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Subject: Inside-Out by "Taria"
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by "Taria"


Oh, around.  You know how it is, with the end of the semester. I was
incredibly busy, and then things quieted down two weeks ago.

I know, I know.  But I had the kids home, so we were busy every day, going out
and doing stuff.

The usual -- pizza, an amusement park or two.  One day we went to Connecticut,
to an Arboretum in Stamford.  Nature trails, picnic lunch, the works.  The
little one got bitten by a tick -- we only found it two days later.  I spent a
week and a half panicking about lyme disease.

That's what HE told me.  But I still worried just the same.

Since then?  Rewriting, editing.  Boring stuff.

I KNOW I'm on vacation.

I don't feel like I have time to take it easy.

Yes, that's why I haven't been on the computer.  I mean, I HAVE, but not
playing much.  Just rewriting the dissertation.  I want it to be a book.



Here -- wait a sec -- lemme turn off the radio.  Say that again?

No.  No!  I haven't meant to brush you off.  It's just--

I dunno--

I know.  I know.  You've been trying to get in touch.  I know.

It's... Look.  You know how we met, right?  Well, I always associate you with
sex, that's all.  I can't help it.  And I don't mean that in a bad way,

I don't know how I could mean it in a bad way.  What I mean is, I guess I've
kind of compartmentalized you as part of my sex life.  No, that's not it.

No, not that either.  It's not YOU that's just "sex," it's HER.

Me.  Her.  The "her" that's not Me.  That woman I am on the computer.  The one
who writes the stories.  That Her.

Yes, she's me, but she's also not really ME, you know?

No!  I haven't been pretending anything.  But I guess I have been, haven't I?

Weellll... sort of, I suppose. She is a part of me.  But then again, no. 
She has her own name.  She says things and does things and experiences things
on her own, and I wouldn't necessarily approve of them if I did them.

Hell yes, I sound schizo.  For a while there it started to feel schizophrenic,
it really did.

Why?  I don't know... I started to feel like I had to assume this persona,
this different individuality, each time I became Her, when I turned on the
computer. It used to be part of the thrill, this crazy jolt when I became
Her.  It was so incredibly hot.  I swear, I was masturbating every time I
logged on, I was so turned on all the time.  Sparky.

Yes, I know that's good.  It felt good, too.  By the rules of this world I was
living in, constant masturbation is like a badge of honor.  Proof that my
sexuality was real.

Real for everybody to see, you know?  Not only did I orgasm, but I showed off
my orgasms to everybody.  I'm not sure if it had to do with power, or
exhibitionism, or some sort of gratification from everybody ooh-ing and
ah-ing at my sex, when I showed it to them.

What happened? It's hard to-- I felt like something was wrong.  Like I was
losing somehting.  Like I was losing me.  I'm not so sure any more if the
Private Me is supposed to be so public.  I started to feel like I was
violating myself, my own personal private trust.

No, not you.  You weren't-- Then again, maybe you were.  Not because of you,
you see.  Because of the way I connected with you.  I gave you myself, but
not through me, only through HER.  And that started to feel dishonest. I
buried it, but after a while... This is hard to say.

No!  Not like a breakup.  More like a confession.  I'm not big on big teary
confessions.  Half the time they're fake, and the rest of the time people are
only putting on a big show to get something out of you, like sympathy or a
favor or something.


No, I was feeling all that but burying it, like I said.  None of this would
have come out at all, except something... happened.  It all kind of
crystallized after that.

No -- nothing tragic.

I'm pregnant.  Again.

That's right.  Number Three.

I still have a little while.  But I'm already ballooning.

No, that's over, thank goodness.  But it lasted about two months, and it's
hard to write a good sex story when you're puking your guts out every night.

Evening sickness, that's right.  Mornings I was fine.

Yeah, that's one of the main reasons.  I just didn't feel... sexy enought to
write these things, that's all.  But then the multiple-personality thing
started to get to me.

Could be!  But I really don't think it WAS just hormones.

I know.  I might start again, sometime.  But it's gotten really, really hard
for me to be "her" lately.  I can't even answer e-mail.  It's like a block.

Sure.  The pregnancy has a lot to do with it.  Lately I've been thinking about
how everything is internal for me, now.  I'm turning back inside, inwards.
Trying to make a public spectacle of the Inside Me has become almost painful.

Yeah, yeah... I HAVE been thinking a lot.  That's been one of the best things
about being off the computer so much.  I've been thinking again.  I mean,
sometimes I'm thinking "please don't throw up again, please!" but mostly I'm
just thinking about things.  My self.  My life.  How things will change.  I
sleep a lot, too.

Right! Not enough hands to go 'round any more.  But the big one's almost
five, he'll adjust.

Yeah.  It's like my brain is "nesting."  But She doesn't seem to be a part of
my makeup at the moment.

No!  No, I still read the e-mail.  I just haven't been able to bring myself to
answer any of it.

Once in a while.  I prowl around, "lurking," every couple of weeks or so.  I
read about how some of the regulars are leaving.  People probably thought I
was too.

I'm... not sure.  I really don't know right now.  And after the baby I might
only get worse.  Am I going to look one day and say "She was just a phase I
went through, in my early Thirties"?

Hah!  You nut.

I couldn't say.  But I'm awfully conflicted about the whole thing right now. 
I can't decide if all that sexual openness is fabulous and wonderful like
everybody says it is, or...

Or... or not such a good idea. Is that kind of gratification really good for
all of us?  Not "all of us."  For ME.  I am simply not sure if focusing so
completely on physical acts of sex makes me a better person, or not. 
Religious guilt, maybe, I don't know.

No, I can't resolve it yet.  Or ever.  I have no idea how I feel about all
this. My family would freak if they found any of the things I've written. 
What does that say about me?  About sexuality? About my fears?  About what I
feel is right or wrong?

That's right.  That's why I've been so cut off, from everyone, from the whole

Oh, damn -- I'm late for pick-up and I have GOT to go--

No, I have no idea what "it" is.  But I know It came into being, into Me, in
Love.  And I could think of nothing more wonderful than that.

Yes!  Yes.  Send anything and everything, whenever the mood strikes you.  I
read every word.  And maybe I'll break out of this.  I know that's not much
of a promise -- I just need to figure out where She and I stand right now.

Hah!  No, I practically never have sex lately. And you know something?  I
make Love all the time.

Ouch!  Stop kicking, you!  Look, I really have to go.

I know.  And I do too.  And I'm not just saying that out of guilt.

Yes, LOVE.



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