Chapter 6- 

~ Deep emotional changes daily~


Jan. 8 1979  Monday  - In my ongoing quest to find something I love doing, I began carpentry school. Our first project in carpentry class was to build a toolbox for our future tools. I loved building it. Learning to hang a door was the most difficult project. We also had to carry heavy 2x6’s on our shoulder in the field where we are learning to frame a small structure. I found that physically difficult. 

The following month the class went on a “field trip” to a housing construction site. Our instructor pointed out all the mistakes that were made on the homes being built. I was displeased with so many mistakes. After my first job at JC Penny’s department store tearing up carpets ended, I quit carpentry altogether. My conscious self would not want to build structures with many mistakes.

I also loved my auto mechanics class. I feel like I am one with whatever machine I am operating, whether a car or a truck. I always wanted to drive my Dad’s tractor when I was a teen on the farm, but was forbidden because I was a girl. That reinforced my resentment of being a girl.

One day it hit me that I truly love machines. An idea comes to me that I could learn to drive heavy equipment and earn a good living being an operator engineer. The pay for apprentices is almost twice that of carpenters.

Surprisingly they are taking women in the operating engineers classes at the city college, so I enroll. I am thrilled to have a chance to use my natural abilities learning to drive the big yellow machines. I was the only female in the class. It will be two months of book learning before we begin learning to drive the machines out at Camarillo airport. I could hardly wait.


Becky and I continue smoking and I particularly enjoyed interacting from my orange right brain, where silence felt so wonderful. In my normal apple living I noticed silence was quite terrifying. I always must speak to dispel the silence. I still want to gain access to my orange world and all the “jewels” in it, but not from smoking pot. 

Many questions arise in me on how to do that, but more and more I recognize times when my orange is active, without being stoned. I marvel at orange experiences when I notice them, like the extra beauty in things. I love those experiences which are always so real and extraordinary.

On Sunday at church, a woman announced she needed practice hours for her art therapy certification. She asked for volunteers for a group she is starting. Becky and I sign up immediately. I looked forward to it because I have changed so much inwardly. I become open and am sharing more now. 

Once around the third week of class, we smoked before attending. A new and unusual “orange” experience happened for me. Everyone’s face in the group seemed unexpectedly fascinating. I saw details in faces I'd never seen before. It was so unlike my regular life experience. I know I was coming from my orange self. It was indescribable and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve also discovered artistic ability in me I never knew existed.


It has become common and ordinary for my family and friends to use the apple/orange language. Coincidently the “feminine” characteristics I attached to the Orange label seem soft or sweet like the orange fruit itself. Plus the “masculine” Apple characteristics seem harder and more like the apple fruit. 

I am convinced now that my orange is becoming more and more “activated." I'm having more and more experiences that I recognize as “orange” in my non-stoned state. I am quite pleased because I wanted to develop or strengthen that part of my brain, and it is happening. I wish I knew why and how though.

My whole family seems to agree people we know have either more “apple or more orange” qualities. People's qualities and characteristics simply appear as part of their natural character. They don’t have anything to do with the sex of the person. It is feeling really good to me to not associate someone’s characteristics and qualities to their particular sex. 

I wish our society could see that people’s natural qualities and characteristics are not connected to their biological sex at all. I believe it is only the attachment of "masculine" attributes, characteristics and qualities to a male that causes people to believe a young male with orange qualities and characteristics is fodder for abuse. I like my apple/orange labels because I feel they are indeed neutral and if used universally would decrease abuse of millions of mostly males, but also some females.

As I spend more time nurturing orange experiences that come over me, I imagine I'm strengthening my corpus colosseum. Maybe more pathways or neurons are developing, giving me more ability to use my orange brain part, I don't know, but something is changing or developing that feels wonderful. Last evening was interesting for me. I flipped in and out of the stoned state. First controlling, then giving up control to the other. It seemed that way to me all evening long, which was a different experience. It felt like I was watching a movie of me.

In addition, I don't feel as flawed and defective as I once did. My judging ego/mind doesn't seem to be as active or as strong as it once was. I am more accepting of all my natural talents, skills and abilities now. They feel like more of a natural part of me, not as a result of being the wrong sex or being in the wrong body. It seems like I gain more positive orange, as my negative apple fades.

In retrospect, I can see that the right brain orange part, isn’t capable of judging anything. The left brain ego apple mind does all the judging and criticizing. That is probably why I am not so judgmental about my presumed lack of “femininity” growing up and currently. My orange part is more accepting of myself, just as I am. Yay for my orange and everyone else’s too.


I sense that I am pushing Becky away from me with my “off and on” aloofness and non-committal attitude, but I can’t seem to help it. Being stoned allows my orange to activate and I become warm and loving. I know Becky likes it when I am my stoned orange self, but I am becoming less eager to smoke. I'd rather practice being orange naturally. 

March 23 Friday  ~ Becky came home today and handed me a large black book full of blank pages to fill up with my thoughts and feelings. I was so pleased when she gave it to me. I am not sure if she wants me to reimburse her or not. I am a bit confused as well as appreciative of her thoughtfulness in getting it. 

I don't know how to express appreciation for it though. I feel it, but cannot express it. She's angry because I don’t say a certain set of words that are supposed to express that feeling of appreciation namely, “Thank you;” words I never learned growing up. I'll let her know tonight how I love this book with all the blank pages to put “me” on. I have so much to say. 

Monday ~ I was orange because it was left over from last night’s smoke. Today I was able to sink into “orange-ness,” without smoking. I want that orange feeling with me all the time, it feels so loving and peaceful. When it comes from not smoking I so welcome it, knowing it is my “orange” self. I love the opportunity to “activate” my orange brain as much as possible. 

This is such a great discovery. All I need to do is shift to this orange part of my brain as often as I can. Everything I ever wanted to be and experience, the "feminine," can be easily felt and expressed. As this part gets stronger or more developed, I bet more and more of my natural self will be able to be experienced. Thank you "right brain-orange" for your great contribution to my life.

This Saturday evening Willie, Becky and myself drive to Santa Barbara to a Gay bar. As we talk among ourselves, I realize how much negativity I see in Becky and others. Accept negative things? No, I don't have to. What then do I do? I see all of Becky’s negative aspects clearly. I also notice that keeping my distance from her, by not committing and not getting too close, keeps me in control of my emotions. In other words it keeps my apple-ego brain activated. 


I feel a bit closer emotionally to people now. I see and feel people’s humanness. I dream emotional dreams. Yet I can't yet be emotional in my waking life, there is still too much fear I think. However, my emotions are strong enough to be expressed in my dreams. 

I bought a piano at long last, with money from my car insurance company that was supposed to fix my dented fender. Pam helped me choose a piano with great sound. I have wanted a piano since I was ten and here it is, thirty years later! I am extremely happy, but don't know how to express it. It was delivered today and I simply love it. 

Two hours later, Becky brings some bad news; no job for the summer. That bothers me so much I can’t fully experience the joy of my new piano. My emotions don't know how to come out. They came out a few weeks ago when, in my dream Becky bought me a piano. I cried and was so joyous in my dream. Today I polish my piano all over; every key is clean and polished. I love it so much. I love my garden too, but plants don't seem to be growing like they should.


June 21 - Thursday - I become certified to learn to drive the heavy equipment out at the airport. My test scores must have been quite good because the foreman in the field had high comments about them. Maybe, “for a woman,” they were great. I would prefer them to be great because of my knowledge and ability, instead of my sex, though. 

I add my name to the waiting list at the Union Hall for a job and spend the summer learning to operate all the machines. I get compliments on my backhoe digging skills. The bulldozer with the gas pedal working opposite from regular vehicles, feels strange. The scraper was the hardest to master, but I was told it takes years to get proficient with it. In a few weeks I become next on the waiting list for an actual job.

At night I go to my softball game. I want to play shortstop so badly, but I am not allowed to. Took third base for the last three innings. I believe I play as good as the other infielders, but maybe not. Someone told me I wasn't good enough to start in the game. I don't quite believe that, so I’m totally wiped out. Tears flow from my eyes all night and I hide them. I come home, take some Valium and go to sleep. 

Today, I'm still affected by the words from someone, “I'm not good enough.” It hurts and hurts and hurts. I feel like withdrawing from people altogether. It's safe inside myself, but I know I can't do that if I’m to grow. The pain hurts so much I don't want to talk to Becky. I want a friend that I can enjoy being with. Someone I can call and confide in and tell my troubles to when it hurts like this. I don't know how to find a friend like that, so I'll go to my self-defense class. Bye.


July  24 Tuesday  I get called for my first operator engineer apprentice job as an oiler for a large back hoe. I am the only female apprentice for this crew. The older experienced male operator of the backhoe prefers to do all his own oiling, that I'm supposed to do. He only needs my guidance when he is digging very deeply and cannot see where he is digging. I also operate the skip loader and the smaller tractor, plus do flagging. The flagging sign is so heavy it hurts to hold it up.

When I carry heavy jacks on a street pipe laying job, I get compliments for my physical strength. I am elected to do the beer run on Fridays after work, which I don’t mind doing. I love feeling like "one of the guys” even though they see me only as a “woman doing a man's job."

Every day just about, I get snide remarks about being female, along with jokes and laughter, especially when I eat a banana for lunch. But I play tough like the guy I feel like inside and don’t let them bother me. I would love to just be accepted as “one of the guys,” but I am realizing I will never be seen that way to these men I am working with. To them I am a woman, even though I do not feel or act like one around them. I love working outdoors. Being part of a team feels so good, plus I love working hard physically. It is such great exercise. 

Even when I have the flu and a high temperature I still go to work, there are no paid sick days off. One day a newspaper photographer tried to get a photo of me working. This convinces me that nobody else considers me as “one of the guys” or just doing my job, either. I stand out as special, strange, different, not the "same as.” I felt odd and different growing up too, but for different reasons. I so wish I could just "fit in.”


Pam told me she wants to quit school. I agreed she could be home schooled and she became so relaxed it felt good to hug her. She responded and hugged me back. I went to her counselor, Mr. Newman at school and got emotional and cried. It was embarrassing. Pam's school “problems” were being more understood by Mr. Newman than all the teachers, principals and counselors so far. 

Today it rained, but not until I was on my way to work. I'm home now and find another book from Becky with blank pages on my pillow; smaller than the last one. Roberta Flack is singing about a woman lover, Susan. I wasn't sure I heard right. I've listened to this cassette tape a dozen times, but never heard of her woman lover before. 

My day was chuck full of joy and then it happened again; Becky had a real downer. Her boss cut $50 from her monthly check. I feel so bad when she feels down, like on the piano day. When I have a real high, I can count on Becky having a real low. I can hardly contain the joy I felt today. I am used to containing sadness and hurt. But I am not used to containing joy. I realize I don't know how to express my feelings even if they are joyful.

November  30 Friday  I have never ever had a birthday party in my life so far, so I am overjoyed when Becky surprised me with one yesterday, on my 40th birthday. All of our Lesbian friends came and it was the greatest party of my life. We moved the table out of the kitchen and danced on the bare floor. My cake had a picture of a bulldozer on it in color... so appropriate! I loved it.

There are several couples in our group. Becky and I notice that one is always “apple” and their “friend” / lover is always “orange.” Every couple is the same; apple and orange women partnered. This further convinces me the "masculine" and "feminine" labels are erroneous. Since females also have "masculine" qualities and characteristics why should they be called "masculine" and associated with male?

I am keenly aware of straight couples also being one “apple” and the other “orange.” Sometimes the male is the “orange” and his wife is “apple” but mostly the wife is the “orange” one and the husband is “apple.” My three daughters have of course, learned about apple and orange characteristics and traits. We already know Katie and Cherrie, the “book worms,” are apple and Pam, creative and much more emotionally sensitive, is “orange.”

Becky and I are now able to communicate closely with each other without being stoned. I believe it is this close and honest communication that allows me to feel the pulse of our growth. My journey's focus is to gradually just BE without using pot, but we are still smoking at this point. 

Pot has given me the unique opportunity to become familiar with my “other (orange) self” on an intermittent basis. I become more and more able to recognize what I’ve been calling my “Lisa personality “while living day to day. I know when she's with me now, only she isn't Lisa anymore. I call it my “orange self.” Becky is learning to develop her other self, only we call it her “apple self;” together we're growing emotionally. 

My developing “orange” is allowing me to become more vulnerable and emotionally closer to Becky than I’ve ever been. I’m coming to experience real, but non-romantic love for her and it feels so unbelievably good. At the same time however, her “apple” part is allowing her to become more and more emotionally distant from me. Maybe it's because she is trying to accept my non-committal attitude or, maybe something is happening I don't want to see. 

For Christmas Becky gave me a poem she wrote. I had changed my name from Karen (a name my mother loved) to Keri, because of a lifelong desire to have a nickname. She's recognized my internal emotional growth.

January 1980... The new year has arrived and I must write down all the feelings bottled up inside about what Becky really means to me. If I write, maybe I will understand. I'm feeing distant from her. My orange feelings are of love, I love that she loves me. My apple mind says negative. 

My disillusionment with Gay life is strong. The lying and secrecy issues are a problem, not ever being able to share my love life at work or with anyone socially. My romantic passions are wearing off. The overview I have of me with a lesbian woman is not good and is unacceptable to my apple self. She isn’t perfect, but she is a Lesbian which makes me a Lesbian too. What am I to do?

I’m feeling guilty blaming her for my inability to give her the love and acceptance she wants and needs. I give her all the love I know how to give, but it isn’t enough. She takes my love, but wants more. I understand the longings in her, but I am beginning to feel that maybe I can’t ever fulfill her need for love and commitment. 

I’m unable to open up verbally to someone on an emotional level, but I can open up and be sexually vulnerable in bed. Is there any relational connection here? In lieu of opening up to her in bed, I realize I must open up verbally at other times. However, I discovered I cannot talk to Becky because of a big fear of some kind I have inside. 

I know if I keep it inside, I either get angry at myself or I want to get physically close in bed with her. In my fear I want physical closeness instead of talking. This isn’t good. Maybe I’m angry at society for seeing gayness as sick. Plus, I admit I am not physically attracted to her body, but I love her voice, her intelligence and her kind and loving ways. 

Under the pretense of  “I know how to make you a better person” I am condescending and unaccepting of practically everything she does. I feel like she does things only to please me and I don’t like that. She never seems to have a concept of anything she personally wants, except me. I know she wants me, although I don't know why. I believe it's because she would have liked to be everything I represent to her. This is a huge stumbling block and I can never be sure of her motives. Is she the way she is, because it’s true and natural or because she thinks I’d like her better?

We must break the habit of sleeping, hugging, having sex and fighting with each other. I'm feeling like I want to go to bed and have sex. How do I deal with my inner conflict? Separation? The movie last night…my “orange” experience of her hair the night before, sitting quietly in the living room. We have to find a new way to live, a new way to be together, a new way to spend the evenings. For many weekends, we smoke and go to bed together for enjoyment. Smoking every weekend is bothering me, but I don’t know how to not smoke. 

I've written my thoughts to you my journal. It's helped me to finally realize I just cannot be a Lesbian. We must separate. With every ounce of emotional strength I can gather, I gather up the courage to ask Becky if we can just be friends and sleep in separate bedrooms. She agrees regretfully and is distinctly unhappy. She also agrees to us having an "open relationship." I am convinced this will be helpful for Becky’s emotional growth, to help her distance herself from me a bit. I don’t like to feel her neediness; her wanting a commitment that she knows I cannot give. 

We went to a party of straight people one night in our "open relationship” state. I was talking to some men at the table while Becky left with a man to go to his van. I can’t explain the feelings of sadness I felt. Why then didn’t I analyze why I felt so sad? I might have found out how much I loved Becky. Another time we went to a party. I was so joyously happy to leave with Becky and come home. Why was there such comfort and joy being with Becky? I truly did not know.

We fought, yes, we fought. Even the fighting I enjoyed. I loved seeing every part of Becky. I wanted her so much to just be Becky and love me because she wanted to, not for what I always perceived as a desperate need for commitment.

1980  Feb 2   Last night was hard for both of us, going to bed alone. Becky left the bedroom wanting me. I don’t seem to care much, because I have become convinced it is better to be only friends, instead of in a relationship. We occasionally sleep together and continue to be just friends, but to my regret, she found an apartment and moved out! 

I think she has a new friend also. I feel so totally abandoned.