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!

Thought Stream #1

I was thinking earlier- just thinking, understand- about shapeshifting, and my gender and orientation, how I think about sex and sexuality, how I handle my friends and family, the way I have this nymph in my head who won’t leave me alone whenever I try to lay down, she doesn’t let up about anything and everything, it’s exactly like trying to turn myself off and being completely unable to find the switch. I sit in bed and stare at the ceiling and listen to Nymph talk about how she has it so rough, about how everything that goes on is to her detriment, how she doesn’t have enough sex and how she wishes she could find someone to be with and yet there is no one for her except maybe three people, but she doesn’t think about those people because she’s Nymph, and that’s not what Nymphs do, and she tells me that that’s because it’s just the way she is.

I shut her out and don’t listen to her for a while and I find my thoughts drifting to the way I think about people- ME, not her, untainted by her corrupt and self-centered ideals, no, instead I think about how I treat others around me, like my family, how I treat my siblings– my brother and my sister– and how I think about them in general, and there’s a part of me that rebels against that because why should I think about them? They’re just there, they’re there and important, integral and integrated into my life as easily as strands tied into a rope, but it’s my rope, isn’t it, not theirs, they are a part of my life but they don’t own my life and so I think part of me wishes that they didn’t have such a big impact, that they couldn’t easily cut me down with their words, that I wasn’t so vulnerable to what they had to say. Whenever that part gets too loud I stop.

I think.

I say, “Sam, you’re hurting yourself.”

That’s another thing that bothers me. I have a name, but everywhere I go people use pronouns instead. Whether it’s masculine or feminine doesn’t matter so much; I prefer to be known as either Sam, or Eris. I realized earlier that it was awkward whether it was he she or it that people referred to me as, because I am none of those and all of those, and it’s impossible to really tell which I want to be referred to as until I open my mouth and say it, because I’m lazy with my clothes and fairly shy about putting on stuff that identifies me positively as male, female or inbetween. I prefer androgynous clothing, sure, but nymph sometimes says I’d be most comfortable wearing absolutely nothing at all and letting the motion of my body identify me, so that people didn’t look at my clothes and say ‘Oh, skirt, she’ or ‘oh, boxers, he’ or ‘which is that person?’ but instead looked at me and all of me, my body and therefore my current expression, and that ties in with my shapeshifting.

I want to be able to shapeshift so that I can identify as who I am instead of needing to identify as what people assume I am and I know how that sounds, it sounds like I’m just too shy to tell people what I’m all about, but even when I do tell people it’s easy for them to slip up or maybe get angry and shun me which very few people seem to do anyway since I always like to hang out with a tolerant crowd but you know there’s always that fear, I mean no one really wants to have to come out over and over and over again, that’s just something that you have to do in order to survive, isn’t it, and I guess that’d be okay if it wasn’t for the fact that I don’t really enjoy having to come out, I want people to be able to read me the way I can read them, the way I can open them up and read their emotions and thoughts right on their faces, the way I can sort of understand exactly when someone feels a certain way after only a little time getting to know them, people always tell me things about themselves they don’t even need to or don’t want to or don’t understand themselves, because it’s me who’s looking at them, me and Nymph, and we pick people apart subconsciously.

Maybe that’s wrong, maybe it’s totally horribly wrong and we should stop, but it’s automatic, we can’t help it. As a pair, we are blessed and cursed with the ability to read people, and so it feels unfair in any conversation we end up getting into- like really? why do we have that advantage? Why can’t other people read us so well? I try to be transparent, but I’m really terrible at it because I’m so used to acting one way in front of different people, it’s like I have layer after layer of masks on and the more masks I put on the harder it is for people to see exactly who I am, and I hate that feeling, that feeling of hiding, no one wants to have to hide all the time, it’s just necessary. It’s just required, just a thing that needs to be done in order to safeguard yourself, and even if you don’t want people to know everything there is to know about you, isn’t it better to be able to, I don’t know, be able to tell people about yourself without having to actually TELL them? I don’t know, I just don’t, and Nymph doesn’t seem to know either, for all that she’s lived through and done in all of her lifetimes, in all the time she’s been alive and well and all the memories she’s been through and kept and cherished.

Shapeshifting would let me show people how I was feeling, what I was feeling like, I would be able to express the colors of my aura and the colors of my feelings in something like three D expression, if I could shapeshift anywhere other than here it would be easy as pie to tell what I was thinking, I would be comfortable in any of the shapes I picked and I would be able to tell people what was on my mind without feeling like a liar and a thief, a thief of time and meaningful value, a thief of emotion. I don’t know. I always feel like a thief of time, I always feel like a thief of emotion, like some kind of vampire, sucking away at the happy feelings of others without even meaning to, like I live, subsist on the happiness of people other than me, and I guess sometimes I do, sometimes I do that thing where everyone else is more important than I am.

Lately I’ve been breaking away from that, as I should. I am every bit as important as anyone else out there, there’s no reason at all for me to feel like I’m less important, but it happens, and it’s a key part of the depressive phases I go through, that along with my own emotional frustrations and my own dealings with people who repress the way I am (who are actually rarer than the people who accept me).

Well I said I’d talk about gender, and I did a little of that and talked a little about Nymph and also my shapeshifting, so I suppose I’ve accomplished my goal. Just on accident, too.

—-

I have three stories in the works; Green Eyes, a story about one of Nymph’s memories, dramatized and fantastic, Pride, a superhero story set in modernish times, and Slaves of Sand, a spinoff tale from an old, old sci fi story that I started and never finished.

I work on any of these intermittently, but I’ve been so worried about things lately it’s been hard to find the time to write as much as I want to. It may be a while before you see these stories, as a consequence. Sorry!

In any case, rest assured that I’m alive and mostly well. Just had to get this stream of thought up and out of me. If anything I hope the rambling was mildly entertaining.

<3s,

Eris