They say I am adjusting well, particularly for someone who has only been here three years. Especially in comparison to other aliens, they say. There haven’t been that many Earthlings here - less than a hundred in nearly five thousand years. But the natives have amazing memories, they keep exceptional, though unobtrusive, records. They say I am remarkable in my ability to adjust. Their history confirms it as truth.
For my part, it has been pretty easy. I like it here. I like the lack of violence, I like the way compassion is a given, a non issue, so automatic it’s nearly invisible. It quickly becomes hard to describe it well, to perceive it clearly, even to someone like me coming from such a deadly planet.
It’s not just the compassion, the niceness, it is also the way so much other perception has opened up. I absolutely love all the senses that became clear to me here. All the things I was sensitive too that I did not know about until I got into this environment. It’s like this place operates on more dimensions than the few available at home. I know things, sense things, perceive things I never could on Earth.
The specialists here seem to think it is because of what has happened on Earth. They tell me the data suggests it was once as rich as this planet. That when it was, humans there could perceive much more, just as I do here. We’ve been working with some of my deep memories to try to confirm it. To understand what and when the change was, to discover what caused it. Or at least what was at the root of the chain reaction that started it. I don’t really understand it all, at least not yet. They tell me that that perception, new comprehension will come along, too, soon, as I spend more time on the project.
I trust them. I like being part of it. Part of something that matters to them. I’m glad to be here, eager to contribute, to fill my place.
If you asked me what was hardest, in terms of adjusting, I would have to say it is the sameness. Or, er, well… the difference inside all the sameness. The way the sameness holds so much difference. I’m not expressing myself very well. Let me try to explain.
You see, here, there are only ever two different bodies. One male body and one female body. I mean, there are lots of repeats of those two bodies. Enough repeats for everyone on the planet actually, so approximately three quarters of a billion bodies, half male, half female, but all repeats of the same exact body. I know this probably isn’t going to make sense to you. That’s what I’m saying, that’s why this is sort of the hardest thing to adjust to, here. Everybody has the same genetic body. Beyond that, these bodies function pretty consistently, I mean, in terms of metabolism and aging and sickness etc, the bodies are pretty robust to different behavioral patterns. I mean there are slight variations in size and musculature due to individual practices but… really? Not very much at all. Not enough to be noticeable in any of the usual earth human senses.
But we don’t get each other mixed up. Not at all. That’s what I am saying. It’s mindblowing how much individual difference is still conveyed by each person, even when they all live in the same body. I mean, I never get people mixed up. There are some obvious visual cues, the kind that are probably familiar to you. Like some people always push their sleeves up and other people never wear socks but, you know, there’s not much else in terms of what we consider fashion to work with. But it doesn’t matter. Even though everyone wears their hair the same, even though few people bother with stylish clothes variations etc., it is still nearly impossible to mix people up.
I mean, even naked, especially, naked! You just know. That’s what is so hard to adjust to. Who would have ever thought there could be so many different ways to wear the same body. I mean, my second lover, she used to sneak in and sneak up on me at home, where I lived with my first lover and I could always tell the difference immediately. The second I sensed her in the room I knew it it was not my roommate.
Imagine how weird it is, to find yourself not just in a culture where it is natural and expected that everyone has multiple lovers but where all those lovers look exactly the same. But where all of them are deeply, deeply and obviously unique.
Why would who you were with even matter then, you might say. If all the bodies are the same, why would you even bother with multiple lovers. But oh! My heavens, let me tell you, there is so much more about a person. It is so miraculous the different ways the different person underneath shows through, especially when you are naked. Differences are unbelievably easy to detect depending on who is driving the flesh.
I’m sure you can’t understand. I can tell by the question forming in your head right now. And let me just cut that line of thinking right off. It is not boring. It is miraculous — what you get in exchange for giving up diversity in looks!? There is so much to see about a person when you begin looking beyond it. Plus, we all collectively change bodies on the same day, once a year. So there is plenty of variety. We get to be and see and learn each other anew in every different kind of body imaginable over time.
So yeah. I hope maybe you can see a little bit. Get some tiny feel for it. How it’s different. How the sameness is the biggest adjustment because it is really about a mindblowing amount of difference. I hope you can. Or maybe you can come here sometime and visit. Or stay. That would be fine with me, too. Just so long as they never make me leave.