This blogpost is a ramble.
The truth is, it should be an email to someone, but, as I wrote it, I realised there’s something I needed to say. Considering that this is where I say stuff, I’m saying it, and I know they’re reading it. It stems from a conversation I had with them and whilst I think it was a good one, a necessary one, I thought I needed to clarify something. It probably stemmed within from before that, to a conversation I had with someone else a few weeks before, where they asked “do you really need me in your life?”…and I answered “no, but I do want you in my life”. Will this make any sense? Who knows. If anyone will understand it, I hope the person it’s intended for, will.
It comes down to this – needs versus wants.
I’m not shy about the things I need to survive. I’m not shy about them and nor am I shy about the fact that, on brute strength and insomnia alone, I can pretty much fulfill my own needs. Yes, there are times where I need help. Yes, there are times where the people I love (and you know who you are) need help. And I will, always, try my ultimate best to be RIGHT there.
But, there’s a subtle difference here I want to illuminate. My 2am call list is not made up of people I need to survive. I cover my own needs. It’s made up of people I want there, and they want to be there just as much.
If you look at old Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I don’t agree with it. At all. That got me into a lot of trouble at school, once upon a time. Which is probably unsurprising. You see, old Maslow placed love way above physiological needs.
And in my fourteen-year old brain, I thought, but, how would a child ever have their physiological needs covered without having love first. I mean, if you have a kid in your care, you love it. That’s the way it goes. Even children in the worst state of poverty, are fed and cared for by the people who love them – be it their guardians, parents, carers, whoever – it’s someone who loves them, even if just for a moment. People don’t just do something without a motivation. And yeah, sometimes, that motivation springs from a need. I get that much.
So, when in my questioning of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I was told to be “a good girl and stop questioning my teaching or you’ll have to go to the office…again”, I shut my book and stared back. You see, my problem is, my need for self-actualization totally outran my need for acceptance or social conformity there. I didn’t feel any need to be accepted. I felt a need to be heard.
So, when I look at my life and yeah, I think I have the physiological needs covered, and I reckon I have a good proportion of all the other levels of needs covered, when I say I don’t need someone, it does not mean I don’t want them.
To me, a need requires a dependency. Something I am inherently afraid of and yet, my life thus far, seems to show an alarming rate of them. That in relationships and friendships I have become dependent in the past. I count very few people in that list of dependencies now. That’s come from experience – years and years of experience. What’s more, it’s unashamed mutual dependency. It may not always look like it, but we both know it. So when it comes to standing in queues for each other, fighting with each other over life choices and holding each other’s hands at our parent’s funerals – we’re there. We are just there. There is never any questioning in times of crisis, there is never any wavering of this. We are just there. You are one of these people. Even though you and I both know we hate to admit it.
Perhaps it’s part of this growing up I seem to be doing. Albeit slowly and stubbornly. Heh. You see, the people I need to have in my life are in fact the people I want in my life.
Want them? What is this want thing, Cath? Let me explain…
If you knew you had a loaf of bread at home to make a sandwich, would you still have that mint chocolate you’ve had your eye on all day? The answer? Yes. Oh, and yes, you should be eating chocolate if you’re reading this. If you’re not, then I am ashamed of you 😛
So it’s a weird space for me, at this time. The people I feel the need to have in my life, are in fact the people I want in my life. Okay, not such a weird space. In hindsight, actually a really good space. And it’s not about how often they pay me attention. It’s not about how often I see them. It’s not about whether or not they know every minutiae of my life, or I of theirs. It’s about the fact that they exist. And that I exist. And that we know, without doubt, that we’re a part of each other’s lives. Entirely. It goes beyond the social invitation and passing of sometimes lame greeting cards. It goes right into knowing how they take their tea and deep down into understanding 2am text messages that say things like “8 points” or “salad walked in” or “PWP”. It’s the random phone call to just blurt our exciting or awful news, just to be heard. It’s an inherent understanding, garnered over years of being real with each other, that goes beyond any need to be accepted. It’s the people who can come over to mine at any time and make their own tea and not have it feel weird, and I at their homes.
It’s strange. I spent many hours in my room, after being berated at school for not listening, wondering about why I had so few friends. And now, years on, I wonder how I got so lucky to have the ones I do have. The real ones. The people who get me, and who I get.
It’s the wants in our lives, our desires, that keep us surging forward. It’s like having the black and white version of life rendered by yourself, and then having the colour put in that brings it truly to life. It’s Pleasantville versus Paradise. And I choose to live in this colourful life.
Just like I needed to get some work done this evening but, I wanted to write this for you.
It means our lives would not stutter to a halt if we left this, but, it would lose all of it’s colour. And I never, ever want to live in a black and white world. Just like I chose to mix up Maslow’s perfectly layered Hierarchy of Needs, I choose to live this life of colour. And I am thankful for it. Every day. Even when it’s being downright crap to me.
I choose it, I love it and I’m grateful you’re in it.