Need. A small word with HUGE implications. Add a -y to the end and you have a cringe worthy identifier.
But what is need… something that is essential or required. We all have needs, and different levels at that.
What do I need to survive? Food, water, shelter.
What do I need to thrive? Food that I enjoy eating, water… just water… (okay okay, maybe a La Croix once in a while cause damn that dirt water is addicting), a comfortable shelter that I can relax in where I am not under threat, a place I can make my own, a job that I enjoy, love, connection, companionship, support, encouragement, growth, probably like…. five dogs.
Each of those things have their own set of requirements to be fulfilled. No one ever has a problem saying in order to be happy in my home I need x, y, z… Or I’m going to start a business so I need this and this and this. These are empowering needs, these are the “I’m going to find myself and make myself happy!” types of needs.
But what about our emotional needs from other people… uh oh, gray zone alert! Need too much and you become needy, a trait that suits …. no one really. Neediness is a repulsive energy and has the capacity to suck the life out of everyone it comes in contact with. It is a weakness, this being needy. It is a refusal to admit you are capable of standing on your own two feet. It is a crutch and a reliance on someone else to hold you up. But where is the line between need and needy? Fuck if I know, it’s different for every person and every relationship.
Need is such a charged word. Especially for people who come from backgrounds where their emotional and mental and/or physical needs were not met in those formative years. Yes, I am talking about those huge hearted souls who learned early on that needing something meant you got screamed at or hit in the face. Or maybe it was a more subtle neglect. Regardless, these people (raises hand) learned at a young age that the only real need was to survive and to protect the fragility of our tender hearts. That usually shows up later in life as a staggeringly brutal independence. We don’t get our needs met so we learn not to need. We put everyone above us and take care of them because, well of course, they have needs! They need to be loved, protected, cared for. And it makes us feel good because we get to be the superhero. We get to swoop in and save the day and we get to feel significant and important all the while tamping down this hidden, powerful little piece of our heart that maybe for a while, we even forgot existed.
And then we meet a person. A person who sees us so completely that they find that little piece. They find it in the darkest, tiniest recess of our soul, underneath a pile of dust bunnies and abandoned Lego’s. They brush it off cause they love us enough to help find all the pieces that we set down and forgot where they were. They see that fuck, that little component is almost withered away. It’s small, almost got swept into the rubbish bin, but it’s covered in sharp spikes laced with arsenic. This was the only protection that seemed sufficient when that piece was set aside because the owner of that part knew how critically delicate it is. And if no one can reach it then there will always be something preserved, something pure that no one can attack. Never mind it may be a missing puzzle piece. There will always be safety of at least one particle of our heart. And when we have given and given and given until there is nothing left but that little chunk and that person holding a wash cloth and some soap we have a choice to make. We can either crack that bitch open with the person that found it, that wants to care for it and love it and cherish it…. or we can savagely reject it, add some more layers of spikes and try to keep up our frantic spinning as we struggle to hold our shit together in these darkest of moments.
That need is different for everyone. Maybe its an overnight cry session in the arms of someone that loves you, snot bubbles popping out of your nose, tears running down your cheeks. Maybe it’s 15 minutes of a total breakdown with your head in the lap of someone that loves you as they hang on and ride the storm with you. Whatever it is though, it’s a depth of human connection that us “superhero” kids actively avoid experiencing, sometimes violently so. Some of us never do. It is a piece of us that we hate to admit even exists because we are scared that it means we are weak. It is a vulnerability, an emulsification of energies where two people connect completely raw. And there has to be a trust like no other if that is to be opened. A trust that in the morning when the tears have dried up and the emotional hangover and embarrassment drape your body, that that person will still look at you with a sparkle in their eyes because all they see is their superhero. It is knowing that they love you to the very core of your essence and that they accept and cherish the light and the dark equally, because they know that in order to be bathed in the purity of love that you offer, there has to be the opposite. but equally strong, darkness. It is deep and thick. And they love all the pieces, because it is you.
Need. Can it be a weakness? Only if you make it so. Need can also be a gift. Need brings people together. Need allows us a place for our love and support to settle. It is as much for the giver as it is for the receiver. As long as there is an awareness and both parties giving their 51% to the relationship then the line to neediness doesn’t get crossed and you have instead, a symbiotic partnership where the traits each person has to give are the exact things the other needs.
I can’t even tell you how often I have heard some iteration of “you’re too independent,” or “why don’t you ever let anyone help you?” Cause I don’t fucking need it that’s why!! But I do need. Sometimes I need to break down, to reset, to walk through fire with someone holding my hand in support and solidarity. And knowing that someone can see me at my worst and still loves me just as much when the tears are over…. I wouldn’t trade that connection for the world.
Needs can be set aside for a long time. Until one day, they can’t. They constrict the heart so much that it’s impossible to see any light spilling out. It’s impossible to feel the core of what you are anymore and suddenly all you are left with is that suffocating need. On the other side of that lies some peace, and clarity and the beginning of reclaiming your life. But you have to walk through the hell of staring yourself down before you can get to the other side. That is scary as fuck, but you start walking, and your feet start to burn and suddenly you see, you aren’t alone. And instead of being weak you realize you are actually becoming stronger. And that person beside you…. that’s your superhero, and all they want is to help you fly again.
So how do you love a superhero? With all of your heart, knowing that they will never ask for what they need. Sometimes you have to find it, dust it off, invite it in, and just be there. Because sometimes even superheros need a safe spot to land. ❤ ❤