I’m lying in a hotel bed, halfway between New York and Florida. I’m escaping, in a sense. From what, I’m not entirely sure. I could be slithering away from my relationship, which looms around me, a dark mass of supportive, attentive love. Sometimes it disgusts me, how such a broken, oozing creature like myself could be immersed in this golden affection. Or maybe I’m sneaking out of my roomy upstate New York house, so secure, so stifling, like someone is ever so slowly smothering my breath away with a goose-down pillow.
Or, if I’m lucky, I am escaping expectations: my own urgent hope that I will fulfill my potential (whatever the fuck that means), my partner’s hope that I will be kind, my students’ hope that I will be inspiring, my fans’ hope that I will be entertaining, Instagram’s hope that I will be beautiful and toned, and my community’s hope that I will “leverage my privilege.” Other people’s dreams lodge in between my ribs like congealed Mod Podge. I’m not sure if this dripping, monstrous glob is concealing my desire, or if it’s gradually forcing desire out of me forever.
Or, maybe, I’m escaping myself. If I’m being really honest, I might be running away from my own stubborn refusal to allow my desire to take up space. Sometimes (often) I am disgusted by my own light. It threatens to burst out, innocent, enthusiastic, from tiny cracks in the thick fortress I’ve built around my Self. How dare this light come out. How dare any light get in at all. How dare I want my light to be seen. How dare I inspire light in someone else. How dare I desire. How dare I desire.
What is desire, anyway?
To me, desire is fear. Desire is the stealthy siren, leading my body to the sharp crags and unrelenting surf beating down on the shore. Desire knows that I am both the shore and the body, and it resolves to take full advantage of that. Desire doesn’t care about consequences, doesn’t delight in hierarchies or flowcharts.
Desire is wild, and wild is fear.
Wild is disintegration. Loss of self. Loss of control. Loss of power. Loss of everything. Desire doesn’t take with cautious fingertips. It takes and takes and takes, scooping great mounds into its calloused hands.
Is it possible to draw a line between joyful attraction, bubbling over in rainbow colors, and dangerous obsession? Could I pinpoint the moment when something pleasant suddenly turns rank and insidious? Would I even realize that anything had shifted at all? Would I notice that I was disappearing before the last wisp of me fell away?
you might ask,
“if the desire is yours, yours alone,
can’t you trust it?”
That remains to be seen.