Sunday, January 24, 2010

The good in being needed

I don't know if this entry really fits in with the theme of looking for the good. But I've been chewing on these thoughts for days and felt it was time to get them into writing. Hope somebody somewhere gets something out of it. :)

All my life, I kinda "knew" that my reason for existing was to take care of my mother. Even as a little girl, I found myself running to her rescue if she fell or fainted or whatever. And when my drunk father was raising hell with her, I'd jump in between them and he'd always back down. I guess that's pretty dysfunctional shit but that's not really what I want to write about tonight.

What I want to talk about is being needed...and needing someone else. As long as Moma was still alive, I felt needed. I felt like there was a purpose for my life. When she had her stroke, I kept her at my house for as long as I could. I pureed her food, changed her diapers and bathed her. Her condition quickly became more than I could handle alone but it felt natural to be caring for her at the end of her life.

Even though it felt natural in later years to take care of my mother, in earlier years it sometimes was stifling and suffocating. I often didn't feel like I could have a life of my own because Moma "needed" me so much. I have to confess that I held some resentment inside for years. Moma had other kids but they weren't there for her and she didn't seem to want them to be. It was me she wanted. And I was always there because I felt like that was where I belonged, where I was supposed to be.

After my mother died in November 2000, I went through a series of emotions. I was told that was normal but it didn't feel very normal at the time. The first emotion was terror. It was the first time in my life that my mother wasn't there. It felt like something really wrong had happened, like it was a terrible mistake that she died. It was not real to me that I'd never see her again. There was a part of me that was waiting for her to get back from wherever she was.

Once I accepted the reality that my mother had gone on to what's next for her, then I had to figure out what was next for me. Suddenly I felt free, more free than I ever had felt in my life. I felt like a bird let out of a cage. I felt guilty for feeling that way. But I felt that way. For the next several years, I poured myself into my business and my new found freedom. But, as I've written before, I burned myself out and crashed.

Then I went into the next emotions....depression and loneliness. I felt so displaced, so unnecessary. Without Moma there to look out for, I truly could not justify my existence and at times I wasn't sure I even wanted to exist any more. My life was empty and pointless. Every day I went through the motions of working because if I didn't, I'd be homeless and hungry. But I really felt no sense of purpose at all.

It was at this point that I realized the I needed to be needed. The "freedom" I had experienced after Moma died had turned into a very lonely existence. There's an old song that says "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose". I truly had nothing left to lose. Except for my pets, there was nobody that needed me. I was stubborn though and said that I didn't want anybody "dependent" on me. I needed my "space". I had my hands full just taking care of myself and I didn't want to have to take care of anyone else. I had totally shut myself off from people and it had become very painful.

Eventually, I started trying to reach out to people but was rejected several times and I crawled back inside myself. But there was something inside of me that kept telling me that humans are not designed to live in a capsule. It is our nature to need each other. I had to admit that I needed someone. I needed someone to need me.

Recently I met someone who I think might just need me. And I feel myself wanting to give to this person and take care of him, not in a nursemaid sort of way, but just in a loving sort of way. Many of the things I said I'd never do, I truly desire to do for him. Even cook!!!! Hope I remember how! :)

I used to think that having someone need you was confining and suffocating. But I've really come to see the good in being needed and in needing someone else. See there! I found s'more good!!!:)

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