Saturday, August 09, 2008

Wanting What I Need.

This post has been a long time coming. Mainly because I really didn't know what I wanted or needed. In some ways I still don't. I've been so sewn up in being a daughter, a wife, a sister, a granddaughter, an author, a chef, Scruffy's Mum, etc that I didn't know who myself was. The psychologist had a word for that this week: Enmeshment.

Again it's a simple word that she's given me after a whole round of talking on my behalf and it all suddenly clicked. For ages I've been saying to Alaskaboy that I feel like I imagine teenagers feel when they go away to college. In essence, that's exactly what is happening. I'd lived at home for 27 years. As a teenager I'd tried to cut my apron strings and they'd tied them again. As an adult, they'd tried to cut them but I tied them tighter than ever before. Consequently I was tangled in a morass of the damned things.

Over and over again this happened until we were all enmeshed in each other. (Particularly me and my mother.) Even from all the way over here, they were stretched to breaking point, but they still held firm. Over the last few years some have come unravelled while I've been looking the other way. Some I've consciously teased apart until they've dropped free. Yet others are pulled so tight I don't know HOW I'm gonna get them undone.

The super tight ones are the ones I have tied extra well because being an adult is scary stuff. As long as I continued to look to other people to how I should behave and compared myself with them, I didn't need to see if I wanted to even be in the same kitchen anymore. And that's been hard.

Recently I've realised that no matter how close I am to my family, I'm not always the same as them. Love is complicated and perfect, but also perfectly messy which screws with my perfectionist tendencies. I learned that with my husband. Now I'm learning it with my family. Sometimes I'm wrong. Sometimes they are. Doesn't mean we love each other any less. It simply means we're individuals, with differing opinions and different likes and dislikes. Different needs and wants.

So, what do I want? What do I need? (lists in no particular order)

Clean water to drink.
A varied diet.
Social and tactile contact.
Regular contact with my loved ones.
Exercise on a regular basis.
To write and to read.
To love and be loved.
Safe and comfortable place to live.
To laugh.
Self respect.
Freedom of self expression.

To own our own home.
To spend time with both our families every year
A dog
Best-selling career
Return of my ability to eat whatever I wish to.
To have no allergies to anything.
Self acceptance.
Fitness level I'm happy about.

That's all I've come up with so far. And I've been thinking about this for a long time. Some of those needs I felt strange putting up there. Needs are supposed to be things that are vital to your survival. Surely some of those things are wants? But no. The thought of any or all of those things being taken off my list makes me distinctly fearful. Those needs are all vital to my survival as a sane human being. The wants, not so much. They'd be wonderful, but I can do without them...I think.

I do find it interesting that I've put Self Respect in Needs but Self Acceptance in Wants. Even more interesting that I've got them as two seperate things. I guess for me because respect and acceptance can be two different things. I can't always accept what I hear other people say, but I can respect their right to say those things. I can't always accept a person has different views or ways of doing things than me, but I can respect it. I'm not quite all the way there with this Self Acceptance stuff, but I can look myself in the eye and respect what I see, who I am and the journey I've made to get here.

2 Nibbles:

cmae said...

I'm loving your recent posts. Keep up the great work!

Erin said...

Sorry I've been silent-just wanted to say it seems you are really figuring things out and I am so happy for you!