Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Jonah/Krystle: Regular Life

Things have gotten more normal in the neighborhood since things got weird with Leroy at a wedding.  Not necessarily more enjoyable - the long and short of it is that I like hanging around with Leroy a lot more than Larry, and might have enjoyed dating him, but he's not going to break up with his brother, is he?  I suppose it's possible, considering both the relationship I have with Karla and the one original-Krystle did, but I don't suppose it's really that common.

We still see him around, of course; heck, he was very excited about Moira's Moon Girl costume when she came around trick-or-treating a week ago.  I kind of wrapped the cape for my storm around my torso when I got to his place, not to be taunting, although I have to admit, it's getting kind of hard to remember if I would have been weird about a girl I liked walking around all sexy if things had gone wrong back when I was a guy.  I've been Krystle long enough that I don't have as many "yeah, I get that" moments as I used to.

Though I'm not really a girl any more, am I?  It was crazy enough with the move and everything last year that I didn't wind up doing much to celebrate the big 3-0 that the 1992 birth year on my driver's license would imply, which is fine, considering I haven't actually lived that many years, but I am on the other side of thirty now, as far as the world knows.  Working at the gym keeps me in good shape, but not like the Tulane students who come in and just look like they could all be Lululemon models or something in their yoga pants.  I'm kind of cool with it, although I am starting to get more inquiries from Momma Kamen as to whether there's anyone I might like to settle down with, because I'm not getting any younger (then again, I'll worry when I start hearing that from my mother).

Still, I feel pretty good about how I am, good enough that I wasn't looking to cover up when I made my Halloween costume.  And, yes, I made it.  It's not that fancy - I pretty much started with a one-piece swimsuit and put some gold trim on it and a pair of thigh-high boots that were on their last legs anyway (basically spray painted then glued together for the night and ready to fall apart right after), with the cape not much trickier, and the white wig can from a thrift shop.  But I had a bit of a laugh at myself sitting at a sewing machine making costumes - just so macho, right?  Well, wait until you've got an active little girl who regularly rips out seams or destroys the knees on her pants to the point where they are basically salvaged by making them into shorts; you'll learn to sew no matter what you thought about taking home ec back in high school!

But you know what - I really felt good about it!  This was probably the most fun I've ever had on Halloween; Moira is kind of the perfect age to really enjoy dressing up and knocking on the door of a bunch of neighbors that she knows without being ready to crash by the end, they had a little party at school, and she had knows all of her character's moves and poses and stuff, so she could be a little ham.  I know a lot of the other local moms & dads, so there was something to talk about.  And, believe it or not, it's kind of a totally different experience putting on a sexy outfit that you've made than one that you bought off the rack and which doesn't quite fit or seems like how someone else wants you to look.  You're more actively choosing to push your cleavage up and out or something.  Maybe.  I don't know how all that stuff works beyond feeling like I was under a lot less pressure than dressing up usually has me feeling.

(Although it's not lost on me that I might not feel quite the same way if I were still in Cambridge rather than New Orleans)

So, anyway, did Halloween, then the next day Moira went to school and I went to work and things were normal again, and it's kind of a pretty good normal.


Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Lucas/Cora: Kids These Days (one of these days being Halloween)

Happy (Belated) Halloween from a girls' boarding school, which is certainly not a place where I should feel nervous during spooky season after I've already learned that seemingly placid places in New England have uncanny power!

Before I get into the expected/sort-of-sexy "wow, Halloween costumes and parties are crazy when you're suddenly a teenage girl" stuff, I just want to say that I am kind of finding myself with a new appreciation of what life is like for teenagers these days?  I've probably been as guilty as any man in his forties about saying that kids today have it easier than we did - and they do in certain ways - but I kind of feel like the subjects are a little more advanced than the last time I was a teenager, the expectations for extracurricular things are higher (and not just because we're at a fancy boarding school), with more homework, and the phone never freaking stops vibrating.  I feel like I had maybe a dozen friends in high school, but everybody in the cheer squad wants to be Cora's bestie, there are people talking to me in every class, and I've got no idea how many of the people I'm supposed to interact with online are close and how many could probably be safely ignored.  It's something like a hundred people!

It's made it hard to sit down and document all this, especially when you're already documenting the surface part of your life on Cora's social media.  And Halloween was something else again, as Marilyn got us together one night in early October asking what our Halloween plans were.  It seemed pretty early, but she and L.J. kind of laughed, saying that girls like us didn't just have one costume, and put a lot of effort into it:  We'd need one which was school-appropriate for the actual Halloween, one that was more playful for the in-dorm party the Friday before, and one that was pushing some boundaries for the off-campus one she'd accepted an invitation to on Juliana's behalf and that Cora and Leda were expecting me and L.J. to turn up at.

I was going to be Barbie at the last one, because a teenager with Cora's face, blonde hair, and figure couldn't not be Barbie at some point this year.  L.J. suggested some anime character that Marilyn could do as Juliana without it being weird, her being half-Asian and all, and said he'd borrow one of my cheerleader outfits for that.  A little easy for him, but I'm not going to suggest my 15-year-old son try and pull off some college girl's outfit.  We did Star Wars for the dorm party - Marilyn as a Twi'lek, L.J. as Rey, be with the original Star Wars Leia buns - and then on Halloween itself we attended classes in a Star Trek uniform (Marilyn), a sailor outfit with loose-fitting pants (me), and some simple kitten ears and whiskers for L.J.

I can't speak for the others, but it was very strange for me, especially the off-campus party where Marilyn put me in heels and did so much work on my hair and makeup.  I got hit on a lot, and I'm sure that a lot of them were probably college kids who shouldn't be hitting on teenagers.  It wasn't nearly as flattering as I presumed it would be, and it didn't seem very comfortable for L.J. either.  We left pretty early, though Marilyn stayed another couple hours, kind of amused when I suggested it was dangerous, saying that the boys were twenty years behind her.

Actual Halloween was more relaxed, although, as Marilyn looked at herself in her blue Starfleet uniform, she said she wondered if Juliana would mind if she kept it after we went to the Inn next year.  They're not far off in height, after all, and the girls' parents didn't seem to blink at the expense of some of these kind of fancy costumes showing up on their credit cards.  It's kind of nice to have these girls' money, even if we're not exactly in a position to take advantage of it at the school

So that was a weird situation.  Now to finish an essay between cheerleading practice and bed.


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

L.J. Porter/Leda Holbrook: Parents

So, I guess you've met Mom & Dad, or Juliana & Cora as I guess I've got to call them.  Things are going about as well as can be expected, I suppose, although that's not exactly great.

Don't take that the wrong way - for as much as this has got to be as weird for them as it is for me, they've put me first at every chance over the past couple of weeks, from making sure I knew what to do with a bra to where to wipe, and doing their level best to get me up to speed after skipping a grade.  "Juliana", especially, is always ready to jump in when I look like I may flounder talking to Leda's friends at the lunch table or something.  I appreciate it.

But, well, like Dad mentioned, things weren't great before all this, to the extent that maybe I should have known it was falling apart.  Sometimes, when I get back to our suite or they think they're alone in the bathroom or something, I'll hear them snapping at each other more, like Dad thinks Mom is trying to make him look foolish or only helping him half as much as me, and apparently the trip to Old Orchard or getting rooms at the Trading Post was the other person's idea.

And on top of that, Lena's got her own parents, and they apparently were worried sick about her being stuck in Maine, supposedly sick with Covid, and only texting rather than answering the phone.  The first time I picked up, they scolded me and asked a million questions, and it was really weird talking to these two people I really didn't know for like forty-five minutes, trying to remember what details would throw them off.  They've actually called every night this past week, and while I kind of appreciate that, too, it's also sort of intense?  Like, they're trying to be nice, and I'm scared that I'll say something that makes them even more worried.  Which maybe they should be, but according to everyone who's ever been at the Inn, they'll never believe why.  For instance, when Krystal/Mackenzie told me about how her own mother didn't believe her, even though it would explain a lot...?

Fortunately, the real Leda seems pretty cool; we text a lot, although she doesn't always respond right away and is kind of quiet about what sort of situation she's landed in.  She's doing her best to at least help be with running, to the extent that she can via text from wherever.  I need it - for all that cross-country looks like it's just running, and making sure you stretch beforehand, you've kind of got to know the road and have a plan for when you're going to give yourself a little more time for deep breaths and the like.  I did badly enough on my first practice day that the coach took me aside to tell me to let her know if there was any long-covid related shortness of breath or stuff like that, but also warning me that I could lose "my" scholarship if I can't run, so, no pressure.

The guy living my life seems okay.  He mentioned that he was going to have to break up with my girlfriend, which is a bummer, but he's like 40 and apparently not a creep, so what can you say?  We weren't actually doing anything, really, but it would still be gross.

Well, just thought I'd check in the way Mom & Dad have.  Now I've got homework - is it still homework at a boarding school? - and kind of glad to have stuff to fill me time.


Monday, September 04, 2023

Lucas Porter/Cora Devers: Schoolgirl Stuff

So I see Marilyn is returning to her maiden name well before we can use our first names.  That's obviously the smallest change our family is undergoing, but it might be telling somehow.

I shouldn't be bitter, I suppose, but I can't help but notice the irony that we'd made the decision to separate just as I was going to need her help more than ever, because, as Marilyn mentioned, the whole family has become teenage girls, and though it's not a competition, I've maybe got the worst of it.  What Marilyn sort of skipped over is that she and I have clearly become the popular girls.  I had to turn Instagram notifications off because Cora's phone hasn't stopped buzzing since I started charging it a couple weeks ago, and she's asked me to try to keep it up because she envisions riding social media popularity to stardom or something like that once this is her life again.  Her account is actually milder than I feared - it's not bikinis and underwear or anything, but a lot of short-shorts and crop tops to emphasize that I've got a heck of a figure for someone turning seventeen just before Christmas.  And she clearly knew it; when I tried on one of her uniforms, I thought she must have had a growth spurt over the summer, but Marilyn says it doesn't really work that way for girls and showed me how much it had been hemmed up.  Cora, apparently, is that sort of girl.

And, yes, it's not just lots of social media photographs and short skirts - her phone is full of texts, that she's been busily fielding until I let her know that we were around, and it's a lot.  She keeps track of dozens of friends, is apparently a central part of the cheerleader group chat (eek!), and there are a lot from boys.  Some of them are safely in Malibu or that general area, but a disturbing number are in Burlington or that general area - some in high school, but more than a few at the University, and while real-Cora says I don't have to do anything I don't want and that honestly, me getting touchy with anyone sounded kind of gross to her, I'm not that big.

(Oh, and Marilyn didn't mention it, but Juliana is apparently also that sort of girl, and Marilyn has spent some time trying on her outfits and such, and apparently Cora and Juliana share clothes all the time because her new boobs are just as big and perky as mine, although she's got a bit more of a butt than I do.)

So, that's a lot, and obviously L.J. is going through it too.  He's not dealing with quite the exploding phone we are - Leda, apparently, is at this place on scholarship, which is going to be a lot of work for him - he's a year behind the girls and wasn't taking a lot of the top-level courses Leda was, and that's before you get to the cross-country team.  I suppose that there are worse sports for him to have to try and fake - imagine how exposed he'd be trying to play field hockey - but we're mostly concerned with trying to work our way through the summer reading list in a just a couple of days right now.


Sunday, September 03, 2023

Marilyn Vance/Juliana Nakamura: Family?

Where to begin?  I suppose with the obvious - a week and a half ago, I was your average white suburban mom, complete with all the tension behind the placid exterior; now I'm a teenager again, and from what I'm told and can see with my own eyes, a Japanese-American father and a Latina mother, crossing my fingers that my high school Spanish from almost twenty years ago will be enough for me to fake it.  My husband and son are in a similar boat, although I'm sure that they feel having a different gender is a bigger deal than a different ethnicity.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know the gist of it, although I suppose it's worth going back a bit to understand what I'm dealing with here, although I'll try to get right to the point:  My marriage to Lucas was basically over before all this, and it was kind of a relief.  The end was better than the long decay leading up to it; instead of worrying about not being enough or resenting how success for one of us always seemed to lead to sacrifice for the other, and then worrying about how all of this was affecting L.J., deciding to divorce let us be practical and start to plot a way forward.  We've even been closer to friendly since we started hashing things out.

There was a kid in the middle of this, one who is probably reading this as I've encouraged him to read the blog and maybe contact some of the other authors who have been through what he's dealing with now, and while we obviously couldn't have expected this, we knew that the split was going to throw his life for a loop.  So, maybe underestimating him a bit - L.J. is 15 and feels everything so strongly! - we planned one last family trip.  We used to visit the coast of Maine every summer along with cousins, but that changed when Lucas's job took us from Prince Edward Island to Vancouver six years ago, and we were looking to recapture that before telling him everything just before we flew home.  But the place we booked was the Trading Post Inn, there was leftover luggage in our closets, and...

Well, you probably know the drill.  I'd been doing a morning run for the previous week, so I had my phone's alarm set, and when it went off I sat up quickly, feeling surprisingly refreshed and alert.  At first, I presumed I was just having a good morning, and didn't notice anything particularly amiss as a silenced my alarm, looked over to verify that Lucas was still a stationary blob under his covers in the other bed, and walked to the bathroom.  My skin was a little darker, but I'd picked up some color over the past week, and I didn't notice that I had much longer hair, jet-black at that, until I pulled off the headband I sleep in.  By then, I had turned the light on and was taken aback by what I saw in the mirror.

I didn't scream - at first, I thought that this was a dream where I had to live out some sort of weird fantasy of Lucas's, but when I stomped over to his bed and ripped the covers off to show dream-Lucas that I wasn't putting up with this...  Well, I'll let him describe himself and how he reacted; same with L.J.  Our son figured out about the luggage in his closet first, and that's how I've learned about Juliana Nakamura.

She, Cora, and Leda are classmates at the Burlington Academy for Girls in Vermont, and had come to Old Orchard without their parents to attend a music festival before returning to school.  I won't "doxx" Juliana and her friends, but suffice it to say that they have seemed to handle their change as well as can be expected, faking a story about testing positive for Covid before flying home, editing the photos they hadn't uploaded to social media because they were just boring pictures of them in their hotel rooms and sharing them in support of this story, and somehow rigging things up so that they could text home from their computers until we arrived.  Their parents have obligingly changed their flights so that we would go straight from Portland to Burlington where they are apparently best friends and suite-mates, rather than returning "home".  We didn't do anything so advanced for the people taking over our lives, although we did send emails to our employers and school district about our own positive Covid tests.

We arrived yesterday, and we're still trying to sort out living arrangements - Cora apparently had the single room while Juliana and Leda shared the other, but we're kind of not sure whether I should let Lucas and L.J. bunk together, or if he'd be more comfortable in his own room rather than sharing with his parents, or if he'd rather have me with him in case he needs to handle female problems on short notice.  We haven't mixed a whole lot with the other students who have already arrived yet - I get the impression that this group can be a little clique-y - but I'm already worried about L.J. a bit.  The last week or so has been a lot for him to take in, from proper hygiene to just rolling up stockings like you've been doing it for years.  He doesn't want to put makeup on, but his bare face does not look like what Leda puts up on Instagram, and his idea that he wouldn't need it in an all-girls' school showed that he hadn't really absorbed how that sort of thing can be more important among girls than in terms of attracting guys.

The thing that is really making me question myself, though, is that while I know it's only been a week, it sort of feels like "Leda" takes advice from "Juliana" better than "L.J." does from "Mom".  I don't know if I can explain it, other than him addressing me by that name even when no-one else is around, to try and make it a habit, or asking "how would you try to blend in?" when I try to tell him what he should do.

That's my question to the other former Inn guests:  How do you stay someone's mother when you've got to be something else practically 24/7?

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Jonah/Krystle: Went and Made That Weird

Man, I wonder what the folks commenting on Andi's post think of me and all the times I've decided to stay Krystle even though the original really wanted her life back!  Think they'd say she should have been able to insist I have an abortion?

I kind of wish one of Andi or Andy had applied to and gotten accepted at Tulane or some other local school just so that I had a friend to talk to about stuff who wasn't in another time zone.  Sure, Ashlyn is only one hour off, but they run a bar/restaurant so they're on a schedule that's nearly as different as Jordan's sometimes.  And Jordan is literally on the other side of the planet; I send her a text and forget all about it until she responds the next day.

Of course, this latest situation is one I can probably ask regular girlfriends about, although they'll likely just say "shouldn't have done that".  Basically, I met a guy, Leroy Watkins, the day I moved in, he was obviously interested because I showed up in a sports bra and yoga shorts and was willing to flirt a little if it got guys I've never met to help me unload a truck, and he's been cool but obviously interested ever since.  On and off, of course - he's had a couple girlfriends in that time, I've never not been busy, and I sometimes feel like I bounce between "I want a man I can count on in my life" and "dating guys is never not going to be weird" depending on what hormones are going through my brain on a given week.  He pretty quickly took up residence in what Moira's namesake calls "boy-slash-friend" territory.

So it was kind of weird when he came to me last week, saying that his cousin was getting married and he'd figured he'd have a plus-one but his last girlfriend got back with her ex a couple weeks ago, and I'd really be doing him a favor.  It turned out that I had the day off and one of Moira's friends was having a birthday party/sleepover, so I could, and why not?

Like a lot of these things, it started out feeling weird; I've gotten good at dressing up but do it seldom enough that I still feel like I'm doing something I kind of shouldn't, and this is the first wedding I've been to since I was a little kid, when it didn't really register for me that you kind of dress for the reception but start out in a church.  I'm not unfamiliar with dressing to impress a bit for church - it's more a thing people did at the mostly-Black church that the Kamens attend than the mostly-Caucasian one my folks went to in New Hampshire, but I've been doing it for a while - but it was kind of weird sitting in the same pews where I normally have my head bowed on Sundays with my legs crossed because I'm in a minidress and wondering if maybe I should have worn a scarf or something to cover my cleavage.

It's a nice wedding, though - the bride is beautiful, their vows were sweet, and the flower girls and ringbearers were adorably serious about their jobs.  And then the reception was fun, although if I ever get married and am wearing a pristine white dress, I don't think I'll have the guts to have it catered with barbecue.  Leroy's friends and family are curious about me, naturally, but he's assured me that it's not going to be some goofy rom-com plot where we're pretending to be dating or anything.  We joke about it - whenever someone asks how long we've been seeing each other, it's "around the neighborhood? since she moved in a year ago", and if they ask how long we've been dating, it's "well, if things go well, then it will retroactively be around four hours".  He's funny.

And he's a good dancer!  We have a good time on the floor, although we're not glued to each other or anything.  I do keep drifting back his way because he's the guy I know and even if folks are hitting on me once they know we're not dating, nobody's really making me think I should get right on feeling that out.  Still, I've gotten a bit more willing to be kind of touchy as the evening goes on, until the DJ picks something kind a little bit slower and more sensual.  His arms come around me, and I step back a little bit so that I'm right up against him, grinding a little...

... and then I look up and see Leroy come up short as he's moving toward me on the floor, leading me to look up and see that it's his brother Larry putting his hands on my breasts and poking at my butt.

I'm kind of horrified, and thankfully he doesn't resist when I pull his hands off me and get out, but now Leroy is mad and runs off.  I follow him until we're outside the venue, actually telling to hold up because he's got the wrong idea.  He turns around and asks what kind of wrong idea he's got, that I know Larry is kind of a dog and that he's liked me since we first met.  I honestly blurt out that "I thought he was you", realizing just what a can of worms I've opened just as the words are out of my mouth.

"So you're saying you wanted to do that with me?"

"At that moment, yeah!"

"And now?"

"Now you're yelling at me and it's not sexy at all!"

"Well, I'm sorry I didn't recognize the exact right moment to grab your tits!"

Then he storms back in, and just sort of does this little "don't follow me" wave when I start trying to follow him.  Not having a lot of better options - I don't know anybody there but Larry and hell no - I call an Uber and go home.

So, obviously, I see him again on Monday, and we both just kind of shuffle past each other on the sidewalk, probably both hoping the other one is the one to apologize.  I kind of want to, but it kind of feels like I can't without acknowledging that he's got some sort of claim on me, and that will make him think that I owe him a date or something and I don't want to go out with someone who thinks I owe it to him.  But are we going to be friends again if I don't, or is that just going to make it worse.

Ugh.  I know regular girls go through this too, but I hate all this and sometimes I really wish my body didn't decide it liked guys when I changed.


Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Andi/Andy: Back Here for Probably the Last Time

Krys was waiting for me at the train station, looking annoyed that I was late, like I controlled Amtrak (although, yeah, it was a hot day to be that close to the beach and not on it). She gave me a hug and then asked if I would please call my folks so that they would stop texting her.

"No!  They want me to stay like this!"

"Andi, no.  They want you to not become a stranger and get into something you maybe can't handle.  They want to avoid having some series of randos that they have to introduce as their son in their house!"

I pulled away and started walking toward the Inn.  "I thought you'd be on my side!  Someone took your life, too!"

"I am on your side!  I'm fucking pissed for you!  I just--"  She groaned.  "Can we please go see Cary?  He's much better at this than I am!"

I kept stomping even though I knew Krys was right.  But I figured I was, too.  "Don't you get it?  If I change into someone, Andy will have to come and get his life back, and then i can get back to normal!"

Krys was running at this point.  "And what if it doesn't work out?  Look at us, we're both living proof that this shit does not go according to fucking plan!"  She caught up and got in front of me.  "Godfuckingdammit, Andi, will you tell me what is going on so that I can maybe help?  I'm not entirely a fucking kid, you know!"

There was a bench nearby and people were starting to stare, so I reluctantly sat down and put my head in my hands.  Krys exhaled and dropped down next to me. "Thank you!  So why is Andy doing this?  He didn't get knocked up too, did he?"

"No, and even if he did, I'm pretty sure he'd get it taken care of.  That's not illegal back home yet."  I looked over at Krys and reminded myself not to talk down to her, that she is really about 30 even if she feels like she's about my age.  "It's...  I mean, you remember Andy getting sick while we were out here last year, right?"


"Well, he never got better.  He and I and our parents all thought that all his lack of energy and not being able to focus and stuff was depression, just the grind of living someone else's life for a couple years and finding out your best friend is a real dick to women and stuff."

"Right.  Cary and me see a lot of folks like that passing through.  And you said he was doing better since graduation."

"He was, or so we thought, but then he collapsed during a hike, so they took X-rays and..."  I took a deep breath.  "It's long covid.  He's got, like, diminished lung capacity and mild brain fog and a couple other symptoms that don't explain everything, at least if you don't know everything else that's been going on in our lives."

"Oh."  Krys went from looking at my face to the ground. "Well, shit."

"Yeah, and once he realized, he said there was no way he could give me damaged lungs and make me take medicine for my heartbeat--"

"What?"  Apparently Krys hadn't heard the full list of what Covid could do before.

"It's mild, the doctors think it'll clear up within a year.  But, yeah, Andy wasn't sticking me with that, let alone the brain fog.  I said from all we could tell, the Inn would make your brain better but not worse, but he didn't want to bet on that for me."  I pounded my first on the bench's armrest.  "Just where does he get off deciding that for me?  And Mom and Dad are acting like he's doing such a good, unselfish thing.  Which he is, but...  Ugh!"

She grabbed my other hand.  "Hey, I get it.  I get it maybe more than anybody else.  It sucks so much!  It's been like ten years since I talked to Momma or my sister, but I have to hear about how proud they are of Jonah and Moira, and sometimes I just wanna scream.  And I didn't even get along with Karla!"

"I know, and I know I'm lucky, but...  I was really looking forward to being me again!"

"Yeah, I get it."  She leaned her head on my arm.  "You're cute like this, though."

"Thanks."  I kissed the top of her head.  "I guess I've still got a girlfriend, though."  I half-chuckled.  "God, I could wind up marrying Cindi, couldn't I?"

"You sure could.  Although, I may not be the ho I once was any more, but I still wouldn't recommend tying yourself down to the first person who sleeps with you.  Like I said, you're cute.  You could have options."

I sighed.  "I guess.  And we're just starting college so I can aim this life in a different direction."

She punched my shoulder.  "That's the spirit!"  Then she seemed to get an idea.  "Hey, I've got to ask Cary, but we've got a fold-out bed, so why don't you stay with us for a couple days?"

Cary, it turned out, was all right with that.  Mom and Dad weren't particularly happy when I said I wanted to stay here for a few days, promising that I wouldn't go near the Inn, but it's been nice hanging out with Krys's friends and going to the amusement park and stuff.

I overheard Cary talking on the phone to my folks last night, though, and he said that I just needed some time away from my family because I felt betrayed, and that word stung.  So I guess it's time to go back home, although Krys and I are going to spend a day in Boston first tomorrow.  She's joking about showing me all the places new students don't learn about, although we'll probably have more time for that once I'm actually enrolled in school there.

-Andi with an I (in my heart) 

Monday, July 10, 2023

Harmon Keller/Alicia Polawski: "Harmony" and other reinventions

I have received several notes via this blog asking if the "Harmony Kelton" credited in several recent short films is me, and, yes, she is.  Apparently a Polish name sounds too much like a Russian one in the current environment, so the person representing me to casting directors suggested a stage name.  I pointed out both that it could be said to sound Ukrainian by the same misplaced logic and that "______ with Alicia" had not particularly see its numbers drop over the past year, but once the opportunity to forge a new identity as an actress presented itself, it did intrigue me.  My first choice, "Alicia Harmon", may have been wiser since I could simply stop using the Eastern European surname on by videos, has apparently already been registered with various unions.  This, at least, had the benefit of amusing me.

I am moderately surprised that I am doing such without necessarily thinking about how it improves the "Alicia Polawski" identity as a commodity.  As mentioned in my last post, almost exactly two years ago, I did not plan to stay in this life very much longer, and had only done so because the Covid-19 pandemic had closed the Inn.  But, somehow, that extra year seemed to make more things my default state.  All those tedious things done to maintain this body's appearance to make it a more attractive product are now habit.  Planning and shooting new videos does not quite scratch the same itch as publishing a paper, but the broader base of people who appreciate it makes up for that some.

It's odd that I actually get some enjoyment out of all that, but then, perhaps not.  Every once in a while, I will search the name of a former colleague and see that, in their retirement, they have taken up woodworking or English soccer fandom or some other thing.  I, evidently, have chosen to be a stewardess and YouTuber in my retirement.  It's not so odd, perhaps - many of them have "downsized" to smaller homes, while I live in an apartment with the current Magda; others spend a great deal of time traveling, as do I; a fair number of them spend their free time pontificating on Facebook, while I make videos.

(It amuses me that my many colleagues who are likely more or less what they appear may not be so different from older men in their behavior.)

It is becoming somewhat more difficult to maintain this life in the carefree manner of a hobby, however.  Despite the disciplinary issues that the original Alicia had, my maintaining my position through the pandemic while many others found new work has made me the senior attendant on some flights with talk of being promoted to purser, which would make this a career rather than simply a job I stayed in out of convenience, and I do not believe I want that.  It is one thing to shoulder some responsibility as one travels, and reap the benefit of how one's scarf and miniskirt triggers a fetish in many, but I cannot see how being in this business for as long as I was in academia would be similarly rewarding.

Thus, I have begun pivoting toward being on camera as opposed to being on flights.  The parts I have gotten as of yet have not been much more challenging than the work I performed for Jordan - tight and scanty outfits worn in the background, breathy double entendres spoken to obvious stand-ins for the filmmakers - but that suits me well enough at the moment.  One's body is a depreciating resource, especially as a young woman, one may as well, especially if that brings experience that will be useful later.  As some have noticed, that has extended to a little bit of nudity, but what of it?  If I later find having those clips out on the web mortifying, the Inn is still out there, and I have begun anew before.  I can at least make a clear decision on that, while some of the ladies doing the same are removing their clothing far more impulsively.

-Harmon Keller, aka Alicia Polawski, aka Harmony Kelton

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Jonah/Krystle: The Lady in Charge

Personnel management isn't really a big part of my job at the gym.  I make schedules, which mostly means keeping track of availability, noting vacations, and trying to balance shifts so that people don't feel like I'm playing favorites.  I've hired a couple people to make up for departures over the past year - we've actually got two women working the walls in addition to Chloe at the front desk now, and yeah, it's a bit weird to me that this matters to me aside from it just seeming like a generally good idea, but I guess I've dealt with enough sexism that it does - and discovered I hate interviewing in a different way they when I was applying for jobs:  I just feel like there aren't very many useful questions and watching the way people answer is like trying to grab smoke.

Today was the first time I had to fire someone, and boy, does that make that "impostor syndrome" stuff kick in.

There wasn't a whole lot of question that the guy had to go - he was regularly late for his shifts, seemed to think he'd have my job in a matter of months, and I suspected he was much more literally hands-on than this job requires before I got actual complaints.  It's easy to come up with excuses - it's a gym, folks sometimes need assistance, and the stretchy workout gear means there's no padding - but there was a pattern, and there are policies in place to make sure that the parent company doesn't get sued.  I needed documentation, and that was tricky because, much as there are a lot of nasty people out there, there are also a lot who don't want to be the reason someone loses their job, even if a guy boosts you up the wall by pushing at your groin with his hand.  Folks don't even want to write that down.

And I'm kind of one of them - who am I to take away someone's livelihood?  I hated the idea.  I try to be a good manager, and I think most of the staff will say that I am, but a lot of that's being "nice" as opposed to being some sort of hard-ass, and this is a hard-ass things to have to do.

So at the end of his shift, I called him into the office, told him that he'd received warnings about his tardiness, and there had been several complaints, and that I had to let him go.  It was company policy and my hands were tied, which was true.

It was at this point I realized that this guy with a bad attitude was six-foot-four and muscular.

I don't really worry about that sort of thing a lot.  Part of it is that, despite having been Krystle for as long as I have, there's a part of me that still thinks of myself as a guy, and my parents raised me to be wary of white people in terms of who can mess up your life if they feel they're not being catered to enough, but not so much guys.  I've been one of the guys a lot as a woman, and when I haven't, I've been able to rely on being pretty, pregnant, or having a kid with me.  Plus, I may not be tall like I used to be, but I'm not short, either, and folks can see I've got some definition to my arms in most outfits.  There's a lot of reasons to think twice about starting something.

But this dude was big, and mad.  He stood up, leaned over my desk, and demanded to know just who the fuck I was to tell him anything, with an "you fucking bitch" at the end.  If I had more Angela Bassett in me, I might have yelled in his face that I was the fucking bitch who...  Well, I don't know how that sentence was going to end.  Instead, I stood and said there were rules, he hadn't followed them, and I wasn't putting him on the schedule again.

He raised a hand, as if ready to slap me, and I admit, I flinched.  He smirked at that, and instead of hitting me, swatted some papers from my desk and knocked something Moira had made in art class off a shelf on his way out, slamming the door behind him.

I just sat there for a few minutes, trembling.  I've been scared as a woman before, and as a Black person, but usually out in some place where there aren't lines drawn or anything.  Not in my office where I'm supposed to be in charge.

I don't know how long it took me to compose myself; not long enough for anybody to need me.  I picked everything up, was glad Moira's project wasn't damaged, and made sure everybody else was leaving as I closed up.  Just another day of being a woman in America, I guess.  Sometimes it catches me off guard, even now.


Thursday, June 22, 2023

Daryl/Zee: What a Wedding!

Not mine, although I was wondering if maybe J.T. would do something romantic and get down on one knee at some point.  Not in a way that would upstage Elaine and new-Daryl, but maybe back at the hotel, so that I could show a ring off at the Inn-people-only breakfast the next morning.  You would think he'd be ready, given that we've been dating each other in multiple shapes since before the pandemic, so it's pretty clear we're compatible and can weather a lot.  But, then again, I suppose there's nothing that would stop me from proposing, considering I was the guy in this relationship when it started.  Not sure how that would work, though - do I go out, buy a ring, and then kneel to pop the question, holding out the little box so he can take it out and put it on my finger?  Maybe there's stuff about girls proposing on YouTube or something.

But, hey, this past weekend was not about me - it was Elaine and "Dareleanor", who has done pretty well with my life even without landing Elaine.  They coincidentally wound up taking contracts with the same company, Elaine asked him if he recognized her, and she explained how the original Daryl (me) lived her life for a while and they both started gushing, excited to have someone to talk to.  That Eleanor didn't even blink about staying in her new life once she realized that nobody wanted it back even though she'd been a white woman says something about just how completely they clicked, and they apparently didn't feel the need to wait once they figured that out.

I came out to Chicago a few days before J.T., in part because Dareleanor wanted some help with the more far-flung relatives that he hadn't met but whom my mother said had to be invited.  Someday I'll talk about how it wasn't just falling for J.T. that convinced me to leave my life behind - there are a lot of complicated feelings there, so Dareleanor and I decided not to try and do a "major life event lets you tell the truth" thing with them while things were going well - but he just needed a whole lot of information supplied on short notice, which I was able to help with.

He looked good in his tux, and Elaine looked amazing in her dress.  She found some time to hang out with me, although it was kind of weird:  I've been both of them, but only barely met either.  I'm important to them, because without me they would never have met, but I'm kind of like a storm that shut down the airport while they were in the bar waiting for different flights or something like that, an outside force-of-nature that you're glad happened but don't necessarily think well of.

It was also kind of fun to have some other Inn folks around as part of the wedding.  J.T. looked damn good in his tux, and he's famous enough that there were some murmurs running through the reception:  How do Elaine and Daryl know him?  Oh, they don't, he's with Zee.  Well, who is this Zee - I've never met her!  Although, they thought, maybe I did at some point, because she seems to know all our names!  I met most of them in my original life, when I was dating J.T./Elaine, and then in the brief time I was Elaine (I went to Marisa's wedding!), but none of them knew Zee.  They probably just assumed I had a better memory than average for casual acquaintances, which is actually true and helpful when you're parachuting into other people's lives.

Aside from that, Cary came with Krystle/Mackenzie (who gave me a look when I called her "Mackrystle" that suggests I not call her that to her face again), and the hug Elaine gave him must have made the actual father of the bride jealous.  She also gushed over how much Krystle had grown in the past few years and winked at what a pretty young woman she'd become, laughing when the apparent red-headed teen said it was a relief that she could pull off the dress she was wearing.  Some of my younger cousins danced with her and it was kind of funny because Krystle hasn't forgotten her first life and they were not expecting a 16-year-old white girl with freckles from Maine to have the moves she does.  There must be some fun videos where she is just this crazy white-and-red spot in the middle of all the Black teenagers.

I mentioned that to her when we all got together for a Sunday Inn Veterans brunch, and she laughed, saying she hoped nobody was watching that and asking whether she'd ever been on a pole.  Surprisingly, that was kind of the highlight of the thing, because we didn't actually have that much to talk about.  It wasn't a waste of time, because even if you've been in a life long enough to make it yours and not think about going back or worry about screwing something up, it's kind of a relief to know you won't have to come up with a weird explanation or remember a previous lie in a conversation.

J.T. and I stayed in Chicago for another couple days after the wedding, revisiting places we knew from our own time here, whether as Daryl or Elaine. which was fun if kind of surreal.  One restaurant was just as good as I remembered it, but that the owner who always knew everybody's name had never met me was sad.

Then, in a crazy coincidence, Harmon/Alisha was our flight attendant on the way back to New York!  It's not entirely surprising - (s)he's relocated there, back to crashing with the new Magda, who is apparently more willing to act the mother while asking little of her "daughter", and this is apparently a better place to be part of influencer/YouTube/Instagram culture than Oakland (on top of there not being much chance to transfer to L.A.) - but definitely a bit surreal to know that the woman with the short skirt and tight top who was assigned to making sure the folks in first class were satisfied used to be a top economist.


Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Andi/Andy: Done with that!

Of course, by "that" I only mean high school - Andy's life is still mine for another month or so, barring anything else going wrong.

Everyone else I know talked about how senior year, especially the second semester, is a chance to coast and skip and all that, but it's been pretty nerve-wracking for Andy and me.  Andy never really pulled out of his funk, and we both kind of stumbled doing each other's Zoom interviews as part of our college applications, so by the time acceptance letters (and the opposite) started coming, we were pretty nervous, and some of them were provisional on our final-semester grades.

And the results were pretty disappointing for me - I got Andy into Northeastern University in Boston, as much as I'm surprised he wanted any part of New England after the last couple years.  I guess he really liked the real-world-experience program.  Meanwhile, I'm looking at a state university this fall, which isn't bad, I guess, but feels really frustrating because I've been doing pretty well in school and he's going to get the benefit of it.

It hasn't been a good look for me, especially since only my brother and my parents know why I'm frustrated, and everyone else is more worried about "Andi" clearly struggling with things this year.  It's been genuinely scary at times, because even last summer, I don't recall ever feeling this angry, and I sometimes wonder if all this testosterone just super-charges it or something.  Like, Mom and Dad have been very good at making sure Andy and I both understand that "men can't help themselves" is bullshit, even before our first trip to the Inn, and maybe if situations were different, things could still piss me off like this did, but the fact that it may be all the male hormones just makes me even angrier...

Now, don't misunderstand, I haven't been walking around in a constant rage for the past three months, but it's really unnerving.  You read a lot of stuff on this blog about guys grappling with their self-image because they're starting to find other guys attractive or enjoy wearing a nice dress, and get fewer posts about girls who become guys and start being attracted to girls, but getting mad like this doesn't come up.  Dad's been great about it - he's always been good about spotting when stuff has been bothering me and saying the right thing, and while he hasn't done anything goofy like hanging a punching bag in the basement or anything, he has helped me just get it out physically, even if it's just not questioning when I go on an hour-long run or something.  Andy has been a little freaked, but I've at least got some sort of circuit-breaker in my head that stops me from really lighting into my own face or getting anywhere near violence.  He mostly just doesn't want to believe that's potentially in him.

Weirdly, Cindi was kind of on-point without even knowing the half of what was going on.  The way she figures it, the fact that "Andi" and I were looking at being separated must be what's messing us up.  She doesn't have siblings, much less a twin, but she sees how inseparable we are, how I initially resisted her advances because she'd been mean to "my sister" (which is to say, me) back in middle school, and figures I must be mad at "her" for not keeping up and myself for being selfish enough to go to the good school.  She's an annoyingly great girlfriend.

Which brings us to prom.

Shockingly, Andy was more into it this year, probably in part because he didn't have a date, but was mostly just going with Shawna and some other girls, hanging out, dancing with guys, but no kissing or hands on butts or making any sort of statement.  I mean, he spent the whole afternoon at the hair salon with them, and was even wearing two-inch heels and showing some cleavage in his dress as Mom took pictures, when he's really not into girl stuff that much.  He shrugged and said he might as well have some fun with it in our last few months as each other, and this was all going to be part of my Instagram page come next month, and he wouldn't want me to look bad.

And, yeah, I was kind of disappointed that I didn't get to wear the pretty dress, although I got to have Cindi wear one on my arm, which is a dumb guy thing to be proud of - she did all the work! - but it's kind of real, at least for a few more weeks at least.  And I don't really look bad in a suit like this, myself.

We didn't cross paths that often at the dance, but we didn't avoid each other.  There was a point when Cindi was in the restroom and I was at the refreshment stand grabbing a Coke Zero when he came up and got a Diet Coke, and we kind of laughed at there be boy and girl soda, and were we going to have to switch back lest folks call us weird.  I commented that he was having fun, and he said he was, but might have to get off his feet soon because he'd been dancing all night and that was way more than he'd ever done in heels.  "Can't wait for those to be your problem!"

He actually did wind up heading out fairly early with someone who had to get up early the next morning, while Cindi and I stayed more or less to the end.  We got in my car, and she put her hand on mine.  "Hey.  There's nobody at my family's lake house."

I don't know whether it was the touch or the suggestion, but the thing in between my legs just reacted instantly.  "Uh, I don't know, I told my folks I'd be home by--"

"Don't worry, I told your sister and she was sure your parents would be cool with it, and they'll at least know.  I want to do this, and you've been waiting long enough."

I didn't say anything out loud, but all the way there, "she thinks she's been the one who's been keeping me waiting" bounced around my head.  We kind of didn't talk on the way, just nervous "remember when this classmate did that" from earlier in the night, before we got there and made our way to her bedroom.

We stood there for a second, nervous, and then she took a deep breath.  "Andy, I've got to warn you - I'm not a virgin."

How do you respond to that without suggesting a girl is a prude or a slut?  I tried to think of what I would want to hear, but it suddenly seemed like an eternity since I'd been a girl.  "Okay, I mean, I didn't think, you know, that you had, uh, denied yourself anything.  Or anything."

She smiled a little at me being flustered, but got serious again.  "It's not like that.  When I was thirteen, and puberty decided to be really generous, my uncle..."

She trailed off and I gasped.  Like, I could fill in the blanks, and while I'm lucky enough that nobody ever did more than "accidentally" brush me at that age, I sure remembered a lot of guys giving me more attention than a random kid should get.  I wanted to say I understood, but I knew right away that she'd know "Andy" didn't, couldn't, really, so I just said I was so sorry that happened and had no idea.

"Well, I made sure nobody had no idea.  I didn't even tell my folks until a few weeks ago, when we saw that uncle again and he made some sort of remark about what you and I must be doing."  She took another breath.  "But this isn't about that, this is about you being great and me wanting you especially since you've been so patient with me and not acted like there was anything wrong with me."

She looked scared, and not having any idea what to say, I kissed her, she kissed back, and then we were getting clothes off and...

Well, neither of us really had any idea what we were doing.  We'd seen movies and I kind of remembered exploring a bit a couple years ago, but you know what?  It was good.  It was really good, and as much as I've spent so much of what had been leading up to it upset about being a guy, it was kind of nice being the big spoon as we fell asleep, her hair against my face and my hand on her belly, though it moved as we slept.

We were still in that position when I woke up, and she soon did the same, feeling that I was aroused, and we tried it again.  We were a little better.  We had a little swim and then headed into town to get some breakfast since there was no food in the house, and giggled until I finally dropped her off.

Andy was waiting for me in the garage with a smirk.  "I am so jealous!"

"Well you don't necessarily have to be fore--"  I stopped.  "You know what, you do.  I don't know how we'll handle things when we switch, but--"

"Dude!  What kind of creep do you think I am?"

"I know, it's just...  It was kind of a big thing."

"Yeah.  I know."

"You do?  Who?"

"None of your damn business!"  I must have given him a look and he shrugged.  "Just a random guy at the regional one-act play thing."  He smiled and then asked if I wanted something to eat, knowing that you can always get a teenage boy to answer yes and change the subject.

Mom and Dad said absolutely nothing when they got back from Sunday brunch with their friends.

After that...  Well, graduation, which is a long, hot day in robes that just suck up heat but having your parents and grandparents and all your friends there smiling like idiots makes you smile like an idiot too.  Andy and I walked to get our diplomas from the principal together, and not just because of alphabetical order.  As we went back to our positions, we whispered "we did it" to each other, and that was maybe the most satisfying part of the day.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Jonah/Krystle: Visitors

I kind of thought that Moira would be more upset about not seeing her grandparents or cousins at Thanksgiving or Christmas, but kids her age have a really frightening ability to adapt to change once they've gotten past the temper tantrums.  It's been almost eight years and I'm still going "boo-hoo, being a girl is hard even with a bunch of folks who've gone through the same thing to help!" and she's like, well, I left everybody I know except Mommy behind on the other side of the country and my new friend Josephine's parents speak French so now I'm just going to pick up more French than Mommy did in three years of school and also I never get lost when running around the neighborhood like Mommy does.  She's six, she did video calls with her extended family at the holidays, and they ran out to show "Josie" the new toy she was sent.

In fact, the only family member she has seen in the past six months is "Daddy", because June/Jonah and his fiancée Alana got the idea to come down during Mardi Gras.  I gather it had sort of been a bucket list item for June in her old life, except that her ex-husband didn't think it sounded like his sort of thing when they were younger, and it's not something you do at June's real age, but when the world thinks you're twenty-four, you and your cute redhead finacée do it.  I think they both also wanted to be seen as being good, mature adults, about Moira, even though neither June nor I wants there to be any sort of regular arrangement.  I almost wish we could get Alana to go through a cycle at the Inn, just so that we'd all be on the same page, but that's apparently not practical even if stuff didn't often go wrong.  Anyway, I can't exactly treat June/Jonah as someone who can just disappear from our lives once the opportunity arises, in part because my parents want to keep up appearances.  Then again, they can't just up and move like I just did and start fresh.

It was a weird few days.  Moira was shy around "Daddy", and I felt bad about not making the fact that there is a Daddy out there somewhere who likes her (maybe loves her; I mean, how could June not?) but just can't see her very often more a part of her life, especially now that she's got friends at school and sees other family arrangements more often and asks a bunch of questions.  June, meanwhile, does know how to be around kids so Alana thinks "Jonah" is closer to Moira than is the case.  They mostly did young-single-person stuff, but there was a daddy-daughter outing, from which we now know that Moira really doesn't like boats.

(In the time since this happened, Alana has made overtures about Moira spending a week with Daddy during summer vacation, and I asked Junah if this would be tied to him visiting "his mom and dad" and, yeah, this is complicated!)

More fun was a couple months later when Gabriel had a work thing in New Orleans - some conference or other.  We hadn't chatted online much over the winter and spring, because he met a girl who seemed pretty cool from what showed up on his Instagram, and while we still thought of each other as mostly friends (although I guess sleeping together that once makes us "friends with benefits"), a message from me popping up on his phone at the wrong time could get a bad reaction.  Ironically, it was her who got back together with an ex a couple weeks before this business trip.

Which suddenly added new possibilities to "we should meet for lunch while I'm out there".

We did that, obviously, and it was really enjoyably casual.  Meeting for lunch in this city is terrific, because the sheer number of good places to eat is overwhelming, and I joked with him about being on the dating apps just so that I could get a bunch of guys to introduce me to local restaurants (though I'd found this place myself).  He asked if there was anyone, and I said no, that so far the guys who were okay with me having a daughter were not exactly folks I'd risk a second kid with.  Like, they figured it made me desperate or something and I wasn't going to pay for babysitters on three nights to get laid once.  Joke's on them; Moira loves sleeping over at her friend Josie's and Josie's mom Justine loves hearing stories about men being dogs the next day just as much as hearing about someone being great in bed, even if she does think I should be getting laid more.

(I don't bring up the girls I've swiped right on, because that's not happening.  Jordan says I should have worked at being bi earlier, because otherwise your nose overrides what you'd trained yourself to find sexy or something.)

Once it was established we were both single, he said he could extend his stay into the weekend, and maybe we could do something Friday night.  We settled on Preservation Hall, which is obvious but should be fun, especially since it was on the list of things I hadn't done here yet, and agreed to meet that night.

I was planning to keep it casual again - camisole, shorts, hair in a ponytail, minimal makeup - and got all the way to the point where I was starting with the makeup after dropping Moira off at Josie's when I got a call from Jordan, who had just got in after a long night in Hong Kong and was kind of buzzed.  I put her on speaker as I worked on my face, and when I mentioned it was Gabriel in town she was all like "ooh, you like that boy, don't you?  Go get 'im!"  I protested that it wasn't like that and I wasn't going to get anyone, she said "uh-huh" and that she was probably keeping me late, so she hung up and left me to it.

(I feel like I usually call Jordan "he", but she was really being a she that night!)

I started with the lipstick, but what Jordan had said was on my mind, and it looked kind of dull all of a sudden.  "Damn it," I said, actually said out loud, "I do like that boy!"  So I stripped back down to my bra and panties, threw the closet opened, and went straight to the third date dress, the blue one that has a hidden underwire because there's no hiding bra straps with the bare shoulders and it's made to make my cleavage pop.  It also doesn't do much to hide the shape of my ass and has some round cutouts just above the hips.  I've actually got makeup that matches it, and four-inch heels that do as well.  Not necessarily the sort of things I like wearing when I'm probably going to stand in line for an hour, but Gabriel deserved it and I'll admit it, I didn't feel like leaving much to chance.  I did what I could do with my hair on short notice, chuckled at what my mother would think of me in this moment, and headed out.

He liked what he saw, and I managed not to fall on my butt as we stood in line and chatted.  We got good seats, the music was a ton of fun - it's a tourist trap but one that pulls the tourists in because it's genuinely a lot of fun and really makes you feel like you've had a proper time in New Orleans (and as a recent transplant, I'm not immune to that feeling).  It's a quick show, about an hour, so we walked around a bit more, had some late night beignets, and then I let him get me off my feet in his hotel room.

Afterward, we both lay on the bed, naked, kind of joking about how this was kind of sexier than L-shaped sheets on TV and wondering if smoking afterward leveled you out like it always seemed to in movies - I don't know about anybody else, but I always have this want-to-do-more-but-can't feeling if sex is good, and I'm not sure if it's me, Krystal, or just the weird sense of being a guy turned into a girl.  I kind of liked being naked in that moment, though, walking up to the window and looking out, knowing he was looking at me, and not having any clothes in between us.  "It's gonna be weird if we ever do this anywhere but a hotel, isn't it?"

He laughed.  "It is, especially since hotel sex is the best sex."

"I know, right?  The sheets are always perfect, the bed never squeaks, there's no worry about being interrupted, you're on neutral ground and someone else is gonna clean up...  God, I must sound like such a ho!"

He walked but and put his arms around me.  "You're just sayin' facts."

"I guess, but...  There's some folks who would be really shocked about me having opinions like this, and some who look at me and think ho sells me short, and I--"  I stopped, realizing that I was saying things I usually only said with other folks who'd been to the Inn.  "I just sometimes still feel surprised that I'm an adult woman with adult responsibilities and interests, you know?  Like, I'm sure you heard that I missed high school graduation, and never went to college or got married, so even though I've got a kid of my own and a job where people act like I know what I'm doing and mostly do as I say, I always feel like I'm putting one over everything and should be heading into first period geography in the morning."

He walked up, put his arms around me, and kissed my neck.  "I think you're amazingly together."

"You're just saying that because you see me once a year in my best outfit."

"C'mon, you're pretty good in no outfit at all!"

I laughed, kind of enjoying a man appreciating me and not thinking about it too much in the moment.  "I'm just saying, tomorrow I'll be in a t-shirt trying to get Moira to try new food and you'll be on a plane.  You're not getting the full Krystle Kamen experience."

"I think I'd like it."

I shrugged, turned around, and feeling that he had started getting hard, pushed him back to the bed, thinking maybe I could do a bit more.

The next morning, I called an Uber and went home, because the deal-sealing dress is cool and all, but public transportation in a dress where you have to cross your legs ain't great.  Heck, I was lucky enough to get a woman driving the car, which is a way bigger deal than I ever could have imagined.

So a kind of funny thing is, I did sit down with Justine and talk about the good sex I had while the girls played the next morning and, like, I never really had girlfriends I could do that with back in Massachusetts.  Like, with Ashlyn and Jordan it was always a former-guy conversation and Original Moira and I just never had a sex-talk sort of friendship.  But Justine and some other women I know do stuff like that, and I wonder if maybe Ashlyn was right - going to a place where nobody knows me is a chance to start fresh.

I do still kind of feel like a visitor myself, in part because Moira has acclimated so fast, but I'm getting there - the fact that folks from before are kind of odd and unusual must mean something.


Saturday, June 10, 2023

Keaton/Laura: The woman on the screen

Talk about luck. Not only did I unwittingly get myself transformed into the body of a woman in her mid-thirties, I got myself stuck in the Northeast just as wildfires in Canada started sending smoke down this way. I'm used to bad air quality from LA, but I was hoping this would be different.

As Rona and I set out for Albany to meet with the original Marc, asked me how I was feeling. I told her I was trying not to dwell on the negatives of it, which are numerous. This could be a grand adventure. I sure would never have known what it was like to have breasts before... not to mention many of the people I've spoken to in the last few weeks are in my eyeline.

I wrote to the "new-me" before we left. I hear that some people get their bodies "stolen" and I hope I'm not being egotistical when I suspect that mine might be a prime candidate. Is it so wrong to think a lot of people might want to be me, or use my life as a convenient escape from their own issues? It's not perfect but there are very few downsides to being Keaton Garrett.

I'm trying to put that out of my mind, like I said. I advised them to make money however they could and not feel obliged to continue my career, I was getting ready for a change anyway. I suspect people might be charmed by the glitz and glamor of a production company, but it's very demanding and thankless and it wasn't something I saw myself doing for much longer anyway.

We got to Albany and saw Marc/Chantelle and they filled us in on what had happened since they had stopped writing on the blog and why they hadn't gone to the Inn. It was... a very surprising reveal, but I will leave it to them to say when they feel up to it. I thought you good folks might want to know but it's 100% not my place to share.

Then it was... well, wherever we wanted to go. The most recent Marc and Laura gave up their residence near Boston in the name of giving their successors a fresh start, and apparently it was known that Marc and Laura 1.0 were not going to be going back to living as man and wife. For strategic purposes we wound up in... Queens. Reason being that that brought us close to Jacks and Steffi in their new lives. Rona has been working as a driver, which is fine since road travel is a love language in LA, and I've been trying to keep the lights on in Laura's e-commerce business. Most of my day is spent doing social media -- Tiktok and Instagram reels talking up the products. It's... not what I would have chosen for myself, but it pays the bills. It's very strange to have worked in the entertainment industry for so many years and now find myself effectively "on camera" as my job, having to be poised and attractive. I spend so much time looking at this face and listening to this voice as I edit, yet it's oddly disassociating. I have to admit, watching the "Laura" character onscreen for so long, I feel a little tingle of "Oh, she's cool, I like her," (or more realistically, "She seems nervous and uncomfortable just being herself, and that's oddly cute") and then I realize... she's me.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Keaton/Laura: Away we go...

With our time in Maine coming to an end, the pressure has been on us -- to quote John Mulaney -- to get real cool with a bunch of stuff real quick. In my case, that means seeing a comparatively slight and soft female body when I look down, using the "equipment" to relieve myself, and -- this has probably been the biggest hurdle so far -- wearing the clothes that were left for me.

The last words anyone would have used to describe me in my natural state is are "graceful" and "feminine." The previous Laura obviously had certain assumptions about the person she was passing this life to because the suitcase was largely packed with sundresses, skirts, and crop tops, but of course there was a pair of denim shorts, to my relief. Sure, they're a little -- a lot -- more snug than I'm used to, which serves to remind me of what has happened to me but I feel like wearing a floral sundress would be tenfold that.

We made an outing yesterday and of course I felt like the entire town was staring at me. I was very aware of my body -- at my height my natural posture is not that "great" and so I probably lurch around which looks weird when skinned on a smallish, thirtysomething woman. I wore a loose tee from Rona's original collection, and was adamant that I was not ready not wear a bra. "Suit yourself," Rona shrugged, and while I had some self-consciousness about my "girls" bobbing around under my top, the truth is they're modest enough that nobody was probably looking twice.

In any case, if the legend of this Inn/blog is to be believed, the people of this town are used to paying no notice of dazed-looking strangers meandering around looking like they don't belong.

I certainly felt a lot more exposed, but the truth is, as Laura, I'm probably turning fewer heads than in my old body: people see a big-ass Viking-looking guy, they look twice. I'm used to it. Laura is comparatively unassuming. I kind of don't mind that, and all I had left was to process my own icky feeling about what is-or-isn't between my legs.

My main feeling about all of this has been... exasperation. The what-now-of-it-all. I don't want to be a woman, but I can probably bear it. Rona, likewise, has taken it on the chin. I think she's downplaying it, but I can see discomfort on her face as she tries to find the right way to sit as Marc. Steffi took it the worst: when things didn't immediately go back to normal on day two and it hit her that this was real and, I guess, long-term, she broke down in sobs. If there was any one of us who was completely defined by their appearance, it was her. You had to feel for her, and yet at the same time it's like, "Get a grip."

Observation: I always hated typing on my phone because of my huge fingers not agreeing with the touch screen, but now...

It was tough going out and going around this way, but Rona deemed it necessary "exposure therapy" to get us used to the idea of existing this way and testing our limits. After a while my guard dropped and I did become less self-conscious but I never stopped being away of feeling weak and feeble... not to insult my host or anything, but I was a large, strong, energetic man. Losing muscles along with the physical endurance I'd built up, along with a good chunk of my youth and -- let's face it, my masculinity -- left me feeling drained, tired and sore at the end of the day in a way I never had before. Realizing that left me with a whole other bunch of reasons to feel bad about this change that had nothing (or little) to do with what position I pee in.


Rona, enterprising as she is, figured out how to get in touch with Marc, so she and I are Albany bound just to figure out where everyone stands. Jacks and Steffi are off to a new life in the suburbs. This is all a whirlwind but I guess that's life.

Oh and I still have to write my "onboarding" letter to the "new" Keaton...

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Keaton Garrett: Part Two

So to recap... on Saturday: birthday drinks, laughs, and a little bit of light petting with a girl from the bar.

Sunday: Chaos and confusion as we all woke up "in different bodies"/with our bodies "transformed", however you want to term it.

I get the sense that people reading this blog know all about what we're terming the "event." It took us obviously a lot of pooling our resources to figure out what was going on, who we'd "become" and how to learn more.

In terms of who as unlucky enough to have their new assignment least resemble their previous, that would be me. I went from 6'7, 250 lbs of muscle and hair, down to a 5'5 soft-bellied and round-hipped female. The first thing I did when hopping out of bed -- responding to the calamity like the superhero I sometimes get mistaken for -- was to faceplant and land on my freshly-grown tits, skinning my knee and bruising my chin. Oops. I tried to shake it off but, with the world around me having grown to enormous proportions, I spent a lot of the day just getting my bearings and marveling at what had become of my body.

I think I was almost too impressed to be scared. Gone were my hard pecs and biceps, replaced with a soft-skinned, and very modestly-sized pair of breasts, and noodly arms. What was between my legs -- a good size if I do say so myself, something I took pride in and would have a hard time forgetting I possessed -- now gone without a trace, replaced by a conspicuous void that feels very weird to be sitting with. I first saw it when the boxers I had been wearing slipped down. The sound I made in my new feminine voice, reader... you could hardly imagine, just an unfettered shriek of pure shock. I spent the rest of the day wearing my own t-shirt, which was basically enough to cover my body and trying not to think about what lay beneath.

Gone overnight, everything that made me "me," the muscles, the tattoos, the beard, the organs... except I guess I still have long blonde hair. I guess conventionally you'd expect a man-turned-into-a-woman to gain longer hair, but mine is actually shorter, only shoulder length. Pulling it into a short ponytail was the least of my surprise.

Rona got the same treatment, becoming a man: rather ordinary, average height, short-cropped dark haired and generic-featured, medium build with a slight potbelly. The fact that she's a lesbian did little or nothing to dull her shock about it, though. My being blond(e) and her being dark-haired caused some confusion at first since we in some ways "resembled" our new selves.

Jacks and Steffi didn't get the switch flipped the way we did, but they have their own concerns. Looking at my and Rona's new features we had obviously gained a few years, but they both wound up somewhere north of forty, with Jacks sporting gray hair, and Steffi, well... for someone who's used to looking the way she does, this body is going to be a shock in its own way... size-wise and cosmetically. This is not to say an older and chubbier woman can't be pretty at all, but just... you know how society is. I mean hell, we're from L.A. Even the most open-minded of us is probably still a little superficial.

I would say as shocking as it was to note my physical changes, the idea of "taking over" someone's life on a temporary basis was even moreso, as we learned more about the event. But there was something of a wrinkle.

See, everyone at the Inn got a letter or some kind of message explaining what had happened and what to do next.

Rona and I got two.

There was one each designated to "New Marc" and "New Laura" and one each for "Original Marc" and "Original Laura." It seems that these bodies were meant to go back to their original owners but that's obviously not what happened. Luckily the previous occupants anticipated that and wrote us these alternate instructions.

We asked around. There was no Marc and no Laura here. Then I logged onto the blog and not far back, I see posts from Marc (under the "Chantelle" identity he had been assigned) up until last fall.

We decided it's important for us to meet these people and let them know that their bodies are in good hands or... whatever. Find out what kept them from returning.

Anything to keep my mind off of what's going on... "down there."

Monday, May 29, 2023

Keaton Garrett: Part One

I'm gonna take my sweet ass time with this because, well, I don't have much else to do and there's a lot to unpack. A few mornings ago I was lying in my very stiff and too-small "Trading Post Inn" bed wondering how long the stiffness in my neck was going to last when I spotted a slip of paper that had found its way under my door in the night, with log in info for this blog, inviting me to share my experience. Had I written anything at the time, it would have simply read "This place sucks and I don't want to be here," but I was not so bored that I was going to spend all day on the computer writing negative reviews. And besides, the wi-fi situation in this little corner of Old Orchard Beach is positively medieval.

Obviously, by now I'm a little bit more aware of why people would be sharing their experiences here online so things have changed

So how did I, the quintessential California boy get here? It's a not-very-interesting story, to be sure.

I work, or should I say was working for a production company. We had booked some time to scout locations for an upcoming wilderness drama for one of the big streamers -- I won't bore you with the details -- when the writers strike happened. Personally, I support the WGA 1000%, even if their strike has a knock-on effect on my job, but I've come to dislike the job anyway and have been thinking of changing industries (to what, I had no idea... but I guess the universe heard me manifesting that.) So production got canceled and we got stuck with some non-refundable "all beds must be filled" reservations at Old Orchard Beach's rustiest, mustiest inn for Memorial Day. The stays were raffled off and the lucky winners were me, Rona, Jacks and Steffi -- not too many people signed up because I guess when you live in LA, a beach getaway on the other side of the country doesn't have much appeal, but the idea of heading to a slower, more bucolic setting with less smog, away from the chaos of life in the industry appealed to me.

I like to think I have a zen heart even though my exterior is (was) anything but. At 6'7 with long blond hair, I get called "Thor" a lot. I'm muscular, I have tattoos running up and down my arms. People make a lot of assumptions about who I am because of what I look like. And hey, some of that may be accurate: the muscles don't just happen, and a lot of my time is spent rock climbing, biking and base jumping. But I also melt anytime I see a random dog, and I like to curl up with a good book.

I think Rona may have had some of these preconceptions about me -- that I'm some kind of insensitive misogynistic meathead -- because she was really frosty to me when we first met, but she actually became one of my closest friends around the office (or "office" as the case may sometimes be, with Zoom and all.)

I just asked Rona, if she would not mind describing herself visually for the benefit of you readers. Her response: "Fat and gay." To clarify, she was a little stout and curvy rather than "fat"... and with short dark hair, thick glasses and a penchant for checked button-down shirts and pants, I suppose she definitely wore her sexuality as an aesthetic. Jackson "Jacks" Kirkman is a goofy guy who always has to be the center of attention, and Steffi is a fair-haired Insta-influencer type: thin, great body, etc etc. When Jacks and Steffi became an item a few weeks in advance of the trip, we were basically obliged to place "People who were sleeping together" in one room and "People who would not be sleeping together" in the other.

Up until yesterday, we were having a really nice time. During the day we explored the town, meandered around the beach, drank and got goofy, and then at night it was like an extended sleepover with my best bro: bored games, cheesy movies, drinking games. Saturday was actually my birthday -- happy 27th. We went out to the bar and after a cutesy little cupcake with a candle for me to blow out Rona basically insisted on wingwoman-ing me, adamant that one of us had to get laid before this trip was over. I was flattered but while I did end up getting a number from a very nice woman, I wasn't that into it. I went back to her place, and we made out for a bit, but I ended up seeing myself out.

Of course, if I had known what was headed for us, I might have thought differently.

I came back to the room and noticed Rona already snoozing. I sat up on my phone for a while but noticed I was feeling a little woozy and a little itchy/irritated/tingly. I thought maybe it was a reaction to something I had eaten or drank, so I popped and antihistamine -- the feeling didn't quite subside but it did help me zonk out.

And then in the morning, everything had changed.

Saturday, March 04, 2023

Andi/Andy: Just Having a GREAT Senior Year

Sarcasm, obviously.

Andy and I talked about a lot of concerns in our last update, but at the time I felt I had really exaggerated them.  Not intentionally, just kind of writing more about the stuff that elicits strong feelings rather than the way things would probably be okay and eventually get back to normal.  But they didn't.

First, Andy broke up with Len.  And on the one hand, good for him!  Len always seemed to be a pretty okay guy, but maybe I just wasn't paying attention to things with his previous girlfriends or what, but he was really up in Andy's business all the time, acting like his girlfriend had to run all sort of things by him, and that's certainly not the way I want to be treated when I'm a girl again, and I feel pretty sure that Cindi appreciates me not doing that (although, uh, more on that in a bit).  Lots more touching than Andy felt he signed up for, especially when he wore anything that left skin bare or hinted at a figure (which he does a little more, because he mostly goes shopping with Shawna, and she sure seems to like crop tops a lot more than she did when we were hanging out)

On the other hand, it's ugly, because Andy really resisted the idea that his best friend would be a bad boyfriend for a long time, and he really didn't want to dump Len, so he's crying as he does it but still not relenting, and Len gets angry.  Not hitting-Andy angry or anything, but "bitch" was yelled a few times, and then he stews about it with other friends, maybe not consciously trying to outnumber me, but setting up situations where someone will say "I can't believe your sister dumped your best friend" and I'm just like "did you really think you were going to get me to talk shit about someone I shared a womb with?", almost wanting to tell them exactly how fucked up it was that they thought I was going to take Len's side against Andy.

Anyway, I mostly hang out with Cindi and her friends now, which is weird, because I never would have been part of that group as myself, but as her boyfriend, it's even weirder, because I'm still kind of on the outside looking in at time but from a different window, and there's a big part of me that still wants to hate them but also wants them to like me as one of them.  Ugh.


Okay, so I wrote all that in October and I guess didn't hit publish?  Anyway, Homecoming was weird because of all that drama, but we all survived.  Somehow, Cindi and I still haven't done it, mostly because there haven't been a whole lot of solo dates.  A lot of her friends were dating a year up, and so their boyfriends are off in college, or breaking up, and now the girls just hang and me and another boyfriend are kind of part of the gang.  The time it did look like we were going to wind up in bed, her period came early, and I totally get her feeling gross, obviously.  I'm almost feeling like we might wind up not, since Mom and Dad have booked a room at the Inn again so we can get back to normal after graduation.

Although as to what else comes after graduation...  I don't know.  Andy kind of blew my SATs and Achievements, and his/my first-semester grades were way below where they should be, even considering that we registered for classes last spring when we thought we would be back in our own lives.  I admit, I had a little trouble with his public speaking and Asian History electives, but I pulled off Bs.  He also had to quit one of my extracurriculars because it just wasn't working out.

I'm trying not to be upset.  Both Mom and Dad talk about a lot of people who got stressed out over the past couple years because the pandemic was constantly throwing them for a loop even if they never caught Covid, and we've certainly been under similar stresses.  Maybe I'm handling it better for some reason or another, or maybe I'm messing up in ways I just can't see.

I'm hoping that the essays I'm writing for my college applications will counter the hit my standardized tests and GPA have taken, but I don't know.  It's frustrating, because we can see the end ahead of us, and we really thought we'd be able to get through without messing up.


Monday, February 27, 2023

Jordan/Yuan-Wei: City Without Baseball

It's a silly thing to worry about, given everything else, but Spring Training has started, and even though the Mets look like they're going to be a force this year, I kind of wonder if I'm going to be able to follow them from here in Hong Kong.  I can - the internet is a thing, obviously, and I can easily afford MLB's streaming package, but trying to watch postseason games in the morning last fall felt profoundly wrong even if work didn't get in the way.  It would be nice to develop a rooting interest here, even if the quality of play wasn't great, but...  Well, there's a movie I found in one of the video stores in the Ladies' Market a few weeks ago called City Without Baseball, and while it's not really about baseball and how there should be more, the name isn't wrong.  There's no damn baseball here and, like, should I start following some Taiwanese/Japanese/Korean team at random?  Would that make me the same as the fucking hipsters from back when I was my original self who started "supporting" an English Premier League "side" out of nowhere and then started acting snotty when I called it "soccer" instead of "football"?


Okay, so this isn't really about baseball and rooting interests, but, like, that's the most obvious and harmless way that being Yuan-Wei in something approximating what the original Yuan-Wei's life might have become is messing with me these days.  The only time I actually speak English is at work or when talking with "Mom", and even she wants me to help her practice Cantonese these days.  I'm glad to, because...

You know what?  I should have led with this.  The person who was living the live of the lady now going by "Wang Chen-Ai" died a month ago.  It took us two weeks to find out because, I mean, why would you tell some random middle-aged woman in China that your grandma passed away, and neither of them really did social media.  It's not immediately some sort of tragedy in terms of someone's life being cut short because they aged fifty years overnight - I gather it was someone about the same age - so maybe something like that is going to happen down the chain, but it was a shock.  Fake Chen-Ai figured she'd had at least ten more years in her once she got back to being herself, but, well, sometimes a decline comes fast.

I don't really know what she's thinking, but she's seemed really shaky at times, so I've tried to spend more time with her.  She's been taking Cantonese lessons and appreciates when I help her practice, and about a week ago she said we should probably try to do more together, stuff that looks like mother/daughter but is just two people trying to get to know each other and the city we're supposed to call home on the one hand, and maybe trying to carve out some sort of corner where we can kind of be ourselves, and she says she and her father used to watch the Giants a lot back when they had just come out west, so I thought maybe that would be something.

Selfishly, I'm not happy but with this turn of events but kind of like the idea of not having to start over with a new fake mother every year or so.  I tell her that a lot of us have gone through something big like this, but she's kind of getting a lot of culture shock that she'd been able to stave off by leaving a lot of things to Chen-Ai/Bingbing and staying in, and I'm not sure of the best way to help.  There aren't fucking books on this!

(And, once again, I want to know how things got to the point where I'm the mentor/voice of reason!)


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Becca/Sam: I think I like my wife

Having a man's body and being a man are two different things. Every time I put on the suit, I felt like I was playing dress-up. Like I was in drag. That even though I have a muscular chest and a thing between my legs, I'm really a woman inside. And a very bizarre side-effect of taking a trip to the Inn, I was finding, was that I didn't want to feel like a woman. I wanted to feel like a man, be accepted by men, and be among men, even though I don't -- on the top of my head -- think masculinity is better than femininity. I didn't have time to worry about what kind of hormonal drug was coursing through my veins that made me want to get all rough and tumble, I just knew I was a person in crisis -- a hairy, muscular person.

I threw myself into being as good of a man as possible. I don't think most women would be able to Kill It as a guy on day one, but many of us are adaptable and have had to acclimate to things men can hardly even conceive of. Styling short hair? I've never had short hair but it wasn't hard to figure out. Shaving? A necessity now, so let's get good at keeping it neat. Matching a tie and a shirt? I can probably make more out of Sam's wardrobe than he could. Actually tying said tie? Well okay, I needed a few views on a YouTube video for that. But I got there.

I was rocking it, and getting confident, even if, amongst the men at work I felt like an outsider. Everything with them is sports, booze, money, tech and women, and I only know about one of those things, and not from the expected perspective. Still, I needed to gain experience in order to ingratiate myself with my new gender. 

I began to see sex as this weird missing ingredient in who I was supposed to be. I felt locked out of the full male experience by virtue of my lack of sexual experience. I felt like such a strange nothing-person adrift in a world I didn't understand, trying to navigate delicately between my old life and my new one. I knew I had some kind of sex drive -- my anatomy had a curious habit of awakening virtually unprompted. I didn't know what was doing it or what "I" was "into" only that I felt a gaping need for satisfaction.

I thought that I might as well direct this toward my "wife" Shannon. 

I felt icky about it at first. I'm an open-minded person but I've never been attracted to women before so trying to push myself over that hill and see a woman that way was a real barrier, even if Sam's body was telling me that was the way. It felt kind of like I was taking advantage of her, too, because she didn't know I was not her husband. I didn't, and don't, like the lying that goes along with this scenario. That's probably why I'd been distant for the first few months. I tried to convince myself that it would be doing her a favor to play the role of her husband, since he was not here to do so.

I wrestled with it. The first time we made love, it was an awkward affair. I gave her probably more attention than she was used to from the real Sam, which was maybe suspicious. I felt dirty about it and not necessarily in a sexy, fun way. But I am a woman at heart, and women know women, and I think it was probably easier for me to participate in that than a man in a similar situation who finds himself suddenly with a heterosexual woman's confusing and complicated libido.

I did some things that maybe she didn't expect Sam to do, because I knew they would be appreciated even if they were firsts for me. Coming face to face with her privates, I tried to be tender but I think I was a little clinical, but my body was telling me I was on the right path even if I didn't fully understand it. I didn't know what was supposed to be so arousing from where I was standing, but maybe the butterflies were flapping their wings just at being so intimate with another person for the first time in, oh so long.

Once we got to the main event... I didn't love it. It felt like work. It's a lot of motion and activity when you're a man, and I have to give some credit to some of my partners because I can see it takes some time to master the technique. I had this distinct feeling of finally getting "in" there and being like "Oh, shit." I mean, this feels good and all but... now what do I do?

Afterward, I was almost too embarrassed to face her. Having bad sex with her seemed to be worse than having no sex at all, like I had let her down and tipped my hand that something was off. She began to broach the topic of therapy, which normally I'd be all for but in this context was the last thing I wanted to do.

Normally I'm all up for talking through your feelings but I'd been drowning in a sea of unfamiliar thoughts and emotions so I didn't know where to start. I wonder if most emotionally-constipated men feel this way.

Time went by and we kind of tiptoed around it and I somewhat dreaded having to do it again, and somewhat hoped to get another chance.

That's when I started seeing her.

I had seen her from the beginning, of course... she lives in the same house as me. She sleeps in the same bed as me. I've even done her laundry so I have handled her intimates. She has walked around naked in front of me and not expected me to care. In fact she may have even noticed me averting my eyes shyly, asked me annoyedly about it, and I had to come up with some "baby it's not what you think" excuse that I don't think she's unpretty.

And that's true. I don't think Shannon is unpretty at all. She is classically very beautiful -- she works hard to keep herself in good shape, has a pretty conventionally desirable figure, and is obviously great at makeup and aesthetics. My feelings toward her were, at first, mingled bitterness and envy, a gnawing feeling in the pit of My Becca Stomach that she was winning at being a woman, way way better than me, even if I hadn't been transformed into a man. She just had this presence of a roommate that, unfortunately, had some expectations of me that I had a hard time fulfilling. 

And then one day... I saw it.

It was at the most random of moments. She was standing in the kitchen with her reading glasses on looking at some bills on her phone, dressed in a workout outfit and I saw her, like it was for the first time. The curve of her hips, her trim waist, that little sideways smile she does, the way her eyebrows furrowed... the particular size and shape of her breasts. I saw her as a person and a partner and an object of desire. It was like a magic box had opened to reveal a gleaming prize and it could be mine if I wanted it.

Normally I am very shy. I don't know how to approach potential partners, and as a result I usually let them dog me around pretty bad. But here... all the work had been done for me. I was married. I was a man, and this woman liked me, loved me, wanted me, or at least thought she did because of who I looked like. And I was starting to like her. I wanted to take her in my arms.

I realized I could take her in my arms. I wrapped my arms around her waist from behind just to see how it felt. She responded favorably. She nuzzled me, I kissed her, and suddenly it was like we had found our rhythm.

It still took some practice to really find my mojo in the bedroom, but I had found my desire. I began to really appreciate having a woman lay back beneath me, or sit astride me as the case may be, and use my masculine physique for her pleasure -- and mine. It was like woah. Something has changed.

Soon we fell into a honeymoon phase. I'm sure she has questions about what ever inspired it but I just told her I woke up one morning and it was like I was a kid again and we were newlyweds, which is all I can say. Life is stressful, life is hard, as parents of three, but we have that to look forward to, and I've gotten a real charge out of being her partner. I'm a changed person.

And Nevin, or "Corinne," I think, took notice...