To Want and Be Wanted
"I mean, but for you, I am absolutely nothing I live for your sake and your future. I am nothing to myself."
Connie heard it all with deepening dismay and repulsion. It was one of the ghastly half-truths that poison human existence. What man in his senses would say such things to a woman! But men aren't in their senses. What man with a spark of honour would put this ghastly burden of life-responsibility upon a woman, and leave her there in the void.
Lady Chatterly’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence
What does it mean to want and be wanted? To need and be needed? We take it for granted that on a fundamental level everyone wants to be loved. But love means terribly different things to different people. The trick of love isn’t getting love itself, but getting the one you want, the one you need.
Comfortably resting in a relationship where I get both, I reflect on all the times I haven’t. All the times the wires have crossed, the signal hasn’t come in right. Inputs and outputs that don’t match. I wonder about the history of want. Perhaps there’s an innate sense of want when we’re born which takes time to articulate. You have it, you know it, but you can’t express it. Perhaps the journey is learning what you want. Starting with an idea then changing it, remolding it into that which you desire.
As humans, we’re inherently biased. We think everyone wants what we want –how couldn’t they? We forget that with so many variables, our priorities rarely align.
So I have faltered when I encounter relationships where people need me. Not “need” like my drill sergeant list of tasks “I need you to call the insurance company, take out the recycling and let the cat in.” No, the careful and ambiguous need. “I need you to love me. I need you to reassure me. I need you to accept me as I am to make me whole.” In short, “I need personal validation from you to complete myself.” What a foreign concept to rest your happiness and self-worth in the hands of a single individual.
It’s not that I don’t love and accept you. I do. But you should fuel your own fire of hope and light. The path to transcendence is to seek and gain these things for yourself. Carry them with you always. For heaven’s sake, don’t give them to me to keep care of!
Am I hinting too strongly here that clearly my deepest fears are of being dependent on another person? To me, love is about two independent souls coming together to build a better life. Teamwork is valuable in strategic maneuvers, so you need a second hand you trust to build your empire. Too callous? Hey, like I said, true love is about finding someone who understands and complements your needs. I know what mine are. Maybe you should scratch your remembrance of all these words so far and label me a cynic. Perhaps I should try harder fulfill needs and let myself be needed.
Or I could wait to find those like me. And others can wait to find those like them. Once again, it’s the perception that there’s a way it should be, and any conflict is a result of your deficiency which drives all the suffering. It’s not a deficiency, you’re just different. Rather than attempt to contort and fit the box of what you or someone else thinks you should be, don’t fight the fight. I know all the terrible, nerve wracking guilt and pain it can cause. Letting go won’t always be easy, but you’ll have the clean conscience of knowing you’re going for what you want. And probably, avoid some disaster in the meantime.
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Just a Woman in STEM finding her way