Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tori: Still looking

Both for some work, and now for a bit of peace of mind.

I don't like the idea that women are inherently more emotional than men. I was a really moody guy, but society didn't encourage me to show it. Since I've been a woman, I've cried plenty, but over things that I would've liked to feel okay crying about as a man. Since I am a woman, though, I now know there are certain things that set me off more than they would have as a man.

Last weekend, Mom and I ventured out to New Jersey for Jana's baby shower. Some of Jana's female friends, co-workers and relatives were there. The only one I had met before was Jana's mother, who I remembered from the wedding talking about how she always wanted a sister for Jana, a comment that baffled me then and unnerves me now. Jana has four brothers, all older, and her mother asked if I was single and thankfully the answer is no.

It was a nice event, I mingled some, but inevitably the large topic of conversation is babies. Up until now I've just thought of it as "Oh, I get to be Aunt Tori now, that's really cool." But suddenly I started thinking of it as "Someone I know is about to be a mom. Someone's gong to call her mom. And someday... it might happen to me."

I never thought about kids when I was Cliff. I spent all those years dating a woman who wouldn't let me see her naked. We talked about getting married, but it was always somehow in the future, and I was frankly afraid of proposing, for reasons that turned out to be very appropriate. I thought being a dad might be cool but it never really seemed to be a pressing question.

And the same has been true of my life as Tori. Sometimes I make the joke, when I get my period, "Another month of beating the odds" (not really since we're really good with birth control.) As serious as Alex and I are, I have definitely eased off the commitment gas pedal, because I am not "that girl." Maybe we'll get married, and I guess if we do, kids are an option. No stress. Take it easy.

But then I got to this party and talked to some of these women. Some were young, and were looking forward to getting pregnant in the near future. Some were older and had kids, and shared their stories. And then some of them... these older women who never had kids, who had this air of disappointment about them, because of it. Women who got to their Fifties, never married, and then gave up.

I'm not saying I think that'll be me. I'm not saying I'm worried about never having kids if I want them. I'm saying suddenly I'm aware of the pressure women put on themselves... how many women define themselves by reproducing! It's insane. And guys just don't. Motherhood is seen by a lot of women as this sacred, important duty, and fatherhood is just something that happens. I worry about other women thinking negatively of me if I choose not to... and I worry about if I somehow can't. I don't know. It was all very confusing.

Later, I wanted to talk to Alex about it, but I couldn't outright have a conversation about wanting kids. I didn't want to scare him or anything. I didn't even want to talk about that. I just wanted some kind of reassurance.

Instead, when I got home, I went over to his place and I asked if he had given any more thought to living together. I felt like maybe I could that as a way of reassuring myself about the future.

"I have," he said. "I just don't see the rush. We're good the way we are, aren't we? We don't need to make it a big financial thing. You're a smart, independent woman. You don't need to depend on me."

I had absolutely no idea what he was going on about, whether it was my independence or his that he was really talking about. I spent all day imagining what it would be like to grow a person inside me, and then had to realize that my long term boyfriend doesn't think much of co-habitation.

I had a good cry that night.

The next day, I had a couple of job interviews. Sure, I'm in emotional turmoil, but I had to look good for my interviews. Straighten your hair, put on some eyeliner, perk up your boobs and wear some heels that make your butt look good: chances are, even if the interviewer isn't a man, they'll appreciate the effort.

Since none of the corporate jobs I envisioned are really hiring, I widened my search to the retail sector. I need to pay bills, even if it's bagging groceries. Fortunately, I won't be doing that. I got a job selling phones at the mall. I made it a point to do as much research as I could before I applied, and I think the owner (a man) liked the idea of getting some eye candy who could actually sell the phones. I start tomorrow, but I'm only booked for about 12 hours a week for the probation period, which means I'm still not covering everything.

Still... it'll keep my head above water for a bit longer.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Greg/Alexis: Girl Talk

So I've been kind of depressed this past week, not like Zane is depressed where Clara's body is chemically imbalanced, but sad to the point of not wanting to do anything else but stay in bed and watch TV. I mean, I go to work and everything because I dont want to get fired with 3 months left here and having to figure out how to eat. Fortunately my job allows me to browse reddit all day and people barely noticed I wasn't in a good mood.

I guess its easy not to notice your bosses mood if they barely talk to you during the day, but at home it was a different story. Malinda had been extra nice to me, at least by comparison. There wasnt any coldness and she let me sleep in the master bedroom the whole week. She had read about my forced break up and apparently decided to let me be.

At least until Sunday, when I had just spent most of the weekend in bed eating Pringles and watching VH1 when Malinda came in, sat on top of the covers next to me, and held up a Pringles can to shake the dust out of it.

"Careful with these, you dont want to get that body fat before you give it back"

"I'm more than a few Pringles away from being considered 'fat'" I grumbled

"You'd think so, but women's bodies gain wait differently" she said trying to sound helpful

"I've been a woman for 3 years. Various types of women. This body is by far the most efficient" I said sounding a little proud

"Maybe" she began "But isnt that because you always go to the gym. Don't you normally go to the gym on Sunday's?"

"I did" I said sadly. "With Annabelle"

"Ah, she got the gym in the breakup" she said understandingly "Do you wanna talk about it?"

"Are you just gonna make snide remarks about gay people?" I asked a little meanly

She hung her head a little bit "No, I promise"

So what started with me just talking about all the things I'd have to change to avoid Annabelle evolved into a rant about the difficulties of finding love when your doomed to be living someone elses life. The whole time she was really supportive and understanding.

"I feel really bad for you." she sympathized "Three years away from your friends and family. I've been away from mine for 9 months and I miss them like crazy."

It was then that we both realized that it was Mother's day. So we called our respective body's mothers and told them that we loved them and listened to updates on family members we've never met and gave fake updates on how our lives were going before hanging up and still feeling sad.

"I've got an idea" Malinda said picking up my laptop

She went to a flower delivery website and typed in the Address for a Grace Cunningham of Highland Park Texas.

"Your Mom?" I guessed

"Yep. Im sending her anonymous flowers with a card saying "you are loved" now give me your credit card and I'll do the same.

This was a surprisingly sweet idea so I didnt mind that the bouquets cost about 100 dollars each for rush delivery on Mother's Day, since Ellen Schmidt of Winnetka, Illinois got flowers from her loving son, even if she didn't know they were from him and she thinks he's off being a jerk. Also, it made me feel a whole lot better. Good enough to shower and go downstairs and drink on the patio with Malinda.

"I feel kinda of bad for them" she said referring to the real Sharon and Alex "If we hadn't taken their lives they'd be well on their way to being mom's right now"

"Yeah, and that body would be the one getting fat" I teased.

"No thank you" she said sucking her belly in "Lesbian or not, I'm not having kids for a few more years. What about you, do you want kids?"

I thought about it for a moment "I don't know if I get a say in that. I suppose I could be in the body of a pregnant woman this fall. Besides, technically I had a kid last year. He was like 22 or something. He never called. Not even on Mother's day"

"Well that life is behind you" she said raising her glass "Here's to a better one next year.

We chatted for a little while longer, my spirits lifted and at the end of the night I thanked her for being so nice.

"No problem" she said "Last thing we need is for you to get depressed, lose your job, and we have to make a living selling stuff that I paint.

"We could sell some of the paintings that are already down there"

"Mabye" she said "But I doubt theres much of a market for paintings of you"

"What?" I asked

"Well not you, Alex. There's tons of them down there. She's Sharon's inspiration I guess. Even a few naked ones" she giggled


"Nuh-Uh,I'll show you"

She led me to the studio which we've been using for storage mostly and started going through a crate of finished canvasses. She finally found the one she was looking for and held it up.

I instantly burst into laughter. I mean, that's really the only thing you can do when you see yourself painted naked, right? In reality it was a pretty good painting, very good attention to detail and pretty flattering. You can tell Sharon intended to show Alex as she saw her.

"My boobs are bigger than that" I joked

"So's your butt" Malinda taunted

In put my hands on it, knowing she was a little right.

"Aww, dont feel bad, I was just joking" she said trying to salvage my body image issues.

We laughed it off and headed back upstairs and talked a little while longer. Before we went to bed she casually said "There are other gyms you know, if you need someone to go with we can go together"

"I'd like that" I said smiling. "Are we friends again?"

"For now" she said with a smile "Who knows, you might even pick up another girlfriend"

I think she was teasing me with that last part but the fact that there wasn't the usual homophobia attached makes me think she's mellowed out a bit. And if not its only a few more months.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Zane Clara: Bad at it.

Every time for the last month, when I try to write in this stupid blog, I get a headache. Whenever I think too hard about what's going on it just fucks me up and I can't keep typing. I want to talk about what I've done and why I'm doing it and why it feels good, but I just can't. You guys kinda know me a bit, right? I'm not that smart. I can't deal with this. But even idiots like me need to live their lives, need to make choices.

I started sleeping with Wes in March. I made that decision a long time ago. Honestly, the first time I met him I thought "If I was into guys I'd like this dude." Then I thought "Hey I guess I kind of am into guys." And then he told me he'd help me out with some money if I just let him... well...

He said he was just doing me a favour, that we were getting really close and he wanted to use his money to help me, but we know what the real deal was. He wanted to control me. All those nice dinners (which I didn't eat because I hardly never eat) and wine and champagne, all those dresses he bought me which I only wear for him. Those long looks... and I knew if I didn't let him in, the money, Clara's medicine, and MY TRIP could be gone.

No, I couldn't handle it at first. It was too real. I drank, and it reacted bad with my drugs. Just talking about that with him... admitting to him I was a fucked up person and that he should probably find someone else... was so hard, because I don't remember the last time I had that kind of conversation. But he stuck with me and it was worth it.

I remember lowering myself onto his cock for the first time like I was slipping into a hot tub. It was good, and not... and it takes a while to go from bad too good, and then it gets great, and then... it stops.

You guys... he is not good at sex.

I've fucked him, I don't know, three times a week for a month and a half. And I'm pretty sure he's just bad at it. At first I thought it was because I wasn't used to it. I didn't know how I was supposed to feel about having this thing inside me because I won't even use tampons or a dildo when I play with myself. I tried to get into it, to bounce extra hard when I was on top, but he just kept drilling like a fucking jackhammer when all I wanted was something... I dunno, softer, more delicate. I'm starting to "get" women, which is weird since I've been one for so long now. He never does foreplay, never eats me out, he can hardly even last, he always wants to come on my chest.

I thought maybe it was just this body... that after all the anti-depressants and alcohol and just generally feeling like shit, maybe Clara was broken down there, but when I finally got the guts to really get "in there" myself, I found that, yeah, oh wow, everything felt good. Some nights I can feel myself just starting to get into it, but then he finishes.

I don't want to talk about some of the other stuff I've had to do for him, specifically, but it basically amounts to: he picks me up, we talk and pretend like we're going out, maybe share a meal or a coffee, find ourselves back at his place, and start going at it. I thought it was going to be really passionate, with kissing and cuddling and stuff... and I dunno why I'm disappointed it's not like that, but it seems very mechanical. Then when my boredom starts to show, I have to start pretending like I'm really into it, making all the moaning noises I would want to hear if I was the guy, so he doesn't realize how badly it's going and cancel our deal.

I also feel like everyone in the house can tell. They think I'm a slut. Why is it so stressful doing something I thought I was supposed to like? I never asked to be a girl, never wanted to look at a guy that way, but I do, and I have this guy who obviously likes doing it with me, why is it so lame? Now I realize why chicks don't wanna bang every guy they meet... ugh.

I just need to hang in there another month or so.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Greg/Alexis: Breaking Up and Breaking Off

In Canada I learned some valuable lessons, just not the ones I had hoped to learn. I arrived with the hope of becoming an expert at living somebody elses life only to leave with the warning that if you're not careful the inn could turn you into somebody who doesn't care at all. Now I'm left trying to figure out the balance on my own. One thing I did learn and decide on probably before even going up there was clear: I was going to have to end my affair with Annabelle.

Yesterday I told her to meet me for coffee at Starbucks, which is something we never do. Normally we go out of drinks and neither of us goes to Starbucks ever. I did this because if there was a great big scene I didn't want to be known as "the girl who fought her girlfriend really loudly" at a place I frequent.

She was there first, sitting at a table sipping on some frozen coffee thing. When she saw me she held it up.

"This is terrible. Why did you want to meet at this place again? she asked

"Change of pace" I said quickly sitting down

"Whatever" she said "You arent going to believe what happened at the gym while you were in Canada--" she began

"We need to talk" I interrupted, feeling nervous and awkward. My abruptness made her face change, alerting her that something was up.

"Go ahead" she said nervously

"We need to stop....doing what we've been doing. Sleeping together. Sharon and I are going to try to patch things up" I figured that was true on several levels and a great rationale.

"She's gonna treat you like garbage again. You'll just fight more. You two have really grown apart lately" she told me as if I should know already.

"I shouldn't have cheated on her" I began "When I should have been working on my marriage I stepped out of it and I shouldn't have involved you. It just happened because we were such close friends. You really meant a lot to me these past few--"

"Spare me" she said in a voice that was both angry and sad "It was just sex to you. She was holding out on you and you got hornier and hornier, I could tell. I knew where it was going all I had to do was wait for you to say yes."

I hung my head. That was a little surprising. She was pretty intuitive. "I'm sorry I used you" not even bothering to defend my actions anymore, just wanting the moment to be over.

She sighed and shook her head "It's college all over again"

That remark confused me, and I called the real Alexis today to tell her what happened and got the back story. Apparently Alexis and Annabelle were floormates their freshmen year in college. They met on the first day and within a week came out to each other. This was 10 years ago or so when it wasn't as cool to be gay as it was back then, so they went to a lot of student organizations together and relied upon each other for support. Apparently Annabelle developed a crush on Alexis.

Alex always knew but didn't love her like that so they just stayed friends. Eventually Alexis and Sharon became friends and a couple months later Sharon came out of the closet and they lived happily ever after and Annabelle in the friend zone.

Until this year, when her old crush has marital troubles and looks to her for friendship and advice and eventually more. Getting her hopes up only to pull the rug out a few months later. So yeah, I messed up this woman's life.

I stood up and paid for her coffee. "Its probably best if we didn't hang out for awhile" I said quietly and she agreed. It wasn't what I wanted, but the level of awkward between the two of them and the healing required is going to be longer term than I'm able to do since I'm leaving Burlington in August. The real Alexis can start the road to friendship again when they're ready.

I left the Starbucks thinking it went well, but no sooner had I pulled down the street in the Ranger Rover than I started to tear up. I tried to keep my emotions in check while driving but when I got home Malinda wasn't there which was good because I ran up to the bedroom, buried my face in the pillow and started sobbing.

I was the one who had messed things up, so what right did I have to feel so bad? This wasn't even the first time I have broken off a relationship in another person's life, I did it last year when I let my friend with benefit down easy. This somehow felt different. It wasn't just sex to me. Annabelle was a good friend to me and my my transition into this life easier. We started having sex not because I was so horny, but because we were close enough to be intimate with each other.

In another life, I could see Annabelle and I together. Of course not my old life, I'd have to be a lesbian in that life too, just not married to another woman. It was like getting a glimpse of finding out what the life would have been like before having to give it up not because of my relationship with her, but because of my body's relationship with someone else, hurting us both in the process.

I cried a little at work today but I'm slowly getting over it. Is this going to be a yearly occurrence? Am I going to get attached to someone only to have to say good bye? Is that why Fletcher is such a douche, becuase he's spent a few decades not being able to connect with somebody long term?

As usual with the Inn, ever answer brings three more questions


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Greg/Alexis: Traveling (wo)Man

I'm back in Vermont now, so if anyone is worried that I ran away, I didn't. Tori was confused by the end of my lest post and sent me a frantic email. I regret ending the last post the way I did but I was tired and the Hotel Wi-Fi is spotty.

I left Bangor that morning and drove east over the border to Fredericton, New Brunswick. It's a good thing I grabbed Alex's passport, because you need one to go to Canada these days. (Little FYI for all of you out there, the law changed a few years back).

Fredericton is a nice city, not huge and pretty. But I wasn't there for sightseeing, I was there to speak to Tanya Kearns, or at least the person who appeared to be Tanya Kearns, who's real name is Fletcher.

Fletcher, if you havent been paying close attention, is a Traveler, someone who goes to the inn over and over again to get a new body. Which is what I've become by default. He met Alia "Sam/Max/Ellie" back in 2010, when he was part of an old married couple. Alia's post mentioning him and the concept of "traveling" is what convinced me to break out of my depression and start blogging again.

Anyway, Tanya was the sister of Melanie, who was the girlfriend of Max. This summer a guy named Roger had his old body stolen and Fletcher worked it so he wound up in Max's and in the process, he wound up in Tanya's. Everyone got that? Good. It's confusing as hell so if you have to re read it, go ahead.

Anyway, I had wriggled Tanya's contact info out of "Ellie" and had her meet me in the bar of the hotel I was staying at. I had sent her a pic on her phone so she'd know how to find me.

I was on my second drink when a girl started waving at me from across the bar. She was just as described on the blog, I think. Brunette with blonde streaks, with a body type that could be described as "fluffy." I mean, after spending a year as Dee, I'm hesitant to call ANY other woman fat, but this girl was muffintopping - and I guess, to her credit, she wasn't ashamed of it. She was dressed in a way that didn't suggest "a former man embarrassed of his female body," with a mini-skirt halfway up her thigh (in chilly Canadian weather!) and spaghetti strap top - which did not conceal her pink bra; a push-up number. She waved me over to a booth once we were certain we knew each other.

"Alexis?" she asked, and then said "Or is it 'Alexis'" this time with finger-quotes.

"It's more like the second one," I told her, "But you don't have to do the fingers. I just won't be Alexis much

She looked me up and down. I was wearing khaki slacks and a green blouse. "So you're a lesbian, right? I can tell from the hair."

I was a bit put off by the small talk, but I admitted "Yeah, after a few years of really girly bodies, it was nice to do something more comfortable."

She said, "Dyke style. I like it." I gritted my teeth instead of objecting out loud. She continued.

"Well I'd say you seem a bit uptight but I've read your recent activities and it doesn't seem like you need to loosen up any more than you already did... if you know what I mean. Gotta say, it's true, nobody knows a woman's body like another woman. I bet you really liked that."

"Yeah," I said, squirming in my seat. Talking on the blog is one thing, but being grilled about my sex life in person really made me uncomfortable. "Sounds like you know something about that."

She smiled that really evil smile of hers. Based on descriptions of her previous bodies, it must be the person inside, not the girl herself. "I'm an adventurous type," she said, sipping her beer. "And I've had a lot of opportunities, since I've been in a lot of bodies."

"How many?"

"That's a trade secret." She didn't seem to want to talk too much about her past. "But if you think it's shocking to be a lesbo, you should try being a gay dude. Especially one that's married to a chick and doesn't even tell you he likes dudes." She paused. "So what can I do for you?"

"I just want advice. You go back to the inn all the time... how do you manage these peoples' lives without totally destroying them?"

"Oh honey," she said in a patronizing tone, placing her hand on my shoulder, "There's your first mistake. Worrying about something like destroying a person's life."

"You mean you just do as you please?"

"I do what's best. I have the body. If I'm in a situation where I want something, I take it, and I don't think twice."

"But don't you worry about giving these people their lives back? Making it easy, so they can pick up where they left off?"

"I don't take requests, babe. I do what I think is right, but right for me. I don't like being controlled."

"Must be nice for you to be able to think that way," I said bitterly, "Was your old life ever wrecked?"

She got this faraway look in her eyes, like something really spooky was going through her mind, and she said quietly, "My old, old, old first life? The person I started out as? One day I got the call that that person had to make a choice, a choice I knew I couldn't have made, and when that decision was final, I knew there was no going back. I didn't blame him for what he had to do, it just showed me that you can really only move forward."

"I didn't have to ruin Alex's life, though. I didn't need to see Annabelle."

"If you're trying to keep everything in mint condition, then you fucked up the minute you stepped into Alexis' shoes. The minute you met Annabelle, the minute you planted the idea in her head that Alexis was an option for her, it was done. Because that probably wouldn't have happened to the real Alexis, but it did. It's not your fault, it’s hers for liking you."

"Hey," I started to get really mad, "I'm not blaming Annabelle for this!"

"Well you're not the one to blame either, hon. It's not natural to deny yourself happiness, to suffer so someone else can maintain their stupid comfort zone. You don't last as long in life as I have by playing it safe. You keep going back long enough, you realize some things can't be helped. Don't be a hero, girl."

I said quietly, into my drink, "I don't think I want to be like you."

She smiled. Instead of taking offense, I think she understood. "Your loss."

I sighed and changed the subject. "I just hope my next body is something easy. Like a regular boring married guy."

"Anything's possible," she shrugged, taking another drink, "But with your shitty-ass luck, you'll end up a 5-year-old girl with parents who wanna keep you from going back."

"Oh God, that sounds like a nightmare!"

She smiled "Happened to a buddy of mine. Just turned 12, poor kid." She gave me advice on what to do if something extreme happens: if I end up as a kid, or old. She also said not to worry if I didn't go back every year. "I'm not saying get too comfortable, but some bodies are worth keeping a while. I think I'm gonna stay here this summer."

I didn't say anything but I must have had a disbelieving face on. "Oh don't be such a bitch. It's got a few more pounds and more miles on the odometer than a body this age should, but some of the boys love it, and it's lower maintenance than some skinny bitch who only eats lettuce."

I thanked her for her time, and told her I was going to go to the ladies' room, then head back to my hotel. When I got out of the stall, she was waiting for me by the sink.

"Now hold up," she said. "You're telling me you came all this way, and all you wanted was to talk?"

"Yeah, pretty much."

"I'm insulted," she said mockingly. "With all your lady-troubles, you'd pass up a shot at some no-consequences girl on girl? I bet you eat pussy like a champ now, and don't even pretend like you haven't been ogling my tits all night."

"Don't flatter yourself. Between Annabelle, Malinda, and myself, you've got the fourth best set of tits I've seen lately. I never thought I'd say this, but I have enough women on my case nowadays. Besides, aren't you straight, not gay?"

She smiled that evil grin again, "I don't know what those words mean anymore."

As we parted at the exit, she turned to me and said "Last piece of advice before you go: Don't be too trusting. The inn makes it really easy to lie, even to other people that go. I'm one of the good ones, but there's others, people that really know how to fuck a person over."

That was something I had never considered before, and stuck with me the whole way home. I thanked her for that, and laughed to myself about her being one of the "good ones." She shook my hand and went back inside, saying "Well, time to go get laid." Charming.

Back in the hotel room I thought about what she had said. I didnt want to become some disaffected hedonist who did whatever felt good with someone elses life, but I also didn't like the idea of being constrained by every little rule they had. I resolved to find a happy medium and be a better Traveler than Fletcher, even if that meant breaking things off with Annabelle and continuing my marriage illusion to Malinda.

I took the long way home and paid for it, the weather was a bitch in the northeast last weekend and it took me 3 days to get back to Burlington.

When I got back to the condo I put my luggage at the door and went upstairs to collapse on the bed. Malinda was in the master bedroom already and when she sighed and her face was almost reassured "You're back" she whispered

"Yep" I said "Someone's gotta earn the money"

She smiled. "I should thank you for that, by the way" she said "I dont know if I ever have before."

I gave her a puzzled look "No problem"

"I've been sleeping in the bed, I can move if you need it" she offered.

"Nah, I'll sleep on the couch. We'll trade off later" I told her, repaying her kindess.

As I was leaving she spat out "Sorry I hit you"

"It's ok, sorry I rubbed the whole gay thing in your face. I know it's a big shock"

"This whole thing is a big shock, and all youve ever done is try to help me through it. I hope you know I appreciate it even if I dont show it"

So now I'm on my couch and Malinda is pleasant again. We've got 2 or 3 months left in these bodies, lets hope things stay that way.