Every day I have a kaleidoscope of feelings, beautiful and terrifying mood swings and fractures of the time-space continuum–I might move from loving the window wall in front of which I sit at the library, looking into someone’s tiny 3rd story deck, to lamenting my lack of huge riches with which to solve the problems of all my friends, to thinking that my taste in music is quite plebeian (but no self-judging, Katie!) and wouldn’t it be fun to blast Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” in the nonfiction section about now?
The funny thing is that when the feelings quiet down a bit, when my moodiness abates–the pendulum taking shorter and shorter arcs–I often don’t come to a sense of peace or self-acceptance. I come to emptiness–what Louis CK calls in this terrific clip (watch past the kids and cell phones part to the brilliance, please) “that forever empty.”
Oh, and how BORING it is there! How without the drama of tears or the hip swing of wanting to dance to a catchy song (see Macklemore, “Thrift Shop“) I simply don’t know what to feel. And when I don’t know what to feel, I fall back into one of my most basic desires, and find myself thinking, “I’m ready to be adored now.”
Then of course the Buddhist in me feels like a failure (emptiness should be a goal, a gateway to transcendence) and the psychologist in me feels weak (we should each be self-sufficient, should be able to live with the quiet inside ourselves, love ourselves before we love others, etc…) and the me who was raised in this culture that seems to value both bragging and humility just feels confused. Should I be telling the world I’m awesome, or that I’m really not? Or should I be feeling so completely self-sufficient that I don’t want to tell the world anything?
But all those thoughts are about judging, and they’re not honest, and they tell me, at the most basic level, that I’m not allowed to want.
I think sometimes I need to get to that quiet, boring space in order to hear the tiny voice inside that wants things. And not just the loud, easy desires: chocolate, money, a brand new stack of books and a week of vacation to read them. The more complex and elusive things. The things I might only joke about wanting in my regular life. Big desires, vast as canyons, and dreams, and freedom, and hope, and love, and to feel good, really good, about being alive and being me.
But admitting to wanting those things is terrifying. Do they even exist? Do I deserve them? Does anyone ever get them?
I don’t know. I really don’t. But I want to give myself–and you–permission to want. No self-judging, really. I mean it this time.
Here’s the amazing thing: when I have given myself permission not only to want, but to tell other people, honestly, what I want–even when those desires conflict with what others want me to want, and even when I fear hurting other people by wanting what I do, even when I fear looking stupid or vulnerable–I have opened myself up to greater connection with myself and others. I have given and received love. I have felt larger and more free inside.
Maybe one of these posts I’ll tell you a bit more about that.
For now, let me just say to you all, “I’m ready to be adored now.”