I've always liked animals. I've had pets when I could, bonded with other people's pets when I couldn't, always liked looking at animals and studying them. Animals are wonderful, I think, because they don't understand. You could be a failure at life and a dog would lick your hand. You could be a disappointment to your whole family and a cat would purr if you scratched the right spot.
Animals don't have a big picture. Their world is physical and immediate. My old guinea pig was mortally ill and she still squeaked for joy when I gave her a piece of lettuce, because lettuce is delicious. There is no language, no abstraction, no consideration; life is urge and sensation.
Sometimes I walk down the street and I try to see the ape in people. I look at someone's face and I try to see it not as a personality but as the head of an animal. It's hard with strangers; it's impossible with people I know. And it's worse than impossible with myself. It's terrifying.
I dissected a cadaver once, and I've seen people's insides a couple other times, occupationally. And you know, I honestly don't believe that I have guts. Intellectually of course, but emotionally I can't look at my stomach and imagine a twist of pink-beige intestines curled up in there. It's just... stomach! It's belly button and softness and gurgles, it's aches and hunger and satisfaction, it's not just a thing that anyone with a knife could just take apart. Or, God forbid, a thing that time and fate will take apart.
Sex is when I get closest to resolving this. Because sex is urge and sensation so strong that everything else goes away, during sex--good sex at least, and rough sex much more--I can be animal. There's no words or thoughts for what I feel. The parts of my body aren't abstraction, they're penetrated and used, I'm touched on those insides I forget I have. And if I bleed, if I bruise, if I swell up in welts and spend the next few days watching my skin heal, I can believe that I have guts after all.
I am my body--the thought is a source of Cartesian denial and existential despair during lucid moments. Which is why it's good, sometimes, to have moments that are not lucid at all. When I'm being fucked hard, I am my body is only self-evident.
"What do you want?"
"Oh, I want to be known, I want to be loved, I want to be listened to, I want to learn, I want to make art, I want to go to nursing school and become a nurse practitioner, I want to buy a house, I want to have one or two kids and really treat them right, I want to get published, I want to see the world, I want to live and be healthy far into my old age, and in the end I really don't want to die."
"What do you want?"
"I want it harder, baby!"