Friday, November 25, 2011

Anthony, "Charlotte" - A little of both.

After the reaction to his last post, Zane called me, on the verge of tears, which I found deeply unsettling. I'm not going to say he was always the most stable guy, but to have such an outward emotional reaction is pretty unlike him. Sleeping for days on end? That sounds like him, sure. But crying and ranting because someone on the internet hurt his feelings? I don't know.

Admittedly, our situations differ. I've been frustrated with him for not "getting with it," but I'm trying to be patient. I threw myself into Charlotte's work to cope, but unfortunately, her work primarily concerns Clara's modeling career. So my pressuring him probably hasn't helped. On our occasional lunch or coffee meetings, I've noticed she seems very blank. I also just noticed that I wrote "she" instead of "he," because I was thinking about her face, not my friend inside it. To me, "Zane-Clara" is a different person from the guy I've known since college.

I can sense, though, Zane is noticeably discomforted by the way she looks, and very paranoid about people looking at her. I've seen people glance at the both of us, but it just doesn't faze me the way it does her. Very self-conscious, which I imagine is a huge hindrance with me pushing her into this modeling thing. Given the risk to my friend and his sanity, I think I'm going to have to find her something else to do. I feel like I owe it to him to make this experience as good as it can be.

I do think it's not as bad as he imagines. I certainly don't feel traumatized by my new body or life. It requires a certain amount of upkeep and attention -- I'll let you imagine the details -- but I find the female lifestyle to be a bit of a fascinating project. It's remarkable what a woman has to do to succeed in this world, even (perhaps especially) in an industry dominated by women. When first arrived here, I was maybe not the warmest person, very reserved from having to adjust my lifestyle. I had to re-learn how to relate to people, to show personality, even "flirt" casually, without seeming overbearing, so that I wouldn't come off as inaccessible or "bitchy." It's so easy to pigeonhole a woman, even for other women, that navigating the minefield of office politics has been... difficult, yet perversely thrilling. I guess, if I had to explain the difference between my experience and Zane's it's that I'm the type of person who rises to a challenge, and he's the type who shrinks away. That's how we started in the same place, and I was a vice-president for a corporation, whereas he spent a lot of time scrubbing dishes and delivering packages.

It's hard to blame Zane for not wanting the burden of looking sexy, even in street clothes, let alone being dressed up like a doll for money. I think to some degree, he's feeling aware of how he objectified women in the past, and is having a hard time with this shift in perception now that he's the one with the breasts. Keep in mind, this is a man who believed women wore thongs, high heels and low-cut tops for their own enjoyment.

That said, we have one point of agreement. I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of men being attracted to me. Admittedly, while I have certain appealing attributes, I'm not "model-calibre" the way Clara is. I'm a fair bit freer to disregard male attention. I wouldn't rule out some sort of relationship, as being a hermit is patently boring, but I'm still in love with the woman I was dating in my real life, whom I still hope to return to.

I look at it this way: real women have a lifetime of experience with these bodies, with their roles in society, and even then it's not considered normal just to go along and be what everyone says you should be. A lot of them have problems with their bodies and what they're told they can be. I'm not saying Zane's reaction is typical, or not exaggerated, but I completely understand his lack of desire to conform. That said, I still wish he would figure himself out a bit more. Maybe he will never "enjoy" his time as a woman, but there must be some way to help him tolerate it, reach a level of temporary acceptance as I have.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Greg/Alexis: Live and in Person

So yeah, been a long time but nothing big has happened. The holiday break gives me enough free time to sit down and write a bit. My coworkers got me into this game called Skyrim and it's just been addicting. The only really cool thing that happened was when Somebody Else Came through Burlington and I got to meet other blog writers in person for the first time.


I was really excited about Todd and co. visiting because it gave me some people to be "me" around. Not that my personality doesnt shine through every day, its just that when most people look at me they see "Alex" and I have humor them. Being around other Inn people they get to understand a major defining characteristic of who I am. Malinda can see through the curse but sometimes I think she'd sooner not think of me as a former man and think of me as a roommate.

Plus its always good to go out, especially If it gets Malinda out of the house. Although I had forgotten how long it takes girls like her to get ready. The show wasnt until 8 but she started getting ready at 4. Apparently even in a body that wasnt hers she had to be properly maintained and try on everything in Sharon's closet.

Around 7 she came down stairs asking "how do I look?" and she looked amazing. She was wearing skin tight white capri pants and a red halter top that showed her cleavage off nicely. She was wearing 3 inch heels that made her the same height as me. Her hair was curled at the end making it bounce when she walked and she was wearing makeup for the first time since she changed. Or at least noticeable makeup.

"Um...you look good" I said trying to hide the obvious attraction "But we are just going to a concert"

She shrugged "I wanna look good for your friends" she then looked me up and down "You arent wearing that, are you?" I was wearing jeans and a tshirt. "Yeah, were just going to a local bar and Alex doesnt have the kind of wardrobe Sharon has"

After some prodding I let her spend a little time playing dress up on me. Alexis' closet isnt exactly filled with girly clothes so Malinda borrowed from Sharon's things, most of which fit poorly. She's much more top heavy than me, clearly a D Cup, where i'm a low B cup. We're both size 8's but I'm more of a fit size 8 and she's curvier, especially in her butt. We finally agreed on a skirt that went down to the knees and a matching blouse. Nothing attention grabbing but I will admit I looked nicer.

Todd and Bry's band "Somebody Else" was playing at a small divish bar close to UofV. The crowd was mostly college students so Malinda and I were among the oldest people there. We got there just as the show was starting so we didnt meet them beforehand.

The band wasnt really my kind of music, but they were pretty good for an indie band. I forgot to look up who played what instrument so I was guessing which one was Todd and which one was Bryan.

During the concert college aged boys who had clearly had a few drinks kept coming up and hitting on Malinda, buying her drinks and stuff. She seemed to enjoy the attention even though she didnt take up on any of their offers to dance. Besides, the band doesnt exactly play dance music, so clearly they just wanted to get her drunk.

After the show we went "backstage" which was really the rear entrance to the bar. To see two guys finishing up loading up a van and an Pakistani girl telling them what to do, whom I presumed was Alia. " Bryan was helping Shelby load her drum kit into the van when we came up. Up close, she was kind of cute, but she gave us this kind of bitchy look that said 'Another friend?'

We only made small talk before Shelby and Alia took the van to a hotel. I had offered to let all 4 of them stay at our condo, but apparently Shelby and Bry had tensions and didnt need to be in close quarters together. That was kind of disappointing because I've talked to Alia online more than the other two. We first changed around the same time and wrote a good portion of the blog that first year. We coordinated a lot over posts and stuff and I was kind of looking forward to hanging out with her in person.

Although Todd and Bryan are extremely fun people in their own right. They are just as weird and funny in real life as they write on the blog. Look nothing like Id imagined though.

We went back to our condo and started drinking and sharing Inn stories, about strange things that happened to us as a result of looking like somebody else. Bry though we were just in the coolest situation, what with being an at least bi curious teenage girl when he was Ellie. He kept making puns and jokes that were kinda funny but some did make Malinda uncomfortable.

On the whole Malinda did pretty well. I could tell she was relaxing because her accent was coming out. Accents are one of the weirdest things about the Inn, sometimes you get one, sometimes you lose one, sometimes neither. Most of the time Malinda talks like she's from up here, but sometimes, usually when she drinks or gets really mad, she starts talking like a Texan. I think it was the fact that she didnt have to pretend and could just be herself because Todd and Bry knew who she was. She did finally call it a night when Bry pulled out a joint and offered to share.

Todd declined as well, apparently he's been trying to be a good boy for Alia or something. I hadnt done weed since I was a college freshman trying to expand my horizons but I figured what the heck, its not by body anyway and me and Bry went out to the patio and lit up.

Now, I dont have much expertise in the area, but I can safely say that Canadian weed is pretty strong because I got pretty baked, it might be that I have no tolerance I dont know if that applies to pot, like I said I'm not an expert.

Anyway, me and Bry are on the patio talking about all sorts of things like gay rights and the definition of the self and plenty of other things that sounded profound at the time when I mentioned that I worked at an Ice Cream company and that I had a ton of it in the freezer.

Excitedly, we both went and got huge bowls and wanted to watch cartoons but Todd had passed out on the couch in front of the TV. So we went to my "bedroom" which was really the guest room and sat on the end of the bed and turned on Adult Swim.

In between cartoons we started talking some more. About Ellie, and Malinda and how we were worried about them. What happened next I blame on the pot, at least on my part. There was a lull in the conversation and we leaned in close and kissed each other, for about 30 seconds. I'll take some of the blame but after the first few seconds it was all him. I felt basically nothing. No tingling like I had felt when I was Priya or Dee. I broke off with him and gave him a sheepish look.

"Yep, definitely gay"

He smiled "Yeah, I thought so. Figured I'd try for a Chasing Amy moment though"

To put the brief awkwardness behind us we decided it was bedtime and when we went downstairs we couldnt wake drunk Todd up enough to pull out the sleeper sofa, so I offered to let Bry platonically share my bed.

I changed into my pjs when he was in the bathroom getting ready for bed and he came out thankfully in more than just boxers.

"Sleep with you head at the foot of the bed, so its not weird and I dont want any boners poking me in the middle of the night" I joked

"Wont be a problem" he said with a grin "Took care of business just now"

I looked him half shocked half laughing "Tell me you didnt just jerk off in my bathroom"

He grinned in a way that was both disgusting and endearing at the same time before sticking his feet in the back of my head for the night.

The left in the morning to meet their current and former sort of ladyfriends and move on throughout the Northeast.

Since then it's been pretty boring. Mostly just work, tv, and videogames. All things considered it could be a lot worse though

-Greg

Monday, November 14, 2011

Zane (Clara): Like prison

A few years ago, I got caught driving drunk and had to spend a night in the tank. For a while I thought that would be the worst night of my life, but every night since Maine has really topped that.

I still hate this. I hate pretty much everything about my life right now, starting with the fact that I can't talk to anybody. I don't like going on the computer, so I've written a lot of my thoughts down. I was gonna just write them, but I don't feel like it.

People look at me funny. And by that I mean, they look at me. I work at the snack bar, guys stare at my tits while they talk to me. And I mean, I get it, I love tits, but... why do they have to be mine? I hate dressing in these stupid girl-clothes. I used to wear the same pair of boxers for like two weeks, but I feel totally wrong wearing the same panties twice in a row. I hate tight shorts and I hate dresses and skirts and I hate bras. I hate how, if I don't wear a bra, you can totally see my tits jiggle. I hate feeling my tits jiggle! I hate waking up with hair in my mouth. I hate being around men because I know what they're thinking, and I hate being around women because... I don't know, I think they're jealous of my looks, or they judge me because I'm "hot" even though I don't try and I don't want to be.

I just wanna give up and stay in my room until this all blows over. Honestly, that's what I do most of the time. I'm in hiding, or I'm in prison. I sit around in my room watching TV, trying to forget what I look like. I can't talk to anyone because they want to talk to the girl I look like, not me. The house where Clara lives is full of performing arts people, and they are all really annoying sometimes, like this bitch that practices her guitar at all goddamned hours of the morning.

I've been trying. Sometimes, really. They wanted me for one job, because Clara had dancing training, but I can't actually dance, so I had to take that off her resume. Anthony suggested I take lessons to try to fake my way through to her level, but I'm not into that. He's really freaking me out. When I do see him, he's really pushing the modeling thing, and I... I don't see or hear my friend when I talk to him I just see some lady, and I'm just like "why is this bitch all up in my face?" Plus, I'm starving, but I never want to eat. What the fuck.

I shouldn't be mad. The few modeling jobs I've done, I liked fine. I wouldn't mind doing more of it, it's just... I hate being looked at like that, so that makes it hard. It pays good. I shouldn't quit.

Sorry, this is all rambling. I don't even know.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Todd: Connecticut and New York, more questions than answers.

Admittedly, the exhausting business of touring and trying to work in all these Northeastern stops while, you know, playing enough shows to pay for our way home, as well as keeping the Inn business a secret from Shelby (who is starting to question why we have so many friends around here and why she can't meet any of them) has ground me down a fair bit. It helps that I genuinely love the people I'm with... after all, before Bry and Shelby started dating, we were pals from work and she helped me keep it together until Alia got back to her own body.

Before we could be sure we'd be able to swing through Connecticut, we had to be sure we could get a gig in the area, so we reached out and managed to snag one in Hartford. The story of how that came about is pretty boring, and from Shelby's eyes probably not worth it, since the pay was shit, but I'd regret it if I didn't pay a visit to my former home/jail.

I had a love-hate relationship with the place. Sometimes I get nostalgic for it, sometimes I remember how oppressively dull it was living there, being a mom, putting up with Hal, who was at times genuinely caring and at times an incredibly frustrating person to live with. I've heard of people transforming and meeting people in their new lives that they come to love. That was patently not the case for me. I tolerated him, and maybe sorta understood why someone would marry this person. He was a good husband and father, which is something I've never really seen in my life.

I met with Anne-Marie at a mall not far from the old neighborhood. The second I saw her my heart stopped. Here was this woman whose face I mostly knew from a mirror, a woman whose every bodily sensation I once felt. Behind her eyes was the mind of someone I knew as "Julia DiFrancesco."

She smiled excitedly, as I sat sipping on Orange Julius. I tried to keep my poker face, and tried furiously not to call up every memory I had of showering in her body.

"Oh my God, Todd!" she wrapped a friendly arm around me for a hug, "I just can't believe you're here!" She marveled at how cool it was that I was doing something with myself like touring in a band. I told her it wasn't that exciting, but I have to admit, having lived her life, she doesn't have a lot going on. I asked her about the kids.

Hayley is dating now, and completely absorbed with her cell phone. Holy shit, I realized, she'd be 15, the age her cousin was when Bryan occupied her body. Anne-Marie is trying to keep an open mind about it, but doesn't really approve of some of the boys she's had come by. Connor is getting a bit into sports. I chuckled, I thought I had raised him better. Anne-Marie rolled her eyes and said it was good way for him to bond with Hal. And Hal?

"Same as always," she sighed, "It always disappointed me he never seemed to noticed when we switched. Also, I don't know what you were doing to him, but after I got back, he was just insatiable!" She shuddered.

"Hey, what can I say? I was never any good at refusing someone who wanted to have sex with me." That's pretty much why Alia and I used to have so many problems.

"It's just so weird. Look at you! You don't look like you would be so into it."

"Hey, I didn't look like me, then, I looked like you, and you're a pretty fine-looking woman." She blushed. "I considered it a favour. I didn't so much as touch him for the first few months before his vasectomy, and you told me you guys had a healthy relationship."

"Yeah, healthy, not superhuman!"

I tugged at my collar. Okay, so I was a bit loose in her body, at least I was faithful. I honestly believe I could have cheated on Hal if I wanted to, and I nearly did. For me, that's the real superhuman feat.

I indulged her in some shopping, not that my advice was any help when she was looking at clothes. When I was here, I mainly wore whatever I pulled out of her closet, and the resulting freedom of a monthly clothes budget enabled Hal to renovate the basement among other things.

But we weren't really there to pick out skirts or talk about our shared past sex life. Something was seriously nagging at me. "You're aware that your niece, Ellie, has gone back to the Inn, and is somewhere in New York, correct?"

She was aware. "I didn't want to believe she'd actually go, but I couldn't stop her. What kills me is that she brought her father and that other girl with her."

"Why couldn't you stop her?"

"There was precedent. She'd already gone two years in a row. She must have convinced her dad somehow. I didn't find out until too late."

Anne-Marie was being pretty sketchy on the details, but I can believe she wouldn't know. My next question: "Why would she want to go back?"

She laughed a bit. "Why wouldn't she? She didn't live a terrible life when she was Kalli. I looked after her, but she was a lot more free than a teenage girl should be. She worked, she dated... she grew up in that body, Todd. It happened very quickly." I guess it makes sense. You can't put something like that away and forget about it. Even my time as Anne-Marie keeps coming back to me in unsuspecting ways. Imagine being forced back into high school. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

I still had a hard time wrestling with that.

We didn't stick around long after the show. Alia and I met with the new Ellie, whom Alia had met before. Bryan met her on his own time. The week of Halloween, we did a few nights in New York, finally getting enough time to investigate the one shred of a lead we had regarding Ellie's whereabouts. That brings us to a little apartment building in Brooklyn, the place of a guy named Ernie Tomasi.

Bry and I found our way into the building with a pizza delivery guy, and went up to Tomasi's place and knocked on the door.

"I can't believe we're doing this!" Bry said with almost perverse glee.

"Calm down," I said, "Although yes, it's completely awesome."

The door opened and a smallish, middle-aged gentlemen peered out and eyed us through the still-chained door.

"Can I help you?"

"Ahem, maybe. Does the name Elyssa McClay mean anything to you?"

He glared at us a bit longer, then closed the door to undo the chain. Reluctantly, he let us in. He had us sit on the couch while walking around the room. I noticed a slight limp.

"What brings you here? What do you know?" he asked.

"We're trying to figure things out," I admitted. "Someone we know wound up in your old body. She's taking good care of it."

"Well that's reassuring," he said quietly, gruffly.

"The three bodies are in good hands, at least until next summer."

"Uh huh," he said coldly.

I went on, "I mean, we're not here to force you to... to go back, but..."

I couldn't finish. Eventually he piped up, "Why would I go back?"

Bry jumped in, "Well look, I mean, I know it sucks, but you've got to be where you belong. This isn't right, Ell, and what you did to your father and Emily, that's not right either."

"What I did to..." he cleared his throat. "I'm sorry, who do you think you're talking to, here?"

Bryan and I looked at each other. "Ellie? Ellie McClay?"

He snorted. "Huh. Look, kid. My name is Ernie Tomasi. The year I spent as Elyssa McClay was the worst time of my life, and that includes losing this." He removed his shoe to reveal a prosthetic foot - the reason for his limp. "You can't seriously think I'm interested in going back. I was happy to give that little girl her life back, and get back to mine."

Bry and I were stymied. Bry finally asked, "Wait... what year did you spend as Ellie?"

"Last year. I went up to Maine with my wife, we wake up one morning in the bodies of these kids, Ellie an' Emily. Spent a whole year living in Connecticut with that fuckin' family. I mean, nice people and all, but goddamn did I hate it."

"You were Ellie for a year?" Bryan gasped, "I talked to her on Facebook!"

"Facebook?" he said, "I don't know anything about that shit. Hell, if you talked to anyone, you probably talked to her. I'm not much of a computer guy."

"And what about Ellie's dad?"

"He didn't say much about who he was," Ernie said, "but whoever he really was knew Ellie's family and had been to the Inn before. I always just called him dad."

My skin got hot. "Donna." Goddamnit. "Donna's involved in this."

That pissed me off. I know she was a wack-job who wanted me to stay as Anne-Marie, and then talked me into sleeping with her (okay, I'm weak, sue me, my girlfriend was a guy at the time!) but I really never thought she'd be so nuts as to go back to the Inn. The thought of tracking her down and talking to her caused me a lot of aggravation, so I shook Ernie's hand and walked out.

Neither Bry nor I could make sense of how Donna played into this, how people ended up where they have, or where Ellie, Emily, and Ellie's dad are now. I'm tired of playing detective, I just wanna play guitar.

-Todd

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Friday, November 04, 2011

"Ellie": Spilling my guts

The first time I ever transformed, I was a pretty vain, underdeveloped 14-year-old girl who woke up in the body of a nearly full-grown woman. There are a lot of physical and mental changes that you're supposed to go through in the years between 14 and 19, and I skipped them all. At 14, you wear a bra and you get a period, and you think you're a real woman, but you're still a kid. Once I got over the shock, I treated my body like an anatomically-correct Barbie doll, making myself look hot and reveling in male attention. It wasn't what you'd call... healthy behavior, and it attracted a lot of negative energy into my life.

It was almost a relief, the second time around, to find myself as a guy. I thought it would be "easier," and in a way it was, possibly because it was my second turn and I was mature and capable. Then I found out that as a guy, I could still get hurt, still feel lonely, still get taken advantage of... and suddenly standing to pee didn't seem as glorious.

And then this summer I went back to the inn with my girlfriend, and we both woke up as girls, teenage girls again. Ellie and Emily. As a former guy I feel so strange leering at my own body in the mirror, trying to remember that this used to be normal. I feel cut off from something -- my dick, for one. My girlfriend, for another.

Since this was her first go-around, it was hard to explain to her what had happened and why I wasn't freaking out too much about suddenly being a girl. I didn't come all out with it right away. I told her to read the letter and I acted like I was scared too, which was easy because I kinda was. Feeling so small, so girly, made me think "Oh God, this is really happening to me again." and this time, I didn't want to play dress-up, I didn't want anybody looking at me.

"So what are you telling me?" She said between hyperventilation, "We have to pretend to be these people? That... that you turned into a girl?"

I wanted to lie. I wanted to say "Yeah, this is terrible, I can't believe it." It would've been easy. But instead, I bit my lip and winced as I said "The truth is... I've been here before. I used to be someone else. Emily," I didn't call her Emily then but she's Emily now, "I was a woman before. It was an accident that I ever ended up in that body. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry for lying."

This was followed by an even more exaggerated version of your average post-transformation freak-out. Screaming and cursing. "How dare you lie to me, how dare you say I wouldn't believe you," crying. She was mad, and she needed someone to be mad at. "I look at you," she said "And I don't know who I'm talking to."

"I'm sorry," I said. "I don't even know who I am."

She asked me to leave her a while, before we drove back to Connecticut. I caught up with Melanie... now my dad. I asked how she, he was holding up.

"This is blowing my mind," he said, "I did not think this was gonna happen. I guess I should've thought it was possible, but... wow." Like me, she's pretty jaded by the whole experience by now.

It was a long, long, long awkward car ride back to Connecticut. Her anger did fade, she wasn't giving me the silent treatment, she just needed to think it all over. Yes, she was mad at me for bringing her to the Inn, but she felt worse when she remembered I was reluctant to let her come, that she insisted. I didn't want her to feel guilty, but she felt it herself.

Before school started, I asked her where we stood. She almost laughed as she said "I don't know. I look at you and I don't really see you, the guy I loved."

That brought a weird smile to my face. "You loved me?"

"I thought I did," she smiled back, "I don't know. I was definitely falling for you. But I see you, you're not fighting the change, you're not trying to act like a guy, like the guy I knew, you're just... this girl sitting next to me. And I know you're still in there, but I don't know if I can feel anything toward you this way."

"I understand," I told her. But inside, I was going cold, and when I got home that night I cried. I let myself cry, the way I never wanted to when I was a guy, because it wasn't fair. This body is no more of a lie than the one she loved, and even if the man she loved was fake, it was still really me, and I don't feel different. I don't. I get that I have to be "this person," and in the past I was always for it, but this time I'm not sure how I feel.

After a couple of really lonely weeks at high school, she broke the ice. "This is so weird, isn't it? Being in high school again? Ugh, I hate it."

"I never went to high school," I admitted, "Guess I never mentioned that... I'm sorry."

"Listen, I know things can never go back to the way they were, but... I was hoping we could be friends again. Or... really, for the first time. I mean, I was maybe overreacting when I said you weren't the person I thought you were. I know you were only trying to be... yourself, I guess."

She went on, "All this month, people have been making my schedule for me and telling me to pay attention in class and do my homework, and I always want to tell them, Why should I, I'm not really Emily... but I can't, can I? They won't believe me."

"Nope," I said.

"And I realized that must have been how you felt the whole time you were with me. I feel stupid now, knowing what I know, but... there was no way you could have told me, and I couldn't have ever guessed."

It probably felt to her like a huge gesture, to forgive me or get over it or whatever she was doing... and I accepted it, but that didn't mean there were no hard feelings. We're okay now... we're friends, but... it really isn't like it was before.

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