Version 2.0 of myself was an incredible upgrade
I was recently reading in a study by Stanford University that in a 7 to 10 year period, every cell within the human body will have completely replaced itself.
In essence, the physiological version of yourself that is reading this story is an entirely different creature than the version of yourself that existed a decade ago, but that your memories are the thing that persist and they in turn help inform and drive your present and future behavior.
If you think of it that way, it’s like you save everything to the cloud and then you replace your computer and upgrade your software, but the data remains the same.
I was having lunch with a client yesterday and they run a company here in Sydney that’s working on artificial intelligence when this topic came up. This young man said that they are constantly adding new and better hardware to their “stack”. Their engineers spend weeks tweaking and writing new code to drive better results for their algorithms.
But at the end of the day, the quality of everything they do is predicated on how well they ingest and interpret the historical data that their software “learns” from to inform their AI.
It was like one of those epiphany moments that you have in life.
Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, often refers to humans as “moist robots”.
This conversation made me realize just how apt that comment was. I sat there listening to this young man talk about the technical and mathematical wizardry that he and his colleagues were using, but my mind was off and racing thinking about my own existence.
As I sat quietly pondering my own existence, lunch came to an end and I decided to go to the gym. Tuesday is usually the day where I punish my legs and ass with squat lifts, but on this day, I hit the pool and then sat naked under my towel in the steam room for a while just thinking.
In a sublime moment of humility, I realized that I’m just like a computer that’s had its programming changed and is taking advantage of its hardware more effectively.
I’m like Beth 2.0 now.
I Was Like A Stepford Wife
I was asleep in a lot of ways.
Jamie is lovely, gentle, and one of the most caring, kind men you’ll ever have the privilege of meeting. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t look at him and say a little word of thanks for stumbling across him back at uni.
But in many ways, his accommodating nature and how little he demands of me allowed me to live a large part of my life in a state of perpetual relaxation.
We’re both lawyers, so we have never really had any financial stress. He’s really placid and non-confrontational, so we never have huge fights. His libido has always been below average and his sexual requirements have been “pedestrian” so I’ve never had to do anything sexually to please him.
I just had to go to work, share in the housework, push out a couple of babies, and be the person who coordinates the groceries while he makes sure the bills are paid on time. Decisions would be made by mutual consent and in the event of a disagreement, we’d rationally talk it out and find a middle ground.
So to be fair, if I was like a Stepford Wife, then he was like my Stepford Husband — we were blissfully going through life as stress-free as possible.
I think I need to be careful about the use of the Stepford Wife analogy because it wasn’t like I was some kind of “wife slave” or he was my “manservant”. We both had roles in our relationship that we enjoyed playing, but that didn’t require us to work harder or think more.
We were cruising through life, fucking once a week, making sure our kids were at all of their activities on time, and that everyone thought we were normal and happy.
And we were happy. We still are.
But happiness is a scale.
Within the context of my life’s experience before Jamie’s accident, I would have said my life was an 8 out of 10 in terms of happiness. Oddly enough, one of my biggest “complaints” was that I would have enjoyed sex a bit more, even though it was mediocre, I felt that “we” could do better.
Note: I didn’t think we could have “better sex”, I felt that we as a couple could have more sex to get to some kind of twice per week average like “normal” couples. That sums up where my head was.
Upgrading To Beth 2.0
The night of the accident was like the beginning of my upgrade process.
It became quickly apparent that our lives were going to be different when the doctors told me he was lucky to be alive but that there were no guarantees that he’d ever walk again or even be able to feed and clean himself.
I’d like to talk about how I was grateful just that he was alive and how I knew that we’d get through whatever challenges were in front of him, but that would frankly just be bullshit.
My first thought when hearing that Jamie could potentially be quadriplegic and need 24-hour care for the rest of his life was something along the lines of, “Fuck… What am I going to do now?”
Sticking with the computer analogy, my operating system crashed. I took a programming class at a local TAFE one time for fun (because I’m a giant loser) and I would describe my state of mind as a Kernal Panic. My brain was confronting an error it was not able to recover quickly.
For the next couple of days, I just wandered to and from the hospital in a state of shock. The doctors were saying the right things, but if I was listening, I wasn’t really paying much attention.
After a week when Jamie was conscious and he could feel his hands and toes, the cloud kind of lifted. By the end of the third week, he was starting to move his limbs and I felt a bit of relief.
I went home that night, put the girls to bed, poured the biggest glass of red wine that I could find, and crawled into the bathtub to try and let the tension soak out of me. Surrounded by candles, listening to Brahms on Spotify, and taking gulps of wine, I reached down under the water and rubbed my clitoris until I lay shuddering in the water.
And then I did it again.
I crawled out of the tub, blew out the candles, dragged the bottle of wine, and my naked body into my bed, and I spent the next two hours fingering myself and rubbing my clit. I would stop to drink or refill my glass, then go back to wanking myself.
I passed out covered in a light sweat and woke up to the baby monitor as 6:30am, naked, with the bedsheets strewn off the end of the bed. I was hungover and my whole body ached in a good way. It was like the weight of the world had momentarily been lifted from me.
I walked into the baby’s room and picked her up and my older daughter came in, finding me naked holding her sister. We went downstairs, I fed my youngest, made toast for my oldest, and got myself a cup of coffee. My daughter said to me, “Mummy, are you going to put on clothes today?”
It was like the bath the night before was a reboot and the masturbation was an operating system upgrade because I woke up in the same body but feeling incredibly different.
Before that night, I’d maybe masturbated two or three times in ten years.
After that night for the next few months, I regularly fell asleep from the sheer exhaustion of pleasuring myself at the end of the day. It was stress relief, it was enjoyable, it was me discovering that I was a sexual being.
It was the new Beth 2.0 user interface tour — I was getting used to the new me.
CTRL-ALT-Delete and Replace The User
We have an IT guy in our office here at work and whenever you have a problem with your computer, he will use the same joke when you ask him how to fix the issue, “Have you tried replacing the user?”
The problem with my sex life was, sadly, operator error.
Before the accident and his subsequent erectile issues, Jamie was a very mediocre lover. I enjoyed sex with him because it was with him. Feeling him enter me and the weight of his body on top of me felt brilliant, but sexually, it was like being stabbed with his penis for a minute or two and then leaking for a couple of hours while I slept.
And I have to take some responsibility here too. I wasn’t experienced or confident enough to tell him how to pleasure me or make sex better for me, so he didn’t know what I liked.
I remember one evening before our daughters came along, we were in our living room watching cricket and I decided that I needed to give him oral sex. I don’t know why or how the urge came about, but I needed to feel his cock in my mouth, so I bent over and pulled him out to suck him off.
He looked at me with bemusement as I started and then, like most times when I would orally pleasure him, he would cum within a minute or two. I made sure that I didn’t leave any behind and cleaned him up properly with my mouth.
He said that he’d like to return the favor, which was pretty rare, he was never someone who spent much time giving me oral sex and I had never really enjoyed it, so it never featured much in our sex life.
I pulled down my shorts and laid back on the couch to let him do his thing. After a couple of minutes of him licking my pussy like it was soft-serve ice cream, I gave him some directions, but it never got any better. I eventually worried that his tongue would get sore, faked an orgasm, told him it was great, and we went back to watching cricket.
Now, fast forward to a time about two years after Jamie’s accident and I was in the early stages of exploring sex with other men outside my marriage.
I met this one guy randomly at a bar after work, ended up renting a hotel room with him so that we could have sex, and before we could even get our clothes off, he was on his knees, under my skirt, tugging my panties down, and sucking my pussy while I stood there in front of him.
The waves of orgasms came quickly and hard. As this random bar guy tongued me to completion standing up, my knees buckled. He pushed me back onto the bed and as I pulled my skirt up over my waist and he pulled my panties off entirely, he crawled between my legs and spent the next twenty minutes just pleasuring me with his mouth and his fingers.
In subsequent encounters with various men, I met guys who could make me cum in a variety of ways and positions. Sure, I hooked up with guys who were terrible sexually, but I barely remember them. I do remember the guys who blew my mind though.
And part of the situation that changed was not only did I replace the user, in the form of my husband, but I also became more familiar and comfortable explaining my own user interface. When I was with a man who seemed keen or comfortable, I would give him subtle directions on how he could pleasure me and most men seemed entirely willing, if not downright excited, to go get the “What’s New” tour to my hardware platform.
These computer analogies are getting a bit tiresome, yeah?
Becoming A Power User
Over the last three and a half years, my life has blossomed — it was like upgrading from Windows Vista to MacOS.
Ok, no more lame computer jokes, I promise.
Seriously though, everything about my life is better now because I’m not just meandering through life being mediocre anymore.
It’s so cliche, but life just seems brighter, more colorful and vibrant now. I do everything with more purpose and intent.
I eat better, I work out more regularly and harder, I throw myself into work more, I am more present with my daughters and husband, and yes, when I decide that I’m going to fuck someone, I get after it with full intensity.
Life tastes better and I enjoy every day so much more.
I was having lunch with my mother a few weeks back after seeing her speak to some young female law students. I told her how inspiring it was to see her up there, encouraging young women to grab life by the balls, and telling them that they can have it all — health, career, family, and love.
She smiled at me, “Betty, you inspire me too. I see how much you’ve come out of your shell the last few years and to me, you’re everything. You are everything that I dreamed you’d grow up to become and more.”
Aside from bringing a tear to my eye that just reaffirmed everything that I was thinking about myself over the past little while.