Monday, January 21, 2008

Jeff: Starting again

Last you heard of me was back in November, when Louisa passed through on a road trip. Last you heard from me was... hell, about a year ago. Truth is, I haven’t been checking this blog very often, and kind of lost track of the other guys... girls... the others who were there back at the beginning. Maybe that’s why that visit back in November got me thinking, and remembering, and planning.

Listen, I’ll be honest here: that day back in May, when I got my body back? It was the best day of my life. I read about what everyone else’s been up to, and how they’ve adapted to their new lives and some of them, even, finding happiness or love or whatever, and I’m happy for them, I really am. I admire them.

I also resented them. I can admit that now, but at the time I just wanted to completely forget about the whole damn thing. I tried turning my back on the whole experience and tried to just pick up where I’d left off that September over a year ago. But I couldn’t, of course, and sometimes I’d find myself wondering why I wasn’t able to do the same, you know, adapt like they did and just get on with a new life, let go of the old....

But that’s the thing, you see. I can’t. I can’t—just let go of things. Not of my old life when I turned into Brianna—and now I can’t let that go, either. Brianna’s life.

It’s quite the experience, waking up as someone else. Ha! There’s an understatement. I mean, let’s just ignore for the moment the mind-bogglingly overwhelming idea that, you know, magic is fucking real and the fact that the place just voodoo’ed a bunch of guys into different people . . . and has been doing it for years . . . and that nobody will damn well believe you even if you scream it in their freakin’ face; yeah, let’s just forget about that for the time being. Because let’s face it: when I first realized I was someone else, and a girl to boot, well, at the time, everything was just so chaotic. . . and it never seemed to let up, not for the next eight months. Being Bree, damn, it felt like this heavy, stifling weight pressing down on me at all times; a belt slowly tightening around my head—either I always felt caught up in some kind of crazy panic about needing to fit in, or I was lost in some deep funk about everything I’d lost, or I’d just freak out at the prospect of being a girl for the rest of my life. I never had the time to just sit back and think.

And now I do. Don’t get me wrong. Things have been crazy since I’ve come back as well, and thank God there’s been Brianna at my side and, yeah, I know how crazy—idiotic--weird that is, too, having the girl I used to be around here as a reminder when I’m trying to forget about the whole thing. But she’s seen me through some dark times these past few months. She’s been like an angel, a real Godsend; I wish I knew more about her.

It’s easy to forget how connected we are to others, you know, and the ripples anything you do can send out. My disappearance a year ago hurt the family bad. My reappearance soon after didn’t help much. The fact that an old lady with Alzheimer was behind the wheels didn’t help much. They thought I’d had some kind of breakdown. I don’t hold any resentment to her, I honestly don’t. It wasn’t her fault. In a lucid moment she found her way back to my family, but in her less . . . healthy times, she kind of freaked people out. Let’s just say my family was ill-equipped to deal with that kind of burden. Thank God she came back and agreed to swap back with me. But of course, the damage had already been done....

But enough of that. That’s not what I wanted to write about...

I’m not sure what I wanted to write about.

That’s not true. I know exactly what I want to share, but the thing is, I can’t. Not yet. But I’ve come back just to make a couple of things clear. Just in case, you see.

I really like being a guy. God, do I like being a guy. Let’s just be perfectly clear on that. I like pissing standing up. And being able to pick up heavy shit on my own, and wearing unfashionably baggy clothing, and keeping my hair short and my fingernails dirty. I like popping a boner every friggin’ time a dirty thought crosses my mind or a pretty girl crosses my path, and hanging out with the guys without having to really talk about anything, and I like being able to knock some jackass to the floor if he speaks shit about my family.

I like being me. I’m not sure that was true before the Inn, but it’s definitely true now. I think back to those eight months or so I spent as Brianna and, yeah, sure, I can admit now that maybe they weren’t as terrible as I made them out to be. Her family’s fucked to be sure, but for the most part her life was pretty damn good. If I’m completely honest with myself, I even enjoyed myself at times, in those few moments when I could forget myself. But I was never comfortable with the whole thing, and I don’t think I ever would’ve been. The fact that every time I did enjoy myself I tortured myself afterwards says more about myself than it does about Bree or her life; and that’s the thing, you see: I learned a hell of a lot about myself through the whole experience.

Not just the obvious, that I like being a guy and that I don’t miss the makeup or the girly clothes or the tits or any of that, either, even if (if I’m being completely honest again) all that feminine crap was kind of fun at times, too. I was worried about that at first—that the whole experience might’ve made me gay or something. There were a few moments back then, when I was Bree, out on one of few dates that just kind of happened. . . or this one time that caught me by surprise, when I caught myself just staring at one of the guys at school, this soccer player, and I. . . well, I felt kind of funny. You know, turned-on funny, and it felt all warm and nice and damn right I didn’t want that coming back with me when I turned back into a guy.

It didn’t.

But what I learned—what I really learned, was what was important to me. See, when I ended up at the Inn in the first place, I was basically trying to run away. From home, from my family, from responsibility and the idea of becoming . . . hell, I don’t know. My father, maybe. I don’t think he wanted me turning into him, either, as if there’s something wrong with being the kind of guy who sticks by his kids no matter what, who works himself to the bone to keep a roof over our head. That’s why he tried to send me away. Saved up enough cash for my tuition and sent me off. That obviously didn’t work out. Seven months with Eileen in my body—that’s the old woman, mind ravaged by age and disease, who became me—put that dream to an end. No college for me. And know what? It was a blessing in disguise. Bree’s helped me see that.

I mean, realistically, where was it going to get me? It’s not like I headed off to college to become a doctor or a lawyer or anything like that. I’m a fairly smart guy, but not that smart. And I wasn’t going to ride a football scholarship or something into fame and fortune. I’m good at sports, but not that good. Nah, most likely I would’ve picked up some three-year degree and eventually worked it into some kind of mid-range job. What then? Some cog working in marketing for a mid-sized firm in a mid-sized city? Forty years of different jobs where, if I work really, really hard I help somebody else make a bit more money by helping them sell stuff people don’t really need? Screw that. If the Inn showed me anything, it’s that there’s bigger shit going on in the world.

Hell, there was bigger shit going on right beneath my nose that I’d turned a blind eye to. Stuff that needs to be set right.

There’s nothing more important than family. Nothing. And there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to help my family. It took eight months as a sixteen year-old girl to teach me that.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Wow, I'll say it's good of you to check in again... sounds like you've really grown since the whoel experience. Interesting!