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...