21 May 2010

And now she knows

Years ago, I had the inevitable talk with the children about needs and wants. Of course, it was couched in the discussion of material things and having the ability to distinguish the difference between what we want (Legos) and what we need (shelter, adequate clothing). And my children, nitpicky as they are, had to dissect this down the nth degree (chocolate is a want, not a need).

Finally, the daughter, who was still rather young, asked how she would know whether she wanted or needed a hug. I remember laughing--such a daughter-typical question--which annoyed her. But I took her query seriously, and told her that if she wanted a hug, it probably meant that she had an emotional need that required meeting, so the desire for a hug could be validly called a need, and it didn't matter really, I'd give her one regardless.

After a night of weird, anxious and guilt-ridden dreams, I woke to the realization that I've never applied the guidelines I set down for my children to myself. I keep my emotional footprint very small. I never want to be seen as needy, so I accept the basics, and little else. Partly, this stemmed from self-preservation and necessity. I've generally believed if I want something, it's not a need, which has allowed me to travel lightly and successfully, if a little sadly. The spouse comments frequently that I tend to ask for very little.

What an interesting door to open, to allow the possibility that some of the things I want are indeed actually things that I need.

Go listen to some good music: "She Just Wants to Be" from the album Reveal by REM. I do want birthday cake, whether I need it or not. It bothers the spouse immensely that it's about the only thing I ever ask for, along with the occasional day off for a concert. Success was survival. I've just never learned how to let go of survival mode. Or that I was allowed to do so.


` said...

I think you NEED to go to Atlanta.

guerrilla girl said...

I may at that.