From the burning desire to deconstruct a thing I like.
Disclaimer: This work contains adult materials including strong language, sexual themes, and an internalized identity crisis. Reader discretion is advised.
Notice: This installment of TSF Series was originally written on 8/30/2019 and has since been re-edited. Typographical errors and grammatical mistakes have been corrected, certain sections have been rewritten, and minor aspects of the story have been altered.
As the name TSF Series implies, this series serves as a platform for me to explore various TSF related concepts… And wackadoo concepts that just so happen to have TSF in them. With this story, I wanted to explore the rapid acceptance of one’s new sex and the adoption of a new gender. Something that is common in a lot of TSF media.
This got me thinking about a TSF story about a character who utterly hates their transformed form, and winds up developing full-on body dysphoria after they are forced to live in an uncomfortable form for several years, and have no hope of transforming back. But because that alone was not enough for me, I also borrowed a few ideas from the Student Transfer Scenario Osmosis, which in turn reminded me a bit of a plot point from Parasite Eve, thus leading me to incorporate some light ‘TGed into video game characters’ tropes. …My creative process is weird like that.
Unfortunately, my ambition bit me in the butt a bit with this one. Normally I try to set a very structured scope for my stories, dividing things along a small timeline, and keeping events contained. Here I wound up pursuing a concept that technically spanned several years of a person’s life, but I only gave myself a week to write it, and what I came up with was only about 7,000 words.
Because of this, J.J.’s Transformation Dysphoria is more akin to a synopsis, a testbed of ideas for a larger story that I probably will never get around to, but I’m glad that I explored this concept in some way and made a thing that people can maybe or possibly enjoy.
TSF Series #003: J.J.’s Transformation Dysphoria
I let out a sigh as the sun beat down on my person with the intensity one would expect from a late summer’s afternoon, and without a speck of shade to offer me some relief until the next block, there was little I could do but take it. With sweat dripping down my face and seeping into my clothes while bags pulled on my shoulders, I tried looking internally for a momentary reprieve from my current situation and thought back on work earlier that day. Only then, as I ran through my mental calendar, did I realize what today’s date was. A discovery that made the burdens I carried feel all the heavier.
Today was August 6th, 2004. The fifth anniversary of my… transformation. The most significant day in my life, where what I had abruptly ended, and a new beginning was thrust upon me. It was a story that I had mentally gone through dozens of times and found myself blazing through as I trekked forward under this aggressive heat and humidity.
My name was, emphasis on was, Ji-hoon Jeong. 19-years-old, second-generation Korean immigrant, community college student, nerdy disposition, only about 160 centimeters tall, weighed a trim 75 kg, socially inept outside a group of friends, and male in both body and mind.
I had just finished my finals for summer semester and elected to spend what time I had remaining in my loosely defined summer vacation by plowing through as many games as I could. I wound up renting a game that one of my friends praised heavily when it came out last year, and after I popped that sucker in, I was immediately hooked. I plowed through the main path, saw the story unfold, and appreciated the assorted cast, but mostly the protagonist herself.
She was strong, confident, capable, and hot as fuck. She was the primary subject of my masturbation sessions for several days, and in many ways, she represented everything I would ever want in a partner. Even though I knew she would want absolutely nothing to do with someone like me. Still, that did not stop me from fantasizing as I made my way through the optional content of the game. As I continued near the end of the dungeon and the clock trickled towards midnight, I verbalized my overstated lust for the protagonist.
“I wish she was real and that I could be with her. Maybe then I could understand women better… and finally lose my virginity.”
I groan as I reminisced over the fool that I once was, verbalizing my romantic frustrations while doing nothing to better myself, opting instead to immerse myself in escapism. It was a comment that I made several times in the past, hoping that a sexy lady would appear out of nowhere and love me unconditionally. I never expected that to happen— I was not that stupid or crazy— but… joke’s on me. Because something came of my wish this time. Something far beyond anything in my wildest dreams… or nightmares.
The sound of a firecracker popped behind me, inspiring me to spin my desk chair around to investigate. What I saw was a small figure floating in the air, one that I initially thought was a toy due to its size. But as I looked at the figure closer, I realized what I was looking at was a living person. A foot-tall woman clad in dark violet spandex, with demonic wings fluttering behind her back, a dark complexion, and short bushy green hair that contained two horns poking out from her scalp.
“Ara ara. Now, what do we have here?” The small demon said in a shrill voice. “A sad little shit tick voicing their wishes for companionship. Ya sure don’t see one of those every day or anything.”
“W-What are you?” I barked back, almost falling out of my chair.
“The name’s Akumako, and you were fortunate enough to have your wish granted by yours truly. What was the wish again? You wanted to be with some big titty blonde because you are so inept that you need to rely on magic to lose your V-card? Nothing I couldn’t make happen with my eyes closed, hands tied, and legs bound. Hmm… that sounded kinkier in my head.”
“Wait, I wasn’t trying to— I didn’t actually mean that I—”
“Blargle blah-blah gobbidly woo! I don’t give a honk, you made the wish, and I’m just here to make it come true in the most profitable manner possible. See ya never fucker, and thanks for the EXP.”
The floating demon lady, Akumako, then vanished in a puff of pink smoke that rapidly encompassed my entire room. The smoke naturally made its way into my mouth and nostrils. I hacked and wheezed, desperate for air, as a sharp burning sensation began to fill my body, thus beginning the transformation.
The first thing I noticed was how I felt like I was being held down by a torture rack, pulling my arms and legs to lengths they were never meant to reach, causing my body’s mass to spread itself elsewhere, particularly with my torso. My gut churned and tore itself as I felt my fat loosen and gush throughout my frame, redistributing itself.
It did not travel far though, with the bulk of my gut fat now resting on my chest and ass, where it firmed itself, adapting what was already there into fleshy mounds. I nudged my eyes open and looked at my torso as the transformation continued, glaring at the unfamiliar frame that laid beneath my clothing, which was now both looser on my person and failed to cover much of it. Looking down, I saw a glimpse of my navel. It was lean, flat, and bald. I wanted to examine it closer, yet my eyes instead drifted downward to get a better look at the large breasts on my chest. I brought a hand closer to examine them, only for my attention to be pulled elsewhere as the pain intensified around my face.
The structure of my very bones morphed and change, with my skull liquefying and reassembling itself as blood and tissue were tossed around in a disorientating manner. My eyes burned during this process, and as I exceeded a pain threshold unlike anything I had ever felt before, I released a vicious scream. The sound was unmistakably my voice at first, but as the shouting continued, I found my pitch intensify, intonation change, and inflection alter, to the point where it no longer sounded like I was screaming. It sounded like a woman was screaming bloody murder.
If I had any clarity of the mind, I would be able to foresee what had happened, but the transformation was too fast for me to even think about what was happening to me. Less than a moment after my bones settled and my face finished rearranging itself, a new form of hellish pain began afflicting my skin. From the calluses on my feet to the follicles of my scalp, everything felt like it was being assaulted by pins and needles. While my hair felt like it was either being suffocated away into nothingness or yanked out like a stubborn weed.
By the time the pain subsided, I was left with my head aching, a burning soreness over every part of my body, and had fallen onto my bedroom floor. I finally opened up my eyes again to investigate things, yet I could do little but gawk at my person, at the pale color my skin had turned, at the strands of blonde hair that fluttered into my peripheral vision, and at the bombshell body that laid beneath a poorly fitting t-shirt and cargo shorts. I was confused, scared, but most of all, exhausted. I wanted nothing more than to fall asleep and wake up from this bizarrely painful dream and be greeted with my Saturday.
But if this was a dream, it has been preposterously long, and it only continued on as I soon heard footsteps coming from behind me, followed by a familiar male voice uttering the words “what the fuck.” I tiredly craned my neck back and focused my vision on the figure standing just past my door frame. It was my dad, looking down at me with a look of horror sprayed over his visage.
“Dad, I… I can explain,” I said in a weak drawl. My speech slurred as I tried to speak with a different tongue and mouth.
“Yeah. I know I look… completely different, but it… it really is me.”
“How in the—” My dad said before he was cut off by my mom, shouting in Korean.
Long story short, my mother wanted me to become bilingual, so she started speaking to me in Korean from a young age, and kept speaking Korean while at home, to make sure I didn’t forget or lose track of my ‘cultural roots’.
Before too long, both of my parents were in my room, glaring at me, still dazed and disorientated from my transformation. They shouted at each other, drifting back into their native language as they often did while bickering, but this was not a conversation I could idly listen to, as I often did during their routine squabbles.
What ensued was a frantic shouting match between the three of us, all in Korean. I attested my true identity. My mother rejected the notion that I was her son. While my father mentioned how he saw parts of my transformation and heard my voice change at some point. A deluge of secret sharing, questions about obscure childhood events, and questions about the plausibility of a sudden and unprecedented bodily transformation all followed throughout the night. Or at least until our voices became hoarse and my parents defeatedly accepted the preposterous reality before them.
Exhausted, the three of us eventually headed to bed at around 3 AM. Not that any of us could sleep very well. But we tried until 8, when we groggily made our way to the kitchen to discuss the ramifications of my transformation. While my parents, at least in a sense, believed that I was indeed their son, it would be hard to convince most others of that truth. People just don’t spontaneously change sex, race, grow 15 cm, or lose 15 kg one night, let alone all of them at once.
My mother, being the worrywart she was, quickly went through a list of things I lacked with my new form. I had no state ID, no social security card, and no birth certificate. I went from being a “fully-fledged citizen to an undocumented immigrant overnight,” as she put it. While I ordinarily brushed aside her concerns, she had a point. From a broader perspective, I did not exist in this world, and there was no documentation for me. Or so I thought until, after the longest and most drawn-out breakfast of my life, my father discovered a large envelope crammed into our mailbox.
It was addressed to somebody by the name of Jennifer Jonagold, and, out of curiosity, my father cautiously opened it, only to discover that the package was stuffed with assorted legal documents for somebody bearing the same name. A 25-year-old American citizen with no living relatives, a GED, and a checking account that, according to the register, contained $1,000. My father looked over the driver’s license and, while the photo was what you would expect from the DMV, it was clearly a photo of my new body. Meaning that I was not a non-person. I had a new name and new documentation. This news alleviated a callous weight from my shoulders, but it also raised more questions about the legitimacy of this documentation, and why exactly I received it.
Further pilfering revealed a note, written on an index card in pink crayon, that read the following: “Boss said I needed to give you more than an unmanned truffle’s chance in a pig pen if I wanted to get to level 18. So here’s some documentation I magic’d up for ya. No worries, it’s all legit, and I even threw in some extra cash so you can buy yourself some booby shirts. I gave ya some Grade-A tits, so you may as well flaunt ‘em! ♥- Akumako”
Exhausted from the hectic night and fervorous morning, we all decided to turn in early that night, as my parents had a lot of things they wanted to ‘sleep on’ and I really needed some alone time to think things through. At least that’s what I told myself. In the end, I wound up spending hours looking over my new body. Between taking a shower, trying to find something in a bin of old clothes that would fit my person, and… masturbation, I wound up turning in around midnight, when I fell asleep with a hand in my ill-fitting sweatpants.
An hour after dawn, I was woken from my stupor by my mom, who lectured me over breakfast about what I needed to do now that I was no longer legally their son, and how to keep my life from “crumbling around me,” as she put it. She gave me a list of things I needed to do, and it was by that document that I conducted the following, days, weeks, maybe even months of my life, trying to adapt to these sudden and unsolicited changes and pursue some form of stability.
I would describe the beginnings as being a maelstrom of activity. Between getting a new wardrobe, registering for community college again, and revealing the truth to the only other people in my life that I had any reasonable chance of convincing. Which was a pretty small list, because who would ever believe that a hot blonde in front of them was actually some chubby little Korean dude?
It was a busy time for me, so much so that I wound up repressing and putting aside how I personally felt about the transformation. I’m sure that too many people, turning into a young sexy lady would be a dream come true, and while I voiced my affection for the character I now resemble, I truly and deeply never asked for this. I wanted to fuck her, not become her.
It is an enticing thought, what it would be like to live as somebody else, see the differences in how society treats you based on your appearance, and become acquainted with the intricacies of being another person, at least physically. Hell, I actively enjoyed parts of this at first. I was a teenage red-blooded male so of course I was happy to have a pair of tits I could feel up whenever I wanted.
Then things went on and I viewed these differences as… annoyances. I could go on about how weird it was to go from itty-bitty fat boy boobs to having a pair of D-cups. Needing to deal with long hair that craved attention. And getting used to a complete change in stature. From the texture of my face, the way my hips swayed as I walked, and even how my fingers felt as I typed away at a keyboard or sought escapism with video games. The bottom line was that, despite this new body being better from a more objective and physical perspective, I found myself missing my old quirks, missing my imperfections, but most of all, missing what it was like to be male.
In the following months, I got used to a lot of things. Being so limber and tall, being viewed as a white person, and even going through more than the bare minimum amount of daily maintenance. I even breezed through my classes during my first semester as Jennifer, or Jen as I had taken to calling myself.
However, I was unable to get used to the idea that I was now a woman. A fact as plain as day when looking at myself in a mirror, and I was constantly reminded of this whenever I interacted with the outside world. I would forever be called miss, or ma’am. I would receive common gazes from males whenever I left my home. And I would be expected to act like a woman in any and all instances.
I kept telling myself that this is the way it had to be, that this was my new normal, and that there was no way I could go back to being Ji-hoon Jeong. I tried to pursue a new look initially, picking out overtly feminine outfits, and following encouragement from various store clerks, along with my mom, that I should embrace my newfound femininity. Yet doing so filled me with discomfort.
Come winter, my wardrobe veered towards a considerably more androgynous direction, not that anybody seemed to really notice. With curves like mine, even a heavy sweater and jeans do little to avert a male gaze, and even while wearing baggier clothes, I was still reminded by my features regularly.
I then looked for other alternatives to make myself feel more masculine and quickly took to my hair. Due to my mom’s insistence, I had only gotten it trimmed up until then, as she thought short hair looked “unsightly” on a woman. Then one afternoon I decided to chop off the bulk of it, winding up with a far more masculine hairstyle that sent my mom into a tizzy. Following an overly long argument, I awoke the next day to find that my hair had miraculously grown back to its former length. This led me to do some experimenting that went as far as buzzing my head, but alas, no matter what I did, my hair would magically restore itself the next day.
This news made me truly wonder if it was even possible for me to make myself less feminine, and following an awkward post-Christmas D&D session with my usual friends, I was called aside by one of the two, not including myself, girls in our group. Her name was Faye, and she was interested in how I had been adapting to this, as she put it, “transition.”
I did not hold my tongue and divulged every detail I could to her. I explained my bodily insecurities, assorted day-to-day struggles that come with a difference in physiology, and being the subject of casual and culturally reinforced sexism that I myself had perpetuated back when I was known as Ji-hoon.
Faye listened to my story intently, pushing me to extrapolate my feelings, and trying to pin what was the cause for my, “dysphoria.” While I had assorted gripes about the unwanted changes to my body, they all paled in comparison to my redefined sex. I concluded the discussion by saying that I could very much live with who I was if I were not a woman. In the end, she thanked me for opening up to her and claimed that she would start looking for a way to help me.
When I next met with Faye, during the first day of the 2000 spring semester at college, she offered me pills that would make my body produce male hormones and less female hormones, along with a bra that she claimed would flatten my chest. She admittedly was not sure if they would even work, given how my body regrew my hair on a daily basis, and figured they wouldn’t hurt to try. But… they did. Oh lord, did those two things hurt me.
The next day I took the hormones with breakfast and managed to fit my bothersome breasts into their bindings with little trouble. While they didn’t make my chest as flat as I was accustomed to, they reduced movement and made them feel considerably smaller. I went through my day as usual from there, but as morning gave way into afternoon, I noticed that, despite making my chest smaller, I was receiving more attention from my male peers. Hell, even my 60-year-old male professor was uncharacteristically flustered during class. I didn’t think much of it until I began walking around afterward and noticed that my previously snuggly fit breasts were beginning to feel constrained by my bindings.
With classes done for the day, I walked back home in order to remove the binder, where I noticed some swelling around my breasts, indicating to me that I may need a larger size. I decided I would bring this up to Faye, who I planned on seeing later that day for another D&D session. Unfortunately, Faye had to cancel at the last minute, and the other girl had gotten the flu a couple of days ago. So D&D was canceled in favor of semi-aimless conversations about assorted bullshit, mixed between sessions of Soulcalibur and Power Stone. At first, it was almost a bit nostalgic, just hanging out with my three male friends. But as our sessions went on, I began to notice that their usual acceptance of my predicament and ability to behave like, y’know, civilized people, began to wane.
I caught them staring at my boobs, stammering as they conversed with me, and more or less letting me win despite barely having played either of these games, on account of my Dreamcast funds going towards a new wardrobe. It was frustrating. From the moment I walked in, I could tell that something was up with them, but when I asked them directly, they just murmured an excuse or said that I was looking better than usual today. I eventually got sick of their behavior and bailed, getting out just a little after sunset.
It wasn’t a very long walk back from this friend’s house, and I walked the path there and back so many times that I could practically do it blindfolded. So I let my mind drift as I traversed the snowy sidewalk and streets, not really paying attention too much, and certainly not hearing much as my long hair brushed against the inside of my hood. I was vulnerable. I let my guard down. And that’s precisely how somebody sneaked up to me and place a hand around my neck. I turned around and saw none other than one of my friends, Ryan.
Ryan dragged me away from the street and into the backyard of a house with no lights on, indicating that its owners were away. Once back there, he started to strip me, ripping away my coat, unbuttoning my pants, and fighting to pull my shirt off. I could not comprehend what was happening. My life as a man had done little to prepare me for anything like this. I was being taken advantage of by a friend of mine, and once I heard his pants zipper echo in the night, I realized that Ryan, that somebody I had known since grade school, was trying to rape me.
As that realization hit me like a sack of wet bricks, I knew I had to do something, and I did the first thing that came to mind. I raised one of my feet and slammed my snow boots into his balls. As expected, this sent Ryan on the ground, yelling in agony and saying every swear under the sun. While this marked an excellent opportunity for me to get the fuck outta there, I was not going to let this slide. I was pissed, filled with half a year’s worth of frustration, and if I ever had an excuse to ease myself of this rage, it was now. I took my salt-encrusted boots and slammed them down on Ryan’s face. Over, and over, and over again.
In the end, I turned Ryan’s nose into a bloody pulp, caused his entire face to swell like an overripe fruit, and shoved salt in places it should never go. Once he stopped resisting altogether, sobbing as he was writhing in pain, I realized what I was doing to my oldest friend, and I dashed back home. Tears billowed in my eyes as I reflected on an experience that I would not wish on even my worst enemy.
Once I was back home, I tried to repress what had happened, tried to ignore this unfortunate event, and assured myself that everything would be fine tomorrow, that this was just another bad dream amidst the bad dream that had consumed nearly 5 months of my life at this point. But I couldn’t hold it in. At dinner, I unconsciously cried while attempting to lie about my day, and even though I didn’t want to, I explained what happened to my parents. For the first time since I transformed, they seemed to take pity on me and looked at me with immense concern.
Following a heartfelt talk about the unfortunate things that happened to women of this world, I cried myself to sleep, pining for what I had lost, and wrapped with sorrow at what my life had become. I somehow got myself together enough to go to school the next day, where I wasted little time finding Faye and telling her about what happened. My words horrified her and she wasted no time contacting my male friends, encouraging them to gather at the community college campus after school. All three, including Ryan, arrived with sullen looks on their faces, like children knowing they were going to be reprimanded for breaking something. Yet despite these looks of guilt, they immediately began pushing excuses for their perverted and criminal actions.
According to my male friends, something about me that day made me seem irresistible, so much so that they all wanted to have their way with me, but kept their dicks in their pants and simply ogled me like the timid, dorky boys they were. They apologized, but immediately justified their actions by claiming that I was doing something, that they simply could not control themselves, and that Ryan had a heated moment where he could not think about the consequences, he just wanted to fuck me because I titillated him too much.
Through our conversation, we deduced that the cause of my increased desirability was the binder and hormones I was given, with Faye ascertaining that something about my body was resisting any attempted masculinization. That, as a countermeasure to the suppression of my breasts and alteration of my body’s chemicals, something caused me to exude a pheromone, something that made me more desirable to heterosexual men. It was a jump, but it made some kind of sense.
My friends had enough sense to recognize that their actions were wrong, but they did not truly believe that they were the ones at fault, and blamed my body for their spontaneous lust. While there was, in this one instance, a kernel of truth in their words, the pathetic way they tried to weasel out of responsibility for their actions disgusted me, and after repeated prompts for them to change their mind, Faye stormed off, and I followed her.
Our departure caused this group to fracture, as tensions were high and none of us wanted to air our grievances constructively. In the end, the only person I was on good terms with was Faye, who I got to know over the following weeks. We helped each other get over our lost friends, became closer through our extended personal interactions, and eventually, elected to investigate my body in more detail.
In the spring of 2000 we discovered that the hormones and binders did indeed cause my body to exhibit some type of intense pheromone, but this, along with my magically regrowing hair, raised several questions about my biology. Or more specifically, the character’s biology.
The character I was fantasizing about, the person who I transformed into, was a bold, resilient, and beautiful woman with modified cells that granted her inhuman abilities but also altered her appearance. Her modified cells are what keeps her so attractive, and it is implied that they will delay her aging, as her body wants her to remain attractive so she can attract a mate and procreate, allowing her modified genome to live on in future generations, potentially overtaking all of humanity.
While Faye and I were both doubtful that anything that hyperbolic would ever occur, we both reached the conclusion that my body was fighting against anything that would make me less of an attractive mate. Such as repressing my breast size, cutting my hair, or trying to make myself less female, as doing so would, ultimately, rid me of my ability to reproduce. When threatened that I would not reproduce or under the impression that its genome would not carry onto a new generation, my body revolted against me, releasing a pheromone that would urge males to procreate with me, whether I wanted it or not.
On one hand, this brought me a degree of clarity and closure. On the other, it abolished all remaining hope I had of ever truly feeling comfortable in this body. I could do nothing to make my body more comfortable for me… but this gave way to another worry. If my body could fight against my changes, then what about my brain? Could it compromise my sense of free will? Change my very identity? Could it turn me into the person that my body wants? Somebody comfortable with their form and eager to let men have their way with… her?
This concern was a baseless one, as this matter was never broached in the game this character came from… but it was still very real within the confines of my mind. The following nights afterward I had nightmares about my body defying my mental desires, and doing everything it could to procreate. Forcing me to have sex with men in order to form a zygote within my womb that would gradually grow into a fetus before being painfully removed from my person. And then doing that over, and over, and over again. Before my descendants would do the same, all until this thing inside my very cells got what it wanted, and spread across the human population over the span of millennia.
I did not know what my body was capable of, and the very idea of viewing this body sexually became very… difficult with this possibility in mind. While I had enjoyed my time getting to know the differences between masturbating as a man and as a woman, I quit after this revelation, and never plan on trying ever again. Because masturbation would be an expression of complacency, of comfort, and for all I knew, could lead me down the path of becoming a thing that only cares about fucking and birthing.
I chose not to tell my parents about my concerns or discovery, and instead only shared this theory with Faye, who comforted me emotionally, as there was nothing anyone could do to physically improve my situation. Instead, I just had to deal with everything that had come with my new body. I had to deal with it, accept it, and try to find my own happiness where I could. But unfortunately, complications arose in early May 2000, after I finished my spring semester.
My parents had become increasingly standoffish towards me after my… incident with Ryan. I assumed it was because they were just unsure how to react to or treat me after my transformation, even though I was still the same person at my core. But they did not see things that way and, one weekend morning, they finally voiced their concerns.
They… thought I was becoming a bother and did not know what to do with me. Since August 1999, they had been dodging questions about what happened to ‘Ji-hoon,’ why a stranger was now living in their home, and even though they knew who I was inside… they were still struggling to see me as their son. As my mother put it, I felt more like a stranger with the memories of her son than her actual son. They could no longer love me as parents and… they wanted me to move out of the house by August.
I needed to get my own job, my own apartment, and while they promised to still visit me and help me with my bills at first, they wanted to cut ties with me by the end of the year. As I heard this news, I was not sure what to say. I was being kicked out of my childhood home, from the people who previously said that I could stay with them forever, so long as I pursued a career or education.
I did not fight back or object to their terms, and simply accepted them, only asking if they could help me find a place and an occupation to pursue while repeating the summer classes I took last year. They were more than eager to, having already begun the search themselves, and before May was over, I was working as a cashier and had reservations towards a studio apartment a few blocks away from my family home.
It was, again, a shake-up to the established normal I had become accustomed to, and as such, I was quick to adapt to the rigmarole that came with working at a local grocery store. Memorizing the numbers for dozens of product variants, learning how to deal with customers with expired coupons, memorizing sale ads, and learning how to work fast while minimizing my mistakes. All while steadily breaking down the sort of people who came to this store into several distinct categories.
Mothers preparing for the weekly grind by gathering a cartful of food that wound up costing more than I’d make in a day shift. Teenagers picking up groceries for their parents and impulsively grabbing a candy bar while at the checkout. Old ladies holding up the line, complimenting me for my looks while complaining about how things were better back in their day. Old men asking me to double-check things, stack the bags a certain way, or anything to delay the process so they could check me out more. And people who looked over their receipts judgingly, as if they assumed that, just because I looked like a sexy lady, I must be bad at math.
The pay was just a bit over minimum wage and the work was monotonous, but I tried to remain focused during my shifts, and made very few mistakes, at least compared to my co-workers. With work settled into a new normal, my normal once again changed as I moved into an apartment on August 31st, 2000, which began my time living alone. It was rough at first, as I had to do my own laundry and learn how to feed myself without resorting to microwavable rubbish. I stuck with simple meals, made them in bulk, and steadily found a spectrum of dishes that were easy to make, agreed with my new taste buds, and were at least fairly healthy. Though considering my newly redefined biology, I wondered if I even needed to worry about what I ate.
Looking back, both a lot and very little happened over the following four years. I graduated with an associate’s in business administration back in August 2001. I got a job as an office assistant the following month, where I was once again exposed to copious amounts of the casual and culturally reinforced sexisms I had sadly grown accustomed to, except this time they came from the same people I saw every day.
I had expected that, but I had not expected the women I was working with, all of whom were a good 10 years older than me, to be so catty and bitter towards me. They were jealous of me, I could tell, and used this to justify putting me down or making me look like an idiot when it was opportune for them. All while sucking up to their male co-workers. I found these office politics, and the assorted people I was working with, to be suffocating at times, and considered any time when I could do something on my own without them to be a break. Needless to say, I was relieved when I put this place behind me and landed a bookkeeper position at another, far nicer, company back in June 2003.
I learned about this job thanks to Faye, who was my only genuine friend, and just a month prior, she became my roommate. Back in May 2003, she finally graduated with her bachelor’s, wanted to save up some money by living with somebody, and as one of her closest friends, she came asking me to be her roommate.
I accepted, and since then we have been living together. We eat breakfast and dinner together, rotate our shower schedules every morning, split up the chores, and have a habit of getting together to do something every weekend. It was not a romantic relationship, but it was a relationship I cherished immensely. The awkwardness between my parents and I grew as time went on, and while I had gotten friendly with a few of my co-workers, I felt I could not truly become friends with them unless I told them about my secret. Something that had become less and less believable with every passing day..
Faye was something stable in my life, a person to consort with, and whom I felt no need to hide anything in front of. She saw me at my most vulnerable, accepted me for who I was, and tried to make me comfortable with my unfortunate life. Aside from the escapist thrills of video games, she was one of the few things in this world that filled me with happiness, and… that was just my new normal. That’s just what my life was now.
The life of Ji-hoon Jeong wasn’t anything special. It was average, unremarkable, and even a bit pathetic at times. But it was my life. It was my body. I was Ji-hoon… but that was all taken away from me. Now I am somebody who shouldn’t even exist. A video game character turned the subject of male lust turned into an actual person made of flesh and blood. As far as the world was concerned, I was Jennifer Jonagold. That’s who I always was. And that’s who I’ll always be.
Those words echoed through my head as I finally made it back to my air-conditioned apartment, sweat lingering across my brow, a puddle forming around my tits, and bags pulling on my shoulders. With a hearty sigh, I kicked off my gym shoes, plopped my bags down, threw my purse on the coat rack, and started putting the groceries away. This was my life now. The life of Jennifer Jonagold. And while I knew that I would never be truly happy with it, it was all that I had.
With the frozen and refrigerated stuff put away, I took a momentary reprieve to the bathroom, washing my hands once more, and dousing some of the sweat off my face. The face that many have compared to that of a model or actress, a symmetrical visage that had not seen a wrinkle or blemish since I first received it. A face framed by blonde hair that would regrow whenever cut too short, and was connected to a body that, because of the seasonal heat, I clad in a simple yet revealing black exercise shorts and blue tank top.
Right as I began to fall into one of my ‘moods,’ I was interrupted by the familiar sing-song greeting of “J.J., I’m home!” It put a smirk on my face, inspiring me to look away from the mirror of despair and greet Faye, as per usual. While happiness may always be a fleeting part of my existence, it was something that I always anticipated, looked forward to, and gave me the motivation to go on. And on I went.