Don’t even try to tell me that Alanis Morissette making “All I Really Want” the first track of Jagged Little Pill isn’t a reference to the first track of Joni Mitchell’s Blue being “All I Want”. DON’T EVEN.
What was that? No one really cares that much about musical trivia facts?
I want all sorts of things. I find myself so frequently dealing with the sensation of wanting. Be it a person, a thing, an experience, a sensation, I just feel like I want allllll the goddamn time.
This is the part where someone mocks me, a la Dustin Hoffman in Hook (“I want I want I want, me me me, my my my, now now nowwwww…..”). I wouldn’t blame you. It’s how I sound to myself more often than not.
Sometimes what I’m so desperately wanting (Better Than Ezra anyone??) is for something to go away. Wanting the anxiety to subside, the sadness to dissipate, the scars to fade. Wanting all the bad to magically float away on its own to make room for the light I know is there somewhere. I see glimpses of it in the people in my life and the interactions I have with them, and instead of letting them in and accepting them for what they are somehow they just leave me hungry.
I’m not the kind of person that eats until I’m full and then stops. Quote Louis CK, “The meal is not over when I’m full, the meal is over when I hate myself.” That’s the approach I take with, well, everything. Oh, you’re a wonderful new person in my life that makes me feel absolutely fantastic? Let me cling to you with a nervous attachment that borders on pathological until you get freaked out or over it or just tired of having to constantly reassure me you aren’t going anywhere.
Like so many self-imposed things in my life, it’s exhausting.
I’d love to be sure. Of anything. I’m so goddamn indecisive it’s really just ridiculous sometimes. There is no need for me to overthink my drive-through order at Wendy’s. None. It’s really just that I’m gunshy. And even more really, it’s that I’m terrified I’m going to regret every decision I ever make. It leaves me paralyzed, like a stupid fucking deer in headlights.
In my last relationship, it was… if I leave this person, am I going to realize how wrong I was after it’s too late? If I stay, am I going to wake up next to them in 40 years and feel like I’ve wasted my life?
Don’t laugh. That’s a thing I think. Thought. Eh.
I end up hurting people through my uncertainty. This isn’t Saved By The Bell. I’m not Zack Morris. I can’t just freeze time and deliver a short yet poignant monologue to the screen, only to unfreeze it all after I’ve figured out the answer to my dilemma. And human people typically do not respond well to being kept in a holding pattern.
So what do I do? Keep up appearances only to be accused of being dishonest later? Let all my doubts and fears and disappointments out into the ether, only to have to take them back later if I’m wrong? There’s some shit you can’t just un-say, ya know? Maybe my whole problem is that I spend so much time trying to manage the other person’s experience with me at the expense of my own honesty and transparency.
It’s just hard to know how to be transparent, or to feel transparent, when you can’t ever trust your own gut reactions to things. I’m nowhere near as self-aware as I’d like to think. I don’t see the connections between things after the fact. I don’t see how what happened on Friday night impacts the way I feel for the rest of the weekend. I have my head so far up my ass most of the time that I sit back and pat myself on the back for being so in touch with my feelings when really I have no clue.
So what do I want?
I’ve never had an easy time answering that question, no matter the context. I’d have just as hard a time telling you what I want for my birthday as I would telling you what I want to do with the rest of my life.
What if what I want doesn’t matter though?
Hear me out.
What if, just for a second, I could give up trying to figure out what I want and instead focus on what I need?
Want has always felt like a selfish verb, followed very shortly by thoughts surrounding what I do and don’t deserve. Wants are negotiable. Wants are optional. Wants are unnecessary. I have a tendency to mask my needs as wants to make them more palatable, less imperative. If I tell you I want something you can easily say no or ignore me. Telling you I need something sounds far more… demanding. But maybe it isn’t.
Maybe I’m just overthinking it.
Maybe I just need to relax.
I’ll add it to my to-do list.