Now I imagine being an orangutan in the rainforests of Borneo. I love those animals – their dark orange fur and their oblong faces. I would like to be able to climb up a tree and hang from its branches like a furry russet fruit. And then to begin to shift, to swing myself into momentum and movement and then monkey-bar my way across the canopy to a tree with branches bowing under the weight of its fruit. I would pick one, ripe and fresh, and bring it to my sharp teeth. Tear into its flesh and lick the sweet juice from my lips as I do. I can eat my fill. And then perhaps it would begin to rain, thick drops plummeting down onto the forest, beating on the canopy. I shelter in a tree with floppy leaves that divert the water away from me. If I get wet, I know I will dry off again once the sun chases the clouds away. And then I might go down to the river and play with the babies, splash cold water and teach them how to climb up the banks.

I had finished writing the previous post‘s piece and I thought that I hadn’t really filled the brief of writing about being another person for a day. So I thought I would try again to consider what person I would like to be for a day.

But yet again, I found it hard to pick a person! I know I find decisions hard but I was also still lacking the energy to enjoy any new life. I acknowledged that, and reminded myself that this was only a writing exercise. I didn’t have to make a perfect, permanent decision. I could just explore an idea. And my mind went to an animal I love, the orangutan. I decided to spend some time exploring the idea of being one. I was able to let go of the sense of striving and perfectionism, and needing to exactly fulfil the brief, and chose to just do the writing and see where it went.

In reading I’ve done while writing this section, I’ve learnt that most orangutans actually avoid the water due to the danger of drowning or of animals that may be lurking in it. So that ending isn’t particularly factually correct, but such is the joy of fiction!

It was pointed out to me that both of the scenarios I imagined had a sense of simplicity, of ease, and of just having to exist without any other expectations. I can see why I might be yearning for that. And I’m grateful to have had the chance to discover that it is something I want.

I also find it interesting that in both pieces, I told a narrative that involved the rain coming and then passing. This is the natural cycle of the weather but the idea can be extended much further.

For me, a big part of learning to cope with difficult emotions has been developing an awareness that feelings come and go, that they won’t last forever no matter how horrible I feel. I don’t know how good I am at recognising this in the moment but I like that on some level my brain is able to see the seasonality of things.

I am also working at improving my ability to accept emotions as they come without judging them as “good” or “bad”. It feels comforting to me to write about going through hard things and coming out the other side. I can see the value in challenging emotions just as I can see the necessity of the rain for the forest and its animals.

One more orangutan pic because how cute are they!!

Pictures by herbert2512 and RinMuna on Pixabay, and Carel van Vugt and Dimitry B on Unsplash


One thought on “orangutans”

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