“What it’s Like for Me to be a Moth” by Zed; April 2021
Hi, I’m a moth that has a human body. I’ve known for almost a year that I am a moth. This is a general overview of what my lived experience as a moth living in a human body is like.
First off, my form. I’m not going to describe my external, physical form. Rather, this is how I look to myself, the shape that I instinctively know is right for me.
I’m a somewhat small moth. I’m not sure of my exact coloration, but I think I’m mostly gray and brown, like most moths. While at rest, my wings fall in an arrow shape, similar to a mouse cursor, covering my limbs and abdomen. My antennae aren’t very fluffy, they’re fairly thin and flat. They bend outwards from my head.
I’m one of the species of moths that have proboscises, but I’m not sure which. I think I’m probably a sphingid of some kind.
I don’t experience any phantom limbs. I do experience something called an envisage shift, where I get a strong mental image of my true shape without truly feeling it (just like how most people can imagine a loved one’s face without hallucinating it). I also have lots of species dysphoria. I dislike just about everything regarding my human body, and living in it makes me feel very distressed.
When my species dysphoria flares up, it usually focuses on my limbs. I hate how few limbs human bodies have, as well as the way they’re arranged. The hindlegs are located at the rear end of the abdomen rather than the thorax, and they’re facing the wrong way around. It feels like the overabundant fingers and toes are the human body’s way of compensating for its lack of limbs.
I also feel dysphoric about my human face. I have a bone-filled gaping hole where a proboscis is meant to go. My eyes are far too small and far too close together. My nose feels like it shouldn’t be there—it’s just a huge bony protrusion in a place that should be flat. Bones in general are really unnatural to me.
I could rant for ages about all of the problems I have with the human body, but I’ll stop there and move on to my next topic: my behavior.
I am certain that my being a moth has a deep connection to a lot of my behavior and personality, but of course, I cannot know for certain which way this connection goes. I can’t be sure if my behavior is determined by my mothness, or the other way around.
However, I prefer to believe that I am nonhuman first and foremost, and as such, I will use language that reflects this belief. Now, here are some examples of how my behavior is linked to my nonphysical species.
I’m a huge coward. I avoid confrontation with other people when I can help it, and I’m really averse to pain, to the point where I even avoid things like removing bandages because I don’t want to feel any kind of sting. Moths are prey, and most species of moths have no natural defenses besides camouflage, so it makes sense that I’d be so fearful.
I really like sweet food. Now, this is also just an ordinary human behavior. Most humans like sweet food. But I feel like my affinity for sweets is, in a way, baked into who I am. It’s a deep, primal part of myself, linked to how moths get much of their nourishment from sugar-filled flower nectar. Of course, given that I was raised in a society that has an abundance of sugar-loaded foods, where you have to go out of your way to avoid overeating it, this is definitely caused by nurture as well as nature.
I prefer being nocturnal rather than diurnal. There are a few kinds of moths that are naturally active during the day, but I’m not one of them. I do unfortunately have to get up in the morning and sleep at night due to my responsibilities, but if I could determine my sleep schedule, I’d definitely be a night owl.
I really want to drink gross puddles of water. Mud-puddling is a behavior that most lepidopterans exhibit, in which they drink from moist substances such as mud or rotting dead stuff. I experience a really strong urge to do mud-puddling sometimes, which is usually triggered by seeing abandoned glasses of water, puddles of water in the soil, or even toilet water filled with feces. Of course, I don’t act on this urge, since drinking gross, dirty water would mess up my human body in all sorts of nasty ways. It can be hard to ignore.
There has to be some reason as to why I’m like this. Something must have caused me to be a moth, but I don’t know what it is. I don’t know at all why I’m not mentally a human. I speculate that it might be a result of built-in neurological weirdness, or perhaps I somehow imprinted on moths at a young age. Regardless of what caused it, I’m a moth now, and I can’t change it.