By wrapping our desires in these blunting phrases, we distance ourselves from their poignancy. We don't feel entitled to simply desire things. To have powerful wants is to be selfish or lustful, obsessed, neurotic. We have to ask permission, make sure nobody else could be offended by the simple knowledge of our desires, dreams, and lusts.
I want to want without needing someone's permission, to pursue my desire with all the love and lust of a predator hunting the prey it so desperately longs for.
How wonderful would it feel to pursue your desires with all the conviction of a child, to dedicate every action and thought to the meaningful acquisition of what you want, to lust in the way a tiger hunts or a gazelle seeks its life, with its whole being?
Let me in! Let me in! I love you so much I could eat you. I love you to the very core, especially the soft, juicy parts, the vitals most tender and alive. Surrender to this agony, and you will be transformed into Me. - Seagull, to a crab it wants to eat, according to Alan Watts in Cloud-Hidden
The seagull wants the very life of the crab, unapologetically, and according to Alan Watts, that's a form of love.
I think you can want something so intimate as another person without objectifying them, with awe and respect. Isn't that what we mean by love in the best sense, after all? But maybe we've mixed up wanting with objectifying, and that's why we feel bad about it.
But to truly love-want something, you have to be willing to let it consume you from the inside-out and the outside-in. There's vulnerability in that. You are consumed as much as you consume. You can't simply possess it. That's objectification, not love.
Maybe that's why it's scary to simply say "I want." It reveals a bit of vulnerability, even as it acknowledges and validates our core drive. As Alan Watts continues:
"The gull can't really be said to be rapacious or greedy. It's just that his being alive at all is the same thing as eating crabs."
And perhaps you're being alive is the same thing as...whatever it is that drives you. Whatever it is you want.
Can you want something precious without apologizing for your desire? Even if you never tell anyone but yourself?