Thursday, September 27, 2018

Jordan/Yuan-wei: Yes, It's Me, In the Sari

I dunno if Annette is going to make a post about the wedding on this blog, but I figure I'll leave all the really touristy, holy-shit-I'm-really-doing-this stuff to her, because as anybody who has seen her Facebook page over the last couple weeks can attest, she is really into doing that right now.  And who can blame her, really?  She's been an Indian-American dude, but only really did stuff that emphasized the "Indian" part of that a few times, plus it's all so foreign to everyone she knows in her "real" life that they more or less demand every second be documented, and she has happily complied.

We planned it so that our flights arrived in Mumbai at about the same time, and then Kareena was there to pick us up.  There was a lot of hugging before Kareena told us that we weren't just attending, but would be part of the bridal party.  "Mummydaddy didn't want that at first, since it's usually just family and closest friends, but I didn't think it was right that either of you should be off in the back, since me and Jor -- that is, Benny -- wouldn't be together without you two, I insisted."  She looked panicked for a second.  "It's that too much?  Maybe you wanted to be anonymous--"

Annette, at least, was down for it.  "Hell, no, just be warned - I am going to be the worst gawking American with her phone out all the time!  How 'bout you, Jordo?"

I have to admit, I had kind of figured it would be like René at my graduation, there but kind of just out of curiosity, but I also know I wasn't going to watch my own wedding without Annette there for moral support, so what the hell else could I do but say yes?  Which meant a quick drive into the city, where Kareena had some pretty specific ideas for what we needed in terms of outfits.

Also, that our plans to fight jet lag and be really fresh for the second days ceremonies were kind of dashed, because now we had to be at the ganesh pooja, and while it was a nice ceremony, it was kind of uncomfortable.  Benny was there, so they weren't conducting it entirely in Hindi, but I think that they would have otherwise just to spite us.  Kareena had been necessity vague about how we fit into her going from a not-quite-arranged marriage to what they see as rushing into things with Ravi's old roommate, so they think maybe one of us slept with him or was rejected and faked evidence of him being gay or something like that.  Since some of have probably been putting some way to get Kareena and Ravi back together for the last couple years, we're not exactly welcome guests to them.

The atmosphere was a little different the next morning as we all got our hands and feet painted at the mehndi ceremony; that was almost all Kareena's girlfriends and they just saw it as romantic, wanting details of how everything went down.  We kept to the story about how "Jordan" used to be a big gamer and "Yuan-wei" was one of the folks he regularly played with, that I met Annette at some college-night thing, we took a trip to New York, and one or the other of us noticed some sort of chemistry between him and Kareena, especially once he started getting into shape.  It's a cover story that sounds like one when Annette and I hear it, but I guess it sounds reasonable to everyone else.

It takes a while and I feel genuinely weird looking at my skin afterward.  The henna patterns look like tattoos and I don't know that I really like that.  I never got one back in my original life, didn't even consider my body my own as Deirdre, and just never saw how injecting ink into my skin was going to make me better-looking since becoming Yuan-wei, especially since I could still  remember Mom & Dad saying that there could come a time when I didn't want one,  and figured that went double for chicks.  I put on makeup and jewelry and sometimes do prosthetics for movies and Halloween and shit, but seeing my body as an artistic medium was weird, even if I'm probably more used to it as malleable than most.

The sangeet was that night, and I nearly had a heart attack when I saw Mom, Dad, Max, and Bingbing arrive and sit down away from me, with Benny.  When I didn't see them, I could kind of put the fact that the Inn cut me off from my family out of mind, but this hit me a lot fucking harder than expected, them traveling to the other side of the world for Benny.  It also removed me that I hadn't just come here out of obligation, and that Benny hadn't agreed to the big Indian wedding to make Kareena happy.  We were trying to get them into a state of mind where we could tell them the truth.

Annette grabbed my hand and was an awesome friend through this, but I didn't get much sleep after, and the next morning, as we all helped Kareena get ready, I really wondered about some stuff for the first time.  She looked so damn beautiful and happy, and I thought about how is always just fucking dismissed her back when she was sort of Ravi's girlfriend, I guess because of the whole arrangement that seemed to drop her in his lap, but I couldn't help going down the what-if path, like, if I'd been in shape, would she have been attracted to me the same way she was to Benny?  Then maybe I never go to the Inn, or I wind up taking Max or something, and, nope, just gross.  And maybe Annette has nobody who can help her out and gets in a real mess as Yuan-wei, or Benny steals Kareena from me...

It'll drive you nuts if you go down that rabbit hole, so I dug out and just got through the wedding.  I haven't really been to a lot, but, man, these Indian ones are colorful and festive compared to Western ones with churches and bland suits - there was horses drums, and fire!  It lasted a while, but it was good for gawking, and then there was the reception with food, music, and so much dancing.

I was a bit creeps out when the first Chinese guy asked me to dance, but he was like a second cousin, and even if we were still blood relations, well, that's not that close, and he was respectful enough when I removed his hand from my ass.  That I hadn't seen any of them for fifteen years made a lot of difference, as did the fact that, by and large, they were kind of a nice break between Kareena's male relatives and friends and neighbors and all.  Don't get me wrong, the Indian dudes are all cool and fun, and I've got no fucking problem with guys seeing me as hot in part because I'm different, but the confidence and directness was a bit much, especially the ones who pushed the conversation to marriage awful quick and then boasted about the size of their parents' house.

Still, I had a lot more fun than I'd ever had at one of these as a guy, to the point that I was still going strong when Annette tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to my parents, who were winding down and making their way to tell Benny and Kareena they were done for the night.  I made my way back to my seat to collect the shoes I had taken off earlier (we were well into the barefoot dancing stage of things) and Annette went to find Max.  We all meet up in the hallway and told them that we had something important to tell them, although Annette and Bingbing stayed behind in the hall when we got to Mom's and Dad's guest room.

Dad asked what this was about, and Benny looked at me.  "Should you start, or should I...?"

"Oh God, they're in some sort of weird poly thing."

I think we all looked a little shocked to hear my mom say that, but Kareena recovered first.  "No!  But, honey, I think you have to start."

Benny nodded, and turned to my parents.  "Okay.  Well, them, here goes.  I'm, uh, I'm not your son.  She is."

I looked at him.  "Oh, that's fucking eloquent.  Real sense of the moment you've got there."

My Dad looked at Benny, then me, then back to Benny.  "I'm afraid I don't get the joke, son, or why you'd do this tonight of all nights."

"It's not a joke, Da-- Mister Chang.  There's this cursed beach house in Maine, and it turns people into the last person to stay there.  I stayed there after Jordan, like, four years ago, and we were going to all change back, but that's how I met Kareena, so we didn't."

"Think back, Dad - didn't we think it was weird that Jordan suddenly started to become easy to get along with and care about his health when he came back from that trip to Maine with Ravi?"

I gave him a look.  "You know, you could have mentioned suddenly no longer speaking Chinese and changing jobs...

"Stop it!"  Mom looked at us.  "This isn't funny, and Kareena, I would not think you would be a part of the boys doing this."

"I wouldn't if it was a joke, Mama Chang, but we kind of have to.  Jordan, the new Jordan, he tried to tell me five times - he hates keeping anything from me - but the curse protects itself even beyond it being hard to believe.  I always thought it was just a metaphor for him trying to change his life until the night he proposed, and I realized he wouldn't risk that moment unless he really meant it.  That's the only time the truth can get into your mind, when your life is already changing.  We were just hoping this was going to be a big change for you, and not just us."

"That's--"  She looked at me.  "Tell me something only my Jordan would know."


Mom gave Dad a look, then turned back to me.  "Come on, make me believe this."

So I did, and if I made sure to do it in Cantonese so that Benny and Kareena didn't understand, I'm sure as fuck not putting it on the Internet for anyone to read.

They didn't quite seem to believe us, but Dad was getting angry anyway.  "This doesn't make sense!  You say you could turn back but didn't, and how do you know if this is supposed to be protected?" He looked hard at Max, who stammered that was a while other story.

"It's part of mine.  There are some bad people out there that use the Inn, and Max got caught up."

"So you say.  But even if this is true, why tell us?  Why make us feel like fools?"

"Don't you want to know, Mom?  I mean, okay, things are going to be weird, but the weird things have explanations now!"

"Do they?  Even if this is all true, you said you could have changed back, but you didn't, even after someone else hit the gym for you!  Why didn't you?"

"Benny and Kareena--"

"Bullshit!"  Dad moved his gaze between me and Benny.  "I love my son, but that's not like you.  You could be so selfish!"

That fucking hurt.  "Do you have any idea what it's like to see someone take your life and improve it?  To just watch someone make your body and then make friends and get a great girl and even find a job he doesn't hate and just absolutely know that you're going to fuck it up?  It's goddamn terrifying, and I thought I was going to get into a very different situation instead of this!"

This time Mom was the one looking between us, not sure exactly what she should believe our who she should address.  "I...  I hope you don't think we loved you more just because--"

She started to well up, and I grabbed her hands.  "No!  And even if you did, that would have just meant that you were proud of me.  You couldn't have known!"

Our faces were close, enough for her to see my makeup, or my cleavage if she looked down a little.  "You do understand that is hard to look at you and see my son."

"It's been four years, Mom.  More than enough time to figure out bras and heels and lipstick."

"But I saw you on the dance floor, and you seemed so... enthusiastic.  Does that mean that before, you were--"

"Trans?  I don't think so - I'm hardly the first guy to visit the Inn and eventually be okay with the change to female, like it makes the new you the real you somehow.  But I dunno.  I'm into my appearance more, but I don't know if that means this is more 'right' or I've learned some sort of lesson or I just still like looking at hot chicks and that includes the mirror in the morning.  But the important stuff hadn't changed.  I still love Halloween and Hong Kong movies and the Mets.  I'm good with computers and still like to draw, and now I get to use them together."

I think that's when Mom really started to believe, although Dad needed a little more convincing.  We went through a lot of the last four years, although we didn't fill them in on all the details - I don't know enough about Bingbing's deal to spill and Max won't, and we left out the part about Max getting fucked by Annette. 

I guess it's good that they wanted to know a lot about Jacky and Ernesto - if they still thought I was just some random girl, they wouldn't really care about my (ex) (not really) boyfriends.  Or maybe they would.  On the other hand, they didn't say I should be paying off the student loans that Benny inherited, which I kind of expected.

So, I don't know if I'll be invited to Thanksgiving, or if Benny will be, or what.  But, man, is it a fucking load off.


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Tyler/Valerie: Not settling

I spent the rest of the summer, after donating Cynthia's body and life to the original Valerie, just kind of sitting with my decision. I didn't have any plans or ideas about what to do with myself now that I knew who I was going to be for the rest of my life. I hadn't thought that far. I just knew it was the right thing to do, even if it wasn't necessarily what I wanted.

Basically I've been living half a life, even less than when I thought I was going back to the inn. I got up in the morning, got dressed and did my hair, and served coffee. I spoke as little as I could with my roommates. I went to Vermont a few times to see Meg - who was very understanding about my choice how to move forward as Val, maybe a little too much so. Years later I think what she liked about me was that when we got to know each other I was like a "little sister," so me being female works for her. (She doesn't like this interpretation but this is my post, hah.) We're still friends, and working on being closer than ever now that the door to us being together is truly closed.

All year I've kind of been writing on this clean slate that I got after Josh left Valerie for his ex. I had my fling with Rafe, and then my unfortunate encounter with Ryan that left me feeling really terrible, since he played me and went back with Alexa, and brought up all these issues that have been in me since the wedding. It's hard not to be bitter about how that went down. He and Alexa spent the rest of the summer in California and we didn't talk.

I've been avoiding all my problems by working a lot, both at the coffee shop and as an increasingly clutch waitress at the caterer. At home I've just been tiptoeing around the apartment, trying to be seen and heard as little as possible, and working up the nerve to make a change. I never used to doubt myself when I was male - if I didn't like a situation I would pack up and leave without hesitation, but I can't muster that energy so easily as a woman. That bothers me.

I am pleased to say that after being a magnet for it, I haven't indulged much male drama since re-upping as Val. I have a whole life ahead of me so I'm not in a rush to meet someone new, and I may even end up as a spinster... although it would be a waste of my youth, looks, and all the time I spent getting comfortable with enjoying sex as a woman. I just don't have a burning need for it right now.

Looking back I'm a little embarrassed by how the first six months of this year went down. I blame Josh. About a year ago he did some voodoo to me that made me realize I could fall in love with a guy if I let myself open up to it, and after he dropped the bomb, it left me very unresolved and needy. But hey, Tyler Blake has always been in love with love, too.

Rafe and I are actually talking again, after a long awkward summer. I think he understands why I ended it...mind you, a lot of that was spurred on by the idea that I was going back to the Inn. But the official story, which is the true story no matter what, is that I was not really happy just being a sexual object for him and getting nothing back (besides some consistently good sex.) I think I can have it all, I think it's out there for me, I just need to be patient and find it and not settle.

I mean, I settled for being Valerie, but that doesn't mean I have to settle in other ways. I can move, quit my job, date whomever I want... the future's wide open.

But about Rafe: it's good to have him as a friend again, to joke around and flirt innocently. He'll see me standing on a milk crate to reach something high up in storage, and instead of offering to reach it for me, he'll admonish me for being too proud to ask, then try to tickle my midsection while my shirt is riding up. (Sue me, I like the attention so I egg him on a little bit.) He says he's seeing someone, but it's not serious, which I think is his way of hinting that he would get back with me if I wanted it... but I think if he's happy and she's happy, that's great. I don't miss him.

I do miss my friendship with Ryan, but that will never be back. He's asked me to sing some more with him, and my response is always a polite no, with the secret meaning of "You son of a bitch."

Pete and I have spent surprisingly little time together - April actually lives in Jersey, and she works in Manhattan, so it's kind of the opposite way to get to Brooklyn, but we've texted a fair bit and she really wants to do a big catch-up in person.

Maddie and I have talked about moving in together when her lease is up in October, and she won't let this "We have to start a business" idea die. And now that I have all this time on my hands, this  whole future ahead to define my Val-ness, it's starting to sound appealing. I still occasionally think how cute and sweet she is, and it's the one thing in me that still feels male -- I feel like I really missed the boat by settling for being her friend.

Then I get home, hole up in my room, take my bra off, and study makeup tips on YouTube and think, wow... I really am a fuckin' girl.

Nothing to be ashamed of.

-A girl named Tyler (Or Valerie)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Pete/April: My New Role

I have to admit, it was strange changing from being Brigette to April. From being a tall, lean, beauteous African-American goddess to being a petite, even mousy-looking office girl was very trippy. But I've come to like it. As much as I happen to think April is a pretty girl, she doesn't turn heads the way that Brigette did. I foudn her wardrobe is distinctly not geared toward dropping jaws or showing anything off - more for comfort and cuteness. She does have an LBD or two in the wardrobe but her body isn't exactly glamorous.

It's been an adjustment. I feel like I can't just walk into a place with the same attention-grabbing energy that I had as Brigette. In fact, on my first day at Homeward, I tried using the same attitude toward people that I had as Brigette - which some would call overbearing but I call confident - and by noon people were asking what had gotten into me, and I got the sense that I needed to tone it down, that they were used to a very subdued, quietly intelligent April. No big deal, I can do that.

I mean, I could have said "This is the new me, deal with it" but truth be told, I don't feel it in myself anymore. I look in the mirror and I see this person and I feel compelled to act how I think she would - which is the approach that I think annoyed Daryl when we went out together as Elaine and Brig, but now it's totally different too.

Now I'm Asian instead of Black... I did feel like I was losing something I had become very fond of, although some of my Inn friends have pointed out that it's kind of icky that I relished being non-white the way I did/do. And I'm sorry but I feel like you're either going to mope about it or you're going to embrace it and I chose the latter, and I still do. Two days after I got back to the City, a guy on the street asked me for directions, then when I hesitated, he snapped angrily, "Do you even speak English?" I responded by muttering some Asian-sounding gibberish and walking away. I get the sense that this is something that might happen a few more times before my time as April is over.

So. I'm April, personal assistant to Homeward CEO and Founder Lena Howard, a (small-scale, relatively speaking) would-be lifestyle maven. I let David know right off the bat just how lucky he was to have me, because no matter what you think of how I choose to live my life I have always conducted myself with the utmost competence and dignity in the workplace. I all but secured Brigette a promotion following her return.. I've worked in a lot of different fields. I've seen things, I know things. Yes, I'm capable of arranging someone's calendar.

So we've become sort of a two-headed boss. It's funny to read about Jenn wishing she had become Lena because I was thinking the same thing; it would make things so much easier for me, and would probably take less of a toll on those kids and their relationship. But we have to play the hand we're dealt. So I watch David grope around trying to get the hang of managing a company (I told you it's small time, only about 100 people) and deal with people beneath him and leave the decisions to the department heads. He just has to show up, nod and smile, dress as Jenn directs him to, and follow my lead, and maybe by the end of the year people won't think poor Lena's totally lost touch.

The sad thing about all this is where it leaves my personal life. As I watched Tyler's datebook fill up - even as dramatic as she can be some times (highly entertaining don't you think?) I wished I could join in on the scene, but I had promised Brigette I wouldn't entangle her with any relationships. It seems only fair that I offer April the same courtesy since the whole world thinks she's still with Zack, Whatever happens between Jenn and David, they're pretty well in it together, so that leaves me as the third wheel - as usual - left at home with myself.

(Looks down)

Well, it could be worse ;)


Friday, September 14, 2018

Jenn/Zack: Penthouse

It has been a difficult few weeks, to put it mildly. This situation has put thrown already-somewhat-struggling relationship with David for a loop. I have to get used to moving around the world looking like an entirely different person - a male at that. I have to learn a new job and move to a big, intimidating city where I never expected to find myself.

Frankly, peeing in a standing position is not worth this at all. I'll continue to sit out of protest.

For our last few days at the Inn, things were what they were, and I let him process it. I tried to be there for him but he still wouldn't really let me in. To his credit he tamped down the verbal complaints, but that didn't make him any more fun. Luckily we had Pete to cut the tension by by taking us through the steps. She's been extremely valuable, even fun to talk to. Getting her reflections on her time as Brigette and some of the other things she's been and done really heartened me. I hope she starts to post again.

When we arrived in New York, the first thing we did was visit Lena's penthouse condo. I was in awe. I mean, obviously she's got fantastic home decor taste - beautiful furniture, amazing accents and throws, an incredible kitchen. I went to her bathroom and was totally gobsmacked at her selection of skin creams and home spa materials. Then there's the clothes, the cosmetics, the jewelry! I spent hours and hours just ogling it all. It was so exciting I think I got my first erection. (OMG kidding.)

So while I'm going nuts over all this treasure, David is just nodding along, "Uh huh, that's nice, whatever." And I know it's not his thing, but I wish he understood. Maybe a time will come when he's interested in learning more about it and we can bond over that. I mean, maybe I'm just selfish or I'm looking for a project to keep me busy, or I think it's just such a shame if all this stuff goes unused, but I'd love to walk him through it and see if he develops a taste for it. Maybe it's just for me... maybe it's like having a real life doll to play with.

Gah. So not fair.

So we got to the bedroom and there's this beautiful king-sized bed. And we share this look like, "Oooh boy, this is gonna be a talk."

He sits down on the bed and lays his hand on his breast - a weird little motion he keeps doing to remind himself this is all real. I sit beside him, sure to keep my distance. He goes, "Sooo..."

I cut him off, because it hurts less if I say it: "I think there's a guest room down the hall. If you want, I can..."

"That what you want?"

I take a moment, "Not really," I say.

A long pause.

"I'm tryin' here," he says.

"I know," I say. I want to lean in and kiss him or touch him in some way but I know that will scare him.

"I look at you and... well, you're a guy now."

"I'm still me inside," I'm quick to say. "I'm not just a guy, I'm your girlfriend, and I happen to be going through the same thing you are, more or less. I don't want you to be afraid to get close to me. I know the body thing is a barrier, that you would never feel a certain way about a person who looks like this, but... I'm asking. I'm begging you, to make some kind of exception and try to see me for who I am. Don't push me away... the only way we're going to survive this year is if we do it together."

He took a long pause and looked away, but I found his eyes - the eyes of Lena Howard - and tried to see my David in there. I know he's in there, and if I can see it, I hoped, so could he.

He rested his hand on mine - his aged, slender fingers on my big mitt.

We looked at each other.

Almost as a reflex, I tilted my head forward for a kiss, but stopped myself. I was embarrassed because I thought that would be the last thing he would want, even if I'm starved for love after a week.

But he caught on and leaned forward and kissed me. On the cheek, but it was still a big gesture.

He scooted a little closer to me on the bed.

"This is so weird," he says with a little smile, one that makes me think he's defrosting.

"You're telling me," I smile back. I go to wrap my arm around his shoulders - "Can I...?"

"Um, sure..." he says,  but he's clearly not comfortable.

And we had to have a pretty uncomfortable talk about it.

"No sex though," he says firmly, and I agree... and it's not like I'm overly keen on the idea either, but we're still us and we're still in love and I think physicality is a part of it. I'm not in a rush but I do think, with a year ahead of us, the idea could be revisited (isn't he curious??)

Eventually, it was time to send him to work. The luxury of running your own company is that if you haul off for an extra few weeks of vacation people tend not to second-guess it (the real April has been doing work from their new home in Springfield.) The bad news is you do have to go back eventually... which was a whole ordeal because of course I had to get David up and ready and styled for his first day as Lena Howard, CEO. I picked out a week's worth of outfits that I thought were somewhat gender-neutral (to my surprise he rejected some pantsuits as "too Hillary." Oh, dresses then? Lena has a ton of beautiful skirts and blouses...) I also did her makeup and accessories of course.

It was tough, though, because David is going from being unemployed for months to running his own company. He says it's not too stressful, but I suspect that's mostly because Pete is there covering.

And me... I was asked to take on some of Zack's work as a photographer. As a freelancer he is worried about losing clients if he takes himself off the market for a year, so I had him give me a crash-course in what he does and how he does it, and all the software and equipment he uses. Of course he agreed to collaborate as best he could, time permitting. I don't mind it so far, it's been fun.

Besides, if all I had to do was be a houseboy for "Lena Howard" I think I would be bored out of my skull!


Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Jenn (is still getting used to looking like a Zack): An unfair trade

I would never take away David's right to complain about what's happened to him/us, but I'm already finding myself getting a little tired of the relentless negativity. Every sentence out of his mouth the past few days has been how awful this is, and how gross it feels to be in Lena's body and how badly he doesn't want to go along with it... I'm trying to be understanding. I'm trying to be comforting. I know it's no picnic. But he doesn't want to hear it. Even when he's not being explicitly negative, there's an undertone of annoyance at the situation that really cuts.

He unfolds a rather lacey - honestly, very expensive - pair of underwear that Lena had in her bag, and grimaces, "Yuck, why do women wear these?" As if two weeks ago he wasn't complaining that I never seem to be wearing lingerie under my everyday clothes.

"My boobs won't stop jiggling," he pouts. "Every little movement, there they go."

"So wear a bra, hon," I say. He rolls his eyes and goes "Pfft," like he's above it. So far he's just hanging out in his own dirty clothes.

For the record, David has also stated he doesn't get the point of this blog, and said he has no intention of ever reading it (He never got on Insta or Snap either, and he only follows like five accounts on Twitter.) Which is probably for the best, because if I showed him what this Daryl person was writing about recently, his brain would explode. Anyway, whatever you hear about him, you'll probably hear from me or maybe Pete. And I intend on being as candid as anyone else who writes here...

Pete highlighted a few key posts for us me to read, laying out some best and worst case scenarios. It's been... interesting reading, to be sure.

I can't blame David for any of this but it doesn't make him pleasant to deal with, because it makes it feel like we're not in this together. Like my life hasn't been turned inside-out as well. He has this perception that being male is so great that everyone must prefer it, like I should be happier about it. And I can acknowledge that it comes with certain advantages and privileges, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't prefer my outside to match my inside. I'm a total girly-girl - I crave new purses and shoes, I fantasize about what I can do with my hair, I never leave the house without makeup. Of course that also means that if I ever do, I'm going to face a lot of remarks like "You look tired/sick today."

My point is, It's not fair to either of us that I'm Zack and he's Lena. Being a man doesn't seem like fun to me, it seems very banal. It's a real loss. Maybe it's ironic that Pete gets where I'm coming from, but maybe not... he's been to the other side, he "gets" the appeal, even if it comes with a sacrifice thanks to society (and, well, biology.) But you don't need me to extol the virtues of femininity here, I'm sure.

I just... look down at the borrowed crew-neck shirt I'm wearing and sigh. Then I re-apply deodorant because Zack is sweaty AF.

I can at least look on the bright side. If you have to be a guy, it pays to be a fit, young, pretty guy with high cheekbones and a trim waist. And beautiful eyelashes. Not a fan of the stubble, though. And if David has to be a woman, he's a financially well-off, older single (i.e. isn't going to get a nasty surprise when we get home) woman who runs her own company. God, what I'd give to be HBIC! I love David, but I'm not sure he's fit to run a snackbar. And Lena looks amazing for her age, I'd love to steal her skincare secrets - not that David appreciates any of that.

I don't know. I'm scared of the pendulum swinging too far the other way - as it seems to do for many, like Pete - and finding out that David, or I, prefer our new configurations. But like, we've got to find ways not to think it's just all miserable all the time.

At the very least we've got... eight months? A year? That's a long time to just sit and be huffy about something you can't change.

Jenn "Zack" Ryland

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Daryl/Magda: Clean Breaks, Maybe Not Clean Starts

I didn't exactly have a farewell with Harmon, and I'm sure that surprised the neighbors who had lived near Magda and Alicia for years, but what can you expect?  We just met a few weeks ago and he's still angry that my deciding to do what I want with this life has thrown a monkey wrench into his.  But how long did someone his age think he was going to live rent-free with mommy, anyway?

I can't say I exactly traveled light moving to New York, but I did purge a fair amount by sending them to the original Magda in Austin.  We're still kind of feeling each other out via Facebook Messenger right now, kind of unevenly, with her giving me pointers on how the various bits of her work go, although that's going to become a bit less relevant now that I'm at a different airport.  I think we both kind of want to find some common ground in how we both wound up where we are because of a relationship, but we're also both looking at the others situation as being kind of weird.

Still, we're doing it, and I couldn't help but feel extremely excited when I got off the plane in New York.  This want the life I'd originally planned, but even though I was going by Magda's name, I was starting to make her life my own.  As I walked past the crowds and chaos of the airport, I started arriving the pros and cons of keeping this job in my head.  As what is basically a retail job goes, it's not bad; there's a union and benefits and Magda has earned herself some seniority.  But it's neither the specific job or the kind of job I spent for years in college for, and it's not one that has a lot of potential for advancement.  But what else am I going to do?  My Microsoft certifications are in someone else's hands, and I don't necessarily have a lot of my own skills with which to start over at this point in my new life.

But J.T. was home when I rang the bell, and he smiled when he got a look at me.  The months as a woman and one as this one hasn't really given me the chance to figure out "subtle" yet, at least in terms of dressing, so I showed up at his apartments in jean shorts that, while tight, still go almost reach the knee, and an orange tank top that shows my boobs off with a pretty tight bra.  And sandals, because I have been spending a lot of time in airports and know not to go in for a lot of strappy or knotty bullshit when flying by now. 

"Hey," I say, "we're doing this."

"We are," he says, and pulls me into his apartment.  It's been a few weeks, and our clothes are on the floor fast.

We spoon for a while, and then I get up, slipping on my panties and his t-shirt.  I start walking around the place opening closet doors.

He looks up.  "What're you doing?"

"Looking for a spot to put my clothes.  Even if I were inclined to live out of a suitcase, this stuff wrinkles."

He got up and pulled some things out of the closet I was looking in.  "I guess that'll do for now."

"Oh, that should be plenty. I don't have a whole lot more on the way."

"Yeah, but that'll go to your place, right?"

I stopped putting dresses on hangers.  "What do you mean, 'my place'?"

"Just that, you know, I figured... at first...  I mean, we've only been together a few months."

"Dude, it may only have been a few months, but in case you haven't noticed, I'm pretty damn committed here!  You can't tell me you haven't noticed the big white tits."  I smiled while I said it, but I have to admit, I felt a tiny bit of panic.  Were we coming into this with such different ideas?  I know neither of us had really talked about forever or even really specifics, but, still...

"I know you are, I just...  Look, I know we've got something really special here, but sometimes it's good to have your own space, you know?  And if it doesn't work out, I mean, it's not like you haven't told new-Daryl that he can be you for good...  Have you?"

"No, but the way I see it is, the very fact that he's planning to go back to the Inn next year means we can't afford to screw around... metaphorically."  I smiled, hopefully wickedly.  "We've got to be all-in.  I didn't become Magda because I wanted to be a middle-aged white woman, or because I wanted to play the field.  I did it so we can make sure that this, you and me, is gonna work.  Should I bail now?"

"Oh, no.  I just didn't really realize how, uh, intense this was gonna be."

"That's okay.  And remember, intense isn't a bad thing--"

I grabbed his unit (confession: I bought something in a San Francisco sex shop so I could get used to the feeling of it in both my hands and pussy, though I haven't had the guts to put it in my mouth yet), which responded quickly, and we made it back to bed.  He fell asleep after, and I went back to unpacking.

Still, I hope Pete texts me soon, given that it looks like he's coming back to New York.  We might have stuff to talk about.


Sunday, September 02, 2018

Jenn: Not the getaway I wanted

It's been a few days and I still can't believe it. I wake up in the morning and I'm different. I keep expecting to find myself in my comfy cozy bed with my boyfriend next to me in the body I'm supposed to have but it only takes a second to remember that's not the case. Then depending on the day, it makes me either excited, or sad.

I'll start from the beginning. My name's Jenn Ryland, I'm 26 years old, from Denver, CO. My BF David and I wanted a getaway and I'd never seen the ocean so I thought Maine would be nice. You, reader of this blog, know what happens next.

There were signs that maybe we should have turned around as soon as we got there. The rustic little Inn was a little more run-down than I was hoping for. And from the moment we got there we were bickering like usual, especially because I caught him giving the look to a beautiful black girl we saw coming the opposite way. He tried to deny it, and say that she had nodded at him first, but I know a wandering eye when I see one.

Whatever. We were both on edge because he's been unemployed all year and it has put a strain on our relationship. Maybe we've gotten stale. That's what this vacay was supposed to fix. Either that or break us up. But I wasn't going down without a fight, so I made it my mission to make him forget about everyone else: get done up, dress sexy, take him out, cheer him up, and of course ply him with liquor. And so far it had been working.

Maybe too well - the night "it happened" we were so trashed we passed out and didn't even notice. I vaguely recall being awakened by someone (David) thrashing around beside me in bed, but other than that...

Well, it was a shock when I woke up. Because I could immediately tell I was not me anymore. No, those hairy forearms and big feet with the unkempt toenails were a surprise, as was the male equipment and flat chest.

So was the presence of the woman next to me: older, probably in her mid-40;s, although with good skin and probably some work done (including in the chest) and short blonde hair cropped to her shoulders. But I'm not a total dumdum, I could see she was wearing David's college tee, and I could see what had happened to me. The "stranger" in my bed was my man.

I got up and found that I had been transformed into a skinny, Adam Levine-looking guy. I breathlessly tried to explain to David what I had figured out - as he regarded his new figure with shock and disgust ("Boobs?!" he cried out in horror, whipping his top off to examine the goods and inadvertently giving me a "show.") But just as we were determining our next move, there came a knock at the door.

I opened it a crack and saw a pretty Asian woman standing there. She flashed a Driver's License that had my new face on it. "Hi, you must be... this person."

"I guess so?" I winced.

"Don't be alarmed," she said authoritatively, "It happened to everyone here... you've become the previous visitors to this room. Only your luggage was in my room, because we --" she gestured to herself and me, "Were a couple. Well, Zack Collins and April Hashimoto."

She extended her hand. "My name's Pete, but you may have seen me walking around as a black woman named Brigette."

I glanced back to David, who was otherwise occupied.

We talked a little longer, as she explained that she was a return visitor who was unable to get her original male body back, but that wasn't the case for everybody, and this could be temporary for us, if we are able to arrange it as such.

As if anticipating my next question, she explained that nobody not affected by the curse could believe it, although there was a blog where we could pour our hearts out if we so desired.

Circling back, I asked how she knew "Zack and April" were a couple, and she produced the letters left behind. They also explained who David had become... Lena Howard.

Maybe you've heard of her. She's the founder and CEO of a Homeward, a "popular lifestyle brand." I'm not familiar with it, although browsing their website I see tons of candles and decor ideas that I love. Only now, she's in the body of a 3-year-old kid, in the custody of the real April and Zack - not really in any condition to be running a business.

I could argue that she's still more qualified than David, but I mean that affectionately.

April is her personal assistant, which is handy... if the boss disappears for a few extra weeks, nobody's going to tell her not to, and if she's not around, her PA doesn't exactly have any work to do. And me, er, Zack, he's a professional photographer. I've taken a few pics in my life, so while I don't know if I can slip effortlessly into that role, it's... well, doable. Plus, all being based out of NYC doesn't sound so bad.

I mean, what choice have we got, right?

Well, that's me, and my experience so far...