of the dice, with a 10% possibility that some outside force has manipulated us into this situation for reasons beyond my understanding.

In the moment though, it was panic. I had to give the "kid" some of my Ativan to get through the first day (as opposed to letting him/her drink themself into oblivion.) By day two, I had sourced more information and he was more understanding about it.

So we're the Platters -- a tech investor and his cheerleader daughter. Our task: inhabit these peoples' lives as best we can until such time as we can arrange a return trip to the Inn... next year.

Sam is a good-looking guy. Piercing blue eyes and light hair, a confident grin. He looks like James Marsden, but ten years younger. Cheekbones forever. He's fit -- like I said, he's only a little bit younger than me but not having those same aches and pains makes me feel incredible. He fills out a suit well. I don't want to be a man, but if I have to be one, I would very much like to look like Sam Platter.

I'll admit, I was semi-curious about "the equipment" which I could not ignore hanging between my legs. How does it work? When would I know it was... activated? What do I do when it's idle? I have to admit, it was very distracting. After all these months I still feel like we're getting to know each other.

On day 2, dad went from being perturbed to buying into the whole idea. The same way I was coming to accept the perks of being Sam, he had to admit that if one had to be female, it's better to be young, pretty and nubile. To the real Corinne -- I'm so, so sorry about the current occupant of your body.

In my head, I had a kind of trainwreck fascination with the situation. Here's my dad, a man with zero impulse control, old enough to remember Watergate, who could never be anybody but himself, now wedged into the life of a squeaky-clean female member of the TikTok generation. How was this going to work?

While we processed, he asked me to braid his hair "Like Miesha Tate" It was fun, the nicest bonding moment we've had since I was a teenager. We talked a bit, about anything to get our minds off the situation: old times, work, whatever. For the first time in a long while I got the sense he was hearing what I was saying to him, paying attention and absorbing it.

That's something else that happened. This girl -- who I know inside is my dad, but before we left Maine sure wasn't acting like it -- was very lucid and very clear, very even-tempered. I mean, she still had a mouth like a longshoreman, but I've never known him to be quite so sharp and alert. All his senses were coming back, his faculties that were long since abandoned... he was awake and energetic. Youth is the ultimate drug, I suppose. High on life. And a heady cocktail of estrogen and progesterone, among other hormones.

I don't think we fully understand the mind-body connection, because before long it felt like I was not dealing with a "grown man in a child's body" but a child with the mind of a grown man. This was not simply my dad, looking different, this was almost an entirely different person: whereas before he was grouchy and lethargic, he was manic and optimistic. It was like talking to a different person who happened to have all the knowledge and memory of my father. 

Now he was in a body that wasn't permanently piss-drunk and stoned, that hadn't been destroyed by abuse. Part of the reason my dad can't get sober is that he can't stand withdrawal, but here he was with not a drop in his system and feeling fine. I think when he realized that, something switched in him. He went from shock and horror to acceptance and even enthusiasm for the situation in freakishly record time.

His outlook and demeanor had changed. He dug back in his brain for some of the religious platitudes they tell you in meetings about how this is his second chance by the grace of God. By day three, he was fully on board with this scenario: clothes, makeup, body, he was ready to accept it all, ready to devour the life of Corinne Platter.

Which was a little eerie, and certainly not my experience of transformation, but I had to go along with it.

I don't know that this is everybody's experience when they get de-aged or gender-changed through this magic. From reading through this it sounds like it's not, but maybe people are just sheepish about it. But my dad has an addictive personality, obviously, and in the present I could see that taking hold in the form of an addiction to being Corinne. Only I didn't really have time to process it. Having someone who is surprisingly accepting of this situation is infinitely preferable to someone who is going to fight you all the way (which is what I kind of thought would happen.) So my dad became my daughter, and we traveled back to California to meet the rest of the family, and to beg forgiveness for the delay and pretend like we belonged.

I'd like to say this was a "reversal" of our roles, but the truth is, it's just a solidification of the way it's been for years. I've been more mature and ready to handle the world than my dad since I was in high school. This just makes it official.

But does it make it right?

Hold on, I hear the door.


Thursday, January 26, 2023

Becca/Sam: How did we get here?

Well, I already broke the seal and put myself on this blog, I might as well tell you a bit more about myself.

My name is Becca Moran. I like to describe myself as a mousy redhead, and the fact that I like to describe myself that way should tell you pretty nuch everything you need. Up until last summer I was working in insurance in Boston. I wouldn't say it was my passion, but it was a tidy little living. I had a very ordinary, quiet, perennially-single life. Some good girlfriends and some red wine was as exciting as it ever got for me on a Saturday night.

Then one night, I get a call from my dad. He's in the area. Normally he's down in Clearwater, Florida, where he ended up after years of drifting around with no particular agenda. I love my dad, and I want to believe there's good in him, but the most dependable thing about him is screwing up. He's the kind of guy who would sell the car right before you needed to go buy groceries, you know? Just poor decision-making skills. He was in and out of my life forever, but I go through phases where I forgive him and I try to mend fences, whether he's changed or not, until it becomes all too apparent that he is way too much the same man he always was.

So one night he calls. He's in the area. Actually, he's headed to Maine. Maine is not that close to Boston, but it's closer than Florida, sure. His latest sponsor, Bill -- I've never heard of Bill before, but what I don't know about my dad's life could fill a textbook -- has gotten him a room at this nice little place by the beach. You'd think he gets enough of the beach in Florida, but this is all the way up in Maine away from his usual haunts. Only Bill had to back out at the last moment. How convenient for Bill. So I've got a room waiting for me if I want to spend some time with dad, and sure, I've got a big heart -- I was going to spend my summer vacation weeks vacuuming and binge-watching TLC Reality Shows, so this seemed equally as healthy. Why not.

So, we go, and it's clear that dad is not keeping up on the program. And it's disappointing, but at this point it's not my job to keep him on the straight and narrow, I simply do not have the emotional energy to make that my responsibility. I'll keep him from killing himself in the immediate present if possible, that's all I can manage. Mostly he sleeps during the day, wakes up at 4, goes to the bar, pesters younger women, then comes home to crash. That leaves me plenty of time during the daylight hours to read, work on my tan, and ogle younger men on the beach (darn, I am my father's daughter, except I didn't drink.) Our paths didn't even cross that much in the waking world, except one day when he saw me heading out in my bikini, and he said I was too fat to be wearing a bikini (I'm not -- yeah, my jelly has a little wiggle to it, a bit of a belly and thunder thighs, but I liked my body just fine.) I'm not even bothered by these comments the way I would have been in my teens or 20's or even early 30's. That's just Nevin Moran being Nevin Moran. He can't keep his mouth shut. I happened to think a high-waisted and tastefully-topped bikini did a lot more for me than a one-piece would. Wait, why am I even having this argument with you/him?

So I roll my eyes, I dismiss him, I don't care. Once the week is over, we'll part ways and he'll miss my birthday and I won't spare him a thought. And it'll hurt a little, but everyone has baggage and I've accepted that this is mine.

Nothing too interesting happens on the trip. I see the town, I put my feet in the water, I shop, I sip coffees outside while it's nice. It's not like I'm going to meet anyone while I'm rooming with my father, not that I had expectations of that anyway -- I look pretty good but the phrase "no spring chicken" does come to mind. At night I sleep until dad crashes into the room and then I pretend I'm still asleep because it's easier than acknowledging we're both awake at the same time. You know, healthy family stuff.

And then one morning I awake to screaming. A big loud scream in a high little voice. A stream of expletives the likes of which a should not be issued so confidently from the mouth of such a young girl. I wake up dazed, I don't know what's going on, especially since it sounds like the girl is in our room -- which I desperately hope is not true because I'm not ready to face what that would mean.

But of course it's worse. Well -- it's bad in a different way.

Because I sit up and there's little Corinne, all of 16 years old, my father's faded PJ pants and giveaway Budweiser tee-shirt hanging off of her, her hair a matted, tangled mess, her face an expression of utter distraught, bewildered panic.

"What the f---?!" she says. Among other sailor-like epithets.

I'm confused. And scared. And, I'm realizing, not feeling like myself. My own PJ's are feeling extremely, extremely constrictive. "Who are you?" I murmur. "Where's my--?"

I sit up and... rip.

The back of my top, the back of my pants, torn, like I was the Hulk.

I look down at my hands. Rough, mannish. Hairy arms way outgrown the sleeves

I look up at her. She's staring me, and hyperventilating.

"Becca?" she asks through desperate sobs.

I feel the top of my head. Mane of wild curls, gone. My chin... rough, hard jawline.

My chest, flat. Not too flat, either. This guy works out.

I can barely gulp... I don't even want to say it, to ask if it's true, because to admit that I thought it might be possible would make me feel insane but in that moment I had no other conclusion but to ask... "Dad?"