Monday, June 27, 2022

Marc/Chantelle: It's one thing after another

So I haven't posted in a while. I was feeling pretty sidetracked by the period thing already, worried about being whiney and stuff, but then last weekend got unexpectedly busy.

My whole plan for the weekend of the 18th-19th was to crawl in bed and not get out. Maybe find a good takeout place and order in. Finally watch the latest season of Stanger Things on Netflix (Laura never wanted to watch it while we were "together.") But then something happened on Sunday that completely disturbed me.

It was Father's Day.

I have... a complicated relationship with my father. Both of my parents, to be precise. Maybe if I had my head screwed on right and been in my own life/body I would have realized what day it was and shot him a phone call and sent a card. He's a big lawyer in Manhattan and he never really had much time for me (part of the reason why I stayed in Boston after law school was that it was not New York). I don't hate him but there's a lot of insecurity there and maybe I don't appreciate him as much as other people do their fathers.

This does not apply to the "Carey Babes" who I met in person for the first time quite abruptly. Sunday morning I awoke at 8:30 AM to some insistent knocking and a muffled female voice calling me to "Get up, get up already!"

I take a few breaths to mull over what I'm going to do about this situation but apparently that was too long as I hear a key slide into the lock. Of course she has a spare key, and is not shy about using it. It's becoming clear these girls have no boundaries.

Suddenly this skinny young blonde is in my bedroom ready to rip the sheets off my body and kick me out of the bed. "What are you even doing, come on, let's go!" Serves me right for not paying close enough attention to the group text. This was my introduction to Chantelle's younger sister Emma. 

We're due at "our parents'" house for lunch. I'm thinking, it's not even 9 AM yet, who's thinking about lunch?

As it turns out there's a method to the madness. Emma needs to use my kitchen to make potato salad. I tell her find, go nuts, I put on the coffee and sluggishly make my way through reviving myself. All the while she's prattling on and on at about a mile a minute with seemingly no filter, constantly going on tangents about things I wouldn't even know even if I could parse it out. I run myself a shower, wash the last sticky red-brown trails of blood off the inside of my leg and try to wake up. And by that I mean, from the nightmare I've been having all week.

Back in the kitchen, I'm drinking my coffee and putting off getting dressed while she's peeling potatoes. I tell her she can leave the skin on, and she calls me a maniac.

"No offense, but what's with you today?"

"I'm going through some stuff," I sigh. "I might be... a little different... for a while."

"New meds?" she guesses. I say, something like that.

Did I mention these girls have no boundaries?

I get myself dressed, in a casual black top and jeans, and she nixes it saying I need to go back and try again, even though that's how she's dressed. (Maybe because that's how she's dressed?) I say fine, it's a special day or whatever, I put on this green and white polka dog summer dress I see hanging in the closet. Let me feel feminine and female and flouncy and fancy. Thankfully, it's long enough to disguise the fact that I haven't shaved Chantelle's legs.

I do some basic makeup, which Emma critiques, and I can feel myself breaking out in hives again.

We got to the parents' house around 11. Meeting Chantelle's mom and dad was very strange, as you can imagine. "Dad" was this laid back, potbellied guy who stood around the BBQ with the uncles telling dad jokes all afternoon, and "Mom" was... like, this quintessential hostess lady. I felt obligated to kiss hug them both and kiss them on the cheek even though, as a man, certainly as the man I was (I mean am), that's not something that was ever expected in my family. All this closeness and physical expression is not compatible with my upbringing.

I tried to hang back because I didn't know who to talk to and this family is very intense and it was clear I am not tuned into their frequency, and I may never be. I'm an only child, I don't know what it's like to have siblings and I'm not that close with my cousins either. There were way too many people that I was already supposed to know. I actually had a good time with Keisha, who is Chantelle's sister Amanda's 13-year-old daughter. There were younger kids that she was kind of in charge of entertaining, so I went along to be the "adult" support so she wouldn't feel like she was stuck with people half her age. Keisha still had that expectation that I would know about her and everything but it's easier to adapt to a child/young adult. 

It's a very female-heavy family, incidentally. There was so much estrogen flying around it was disorienting (metaphorically -- I am aware that my body now produces estrogen, and I can even sort of sense it influencing me, but I'm not, you know, born to it.) I despaired trying to think of how "I" was supposed to fit with these people.

I actually felt a little bad because I kept the most distance from the man we were ostensibly there to celebrate. It's clear Chantelle, and her sisters are all "Daddy's Girls" but I feel very weird about that dynamic. I'll try to make it up to him at Thanksgiving or something.

This is when it really dawned on me that I'm not just in a body, I'm in a life with all these connections and interactions that mean things I can't possibly understand and have no context for. Part of me wishes they would just leave me alone, but I see how much strength they draw from each other and it's nice... it makes me feel like an impostor and left out in the cold, but there's still something heartwarming to see it.

It put me in a weird headspace to start my week, but at least my period cleared up. Don't have to worry about that for another... 21 days.

Oh brother.

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