Between Desire and Fear

One month down, the days are flying by. How are you doing with your New Year’s Resolutions? According to folklore we’re supposed to break all of our resolutions by Twelfth Night, which was January 6. Apparently, we would bore the gods if we actually succeeded in our goals for the year. I say it depends on what your resolutions are.

If it is, as mine is, to be like Lilith, bolder in living, loving and learning, there might yet still be some entertainment left for the gods.

I often sign off with “Love, Lust, & Liberty,” and I do that because I truly wish it for you and for me. Sometimes, though, Love, Lust & Liberty seems so elusive. When it does manifest in life, it is so ephemeral. We catch glimpses of them, maybe feel as if we have them in the moment, and then as time passes, we find ourselves missing them. Missing the Love, the Lust, the Liberty.

What we do have always is desire and fear. Desire is that which we want (the very essence of wanting it means we don’t have it, we are left wanting). And then there is fear, the threat of danger or pain. Sometimes the object of our desire and our fear is one and the same.

My life is lived within the tension between desire and fear. I want it, I fear it. Or rather, I fear rejection, or exposure, or humiliation, or more tangibly, a backlash toward me and my loved ones from my community, if I was exposed as one who has such a deviant desire. But oh, I want it! I desire so much to live, to be free, to love, to lust, to be liberated, and to liberate.

So I walk the tightrope between my desire and my fear. Often, fear dominates, and I live a life less than. I tone down my desires, muffle it, put the fire out. I pretend I don’t want it. I convince myself it doesn’t matter to a life well lived. I disassociate. My fear cuts me off from my desire. I accept everything that is thrown at me. Boredom, violence, work, inundation. I get to work. I see everything as work. My duty.

I feel blessed that the person closest to me is a squeaky wheel crying out for me to live, to take the leap with him, to take initiative. Desire wins for a moment, but always in the context of approval. Is this okay? Am I still okay? I haven’t lost you, have I?

I should more often and more adamantly ask myself the same question:
I haven’t lost me, have I?

May Ling Su

I wish I could say that I kicked off the year with a bold new me that, like Lilith, is bigger than my fears. I didn’t. Every initiative I took toward my desire was awkward, nervous, weird. I completely lose my cool when I’m around someone I find sexually attractive. I ramble like a fool. I walk away wanting to kick myself in the head. But it’s still better to exercise those nerve endings and put myself out there than to play it safe.

Fortune favors the bold. Take a deep breath, keep calm and boldy go.

Love, Lust, & Liberty,