Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cliff/Tori: Appearances

I've spent a lot of this weekend holed up in my room reading Tori's old diaries, among other things. I've kind of been hiding from Tori's mom, of all people, because we had a bit of a fight.

I obviously don't think of her as my mom, even though I have to act like she is. She's very different from my mom. Mrs. Pearce is quite up-front about her feelings whereas my mom is kind of a passive-aggressive type... maybe it's not fair to say that about my mom to a bunch of people who don't know her, but if she doesn't like something she'll never confront it, just pick away at it and repress her feelings rather than make a scene. Sometimes I'm like that. It probably has to do with why it took me so long to terms with my current womanhood, (as much as I have.)

Mrs. Pearce is always talking about what she likes and what she doesn't like, in a very non-judgmental way. I actually kind of like her better than my mom, in that way. Mom never admitted it, but I could tell she saw the paths my brother's life and my life took, and picked which one she was proud of (he's an athlete and soldier, I was an asthmatic computer nerd. Not a hard choice.)

Anyway. Tori's mom and I generally get along and I do my best not to ruffle feathers with any of them. I look at it like being in a new workplace - as an outsider of sorts, I have to do my best to get along with these people, no matter their expectations of me. I have tried to be a very minor irritant during my time here, which is probably not how most people act around their families. Most people are not afraid of irritating their families at all.

So to the extent Mrs. Pearce and I have been in each others' lives, we've gotten along well, and she seems to really like her older daughter despite the fact that she left her job as a stylist and moved back home before having her body taken over by a man. I asked her if it bothered her that I had moved back in, and she said no, as long as I was working, but very matter-of-factly said, "It had better not be permanent, dear." Fair enough, I say!

So we get along well but I don't really know her, I just try to stay out of her way. Then on Saturday she tells me she's thinking about changing her hair color and would I mind doing it for free? And we could bond and stuff. Obviously that was Tori's thing, but what am I supposed to do? I can, and have, faked a lot over the last few months... sometimes successfully, sometimes not, but this is obviously something I don't want to try, so I tell her I can't, but I guess I couldn't give a good reason why not, so she unleashes all this ranting on me about how it's bullshit that "Tori" wasted all this time and money on beauty school and gave up on it so quickly and won't even help out her own mother, and she feels like she doesn't know "me" anymore, and, well, obviously I am just not her favorite person anymore. And it didn't help my situation that I was menstrual-cramping something awful at the time, so my baser instincts got ahold of me and I actually felt the need to get some stuff off my own chest, (stuff that mostly had nothing to do with her and I couldn't explain in a short amount of time, about my real life, my current life, my sexuality, my job, etc etc.) even though that's exactly the kind of thing I had avoided doing this whole time... I guess bottling up all my frustration doesn't help.

So I ran upstairs and shut myself in my room and started reading the diaries again. I mentioned some references to her little friend, Danny, a boy she obviously liked. As middle school gave way to high school he's still around, and yet Tori has started dating older boys instead of him. Funny how entire threads of our lives can be pulled out of place. She never explains whether she admitted her feelings for him, not yet anyway. And when she talks about these other boys she goes out with it's not with the same language and enthusiasm and passion as she wrote about Danny. I can see her starting to get shaped into the girl she ended up becoming. Sara has been referenced only as a vague acquaintance, Raine hasn't yet appeared.

She talks about her looks a lot, going back and forth about whether she thinks she's attractive. I guess that's the kind of insecurity a lot of teenage girls go through.

Let me tell you, being in Tori's body has made me appreciate a lot of things about a woman's body. Call me a caveman, but I guess before I was a woman I often just saw women as pretty faces and nice boobs. Typical superficial stuff. I've learned so much as I've gotten more and more accustomed to the face in the mirror. The way my eyelashes curl, the way my chin comes to a subtle little curve, my cute little ears... the curve of my hips and legs, the way I look in a set of bra and panties and the way my stomach just drops right down without a bulge, curving just at the top of the panties because hey I'm thin but I'm no skeleton... so many little details I never would've noticed if I hadn't had time to examine. I don't know. I wonder if she ever thought of herself that way. I know she didn't when she was 15, getting awkward, desperately watching her weight, nervous about her boobs... she wrote a whole paragraph about how she hates the way her nose sticks out, but you know what? I like her nose, too. It gives her face character.

I guess I can see why that would lead someone to obsess about beauty and go into it for a living... always judging and comparing herself to the other girls... but I wish she had someone like me who could tell her how beautiful she is just the way she is.

But hey, this is coming from a guy who hasn't been past second-base in about three years, not including with himself...

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