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...

Friday, February 10, 2023

Becca/Sam: One of the guys

My early weeks and months as Sam Platter were a complete nightmare. Every day I woke up I felt my stomach eating away at itself with anxiety. Being in a strange body may have carried some amusing novelty under other circumstances, but I'm a simple gal -- all I ever wanted was to live a quiet life. As Sam though, all eyes were on me to be a "hotshot" decision maker, bold and leading edge. I didn't feel like I had any choice -- it was one thing to risk my livelihood, but I had to support a wife and three kids and try to keep things stable until the real Sam could be restored.

I kept it to myself -- such a manly move -- and barely tried to build any trust with Shannon. I barely wanted anything to do with her, I even considered moving into another room to leave her alone. Not out of dislike per se... although it's true, I did feel pretty predisposed against such a pretty, skinny, perky, perfect woman who does Tiktoks with her daughters and everything. I just felt like, we didn't have anything in common and it was weird to try to push myself to be a "husband" to her. I didn't know what that meant or why I should try. I had other important things to do. I didn't, however, change beds, I just kind of kept on the low and focused my energy to the kids.

The kids are great. Obviously "Corinne" was taking up most of my time and energy. She and Sam had taken the trip to Maine as a "bonding" experience and I guess you could say it worked all too well. I took point on her as she headed into her junior year at high school. Being so dedicated to cheer and other activities gave my dad something to focus his newfound energies on. I wouldn't have thought he would take to it, but I think there's something to be said for the influence of one's body: knowing what Corinne-the-body was capable of seemed to stoke Nevin's interest in pursuing it. So we spent August "re-learning" back hand springs and flips and everything, things that people train themselves from childhood to get good at. I covered most of it because I didn't want Shannon to see how far backwards Corinne's development had gone. But 

I asked him about it and he said, in that gruff version of a teenage girl's voice he's got, "When I was Corinne's age, I was taking cars apart to figure out how they worked. I was a star runningback, too. You never saw me then. I was obsessed. When I caught something, I caught it bad. That's how it is today. I can't explain it, but doing all this... it get me going, you know?" Fair enough.

Then there's the two other girls, 12 and 9. They all have their own personalities: the middle-child is a musician and fills the house with the sound of piano practice, and the other is a budding artist. Part of me admires how picture-perfect it all is, and part of me has my stomach turning because life was sure never like this for me and I don't know quite how to process it. So I could only focus on work, and I hated work. My life felt like a nightmare, made worse by the bizarre fact that I felt like my dad was thriving.

(I occasionally thought about what if the situations had been reversed and I had been the young girl and he the dad -- I didn't think I would be any better of a Corinne and I knew he would just mess up as Sam, so I had to comfort myself that this was for the best.)

Being at work every day put me at odds with my body. I was the caretaker of a male anatomy and it was weird. The guys saw me as one of them. It was intoxicating and withering all at once because I felt, deep down inside, like I was a fraud, a fake. And not just because I didn't know what I was doing at work.

Men. I understand men and I'll never understand men. But it's true that so much of who and what they are is filtered through sexuality. It was gross hearing the way some of these guys talk to each other, but I couldn't bring myself to speak up. Maybe I was becoming more sympathetic because my brain was basting in those same hetero-male chemicals, but I couldn't quite spare it with my own sensitivity from years of being a woman. But there was a distance between me and the other guys at work that I yearned to bridge, but I could only do so by plunging further and becoming more of what I appeared to be. I had to be a man. I had to increase my experience.

I had to... sleep with my wife.