on wanting

I grew up with a lot of strict ideas.  Some of them were actually good ideas that somehow got twisted into a set of ironclad rules which (in light of the black-or-white, heaven-or-hell, do-this-or-else culture of my house that drilled them into my mind) haunt me to this day.

One of these ideas is that of “being satisfied with what you have.”  Most of us could probably agree that at least part of the time this is a good idea (can I qualify that statement any more?).  They way that this would work for me growing up, however, was that this “good idea” suddenly became law written in stone.  Any feelings of dissatisfaction?  WRONG, you should be content!  Want what someone else has?  SUPER WRONG, control your feelings you green-eyed-monster!  Hoping for more out of your life?  IF YOU REALLY BELIEVED IN GOD YOU WOULD BE HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE, you wretch.

Sounds fun, no?

Granted, it wasn’t generally presented in such a vociferous manner (lower case instead of all-caps, if you will), but I was trying really hard to do everything just right and if there was a rule, I was going to do my darnedest to follow it.  (That’s how to stay safe, you know.)

I’ve been working on exorcising these old rules, and just recently became aware that this one was still hanging around.

“Be satisfied with what you have,” was somehow twisted into “want nothing.”  Which is impossible, of course, but tell that to the voices in my head.  They’ll just say I’m not trying hard enough.

I became aware of this old millstone rule lately because I’ve become much more aware of wanting.

Okay, I’ll say it, I want more in my life than I’ve got right now.  I want love in my life, I want a partner, I want children.

And wanting is just about the scariest fucking thing ever.

I remember the last time I focused on wanting a child.  That didn’t really turn out so well (but I guess going through fertility treatments with a crazy person means you’re pretty much set up for failure from the start).

I remember wanting to be in a relationship, wanting desperately to be married to this person who seemed so amazing.  (We know how that turned out, don’t we?)

And so now I set up all these barriers between me and the things that I want.  I tell myself I’m too fat to date, and then I do everything possible to make sure I don’t lose any weight.  I tell myself I just need friends in my life, not a partner, and then I keep just about everyone at arm’s length, saying “no”  to invitations much more than I say “yes.”  (And so, instead of being out with friends, I’m at home, alone, on the computer on a Friday night.)

And I tell myself I should be satisfied with what I have.  I tell myself I should be content.  I tell myself all of those things that I heard so many times, and the end result is I push the wanting aside and then I can’t figure out why there’s a pain in my chest when I hear about someone’s new baby, and I don’t know why I suddenly want to cry when I consider some happy couple that I know.

Lately the wanting has been pushing back and I can no longer say that I am unaware that I want.  I want, I want, I desperately want.

I’ve been avoiding writing this post for weeks because I don’t think we are any more vulnerable than when we are wanting, and I don’t want to be vulnerable.  “If I don’t want, they can’t hurt me.”  That’s rolling around in my head somewhere, or maybe it’s in my heart.  Who really knows these days?  If I want nothing, I have nothing to lose.

But I have already lost, and I am already losing.  Every day that goes by that I hide in my cave, or hold others at a distance, or simply don’t try is a day of loss.  Pretending it’s not really there doesn’t make the wanting go away.

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17 responses to “on wanting

  1. I want those things for you too my friend. {{{Hugs}}}

  2. Beautiful and fabulous post.
    In the second to the last paragraph you say “If I don’t want, they can’t hurt me.” which seemed to become my life motto somewhere along the line. Every so often something comes along that makes me start thinking of the things I want and how much I feel let down that I don’t have them and then I somehow manage to bury all those thoughts and feelings again because it is painful to want something you feel like you will never have.
    Sending so much hope for you that those wants can become your reality in your near future and that the letting down your guard or stepping out of your cave comes at least a little bit easier.

  3. I, too, sometimes think I should want for anything and just be happy with what I have. But then I think that it’s OK to want but not be greedy or not take what you have for granted.

    You deserve what you want and I hope you get it. You’re pretty awesome!
    *HUGS*

  4. you deserve MORE! Go out and get it!

  5. I hope you get the things you want very soon. I don’t think we’re meant not to want things. I think God put us here to want things. To strive to be closer to him, but not only that but to see the beauty in life and to want that beauty closer to us. I’ve always been a person who wanted all the things I didn’t have. Maybe I wanted too much. Now I’m at a point, I haven’t stopped wanting, I’ve just come to the conclusion I’ll never have it so wanting seems futile and pointless for me. The things you want, though, don’t seem so far out of reach. Go on out there and feel free to want for things. Seek out happiness and fulfillment!

  6. I hope you find & get everything you want too. (((hugs)))

  7. Wanting is one thing, but without action, it can really turn against you. Very thoughtful post, you really made me think deeply about the nature of wanting. How many times did I remain silent when my heart wanted something so badly, but I let fear and insecurity get the best of me.

    By the way, I think you underestimate the courage you already possess.

  8. This post just takes my breath away. I want for you to have everything you want. Much love sweetie.

  9. I want , I want I want… Its liberating to say outloud.Thanks for sharing

  10. Want it. Want it all.
    Life is too short, and depriving yourself of your desires is too stifling.
    Take care.

    (from the creme)

  11. Over from Creme de la Creme –

    I totally and completely identify with this post. Both from childhood and from being beaten down over the years, it got to be easy to just stop hoping and thinking about wanting things…

    Very powerful and thought provoking.

  12. This post reminds me of that quote by John Lennon…”life is what happens when you’re trying to get somewhere else”.

    You have a powerful way of putting it into words. Thanks for being so brave.

    Visiting from Creme de la Creme.

  13. I’m from the Creme. I hope you get everything you want in 2011 and more.

  14. Wow! This is a really moving and thought-provoking post.

    (Here from creme.)

  15. I really loved this post; it spoke to me in a lot of ways. I especially connected with this line, “… I don’t think we are any more vulnerable than when we are wanting…” I had never equated “wanting” with vulnerability but after reading that, it seems so obvious. We are incredibly vulnerable when we want something. The thing is, we can also feel vulnerable once we have it. We’re vulnerable when we’re attached to something, whether through desire to gain it or fear that we might lose it. I’m trying hard to not feel so attached to the important things in my life, but how do you not feel attached to your partner or your child? That is what I have to figure out, but I’m far, far from it. Thank you for opening these doors for me and helping me see my own vulnerability – that really is a gift.

    Creme de la Creme 2010 Iron Clad Commenter Attempt
    http://esperanzasays.wordpress.com/iron-clad-creme-de-la-creme-commenter/

  16. From Creme

    Wanting really hurts. It does make a pain in your chest, and I’m not really sure what to do with that ache either.

  17. From Creme…so great! I totally relate. After 3 failed IUI’s I told myself I didn’t want a baby….just to see if stopping the wanting would stop the pain. But a big fat lie doesn’t help anything…because I too want, want, want….

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