Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cliff/Tori: You take the bad with the good

It figures that after spending a day earlier this week thinking about writing a post talking about the ways it's not so bad being Tori, I get sidetracked with a really bad bout of menstrual cramps and a headache that makes me hardly want to do anything but lay around when I'm at home.

Mae and I appear to be on the same cycle as we were both moping around the house this week. I would've thought periods would only aggravate her tendency to snipe at me, they actually have the opposite effect. It's like we've got an understanding that neither of us has the energy to hassle the other. Plus, with her in school all day and me at work several evenings a week, we hardly see one another, which means she's ultimately more pleasant when we do see each other. I can't think of a rude thing she's said to me in weeks.

It's so weird to have inherited this sibling rivalry of sorts. My older brother Bret was not my biggest fan, and I wasn't his, but I don't actually remember much hostility. I tried to hide whatever resentment I felt for him, since our parents, mom in particular, usually seemed to favor him.

Anyway. The cramps sidetracked my desire to write, and especially my desire to write about how much easier it is to deal with being Tori lately. But things are feeling a bit better now so I'll let you in on a bit of a secret. Cramps aside...

Being Tori isn't the worst thing in the world.

I have a stupid job that is not challenging at all and that I am way overqualified for, sure... but it keeps me busy, stops me from worrying too much about life, and makes me money and I don't have to pay rent to live with Mr. and Mrs. Pearce. They're nice people and I really don't mind spending time with them. I was watching Dancing with the Stars with Tori's mom while her dad sat back and read the paper. "Mom" got really worked up at some of the judges' comments, at which point "Dad" nonchalantly reminded her that nobody on TV could hear her. Then he put down the paper and gave this weird, funny smirk that made us all burst into laughter for a moment. I find nice moments like that offset the mind-bending horror of being transformed oddly well.

Then there are the other bonuses.

Admit it, guys. If you were stuck in the body of a woman, you'd relish any opportunity to not have clothes on. For the first few weeks I was Tori, I tried to be as polite about it as possible, like it was impolite to stare, and somehow I risked being admonished by the girl in the mirror. It wasn't too long before I was playing little scenarios out with the mirror in my room, where I was me again, and Tori was a girl I met at a bar.

Yeah. Then that got weird, although I just laughed it off when I realized what I was doing was a version of preparing myself for inevitable situations I am actually going to have to live through from Tori's side. Still, mirror-time is fun-time.

Now, how do I say this without coming off totally girly... I don't really mind having boobs so much, but that's not to say I love them. A lot of the time I don't even think about them being down there, and then when I look down it's like "oh, hello. How could I forget?" The entire feeling of being a girl has gotten so normal to me that I barely notice until I get home at night and unclasp my bra. There's such a difference, and one of the problems is that my shoulders get a little sore holding these things up all day, and then when I set them free, there's a different sort of discomfort. And yet I don't mind them. I can't explain it. They're just... part of Tori's body. Part of the deal.

But I do occasionally find male co-workers, and strangers on the street casting glances their way. I have yet to decide what I think about that... I can't say I blame them.

While I'm on the subject of stuff I can complain about, my typing has slowed down noticeably since bieng Tori, not surprisingly. I used to be up at about 75 words per minute and right now, with Tori's shorter fingers I'm down somewhere around the high 50's, pacing myself so as to prevent excessive typos. I remember having to proofread and edit my early posts excessively because I was so clumsy. I'm getting better though.

Plus, since I spend all day on the phone, I'm starting to tire of hearing Tori's voice. When I stop and try to listen to myself talk I get distracted by how high and nasal my voice is. I imagine it's probably quite a pretty voice, but it still sounds wrong and I didn't expect it to hit me after this long. I want to sound more masculine than my body is capable of providing, not to mention how sad it sounds when I try to deepen my voice.

I've also been having hair problems. For starters, long hair is super-inconvenient to wash and dry, but as I generally get up several hours before going to work, this isn't much of a problem for me. The problem comes in when Tori's hair behaves in unexpected ways, like getting frizzy in certain weather. Is there a conditioner or something I should be using?

Greg mentioned putting on some weight in his new body. That hasn't exactly been the case for me, as the first time I tried induling my male apetite, I got stuffed really easily and got nauseous. That's not to say this body is in as good of shape as when I got it, but knowing my limits has been part of this whole ordeal. Believe me, I'm getting sick of salads and chicken breasts, but I just couldn't handle a thick juicy steak right now, as much as I'd love one. Also, because the Pearces don't keep much snackfood around the house I've mainly eaten fruit when hungry between meals. It's like I accidentally started dieting!

My main problem seems to be what to do with my free time. I could use a hobby of some kind; Tori's hobby seems to be serial dating, which is not my idea of a good time. I read when I can, but for some reason, if I read too long I'm prone to headaches. I used to be able to read all day, when I was younger; I have no idea how this might be related to the change, but it's unnerving.

So I've made myself a little project. I've realized that no matter what I do, I'm stuck with the body of a girl, and everything around me belongs to a girl, and denying that wasn't getting me anywhere. So I made a bit of a list of things I had been putting off, things I could try as Tori that wouldn't hurt my self-image as Cliff too much.

Before you people start getting any big ideas, however, I should warn you it's not all that exciting of a list. The first item is that tomorrow I'm going to wear heels. The idea is to push things along... but slowly, and not do anything I have reason to be uncomfortable with. You know what I mean.


Anonymous said...

"I can't think of a rude thing she's said to me in weeks."

Within the context of the situation, shouldn't that be "days" instead of "weeks"?

Cliff/Tori said...

Well, I was talking about it this way: when she's in school and I'm at work, we don't see each other much anyway, so nothing especially rude popped into my mind, but the attitude was there. During our periods, she became almost downright sweet, which was shocking because of the stereotype that women always get crabby.

Of course by now, things are back to normal. Sigh...