Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Rosie/Ahmir: My life so far

So, since Erin is opening up about her - sorry, his - attempts at dating, I guess I will too: There haven't been any.

It was kind of disappointing when Saraya told me she was going to start dating other people, that whatever we were doing as just a bit of fun and that she wanted "a real man." She saw me more like a "gay friend" even if I'm not "officially" gay - being around me is apparently too much like being with a woman, which is fair enough since I am one. But she didn't have to lead me on so much. She didn't seem to think very much of it, and that sort of hurts. It's not like I was in love with her, and I definitely wasn't looking for a relationship, but I think I was having a lot of fun being alone together.

She helped get me out of my head and made me feel pretty normal. Erin tries to do that, too, but I think when we're around each other we spend too much time thinking about our situation. Saraya barely seems to think about it. Being in a new skin is like she just changed her wardrobe: she's still relatively attractive, and young, she just has a different color palette.

She also doesn't think about race stuff as much as I do, even though I feel like it's shoved in our faces a lot of the time.

I feel so uncomfortable around everyone. I feel uncomfortable around white people because they make me feel like I'm something else. I'm uncomfortable around black people because I feel like they can tell I'm not one of them. I wouldn't say my life as a white woman is (was?) cushy... they're both tough, and most days I would give anything to switch places with Erin and have the freedom to just worry about living my life and "having a good time." It took me three months to get a haircut because Ahmir uses a "black" barber shop and I was petrified to go in because I felt like I was violating their space. In the meantime my "afro" got very out of control.

In the short time I've been here I've been called the n-word a few times, both by meanspirited white people (while I was just standing around on the street minding my own business) and Ahmir's friends, using the friendly version with no R on the end... and in respond I just say "Man" or "Buddy" because I'm not comfortable using that kind of language no matter how I look.

Out of everyone else writing on this blog, I think only Jonah/Krystle gets what I'm going through and even he seems to have very different take on it than I do (maybe I've become a bit like he used to be in his original life?)

What's that show called? "Black-ish?" That's how I feel now... except my skin is very dark so to the rest of the world I'm just "black."

It's freaky. It's been 6 months and I still get surprised sometimes at seeing these massive dark hands in front of my face.

There's some advantages. I like being big... I was already pretty large (5'10 and weighing more than you need to know) and the world hated me, pitied me for it, because I wasn't a dainty gal. I didn't look good, didn't feel good... the men who were interested in me thought I should feel lucky to have their attention. Now I take up almost the same amount of space (less, actually, since my booty shrunk quite a bit) but it's like I'm supposed to. Men are "supposed" to be big and brawny. Take all the space they need. Finding clothes isn't a problem. I have muscles... although not as many as I did when I started since I don't go to the gym or anything. I like looking men in the eyes or shaking their hands and feeling like they see me as something of an equal.

In my normal life I was working as a school receptionist. They don't usually hire men for those jobs so I didn't bother applying. Ahmir was working construction, and even if I have the body for it I'm not really interested in that sort of thing, so I hooked up with a temp agency and have had a few contract jobs, nothing consistent or fulfilling but it mostly pays the bills. It's strange to keep having to meet new people and get their impression of me (soft-spoken large black man who is secretly a 30-year-old white woman?) and I haven't had the chance to get comfortable anywhere. That's what my life is... a constant cycle of learning the ropes and counting the days until I "get to" go back to normal.

I don't want to judge Erin for "having it easy." S/he's aware of the difference in our situations and tries not to rub it in my face. I'm really happy if she can find ways to enjoy this. Maybe I will too.

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