I must choose and yet I hesitate and not for the first time. I know this can’t go on much longer. The deadline will not change just because I can’t make a decision.
But how do I choose who I will be if I can no longer be me?
It’s not that the process is new and risky. I wouldn’t even consider doing this if it was, because I’m not one of those early adopter types. It took me many years to even bring myself to talk to them about it. They tell me the tech’s been bug-free for decades, but so what? The tech isn’t the issue.
The issue is that I am not yet convinced. I don’t care how many others have done it before; this would be the first time for me. I don’t care how much they promised there would be no pain, that it would be a seamless transition, that I would be pleased with the result.
Why should I believe it safe for me to put my existence in their hands today when it was only yesterday their forefathers had tried to eat me?
They said they were sorry for the actions of their ancestors. Easy for them to say. I’m the one with the scars.
But still. I have a choice to make.
I knew I could do it, I just couldn’t decide if I would do it. True, I had agreed to it. In principle. And I had even prepared for it. I undertook the empathy training – it’s not optional, after all. I’d submitted to the interminable studies that I had a sneaking feeling weren’t as necessary as they said they were. At the end, it seemed I was physically suitable and psychologically capable of getting a new body.
But just because they said I was ready didn’t mean I felt ready.
How could I be ready for something like this?
It isn’t that I’m so attached to my physical self, though in truth I am. It’s more that I have always loved to be where I’ve already been. I have never needed the new in my life. I prefer the known. I prefer immersion in the ineffable depths rather than distraction of the changeable surface. The deep dive rather than the surge through waves.
The pleasure of subtle change is so much more exciting to me than the flash of new in the waters of my life.
I am not afraid of the new, not really. It’s just that new is…too stimulating. Lacking in richness of nuance. New disturbs the profundity of the flow. That’s valid, right? There’s nothing wrong with my feeling that way, is there? Where did that notion even come from?
Now that I think about it, I’m kind of pissed off that I have to make this choice.
It’s taken me a lifetime to become who I am, after all. A long time—centuries, they tell me. Maybe longer than some, but then few have plumbed the depths I have. And it wasn’t easy getting here. Why should I give that up now? Why can’t I just float in the bliss I’ve worked so hard for so long to attain?
They say the sun’s going to go supernova. So what? None of my kind who has tasted the oceans for as long as I have is left. I can’t pretend my natural time will continue on much longer. What could it matter to me that soon the sea that has embraced me, fed me, and taught me will boil away? I am ready to experience that, too.
But they say I’m too valuable to leave behind and they can’t take my huge body and the waters that I require to survive. They say they’ve stored the DNA data of my kind but they can’t store me. My life experience. They say that who I am matters, not just what I am, and that my moving to a new body is the right thing to do, not just for me but for the future of all. They say that physical bodies don’t matter anymore, anyway.
I say that my physical body matters very much to me.
They pretend that it’s my decision, as if all the rest had never been said. As if they hadn’t already decided what I should do.
But it is ultimately my choice to make. And still I hesitate. I don’t care what they say. They don’t know what it means to be me, in this body. Only I do.
They say that’s exactly the point.