were talking about my closest friendships.
I was telling her how I was scared to admit my full self to someone
because I feared that my full self, my full array of needs and personality,
would be too much for them to handle. I
explained to her that I felt like my needs were like a tidal wave, that letting
them out would be releasing one, and I couldn’t do that to any one person. Or to any several people. Better to keep it all locked up tight.
as a tidal wave, but as held by a man-made dam?
A dam has immense strength and power; the pressure behind it is exponential. The
power there, the pressure, comes from the restriction of motion, from the
forcible and intentional holding back of something that had previously flown
how one goes about dismantling a dam—and maybe for the purposes of my own
internal metaphoric dismantling, that might be interesting to learn—but
I do know that once the dam has been removed and the water again flows free,
it’s not a potential tidal wave of need anymore. Now it’s just the normal, everyday flow. The normal, everyday rise and fall of desire.
desire and need, they are free to be absorbed into the landscape, a part of the
whole, neither something to be feared or ignored.
of self, like humor or wit? My mentor
and I have been discussing and prodding at my relationship to my own need and
desire, to try to bring them out of the haunting shadows, to not treat them like
the disturbed family members you try to forget you have, til they show up on
your doorstep at Christmas with soggy string bean casserole.
they are, after being so keen to shut them out for so long? Or do I only now know the legend of them,
instead of the qualities themselves?
reintroduce myself to these qualities of self.
As a person who is so adept at self-denial and deprivation, to allow
that there might be a proper place for need in my life is… incomprehensible. Like someone who’s
been on a Paleo diet for years, touting the benefits, trying to recruit
converts, suddenly being told that in order to live they must eat cake. Because not only will it change their entire
metabolism for the better, but, hey, it’s fucking delicious. And you’re allowed to enjoy it.
thing – it’s not that at all. It’s not a
choice. Or an earned prize. It’s a basic human right.
drink fetid water your whole life because you’ve somehow made yourself believe pure spring
water wasn’t for you or that your imbibing it was a danger to the balance of existence… well,
self-denial like that causes a whole host of problems, not least of which is
So, the dismantling, the right-sizing of desire and need,
the introduction to them as they are, not as I’ve feared them to be. And why?
Because I have a suspicion that fulfillment, purpose, and wholeness are
on the other side of that shift.