News-like Ramble: Shapeshifting, Korea, Genderqueeritude

First up, Korea. I know it’s out of order, but it weighs on my mind a little that I never really told you guys where exactly I went for the last couple weeks. Well, truth be told, I went to Korea! If you know of my sister’s blog then you may or may not have found out about it from there. I’m uncomfortable posting pictures (since I’m frankly a little uncomfortable with how I look in them) but that’s alright. My sister has a few up on her facebook I think, and if you know her than you probably know what I look like from that.

I am moderately okay with this.

Korea (Busan in particular) was a blast. We played cards in a coffee shop filled with books to buy (with a bunch of games), we walked down by the beach, we went to an aquarium, we rode the subway or buses everywhere– Korean public transportation in general is pretty fab. You wouldn’t want to drive there, but having other people drive you is awesome because it’s up to them to deal with the crazy batshit drivers on Korean roads. Your life is safe in the hands of the brave bus drivers of South Korea!

But more than anything, I liked the people there. There were all sorts. They were all- almost invariably- nice. They were polite and formal or rushed or busy, but nearly all of them were happy, responded in a positive or kind manner.

I think what I liked most about Korea, going there and experiencing everything, was that I couldn’t tell whether people thought I was a boy or a girl.  It was only the way that my sister introduced us (I’m not blaming her, mind, it’s simpler that way when the language gap is like that), my brother and I, that managed to make me feel uncomfortable. It would have felt just as uncomfortable either way– sisters, brothers, it doesn’t matter. It’s not that I’m not gendered at all, it’s just that I would prefer androgyny, I would prefer that privacy, that feeling of could-be-one-or-the-other-or-inbetween that I crave almost constantly.

It was easier to feel that in Korea than here, because it was so hard to understand people without my sister’s constant interpretation.

At least, with Koreans. With the foreigners, with my sister’s friends? Not so much.

It’s okay. It’s so hard. I know it’s hard- empathy is like that. I know when someone is really trying to find a middle-ground that works for them, is really thinking about everything they say when it comes to me, is picking their words carefully to avoid using terms that would hurt me- I can read that in a heartbeat. I don’t even need to see their face.

Normally, anyway.

There was very little of that in my experiences with the foreign group (which is to say the foreigners relative to Korea). I was…. mixed about that. I think I feel as if it was my fault for not telling them– but I was frozen and scared witless on more than one occasion, at least on the inside. I left the words unsaid. I froze up and said nothing when people constantly used the ‘wrong’ pronouns. I could correct my family, but I could not correct these new people I’d met (with one clumsy exception), even though I know for a bloody fact that they would all have been accepting of it, of me, my sister’s partner included.

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get the words out past my lips- I was too scared, even in such a positive environment. What would I even say? How do I describe my own gender? I’m fluid, I shift so often that I’m barely ever describable by proper pronouns. Not truly. Both, neither, one or the other– I’m never really truly any of those, a mix of any and all of them. No matter where I go or how I dress I always feel out of place. Always. It’s either not enough or way too much with very little space in the way of middleground. Did I mention that I don’t much care for absolute language? I don’t much care for absolute language. If I can’t be in the middleground then for the most part I’m feeling unhappy. My policy with that is generally that it’s better to be off by a little most of the time than off completely some of the time.

So Korea, being in Korea, walking, talking, failing to understand so much of the Korean language in Korea– it changed me a bit. It showed me what it was like, on some levels, to be androgynous truly until introduced, to be incapable of knowing what other people knew about me or didn’t know about me.

Maybe that’s why I cried on the plane ride back. N0t much, only for a few moments, but I was bawling on the inside. I felt empty and strange constantly throughout the flight back and fought through a lingering sense of loss. Relief at being able to go home. But loss as well.

It was a wonderful place to be. Its public transportation, its people, its places– visited two temples and felt awe, visited the same ‘singing room’ twice (Why can’t the USA have those??) and a ‘computer room’ once. Strangely enough I was more drawn to physical activity in Korea than sitting down and playing games. I’ll go ahead and attribute that to my need to learn more about this place where I occasionally felt…

Real.

Not for the first time. But for the longest times I think I’ve ever experienced.

Now I can talk about shapeshifting.

There are no words to properly describe it. What a cop out!

No, but seriously. I can’t properly describe what it makes me feel to be able to, to be capable of shapeshifting here. I can’t describe the way it makes me feel whole, the way every time I shift forms I fill up with this sort of light, these bubbles of energy that remind me so much of pleasure I could scream with it. A truly new form is every bit as wonderful an experience as the best fantasy. I think about shapeshifting a lot. Maybe too much.

Maybe not enough.

I feel guilty, though. I think back on it and I think I feel guilty because it’s not normal. It’s not what my brain condones as ‘proper’ behavior. Despite how lovely it feels, or maybe because of it. Something that feels that good must be wrong somehow, certainly is wrong if other people aren’t feeling that way too. Anxiety and guilt mashed up in one big mess.

So I keep it to myself and my closest friends and family. I keep the knowledge that I am this starving entity, this demanding metamorphic creature that has no definitive shape to call he/r own, to myself, for the most part. Even as the hunger grows to a screaming pitch and blocks out everything else, I try to never slip up. I resist the urge to walk on my toes, resist the urge to go down to all fours and run, resist the urge to swish a tail I don’t have or flap wings I haven’t grown. Resist the urge to reach for a drink with a third or fourth arm.

I imagine instead. I imagine what I would be doing if I were in the form I am in here, what my tail would be doing moment to moment, what my wings would be and where they would be folded, whether or not my feathers would be wet or how my scales would feel against a tabletop. All of the sensations that come naturally here need to be concentrated on in meatspace, in ‘reality’.

Is it strictly sexual?

Is it an urge born from my desires for other people, or desires for my own body?

It’s not strictly sexual, though the pleasure is similar in some ways. It’s– necessary for my continued happiness. I need to change and I can only properly change, for the moment, here. As I sit here typing this I can feel a tail no one but me sees, I can stretch my wings out and know that these desires are real and good and true to who I am. You can’t see it– but you can probably picture it. I take shapes– not because I think they’re sexy or hot, but more because I think they’re pretty, because they fit me and the way I feel. It’s not so much a lust as a passion.

And my parents wonder why I spend so much time on the computer.

It ties in with my gender, this shapeshifting urge, this part of who I am. When I shapeshift my gender is anything, everything. I have infinite possibility, I can change any way I want and for the most part the people I love will go along with it. By comparison meatspace, ‘reality’ feels clunky and wrong. There’s less fluidity. It’s harder to express myself and my gender of the moment. It’s harder to feel alive. It’s harder to feel real.

It isn’t exclusively for gender, though, I don’t shapeshift just for that expression- I change my cybershape for fun and because it feels good to stretch out, to experience things with a new avatar, with a new body. It’s like expressing the deepest aspect of myself, pulling pieces of me to the surface and letting them sparkle.

It’s like a dream. It’s surreal, it’s distant, like the moon or the stars.  I can be comfortable in my plain human body, I can be comfortable in this shape, with its long brown hair and sweet amber eyes and the pretty freckles.

I just can’t be comfortable in it forever, and really never for too long at once. It just wouldn’t be me.

I am undefined, the essence of my self is still in development, always developing, and I don’t think that will ever change. Heh, that’s funny. The changing won’t ever change.

-Eris

PS: Yes, I am still doing work on the stories (and have since added a few more projects in). No, I don’t have a due date for them. When they are ready, they will be ready!

2 thoughts on “News-like Ramble: Shapeshifting, Korea, Genderqueeritude

  1. One thing I love about travel is the chance for reinvention as you go–not making up a new identity, necessarily, but adding new things to who you are as your world opens up more.

    I’ve always been fascinated by shapeshifting. There’s a desire to see things from a different perspective and to experience the world in a different form. Maybe being able to have multiple understanding is one of the few blessings of not being totally on the expected gender binary–we can see things from the perspectives of the masculine/feminine/anywhere in between.

    I know people do solidify in their identity and beliefs, but that also seems like stagnation to me. While I’d like to be just like everybody else many days, mostly I enjoy the constant evolution of me because I do think it deepens my perspective and appreciation of life.

    • Thanks for stopping in!

      I love that aspect of travel– in all my limited journeying, the thrill of that reinvention of self is as close as I get to shapeshifting here (other than waking up and taking a look in the bathroom mirror to make sure that I haven’t spontaneously grown a tail and mane).

      I’d tend to agree that yes, it’s a blessing to be otherly gendered in this respect. I always feel a serious disconnect when I think of things that are ‘boy’ or ‘girl’, and occasionally it helps me to better understand people without the same kind of bias as someone sitting closer to one or the other. I’m as comfortable talking to girls about girl things as I am talking to guys about guy things; that is to say, so long as it stays relatively clean I won’t bat an eyelash.

      We share a fascination, then! Though for me I think it’s more completely necessary for my continued sanity. :p It wasn’t always like that, but ever since the Great Memory Influx of age fifteen it’s been growing steadily more important to me. I suppose that relates, then, to the evolution of my self– through the people I meet, the places I visit, and the shapes that I shift to, I am always changing. I know it broadens my horizons and makes me feel better about myself, the people around me and the world in general– if that’s not a wider perspective and a stronger appreciation for life I’m not sure what is. Change is good for you, dontcha know.

      Good to hear from you, Transman~

      <3s,
      Eris

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