I was happy I wasn't a pony or some abstract work of art which had to learn a whole new means of locomotion. What did I like? The smoothness was a bit trippy. It had kinda been there for a while. Feeling it all gave me a little shiver. One perk of Candace and mom's changes was they found the little stuff like inconvenient hair was airbrushed away. I never had any great desire to cultivate and shape my facial hair. A pencil-thin mustache may have been amusing for a laugh but I never really saw my face that way.
I shut my eyes and thought about how I did see my face. I knew my regular face. I knew the contours of my nose projecting so much more than it did now. I should've felt dissonance with my self-image.
I'd seen that sort of thing on one of those occasional afternoon talk shows which would look for those with extreme changes. One of them was a forty-year-old man who looked like a blend of Cordelia and Parker (silvery hair, small, and a bust which the camera operator kept emphasizing). They tossed out all the clichés but she was quite interesting because of how humble she was. She expressed a semi-religious feeling that, "this is a gift". But she spoke about how her face didn't match and, for a long time, "I didn't even know my face."
Tears like sparkling blue jewels hugged the corners of her massive eyes as she said, "I never knew my face. I denied it. I tried to hide it. But my face was blank. When I tried to find it, it felt like a shapeless mask. I looked a long time till I felt it and then, when I changed, it was like someone had done more than I could ever hope for. They peeled the mask away. And they gave me the gift of knowing what was inside me all along."
I reflected on that conversation and rolled my eyes a bit because of the melodramatic music they used to overplay the moment. But I looked at my face and I tried to think about that.
I'd spent one particular summer reading through all the psychology books I could get my hands on because dad was editing a psychology textbook. I got a couple glimpses of Jung, enough to know that all the deepest stuff was going over my head. But I was intrigued by symbols.
The outward persona. I tried to become more conscious of how others saw me after that. I considered trying out a random accent with people I'd never met and probably would never meet again on random trips. But, in some ways, it was like the pool.
I could mime my legs like I was swimming underneath and I looked like I was floating but I was on the safe end of the pool the whole time, anchored to the bottom. I never did try my experiment. Not that it would've meant anything to my persona. I did notice the way I presented myself changed in subtly-different ways with different people. It was fun talking with dad about the textbook that summer.
I started a dream journal to dig at my unconscious. I tended to dream action movies which I forgot soon after waking with just feelings of running or doing things I couldn't possibly imagine myself actually doing. Some visuals stuck out and I would sketch them. In the end, I abandoned it. I got the impression either my unconscious wanted to bungee off bridges or my brain was preparing for the shock if I ever found myself crazy enough to attempt that.
Trying to find my Shadow intrigued me because it was challenging to wrap my head around what mine might look like. I would go back to the wild child of my dreams and imagine them wanting to blast through to the far end of the pool and basically become everything I saw in Candace.
Candace even read some of the books (or rather skimmed through them at a swift pace). I asked her what she thought about herself. As I remember, she just said, "I am me" and gave a swift little shrug. It made sense for me that her animated form, if we suppose it was getting closer to one's self, wasn't too far removed from how she looked before, just more so. That made me wonder, with a suppressed shudder, that maybe the Candace I knew growing up was actually…holding back on her energy?
But then I had seen my sister have quieter moments, like at the food court and before she chose to have some dress-up fun. Not that she had mellowed out or that I would attribute it to becoming an animated person.
And then there was that one part from Jung. Anima in the male psyche. At that time especially, I tried to make counter cases to anima and animus. I wrestled with them a bit. Ultimately, I didn't dwell on them. But here was an example of both sides combined staring at me in the mirror. Although my feminine side seemed to be winning out in spite of anatomy (checked to make sure, yes) and my mind was not behaving in a more feminine fashion, however that might be defined. At the very least I hadn't turned into a Candace doppelganger. At the same time, I wasn't Parker with all her little gestures. I was probably closest to Allison.
I looked back to the main area of the shop and I could see her hand lightly-touching the clothes as she sifted through them. I could imagine her hanging to the side of a pool as she swam. But it wasn't quite the same for me.
So, I wasn't any of them. Mom would have quirks where she would have a long-running dialogue with herself when trying to work through her next composition and it was like waking her up when people talked to her. I had moments like that when I was reflecting but I didn't consider that inherently feminine. Then, my friend Amy. She was dry wit and whatever random snark I had running through my mind incarnate. In that sense, maybe she was more like Candace and her circular, self-declaration? But was that even true?
As was often the case when I read the psych books that summer, I found myself knowing a lot of things but understanding far less without clarity. My hope was that, in time, it would make more sense. Whenever I expressed this notion to mom and dad, they would smirk a bit to themselves but give me the kind of look which didn't bode well.
I poked my reflection, still at the quandary of why I looked like a half-pubescent girl. Miss Reflection refused to spill her secrets. As I turned away from the mirror, I felt a twinge in my groin. I'd once pulled a muscle sprinting after Candace as fast as I could (long story). This didn't feel like that.
I tried not to panic. I did shiver like an echoing impact against my back. I wasn't ready for this. Not yet. I shifted my legs again but felt too unsure to check any more in public. I picked up a random jean jacket and rushed into the changing area. I avoided Candace's door.
What I found disappointed both my optimism and fears. I was still a guy. Technically. Not much left and the form was strange. It was like a hidden tortoise. My first mental impression but it made me groan. The art style also seemed to smooth things away. Shifting my clothes, some areas seemed more sensitive and raw but not in a bad way. I had to admit that my gender seemed just about sealed, especially when I decided to double-check my chest.
It wasn't a big thing but it seemed slightly fleshier. Unlike some art shifts, I still had nipples and they seemed more prominent. It could've just been a side effect of my art. I wasn't sure if they had swollen since last I looked. I hadn't lingered on that area before.
An obvious change was the contours of my mid-section. There was no way in heck that form could be passed off as boyish. Even more of a stabbing, bold emphasis in the drawing of my shape.
Slipping my clothes back on, I still looked like a girl, only not quite so much. Adjusting my shirt discovered several positions where it almost looked like I had breasts.
I hesitated in moving it to a position that looked less feminine. That hesitation had my mind racing to interpret and understand. The visage in the mirror, wearing my same, sudden grimace looked back at me with crystalline blue eyes and all my festering questions.
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Bio: I'm MajorKerina and I love to collaborate creatively with a group of friends to make tales where people have their genders, identities, and very realities questioned, contorted, and turned upside-down. I like slice-of-life with a spicing of the supernatural, strange, or surreal. Reality with a scent of the impossible. You can find me on DeviantArt, Twitter, ScribbleHub, and other places.