Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Get up when the alarm goes off. Walk to the bathroom. Sit down to pee. Either put on a shower cap or remember to work the shampoo into the dangling hair as well as the scalp. Shave your legs and armpits if they need it. Wrap a towel around your chest instead of your waist. Blow-dry your hair. Fasten your bra without looking. Negotiate slips, pantyhose, hair-clips and the like as necessary. Check your email for letters from the woman who stole your body or any other people who may know how such a thing is accomplished. Go back to the bathroom, swallow your birth-control pill and put on a little makeup. Google the name you were born with and that given to the body you now reside in, to see if there's anything new. Make sure your purse is well-stocked and head out for work.
Sounds almost like a normal morning routine; it's become mine. How many days does a man have to do this before it becomes normal? It is, evidently, less than 95. It wasn't until I got on the T this morning that the sole source of anxiety this morning was that the alarm clock/radio was tuned to the wrong station (generally, I have it set to WEEI, a truly awful sports/talk station so that I'll be annoyed enough to get up, cross the room, and turn it off). I didn't feel humiliated or emasculated sitting to pee, I chose a skirt over slacks because the weather looked half-decent without embarassment, shrugged off the lack of e-mail, and didn't have even the shortest moment of surprise when I saw Michelle's face in the mirror. Didn't quite think "lookin' good, girl", but didn't say "this is wrong", either.
Have I given up? No, I wouldn't still be trying to look for information if I'd given up. Am I content? Hardly - I had to put the Indiana Jones DVD box set back on the shelf yesterday because getting both that and the new Barenaked Ladies CD/DVD would be too much. Am I just able to look at my situation dispassionately, without panicking? Not at all - just the thought that Michelle may occasionally be talking to my mother with mom none the wiser is enough to send me into a cold sweat.
I guess I'm just used to it. There's a saying that a man can get used to hangin' if he hangs long enough, and I guess I'm living proof. The day-to-day aspect of living in a woman's body drove me nuts at first, but I've for the most part got a hang of it with practice. And that daily routine takes up so much of a person's time that, when he or she gets a free moment, the quick gratification looks real nice. Why put yourself through more frustration when the other option is sitting down to a movie or getting a drink? Especially if someone else will pay for it because you're occupying a girl's body!
But go far enough down that line, and the next logical step is being happy with the way things are. And would that be so bad? If I'm happy, and Michelle's happy, and my friends here are happy, and Natalya's happy in Washington, and my mom's none the wiser in Florida, and nobody wishes anybody else any harm, isn't that, well, good? Life changes, after all, though not usually in such a big way as this.
Say Michelle contacts me, says she wants to keep my body, and I'm okay about that because I'm five years younger than I was and maybe I've got a for-real-my-idea boyfriend. Sure, I gave in, but I'm happy, right? But then how can I ever stand up for myself again? If I let someone else change who I am in such a huge way, how can I ever demand something without being a hypocrite?
So, I think it's time to redouble my efforts at finding out what's happening to me. Even if I can handle being a girl, I don't know as I can handle being a pushover.
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