Sometimes I want to take it all off, give it all back.
The skin, the hair, the eyes, the fingernails.
I want to return it. The bones, the liver, the lungs, the vagina, the clitoris.
Has it really been worth it? The sex was good. The books were interesting to write. My friends have been wonderful. Love is good – finally.
But sometimes I think I am no longer up for being human. I think I chose the wrong body, the wrong species. I should have been a songbird with a very short lifespan. Or a beaver with work to do. Or a vulture. Damn the good food and the subtle aroma of spices and herbs. We’re all going to end up feasting on death anyway.
Maybe I shouldn’t have chosen the world at all. Maybe I should have just stayed a soul without form or flesh. I have heard spiritual teachings that claim we chose our lives, and even our own deaths. I have trouble with that. Sometimes I think we must have been drafted without any better place to run off to.
When I think of the afterlife, I imagine floating around like a ghost, experiencing nature – the river, the ocean, the trees, the sky. I can time travel anywhere and witness anything without the pain.
“That’s not the way it works,” my spiritual friend told me. We were swimming in a pond. It was morning. There was a fog. Vapors surrounded her. The shore was muted and vague.
“Well, fuck ’em,” I said.
But she persisted.
“They don’t know,” I said. “No one knows what happens to your soul after you die. We may not even have souls.”
“We have souls,” she said.
On that we agree.
But why do they choose human form? Are orgasms really that great? Is the chocolate eclair really so creamy and sweet? Is the garden that pleasurable? Love? Creating something? The vapors on the lake?
The world is getting edgy. And I don’t know how, or if, we will pull back from the brink of destruction we are balancing on.
Sometimes I want to take it all off. Peel the body away to the soul. Give the unique fingerprints back. The curve of my ankle once licked by a lover. The tongue that knows how to play. The feet that know how to dance. The ears that hear music. The eyes that see colors. The mouth that tastes.
It’s not that I’m not grateful. I’m extremely grateful. It’s just that sometimes I wonder if I’ve made a mistake by coming here. I wonder if this planet isn’t an avatar for another one. I wonder if I didn’t mean to get born some place else. Whoops. Wrong turn. Wrong galaxy. Wrong stardust.
I did not mean to fall into this black hole. It was a blue hole I was looking for. Blue. Sparkly blue. The sun shining on the ripples in the water. Maybe that’s my soul’s home. Maybe I should swim out to it. To that light. Out there. Way out there. Do you see it?
This essay was written from a prompt in one of my classes. The prompt was Taking It Off.