I got stung.

Bee sting from my 1st month hive inspection. Still red and puffy 18 hours later.

It doesn’t hurt anymore, though. Good to know I’m not allergic, just feeling stupid and sorry that my fierce little honeybee had to die to teach me a lesson. There is nothing I can do to bring her back, no offering or apology. All I can do is learn from experience. I should not have gone into the middle frames at all. Delicate stuff, making babies. It’s life or death in there. I should have respected their inner chamber. That’s where the magic happens.

One month since my bees moved in and they are a thriving busy hive. I’ve seen a drone, a male whose only job is to fuck the Queen with his endophallus, pop off into her Queen V, then die shortly after. A queen typically gets gangbanged and creampied by up to 20 drones in an afternoon. It’s enough cum for her to lay eggs the rest of her life.

Queen Puabee is productive and beautiful! Her all-female worker bees are attentive and protective. When I went into the two middle frames a small army attacked me. I was wearing a beekeeping veil and jacket, but one of the worker bees stung my thigh right through my skinny Levi’s. I suck at making a smoker so I had no smoke and I don’t want to smoke my bees out anyway, so I walked about twenty feet off and lit my smoker again and surprisingly it worked and I smoked myself out until the bees left me. Then I went back, closed their hive back up, and filled their feeder with simple syrup.

Just two weeks earlier on the 14th day beehive inspection, they weren’t as fiercely protective yet. Get a glimpse of Queen Puabee in this video — she is marked with blue paint on her thorax — and listen to me get all excited about larvae.

 

Love, Lust, & Liberty,

You can call me Queen Bee.

I’ve wanted this for so long and now I finally did it. I set up a beehive.

May Ling Su beekeeper
This is me feeling a mix of buzzy happiness and trying not to cry and vomit inside my suit.

There were about 15,000 bees and Queen jammed in this traveling box for 1,500 miles. Tired and hungry for days, they were in no mood to be shaken and pounded out, even if it was into a more spacious hive where I had over half a gallon of sugar syrup waiting for them.

I couldn’t have done this without you and your support of my projects, so congratulations to you, too. WE STARTED A BEEHIVE!

I will be checking in on the queen in a few days to make sure she is feeling sexy in her new home. I’ve named her Queen Puabee, after the Sumerian Queen Puabi of the First Dynasty of Ur.

May Ling Su Queen Bee Bhramari Devi by Mani C. Price
Queen Bee Bhramari Devi painting by Mani C. Price

I’ve been keeping our two acres lush and inviting to pollinators and other wild creatures for years. I’m confident that there will be plenty of nectar for everybody.

It might still be a long time before I see some honey. This early stage is all about my girls building the combs for Queen Puabee to lay eggs. Once they make honey I’ll have to make sure they have enough to survive over the winter. So much to learn but I’m really excited to do it.

Wish me luck.

Love, Lust, & Liberty,

I’ve lost track of what day it is. Or what time.

May Ling Su bent over booty in bed, wearing black thigh high stockings.
Tangina, tanghali na.

Some days I am insatiable. I crave sex and sensation to remind myself that I’m alive. Other days I lose myself in the abstract world, the pages of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or the chaos of the internet. I forget I am flesh and blood until my head throbs and my stomach rumbles.

I suspect you feel the same way, caught in a pendulum of not-life and not-death. Without a routine, the distraction of jobs, and constant societal demands, we are forced to contend with the real questions. What is life about? What is my purpose? Is it the apocalypse out there or an elaborate lie? If you think we’re living in a dystopia now, it’s important to note that some people in other parts of the world have been living a version of hell for a long time. What is my part in all of this?

Drink your water, bitch.

May Ling Su in igorot tapis drinks her water.

Take a shower or a bath.

Drink your water, bitch.

Get some fresh air.

Breathe.

Get enough sleep.

Love, Lust, & Liberty,

Mothering Nature

Not gonna lie, I struggled with this year’s Birthday Nude. The entire process was discomforting. I found myself being hypercritical of my aging body. I booted up my images in Lightroom and moved the texture slider all the way to the left to smooth out my spongy middle. I sent the images to Photoshop and cloned my wrinkles and belly folds away. Then in a fit of frustration I closed them all up unsaved.

For the Birthday Nude series to stay relevant in the years to come I’m going to have to post these photos unedited as I always have or I won’t do them at all.

If I continue, I will have to confront my naked self, not just my aging body. My emotional reactions reveal so much of who I am. Posting it publicly adds another layer of confrontation. I will have to ask myself the hard questions. How do I feel? Why do I feel this way? Do I feel shame? What am I ashamed of?

I have come to an age when I am proud of who I am and where I’m at in life. That doesn’t mean I look at my body with rose-colored glasses. As someone who has spent decades creating media with my body, I can look at images of myself with objectivity.

In these photos I wear nothing but make-up. I have not given in to temptations of botox or cosmetic surgery. Yet. Maybe never. I don’t know. No judgement on those who do. I haven’t dyed my hair since four months ago and I’m liking the streak of gray growing out of the right side of my hairline.

I enjoyed celebrating my birthday this year. I feel like I’ve been celebrating for weeks now, random presents, time spent with people I adore.

I look at my healthy, beautiful, smart, and talented daughter and feel successful as a mother. Mothering my child has been top priority for the past fifteen years. Everyone and everything else took the back seat. It’s worth it. I invested my time and energy wisely. Now I’m opening myself up to mothering more of the world.

My co-parent, business partner, artistic collaborator, lover, my Man. How I love my Man. We’ve been through so much, good times and nightmarish ones. For so long I’ve taken him for granted, thinking he doesn’t need my mothering because he’s eight years older than me, bolder than me, everything more than me. I was wrong. We’re holding on for dear life and rediscovering who we are to each other at each stage of the game.

College boy somehow slipped in as one of my favorite people on this planet. We’ve known each other for years and he knows most sides of my compartmentalized life. During those moments when my Man was too emotionally involved in the situation to be my friend, my boy took me in his arms and told me he’s got me. I take care of him, too.

And you… I appreciate you. Thank you for coming along on my journey.

May Ling Su birthday nude
May Ling Su birthday nude in the barn hayloft, sitting on a vintage World War II army cot.

This year marks my 20th birthday nude. We shot at home. The photo above was taken in the barn hayloft, an amazing play space when it’s warm enough. It’s a reminder to seize the moment. Winter is coming. Life goes by way too fast. My time is limited. Soon we will have to leave our 169-year-old haunted farmhouse that we’ve made even more haunted with vintage treasures. I’m a little sad to go, but excited to begin once more.

May Ling Su birthday nude edited

The photo above was taken in the backyard, lush with wildflowers and this abundant hydrangea bush. It’s a sanctuary for birds, bees, and butterflies. Snakes and mice. Chipmunks and squirrels. The best approach to mothering nature is to let it be wild (also applies to mothering humans).

This past year I’ve been spending a lot of time in nature, hiking up mountains and swimming in lakes. This summer I participated in a podcast with Agam, for which they paid me by planting four trees in my name. I intend to plant more trees every year for the rest of my life as part of my legacy.

Cheers! 🍷

May Ling Su signature

Wild Thing

Puki was attempting to jump to the windowsill. She was there for a long time yesterday, watching who knows what outside. Squirrels? Whatever birds were left around? Or the remaining leaves still shivering on the branches.

I held my little Puki close this morning and whispered to her, “Today I will take you to a place where there are many other cats and kittens for you to play with. Sometimes it’s going to be fun and sometimes it won’t be. Sometimes it will feel absolutely horrible. I don’t know if they’ll put you in a room with other kittens or put you alone in one of those cramped little lockers. They likely will take you to the vet and get you your shots and get your ovaries and uterus removed. It will feel weird, even painful, but hang in there, wild thing. I will miss you. I will miss having a little wild animal in my life. You were born here, under our couch. I remember fearing that you were dead because you weren’t moving. I touched you within the first hours of your birth and you heaved a big sigh and I knew you were alive. Now look at you. A little wild thing to remind me of what wildness is like.”

I want to nurture that wild creature within me. I love it. I love that wild side. I would never want to tame it.

“I will miss you, wild thing. My little Puki. Your scaredy cat Mama. I wish you both the best. This is why I’m giving you up before Christmas. There are so many people who want to take kitties home for Christmas. Let it be you. I hope you get a good family to adopt you and you get to explore another exciting home, a forever home. And when you’re done exploring and things get a little boring and all you do is sit by the window looking out at the snow, maybe you’ll think back to our crazy haunted home where you were born, the magical place where you and your Mama were together. I hope there are stairs in your coming home. You were so intimidated at first but later you raced up and down and tripped us up constantly. May you have many Christmas trees to attack and shoes to shove your face in.”

May Ling Su and kitten Puki in bed

“Will you remember me? Remember us snuggled under lots of thick blankets? Will you remember that I will love you always? I give you a piece of my heart. Keep it. Take it for a walk or a run sometimes. Let it dance around your head when you’re feeling sleepy. I want you to never once think nobody loves you. I love you. When you’re at the vet and surrounded by nurses and people who don’t know what a kung fu kitty you are, that you know how to give secret handshakes, that you get up on your hind legs like a lemur, remember that I love you and that we share that secret, your secret identity: Kung fu kitty.”

Jay packed the Mama cat into the carrier. She fought him hard and cut him many places in his arms. He never liked it that we kept going to the shelter even though we couldn’t adopt. He didn’t want to fall in love and not be able to take the cat home and keep it forever. I don’t mind. I have no time to protect my heart from love. I don’t mind breaking my heart. We were born on this earth to break our hearts over and over until we die. That is our purpose.

Have you broken your heart? If you haven’t broken your heart, then you haven’t lived. What are you waiting for? Wear your heart on your sleeve. Break it. Million tiny pieces. More. Don’t play safe. Be a fool. Love.

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This is my #kitten Puki. She’s small but she will smite you. 😻💕 #nationalcatday #pussy

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Love, Lust, & Liberty,
May Ling Su

I love you.

If you are here, you are part of a strange and loving community. I am grateful that you confide in me. This is a safe place. You are accepted just the way you are. Even if you’ve never commented, I want you to know that I count myself lucky to have you. You have saved me.

You may already know that last week, my dear friend died unexpectedly. Gina brought so much life to everyone she touched – always so present and generous. She wore herself out giving. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I can’t keep living and not give as much of myself as she believed I can. I will be the best version of myself I can be, but I will also forgive myself for not being perfect. I hope you’ll join me.

Take every opportunity to be kind and generous, even if it’s just a compliment, a smile, or a facebook “like.” Tell people you love them. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh out loud. Play music. Dance. Make love. That includes making love to yourself. Yes, that’s love, too.

Lilith: Beyond the DelugeI’ve been working on Book 3 of the Lilith series for a long time, struggling with the Impostor Syndrome way longer than I should have. I’m giving myself a kick in the ass by posting my drafts publicly in a social storytelling site. Chapter One of Lilith: Beyond the Deluge is Sisters. I hope you enjoy it. I would truly appreciate it if you leave me feedback in the comments section to help me shape the final draft.

If you haven’t yet, check out Book 1, Lilith: Queen of the Demons and Book 2, Lilith: Generations of Cain. They are available as paperbacks, kindle downloads, and audiobooks at Amazon.

Love, Lust, & Liberty,
May Ling Su

My Friend For Life, Gina

I went to an all-girls nun-run Catholic high school in the Philippines, very strict and narrow-minded. I was a good student but something as trivial as my asymmetric hairstyle got their granny panties in a bunch. What made high school life worth living was Gina. She and I connected on an artistic and literary level. She was a huge The Cure fan, so I drew her a portrait of Robert Smith. She wrote me a fantasy article for Town & Country magazine, in which I am a fabulous art curator and married to Johnny Depp. We talked endlessly about ideas for stories we wanted to write someday and we talked about sex. Sure, we had no experience whatsoever, but we were teenagers. Sex was an obsession.

In college she went to UP and I went to Ateneo. She partied hard with her sorority sisters. I got sucked into music and theatre. She invited me to an Upsilon event once. I felt out of place. Our paths divided for the time being.

She tracked me down in the mid-90s when I was in New York. I was performing Off and Off-Off-Broadway. She was a young single mom, making it as a writer and editor in Manila. She found out I made my own body products so she asked me to write an article for her fledgling magazine, Earthian. It was granola and green long before it was a thing. I accepted. It was my first published piece.

In the mid-2000s she discovered an obscure anonymous blog I was writing about my pregnancy and home birth. She asked if she could publish it on Working Mom magazine. How could I say no to celebrating my infant’s birth on the pages of a glossy magazine? Gina made me feel like royalty or at least like a celebrity.

When she found out about my porn, she stayed on my side all the way. She defended me against attacks behind my back from people we went to high school with and if you knew her, you’d know she unleashed a fury on anyone who crossed her or her loved ones. I flew to San Diego to catch up with her when she visited in 2010. We were regulars at her pub, Fred’s Revolucion in Cubao X in 2012. A few years later, she and her family were guests in our old farmhouse in Maine. We shared stories, beer, and laughter indoors while our kids ages 11 and 12 built a bonfire in the backyard because that’s the kind of parents we were and that’s the kind of kickass kids we raised.

May and Gina at Fred's Revolucion

She roped me in to write for Agam, the book of photos by her husband, photojournalist Jose Enrique Soriano. As executive editor, she included me among 24 contributing writers – accomplished poets, journalists, anthropologists, scientists, and artists from the Philippines. I felt like the black sheep among those luminaries, but Gina was my champion. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She autographed my copy of the book: Will always be your friend, fan, and supporter – living vicariously through your groundbreaking work. Love you.

Tuesday night I got a message from her husband. Gina was in a coma in St. Luke’s ER. No one saw it coming. He asked for prayers. When an atheist asks an agnostic to pray for a Catholic, you know it’s serious. I prayed. I used all my mental energy to summon her back. “Come back, Gina,” I commented on a recent Facebook post in which she had tagged me. Come back, Gina, I thought constantly day and night. Come back to us. Thursday around 5 in the morning I woke up with a cramp in my chest. It pinched everytime I breathed. My heart literally hurt. I messaged her husband, “Tell me something, anything.”

She’s gone.

“She loved you and we were looking forward to visiting again.”

I had a difficult loud ugly cry by myself until Jay came out of his studio and held me and we cried together. I am so glad he got to know her. I’m glad I have somebody to grieve with and celebrate her life with.

Gina recently posted a fabulous profile picture across all her social media channels and even more fabulous photos of her and her kids at a kiki ball. Just last weekend her kids thanked her for giving them “a rich uncommon childhood.” She said she won the “lotto of life.” Her latest piece, my favorite yet, the crass and soulful Patricio, was published online on Esquire posthumously. I joked to Jay that it was a memorial-worthy social media presence, one to aspire to. He asked me not to die until my profile pictures got really old and ugly.

I got out a bottle of beer from the fridge, spilled some in her honor, and drank to my friend. Gina had a sharp wit and a fiery nature. She was a fierce mother and a fierce friend. She burned brilliantly, my friend for life. Gina burned fast, but she burned exceptionally bright.

Love, Lust, & Liberty,
May Ling Su