One Nonfiction Piece by 許清

Hey, I’m just a cute animal

I think the worst kind of suffering is the kind that can’t be named. Not that I’m looking for a term to put parameters around the feeling. No—I’m saying that it seems like adding any existing name onto it simply diminishes how pervasively I feel it. After all, who would believe me if I tell them there’s a force even stronger than myself that’s controlling me and limiting my lifestyle? I’m sure people would be quick to brush that away as victim mentality, because they’d be scared of confronting the possibility that they might be similarly conditioned/controlled. When they see me seemingly “surrendering” “autonomy” when I declare it’s something more complicated than pure choice—they want to make up things like—I’d die sooner, I’m mad and I deserve to be sent away, I’d never survive reality. Even the ones who idealize me would probably say something like “she was never meant for this world….” And yes, with the misgendering in their eulogy, because somehow if I’m the ‘muse’ which has inspired them to rethink what art means, I’m surely ‘womanly’ and ‘submissive’ and ‘motherly’ and ‘nurturing.’ Well tell you what—you’re just not going to find that long-lost mother you’ve been looking for when you look into my eyes.


Just let me describe my ideal holiday, I wake up, getting to contemplate for hours in bed, splash water onto my face, scrub a little too much soap all around the corners of my face (wiping all the marks of yesterday away). If my hair feels sticky, I’d tie it backwards, so none of it touches my face. I’d stare into the mirror and try looking into my own eyes (yep, that one time—somebody told me my eyes seemed bottomless. Till this day, I wonder if it’s a compliment or curse). And this whole time, I’d be naked. And I’d pass by my wardrobe, and I’ll look at all my available, clean clothes to wear. And I’ll lie down on my sofa, still naked. And I’d contemplate there for another few hours, before I go back to bed, and lie down there naked contemplating till night falls.


I cannot tell you, how good it feels, to be absolutely naked the whole day.


It’s a pity that I’m naturally distrusting of other human beings, especially afraid of what might happen when people see each other naked, I don’t want to be on the playing field of intentions. I want to just lie down, naked, knowing for sure the next second I could still lie down there, untouched by anyone else. This doesn’t mean that I hate the company of others, it just means that I enjoy being naked alone more, and that is when I am completely free from being gendered.


I would put on dark-colored baggy clothes, flip-flops, and let the whole world witness my bare forehead as I walk down the stairs to pick up delivered food, and I wouldn’t have to care what the delivery people might think of me. All they care for would be my money, all I care for would be my food. No harm done in the process, I wouldn’t miss a tip, they wouldn’t call me Miss or Missus, or even think about going to bed with me.


I’d sit on my bed, get a pair of chopsticks, and eat, naked, sitting on my bed like some raw animal living in a cave, and I wouldn’t have to worry about being seen by anyone. I can still head out the door next day, and nobody would think I’d be performing like an utter animal at home, as long as I try to guess what they’d like. Dress and talk in a way that seems scholarly, they won’t care about how naked and wordless I’d like to spend my days. It’s like I’m paying a fine to society to allow me to be an animal again. It’s like I’m paying for protection so no other animal could theoretically come by and hump me without my consent. It’s like I’m playing a huge game, being tested on how much I could deviate from my natural senses, so that I could “prove my worth.” For a while, the games might be tolerable, but I’d never let it get to a point where they can make me forget that I’m priceless, to begin with. Hey, I’m a lab rat with standards.


If I told you this is the level of comfort, the kind of home that I’m looking for, the type of acceptance I need from you, would you be willing to take me as I am? My definition of love doesn’t require you to look at me like this every second. Hell, you could simply love me for the way I am when I’m out on the streets. But if I told you I need solitary spaces where I can be totally naked and sleeping, as much as I can, to recharge myself from the rest of the world’s activities, can you bear with me? Would you be so sure when you declare love for me? Or would you still find it necessary to penetrate through me approximately two times a week, to sustain your definition of love? What other conditions might you have? Determining the shape of my fringe, or how much I talk about politics, or if I’m wearing enough floral patterns to keep your friends from calling you gay? But if I make you feel so ashamed, why would you even want anything to do with me in the first place? Anybody’s first instinct to touch the rebellious is definitely sparked by the hunger for freedom. You can lie to me, but you can’t lie to yourself.


And I sincerely invite you to come by naked and cuddle with me, because somehow with you, I’d actually be interested to know what kind of natural chemistry could be, or just how specialized human anatomy could get. If I touch you here and there, without having any taboos governing which parts of you are to be compared with any other type of bodies. I’ll play with you like you’re the most unique bunch of radical particulars I’ve ever seen, because the way you are arranged is definitely irreplaceable, a work of art you’ve groomed ever since the moment you were born. And I’m all eyes for it.


I just hope you’d have your eyes locked with mine, too.


許清 is a puzzle trying to solve itself. A Jade Greenstone, 口水多過浪花 (saliva and speeches thick like ocean waves), craving for clarity and fluidity. This Buddhist/Taoist nonbinary creature’s moon is in Gemini and is usually spot active after midnight. Either lying in bed meditating and quantum-leaping for days as self-care or going ALL THE WAY e.g. currently writing an original collection of trilingual sound poems with self-drawn illustrations, self-composed music, which will be self-published. Instagram: @jadeandwaves.