Undercurrent - Private “Yushi”

2017, Nanjing

What is a bathroom? To put it simple, it is a functional place for basic living needs. But to some people, such a private space, being a container holding or releasing emotions, is intricately connected to man. But such a kind of relaxation is spoken in comparison with fear or evasion. Bathroom, after all, is not a space that makes people truly happy, and the sense of safety it brings only stands out as compared with other spaces at home.   

“You were begot by me, so I want to know everything of yours. I’m simply caring about you.” The blunt and threatening peep from my mother seems to permeate my entire body, and is strangling me. My parents are totally ignorant, even though my heart is flowing over with the sense of fear, fluster, vigilance, and sadness. The cell of gingerliness is shuttering within my body, grey and distorted.  

There lurks too wide a gap between “institutionalization” and “sense of detachment”. The faint desire for escapement is tearing the gap wider and wider at the bottom of the heart. Bathroom eventually has evolved into a vacuum world free of disturbance and domination. It has screened the indignant eyes and ear-jarring dirty words. Self-protection and self-talk has become nourishment for our minds. The lukewarm water in the bathtub can always swallow up despair. To submerge body in the tub, everything around me comes to a standstill. I have neither volume nor vision. Like an explorer of secret desires, I was trapped in such a small space and count on it as an asylum, which though sometimes resembles a maze as well.   

Darkness always likes shedding silent tears. It is too fragile to flow in the light. In fact, everyone has truthful desires and thus needs some space to break social norms. To define a person’s personality with “allowable deviation”, one needs to conduct oneself in a way not manipulated by surrounding environment and society. Those camouflaged and suppressed inner desires, such as recreation forbidden outside, or explorations into one’s own body, which were often regarded as immoral, are all unleashed in this serener, slow-paced, warm, and humid space enshrouded in vapor, enabling us to rebuild confidence and courage. 

(Yu means desire or lust. Yushi is the homophone for bathroom in Chinese.)

Cooperate with Shanshan Chen