Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Daryl/Magda: Home Alone

I've always been a little wary of people who seem to define themselves in large part based on whatever relationship they're in, which sure must seem a little strange to people reading this, because I literally wouldn't be who I am now if not for being with J.T. and I talk about that a lot because this whole thing is a great but unexpected part of my life with a lot of unexpected details.

And having what I've got with J.T. makes it a lot easier to accept and be who I know myself to be.  It's just...

Well, nobody has a straight career path these days, especially for people like J.T. who know they're going to be jumping from project to project.  Even leaving the Inn out of it, he went from acting on TV to the stage, where people said he had more talent as a singer, so he did that, which led to him getting another job in a play, and now that that's closed, he's booked a four-episode arc on a show shooting in Toronto.  It's not quite back where he started, and his next thing could be anything, but it's a good job.

But it's in Toronto, and leaves me feeling weird and lonely.

He's been out of town three days, and as much as I don't want to be the woman that's all about her boyfriend, I find myself wondering if maybe I am and it makes everything else feel really unnatural.  I get home at the end of the day and clean off my makeup because there's not much reason to keep it on, and without J.T. around it doesn't feel like I'm getting enough layers off.  I look pretty good for a fifty-ish woman, but I've got to confess I've already skipped one trip to the gym.

We'd had an idea of maybe using this time to secure an upgrade so that the age difference isn't quite so striking to outsiders, but even if you know who to talk to, there's kind of a long list of people looking for "younger and prettier".  That whole side of the Inn subculture is kind of gross, when you come right down to it - I don't really think it's like buying and selling people, even if the language can sort of go in that direction, but it can sure feel like a really thorough form of identity theft, even if you verify that the people who originally led a life are giving it up willingly.  J.T. suggested I look at it as next-level plastic surgery, but even that seems creepy.

Anyway, nothing came up, so I've got another fall and winter as Magda, who has to be more than just J.T.'s girlfriend, especially since I don't have a lot of Inn crew nearby.  Pete's someone else in Massachusetts, Jenn hasn't sent new contact information, and Tylerie...  I don't know about her.  Sometimes she just seems like she wants to just act like she's always been Val, sometimes it seems like we just don't have anything to talk about, and sometimes she will say or do something that reminds me that there's a guy from the South who knows his way around a gun in there, and that I wasn't always Polish.  He's never actually done anything to make me fearful, but the stuff that burrows deep into your head when you're young doesn't leave just because you've got new skin.

On that note, I don't hang out with June/Jonah much anymore.  He seems to be acclimating pretty well, which I guess is what school will do for you - even if he was a year older than the other freshman, it was traveling to see the world, and between his own experience, reading the social media and diaries Krystle kept, and just having the confidence to bullshit a bit, he kind of made himself cool.  Too cool to have time for this middle-aged white lady.

So I guess it's time to start actually being one, every once in a while.  I've at least managed to be friendly with everyone at work, so it's not too weird when I finally say yes when someone brings up a girls' night.  Accepting the invitation feels weird - I've spent so much of the past year using J.T. to basically be myself despite looking like Magda, that actually hanging out with other Magdas is very unnerving.  But, I figure, it's not forever - I so plan to get some of these twenty years back next summer - so I might as well give it a try.



S.W. said...

"He's never actually done anything to make me fearful, but the stuff that burrows deep into your head when you're young doesn't leave just because you've got new skin."

Woah! Now there's foor for thought. I only know Val through what I have read in this blog and she seems upstanding, if flawed, and not some violent backwoods hick. But I guess that's how I'm predisposed to see her based on my own background and preferred interpretation. And I imagine that persona coming out of little Val's body creates a whole different image than when she was a man named Tyler.

But far be it from me to negate your experience. If she reminds you of the type of people you have always had to be wary of, that's valid, and eye-opening for me (a white guy.) It just goes to show it's all a matter of perspective... and makes me worry what kinds of wolves in sheeps clothing could use the Inn for bad.

I hope you find more comfort as Magda, however that may be, and for however long you are her. I hope you draw on an inner vein of self-possesion to assert an identity beyond simply "JT's Girlfriend" even if that remains part of it.

Daryl/Magda said...

Trust me, it's not just "backwoods hicks" you have to be worried about. It's not everyone, but part of being black is finding people who think they're better than you because of the colors of your skins everywhere and learning how to recognize/deal with them.

Sometimes you get a false positive, like Val, who has never been anything but nice to me or Pete or anyone else so far as I know, and who originally came to the Inn looking to get away from the sort of place where being like that was expected. But get a couple of drinks in her, you pick up a hint of an accent. Get her organizing something, and a little bit of ex-military comes out, and it can sound like a cop. It is in no way fair to her, but I was a nerdy black kid for much longer than I've been a middle-aged white woman.