A couple days ago, a commenter on my last post suggested I "Get up off that thing and do something till you feel better." This, in a way, is what happened. I retreated into the arms of my old friend, the internet.
I'll put it to you this way. When I became a girl, I made an attempt to keep my online persona active. Even though I had turned several of my old accounts over to Willy, I kept active on a few forums during the early months of my transformation.
Then, in early October, when I started feeling more comfortable as Tori, I began to leave the net behind. This was the inevitable byproduct of stuff that had happened way before I was Tori: comics lost their appeal to me when universe-spanning crossovers became the norm (Civil War/52/Crisis/etc). All the big franchise movies like LOTR and Dark Knight and Harry Potter were slowing to a trickle, and Battlestar ended, Heroes became pretty unwatchable, and suddenly my entire mindset of geekdom was a bit outdated. I stayed on those forums in a "what's new?" casual talk capacity, but as you can guess, my writing about myself was rapidly splitting off from what my reality was. Soon this blog became my only real internet activity. In December, when I saw Avatar, I was pretty disappointed with it, and wondered whether girlhood had actually erased the geeky part of my brain.
For a while after that, my internet usage became limited to this blog, MSN/Facebook, and the occasional Google search when I needed to learn something. Even then, I don't exactly blog here all the time, and I was so negligent to my Facebook account that when I saw one of Tori's tween-age male cousins at Mae's birthday, he complimented me on my Facebook profile pic... that is, a pic of Raine and Sara pretending to kiss my boobs!
(The point of this story: I didn't realize I had said cousin on Facebook, and my boobs have become such a prominent feature that no, of course I don't mind showing them off to the internet, albeit completely covered, you pervs.)
Then a few months ago, Danny (my gay friend) managed to get me to see Inception with him, despite my beliefs that I was no longer in that film's target audience. And my mind was so completely and utterly blown that I had to share it with someone. But my girlfriends weren't interested in hearing my theories about the dream-worlds in the film, and Danny and I kept getting into arguments. So I had to drag it out to the internet... only to find that the site I had last used as Cliff had moved and my account was deleted.
So, with "JHCliff" gone, it fell to me to invent a new username for myself. As you can probably tell, I'm not all that imaginative when it comes to inventing my own name. (Or other peoples: see "Buddy" and "Guy.") I couldn't decide what to call myself, so I decided just to use my old naming method, and become ToriC. The C stands for both Cecily, Tori's middle name, and of course, Clifford.
It started with a few innocent posts, one in the Inception review thread, one in the "Introductions" board, and a few others scattered around.
Aside from a minor war or words in the Inception thread, nothing controversial happened. I lived my day-to-day life, still a bit sore from Cyndi's verbal stabbing, and came home. With Sara and Raine busy with various things over the course of August, I found myself getting more and more time by myself, and feeling more and more comfortable on the computer. At first I was wary, because I didn't want to overplay my status as a (let's face it, above-average-looking) female on a board more than likely populated by guys not unlike J.H. Clifford.
(And I admit it, my username was slightly deliberate, designed to imply girlhood. But it's not like I outright named myself "HotChick87.")
Then I stumbled into a relationship thread and, with some voyeuristic curiosity, I started reading. Then the OP posted a request for a "female perspective" and a few other users came out of hiding (including ones I had seen and assumed were male!) I pitched in my own meager two cents, but was largely overlooked. Rightfully so, I just wanted to confirm to the world "Hey look at me, I have ovaries!" I'm not even sure why it was so important I get that acknowledged.
So yes, there are other females on the internet (I knew this but I still needed to learn.) Hell, one was even a mom.
So I'm starting to get over some of the stereotypes that go with femininity and the internet. Then I started to spend maybe way too much time on the net (this got worse when I discovered TV Tropes... which I have now cursed you with.) Then I started a thread asking for recommendation for a girl who is looking to get back into comics.
Not that "being a girl" is my whole defining characteristic, but I think it's a useful elaboration of "Not really into the whole superhero thing anymore" even if the two are unrelated. I got a few recommendations, which were hit and miss, before someone suggested I check out Image's "Invincible." I was about to reiterate my "not digging the superheroes" thing when it was pointed out that this being an Image title, it was at least less likely to succumb to crossover-itis, which is of course my actual reason for the aversion.
So I went down to the comic store to pick up the first trade paperback, just to give it a test drive. I almost regretted it as soon as I stepped in. I hate to reinforce stereotypes, especially after I just talked about getting over my fear of internet-girlhood, but my God the difference between that and real life was... jeez.
The way they stared. I mean, you wonder why I'm so accustomed to pubbing and all that? Because as far otu of my nature as it would've been, at least people in those places don't act like I'm the first girl they've seen.
I don't blame them, but they certainly didn't make me feel comfortable. I didn't have the desire to browse, I just zipped over to the trade shelf, got Invincible volume 1, and zipped out. The whole time I could feel their eyes following me. The sad thing was, some of them weren't even bad-looking. They were just like my old self, a bit out of their element. Thank goodness it wasn't a Wednesday so there was only a few. And some were subtle enough that they might not even have been looking. But a few actively were.
For what it's worth, the comic itself was really great, so I'll probably be braving the gawkers to get the next one. I haven't been this excited about a new find since... well... haha. That may be overstating it, but it is a very good book, and I look forward to catching up on it.
So that's pretty much why you haven't seen me in 2 weeks.