Spring 1978     Chapter 4  

Pot smoking, a/o, mas. & fem labels,& move to CA.

Today Becky surprised me by asking for a commitment to be together "till death do us part," sort of. My heart sinks a bit, as I realize I am not wanting to live the secretive gay life. I don't want to be lying to everyone about our relationship. It is too difficult. Being gay is not legal and seen as sick in this society and it makes me feel like there is something fundamentally wrong with me. 

I still love being at our school and working with Becky. I still love her presence and being with her. I love her talents, her abilities and talking with her. I love going shopping with her and still love her opinions on things as well as her creative talents and writing ability.

I want a close friend so badly and I feel like I can't commit to Becky as a romantic "lover/friend." I don't want a life without her in it either. I'm so confused and I can't share any of this with her, so I keep it all to myself and give her the excuse that I think it is too soon to commit. I also keep thinking I should be able to have a friend first, before having a relationship in order to know how to relate in a mature manner.


As days and weeks pass, we learn more and more about each other’s intimate feelings on most everything, because of our very deep communication. I am then caught by another of Becky's surprise questions,

"What do you think of us smoking pot together?"

"I don't know," I said hesitantly, "do you have some?"

"I can easily get it. I have smoked before and I enjoy it a lot," she says, with emphasis on the words, a lot. 

"Where do you get it from?" I ask with suspicion, knowing it's illegal.

"I know people who smoke. It's only dried leaves from the plant...and," she adds with a smile, "it's natural."

"I tried it many years ago," I respond, "but I didn't experience anything unusual or different, even though I inhaled the smoke. But I'd try it again with you."

By the weekend we are smoking together. I had a couple of very scary paranoid experiences during the  the first two or three weekends of being stoned together. But I continued smoking and Becky seemed so delighted to be smoking with me.

~ New labels Apple and Orange  ~

Being stoned with Becky introduces a new, remarkably different and intense way of relating, which surprised me big time. I began to notice my whole personality seemed to change while I was stoned. I began having different and more interesting experiences, especially when we made love, which simply amazed me.

I become very vulnerable and bubbling with loving feelings that just came, without my making them come. Everything was so much more profound. Music sounded so unusually beautiful and pretty things seemed more intensely pretty.

Becky lets me know I'm being quite different from my regular self and I respond, "I don't ever remember feeling like this." This is quite surprising for me.

The more times we smoke, the more I am intrigued by how emotional and vulnerable I get. One day when I wasn't stoned, I shared with Becky, some insights I'd had.

"I can hardly believe I have so many new emotions and feelings inside me when I'm stoned, that I've not had before. It feels like I'm experiencing all the "feminine" emotions like you have normally, but I'm having them stoned. Those feelings must be hiding in me somewhere, all complete, but only accessible when I'm stoned. That doesn't seem fair somehow. How come I can't have access to those emotions normally?"

"I don't know for sure, but that's why I like smoking with you. I really enjoy seeing you experience your feelings and emotions." 

I don't mind that her personality also changes. She becomes much more confident and assertive than usual and also somewhat distant at the same time. I, on the other hand enjoy having new feelings and emotions. Everything looks so different and feels more intense.

Once while stoned I said to Becky, "There are so many feelings coming at once, I can't separate or explain them. I always imagine normal women feel them, and you do too, but without being stoned. I feel so relaxed and wonderful, not afraid at all, like I am usually."

"I love seeing this part of you," she responds, "It's quite delightful actually."

On occasions when I am not stoned, I began to notice the difference between my stoned and my non-stoned self. I've always thought I'd have to learn those "feminine" feelings while being my normal self, through training of some kind. Just like at eighteen, working at John Hancock, I had to learn how to walk and sit "like a lady" at the "Charm School." But, now I'm realizing all those "feminine" feelings are already in me and complete, which is doubly amazing. Where are they located I wonder?

The more times we get stoned, the more I get used to feeling loving and submissive, following Becky’s desires and suggestions, without my usual criticism or fear like would as my normal self. 

I don’t seem to mind when she takes charge of whatever we are doing or being, which is so unlike my rather controlling and natural self-centered self. I become more like Becky’s regular normal "feminine" self. Our personalities seem to flip every time we smoke, which is so utterly strange to me. My mind wants to know why and how.

We don't have to use words a lot of the time when stoned, especially in our love making. It feels like I have plunged into a whole new world where words aren't even necessary and where we're somehow communicating silently. I can only describe it as amazingly interesting and beautiful.

On another stoned occasion, I asked Becky, “What are you feeling?” 

“Nothing," she says, pausing before continuing. "It’s weird, but I don’t feel emotionally connected to you. It is a strange feeling, 'cause normally I'm overwhelmed with emotions. It feels really good to be free of them.” 

I have a sudden insight and exclaim,

“Wow, so now you know how I feel in regular life; emotionally unconnected and sort of distant. It’s because I don't feel emotionally connected to you like when I'm stoned.

“Oh, that’s interesting,” she responds with a chuckle.

As the weeks pass I appreciate Becky much more in our regular life. I can tell better how she is feeling, since I've also experienced many of those deep connection emotions and feelings while stoned.

One day I ask Becky, "Do you think it is just from holding smoke in our lungs that causes our whole normal personalties to switch in us like they do when we're stoned?"

“Well, the smoke probably has chemicals in it that does something to our brain.”

"When I am stoned," I add, "I can experience all those feelings and emotions that I love and admire in your normal self and also in some males l've been attracted to. I can’t get over the fact that there is this whole beautiful and totally different “feminine” way of experiencing and perceiving, being stoned."

"I really appreciate your "right hemisphere" persona,”  Becky says smiling.

I ask in wonderment, "How can only chemicals from smoke in my lungs allow me to have all these "feminine" feelings and emotions, while at the same time shut down my normal regular left hemisphere brain? That just doesn't seem possible." 

"Maybe your corpus colosseum is getting stronger," Becky offers.

For me, pot smoking has now become a great learning tool to discover and experience all my hidden "feminine" feelings and emotions, I've never experienced before. I don't want to smoke pot for the rest of my life though. I must figure out how to access this emotional part of me when I'm not stoned. 

One of my greatest adventures in life now becomes learning how to activate my right brain area, without smoking pot. I'm convinced I do have all those "feminine" qualities and characteristics within me somewhere. The trick becomes how to activate them in regular life, when I'm not stoned.

We continue communicating and experiencing each others stoned and different worlds, every weekend. Becky just listens to me when I share what is happening in my brain and I don't mind. I'm glad she lets me talk out my growing curiosity about my brain and emotions. 

One afternoon lying on our bed, not stoned, we begin gazing silently into each other's eyes. The pot experiences seem to have “loosened” me up a bit in regular life. As we gaze into each other's eyes for what seems like a long time, I feel a strong sense of Love that feels new and different.

I make a comment, “We haven’t been here for a long time have we?” 

"No" says Becky, adding a slight chuckle of amusement at my seemingly “retarded” sense of connection with another human. 

It seemed like a totally beautiful place to be. I was fascinated and amazed at how that happened, just by looking into her eyes. This might be how the singers felt that I saw on television when I was seventeen at my aunt and uncle's house.


March. 2 -  Thursday  Sherry and Pam came down with chicken pox, but Katie escapes them totally. I alternate between sometimes having a feeling of being totally out of control and other times having intense feelings of great and unexplainable emotional intimacy and feelings of love for Becky. Could this all be from the weekend smoking we do? I don't know. Again, Becky mentions she is wanting a relationship commitment and this scares me. I don't know how to respond, so I don't, I practice avoiding her.

~ inner Worlds of Masculine vs. Feminine ~


I continue to wonder what new neurons could be firing in my brain which allow feminine feelings and behavior to activate. Why didn't I have normal access to that part of my brain, the right hemisphere part where emotions and love are experienced from, I ask of myself. Women are known to bond in friendships easier than men do. They are also supposedly more nurturing than men are. This is because regular females have access to this part of their brain and I don't, unless I'm stoned, not fair, I conclude.

I didn't feel nurturing towards my beautiful daughters at all unfortunately, yet i'm supposed to be a woman. I didn't know about bonding either. I read what I could about right and left brain attributes, trying to understand. My stoned right brain has its own language seemingly; that of silence. There are no need for words there, in fact words get in the way and I don’t need them much when I am stoned. Plus everything continues to be more deeply beautiful and real than it does in my regular life.

I am becoming more and more convinced that these new and different, yet genuine feelings and emotions must be coming from somewhere in my “activated” right brain area when I am stoned, rather than in the chemicals in the smoke I am inhaling. There seems to be a different brain area activation of everything related to “femininity” and non-verbal emotional experiences, hidden from me. From what I’ve read, it seems like that is happening in the right hemisphere part of my brain. 

In ordinary life that area of my brain has been totally inactive; not functioning at all my whole life until now. The same thing, but in an opposite manner, could also be happening in Becky’s brain. Her left brain activity of assertiveness and controlling for instance, doesn’t seem to function much in regular life. I would love it if she were more assertive. But when we are stoned she becomes more like my normal everyday self and I become more like her in everyday life. I find this to be such an amazing discovery! 

I really love that I can effortlessly experience this loving bond with Becky that I don’t feel in regular life and feel nurturing too. At the same time I continue to get an experiential understanding of how Becky experiences me in regular life; by being on the receiving end of criticism or judgments from her when I’m stoned. It all makes me better understand what it feels like for Becky, when I criticize or judge her in regular life. This is great learning for me.

Now I'm convinced qualities and attributes of being kind, gentle, quiet, caring, nurturing and loving, already exist within me totally complete. But that feels almost untrue of my nature and hard for me to absorb. My right brain must have not developed normally throughout my life thus far. Why, I wonder...?

I never could read faces or tell what others are feeling, like I've heard women can do easily and naturally compared to men. I can’t be anything other than what I am. I've always been authentic. I honestly express what I naturally feel, I couldn't be phony if I tried. Someone once called me unpretentious. I do stay true to my “Spirit” in what I say and do in life, without even considering how I might be perceived by others.

It almost seems like I have a separate and more emotional and empathetic personality inside of me. I decided to name her Lisa, like I have seen in movies of multiple personalities where people can call one of their personalities out at will. "Lisa" feels like that. 

Every time we smoke together we discuss our new experiences and have conversations about my discoveries. We both agree we each have a “stoned part of us” locked inside, inaccessible in our regular life. Our close and honest communication allows me to feel the pulse of our emotional growth. I realize now, that I am not smoking just for fun or pleasure, but to learn more about my hidden and inaccessible yet quite amazing right brain abilities.

One afternoon when Becky is sitting on the couch, I lie down putting my head in her lap. As I fully relax, I suddenly get an idea to try and summon Lisa to show herself, now that I’m not stoned. I turn my head and look up at Becky. 

“Do you want to see Lisa come out?” 

Becky immediately chuckles, “Yes, I’d love to meet Lisa.” 

I turn back and silently call to “Lisa,” somewhere submerged in me, I know not where, I ask (without words) for her to come out and be seen and heard in the world. I become very quiet and sort of go blank like I do when I want to go to sleep. I wait. Then in a quiet contemplative manner with a sense of allowing Lisa to come forth, she does! 

It is like I simply have to silently ask for and then allow her to come forth and speak, because she is timid and I seem to know she would never force herself out. I sense a very subtle shift inside, allowing me to experience her. I look up at Becky and say, “Hi.” Then Lisa and Becky have a conversation for several minutes, that I cannot recall. Lisa then fades away and I become my ordinary self again and Lisa is gone.

Becky is simply astonished and amazed at how she saw and heard me being Lisa. She witnessed my face literally change, becoming soft and loving. She shared how much she enjoyed talking with Lisa. I briefly felt like a totally loving person. This convinces me even more, that there is definitely a distinct, complete personality within me somewhere and it stays subdued and inaccessible normally. 

I feel so proud of myself that I just accessed Lisa, without being stoned. It still boggles my mind, that the whole totality of a “softer” personality that is more “feminine” than I ever was able to be in my whole life and completely hidden normally, can become active by simply calling and letting it come forth. It has all the characteristics and qualities I always wished I had naturally and functions without any effort, as if it had always had them, which is an amazingly, incredible and still an unbelievable revelation to me.

Besides this monumental discovery, I soon realize something else new. When Becky and I are lying on the bed one day, facing each other in deep conversation. I am feeling somewhat soft and “feminine” from last night’s “left over smoke.” Suddenly from out of the blue I say to Becky,

"You know what, everything has an opposite, did you know that?"

"No, I didn't know that," says Becky, seemingly uninterested.

"There wasn't anything that didn't have an opposite! I could hardly believe it. I wondered why I didn't realize that before!"

When I wasn't stoned, I noticed more “Lisa experiences” happening for some reason. I started to pay more attention to the “Lisa part” of me, during regular life. I am beginning to recognize her on a few occasions. I can tell when she's experiencing. For instance when something seems unusually beautiful, or if I am feeling more vulnerable and sensitive than I normally would be, I know I must be experiencing the "Lisa part" of me. So I focus on and relish those feelings as much as I can when I have them.

Emotional growth now seems to center around gaining more access, or unlocking this part of myself in regular life. It becomes a top priority for me. I'm guessing if I practice holding on to the Lisa experiences and dwelling on them, I can maybe strengthen my corpus collosum, which could be giving me more access to my right brain. I wish I knew for sure.

I believed I would be more accepted in society as a real woman if I can ever climb into my right brain world and experience life in ordinary un-stoned life. It is my hope that I will be able to feel and act more “feminine” naturally and not have to suffer the putdowns and condescending remarks that make me feel ashamed for having “masculine” characteristics and traits instead of “feminine” ones. 

I am starting to put some important pieces of my life puzzle together. The biggest piece I discovered is the huge realization that I already have existing “feminine” characteristics within me somewhere. I don’t have to learn “feminine” behaviors like, in the past I thought I’d have to. I don't want to smoke for the rest of my life, so as I occasionally experience them in regular life, I focus on them consciously to maybe allow my brain to remember them somehow.


I've begun to wonder why the labels “masculine” and “feminine” carry so much weight regarding what characteristics, traits, attributes, talents, skills and qualities men and women are "supposed" to have. Who made up those labels in the first place. Why can't we go back to being just males and females, like animals and plants, with whatever qualities and characteristics we develop naturally, instead of having to be either "masculine & feminine" to be accepted as okay?

I have an idea. What if hypothetically, we could change those labels of “masculine” and “feminine” to neutral labels that don’t have any connection to a person's sex, what would that be like? I think everyone would then fit into society without being seen as strange, different or weird no matter what characteristics, traits, qualities, talents, abilities or skills we had, don't you think?

Becky now launches into the discrimination she experiences as a woman with “feminine” qualities and characteristics, instead of "masculine" like mine.

“I have felt a different kind of discrimination," she says. "My “feminine” attributes and traits of being easily swayed, too sensitive, passive, not very intelligent, soft and often too vulnerable..." she pauses.

I jump in adding, "being weak, submissive, non-assertive, too accepting, often insecure and indecisive?" 

"Yes," she agrees, "and we're often taken advantage of by men as well as women. I feel generally not respected by them when that happens." 

"I am surprised, wow I didn't know women felt that much mistreated because of the labels." 

Becky continues...."My intelligence and other good characteristics and abilities are usually not recognized much."

"Yes, and in males, traits like being empathetic, caring, sensitive, emotional or cry are seen as weak and not recognized as important values. They are often not tolerated in and by "masculine" males, especially the macho males."

"So, I would definitely prefer neutral labels, if that were possible," Becky responds, "Do you have some in mind?"

I reply immediately, “How about we use labels like “apple” and “orange?” 

“Yes,” she says with a chuckle, “they would be neutral enough.” 

So over the next days and weeks we no longer use the labels of "masculine" or "feminine" and begin using, “apple” in place of “masculine” characteristics, qualities, skills, talents, traits, etc. and “orange” instead of “feminine” ones. 

It isn’t long before my daughters get the hang of what we are talking about and learn the knack of replacing qualities of "masculine and feminine,"  to "apple and orange." Using neutral labels we don't have to feel flawed of defective in any way. Someone just has more "apple" or more "orange" qualities and characteristics. We all agree Pam and Becky have more "orange" qualities and characteristics and Katie, Sherry and myself have more "apple" qualities and characteristics. All is well.


March 24 -  Today Becky and I begin discussing moving to CA. We’ve both lived there and love the weather. Looking at the map of the United States hanging on Katie’s bedroom wall, Becky picks a city right next to the ocean she loves, called Ventura. It's not too far north of LA, so I would be able to visit May, my first “lover.” We decide to move there. The girls will have a chance to spend some time getting used to a new school before summer vacation. Becky contacts her brother Paul to see if he could help us by driving the U-Haul truck and he agrees.


March 26, Wed. My infatuation for Becky is starting to wear off. I am also beginning to have this sick feeling that Lesbianism is all wrong, as society implies. I have not been able to become comfortable with being gay. Even though I value Becky in many ways and consider myself bisexual, I am still in a Lesbian relationship. I am also starting to notice things about her that I sometimes judge and criticize out loud, whereas before I just ignored. I am changing. Maybe the honeymoon is over. 

I seem to have a built in belief that by criticizing others they will change for the better. I am wanting Becky to please me less often and have more assertiveness like speaking about what she wants more, for instance, like she does when stoned. When she pleases me I can't tell if it is genuine or a phony act to please me, which I hate. I so believe in authenticity and relating according to how we genuinely feel.

My strong "masculine" ego is judgmental of some things that Becky does, like filing the teakettle to the top for just two cups of coffee and I tell her so in a condescending manner. I'm thinking if I verbalize her faults, I can “convert” her into someone I could maybe give a commitment to, like she is wanting. I am very visual and her overweight body seems to also turn me off. 

However, she is such a good listener and has good feedback for me, when I ask her. There is now such a strong need to sort out and integrate the new "orange" experiences I have been having as a result of pot smoking, plus why I'm being so "apple" still in regular life.


The upcoming moving experience is extremely stressful for this type A, logical, controlling “apple” person I seem to be. Everything must be done as I want it to be done. I am believing I know best how to organize and move things along. The rest of my family goes along with me, not having much of a choice. I am pretty overwhelmed and stressed about this move. Now I am noticing my negative "apple" qualities much more than ever before. Pot experiences have educated me quite a bit.

Under my leadership/control, we get everything packed and ready for loading day. I go rent the big U-Hall truck I'd reserved and park it in the driveway as Paul arrives. We spend all day loading the truck.

Early the next morning, April 5, 1978, we head out in our blue Vista Cruiser station wagon, with our eight person tent camper attached. Paul drove the U-Haul truck behind us. We say good-by to Tennessee and begin our journey West. The second night of our trip is spent at a high elevation and there is snow on the ground the next morning. Becky is pleasantly surprised and pleased to see the snow. She absorbs beauty as only my "orange" brain could, if I had access to it. 

As an "apple" person, I only experience a negative cold and snowy morning. So far removed am I from my innermost feelings, other than anger and stress, I fail to see beauty anywhere. Everything is either logical or not and I analyze almost everything, constantly judging things as either good or bad.

On the third evening Paul has had enough. After we set up camp, he comes into the camper and announces he is leaving the "caravan" because I am creating too much stress for him. I immediately break into tears because I cannot see how we can make it to California without his help and I fail to see how I am affecting him. 

He doesn’t really know or love me like my family does, so isn’t willing to put up with my negative attitude. I tell everyone my honest feelings through my tears, weakly apologizing for my behavior and after Paul shares what it is like for him, we come to an agreement. He, being an “orange” heart person, relents and agrees to stay on until we get to California. I am extremely relieved.

April 10  The smell of orange blossoms fills the air, a good sign we are definitely inside California. We head towards a campground in Carpinteria, near Ventura where we intend to house hunt.



After several days looking for houses to rent, we find a four bedroom house in Ventura and we make an appointment to see it. The rent is high, $400.00 a month, but between us we can afford it. It is pouring rain when we park just past the driveway to the house. We renew our pre-conceived plan to deceive the owner by telling her that Becky is my ex-sister-in-law and the girl’s aunt. 

It would be quite impossible for Lesbians to rent a house here if it were revealed we were a couple. I plan to embellish the lie to the owner explaining that I was married to Becky’s brother and after divorcing, we remained good friends. With money orders and security deposit in my pocket, we ring the doorbell. The owner was just about to leave and I was greatly relieved she hadn’t left.

We introduce ourselves and after looking around, share how much we like the house and how it is just right for our family. The girls can be heard excitedly picking out their rooms. The landlady is talking to us by the front door telling us she will get back in touch with us. I become alarmed thinking she isn’t wanting to rent to us. 

I immediately say, “We have the rent money right here with us,” as I reach in my pocket, “plus the two hundred dollars security deposit,” I continue. 

As I pull out the money orders, she becomes interested. Soon we have a rental receipt and a one year lease in our hands. With a huge sigh of relief we thank her and drive back to Carpinteria to retrieve our camper.

We are all overjoyed with our new home and a big back yard with a field in back. This will be my home for the next twenty four years. I immediately register the girls in school and Katie, Pam and Sherry begin California life in their new school. I am happy in my relationship, even though there is my underlying discomfort of Lesbianism and a lack of commitment to Becky, which eventually may be my undoing. 

Somehow I cling to a call from within, which longs for a non-romantic close friend. I am still suffering from inner turmoil of my seemingly stymied ability to talk with Becky about my true deepest personal feelings towards her, so they begin to build up inside.  

I love this city and finally feel like it is home. I’ve accomplished my first step towards complete happiness. There is a fresh, clean, free feeling inside me. I have Becky, my healthy happy daughters, a nice home, and no snow. I am on my way to becoming everything I was meant to be. All I need to do now is to find out how to become certified to teach in a public school. Teaching is the best job I can think of for me, so I can be home in the summer months when my daughters are also home. 

Becky, being a certified Montessori teacher, soon has a job teaching young children. I do have natural teaching ability and a teaching job would be great. However, I soon discover to my disdain, I would have to take several more classes in order to become certified to teach in CA. Turned off by needing more classes and still fearful about my lack of confidence and self esteem, I give up the whole idea of teaching. 


I continue my inward journey of self discovery and finding a job I really love doing, but the question is what? I re-evaluate my whole work potential to discover what my innate talents, skills and abilities actually are? I do not know, but I suspect they are apple, “masculine” ones.

May - Thursday — To my delight I discover Ventura City College classes are free, except for health fees! I enroll in Summer classes and later Fall classes in only the things I am truly interested in. Piano because I've wanted to play since I was ten, auto mechanics because I know I am mechanically inclined and would love to work on my own truck engine, tennis because I have quick reflexes and love exercise and challenge. Also, ceramics, Spanish, swimming for non-swimmers, speech, jogging and recorder are all interesting to me. 

This is the first time in my life I have been able to do what I wanted, just for pleasure and interest. It feels so great to finally learn about things that I love and really interest me. But I must also figure out how to support my family.

I have tried several “feminine” jobs. Among them, waitressing, filing, typing, factory work, figuring, office work, kindergarten teacher assistant and real estate broker. But I didn’t love any of them. The question is what can I do that I actually love. I love to build with wood and I love to operate machinery. I wonder if carpentry or heavy equipment schools will accept females in their classes. 

Becky somehow finds out where to get pot here and we continue spending most weekends smoking. She still makes it clear she is wanting a committed relationship, but I’m still uncomfortable with the lying and secrecy of an illegal Lesbian life. If I make a commitment, it would be for life and I would not want to break it. So without committing, I put Becky off whenever she broaches the subject. 

I can see she is visibly upset with my non-committing attitude. I don’t know what to do because I feel bad that she feels bad. I would so much prefer she was a close friend without the romance part, but I can see this is not happening. Becky is desperate for a commitment and it turns me off in a way. I ignore my feelings, because she is such a wonderful woman and gives me total love and acceptance.