I never thought I'd find myself at a place like this. Here I sit, in an apartment in South Hadley, Massachusetts, wearing a t-shirt and these jean shorts. It's still uncomfortable just... just being me. The new me.
Even knowing what I know now, I'm still having a hard time coming to grips with the new reality. This cute young co-ed in the mirror is me now, but everything seems like it's details of someone else's life instead of details of my own life. For example, I have come to find out that Sarah lives on her own with the generous help of her parents. I feel this way despite the fact that, in my new reality, it is I who live alone with generous help from MY parents.
I still haven't read all of the letter I recieved back in Maine. I've tucked it away for later, somewhere down the road. Right now it still feels like too much information. I sat down to write my own letter just before I left on Thursday, and I sat there at the desk for almost two hours thinking before I finally put pen to paper. I wrote about my BS job, my BS boss, my BS love life, and my BS apartment on Long Island. It was at this point that I pretty much started really wondering what I'd lost. For a split-second, I almost felt elated that I was being given a chance to live another life. But Vinny DeSantis is still who I feel I am. I am him. My life may not have been perfect but it was still my life.
So Mount Holyoke turns out to be an all women's school, and a fairly well known one too, which makes me feel kind of dumb for not knowing about it in the first place. It really serves to reinforce what a drastic change I've undergone. I never thought about it, but something as simple as your gender makes a huge difference in the way you live your life. It's something that I think everyone kinda knows maybe if only somewhere in the dark recesses of your mind, but it's something that I'm now experiencing for sure. I lost track of the number of men who I caught giving me the one-over on the train here. It's not that I blame them - hell, I engaged in the practice myself. If I'd seen Sarah on a LIRR train, I'd have easily done it. It's just a lot different when you're the one being stared at. I'm sure my first class this afternoon is going to reinforce it again when I'm surrounded by women in a lecture hall.
At the train station in Boston I took my first journey into the "inner sanctum" when I went to the bathroom, using a specifically gender-segregated facility for the first time since the change. It wasn't anything special, but it was another little reminder, one of many.