A former teacher commented to me the other day about the status of a friendship of mine: I worried about you because he was pretty needy, emotionally, of you.
I didn't want to put it in those terms, but she hit the nail on the head. The friendship in question has changed and morphed over the years (close to 17, yikes) and I'd been wondering about the sense of dread that I felt during recent communication. While I hadn't expressed anything to her other than "we've been in touch again," she responded with the sort of insight that I had forgotten I appreciated about her. Needy.
Her assessment came earlier this week and the week so far has been a bear. One of those weeks when I constantly feel that big things are slipping past me and little things are sharp rocks beneath bare feet. I sat upright last night, filled with panice over two pretty significant things that I'd forgotten or neglected. Both can/could be remedied pretty easily this morning, but even as I calmed myself with deep breaths I wondered why my life felt that it was spinning out of control and all I can do is watch.
We have a generous assistance fund that I'm currently administering. Not a day goes by without an inquiry; some valid and some not. Often people call, often the come by. I have very mixed feelings about all of it -- some days I'm humbled by someone's situation and other days I'm outraged -- either at the injustice or the manipulation that I feel. This morning has been a morning full of people with needs, people who are needy. After not even three hours in the office, I am weary.
The unwashed coffee cups on my desk had grown mold and I finally carried them into the kitchen to wash, the hot water and bubbles from the soap cleaning the grime and stains away. Outside the window bright and vibrant leaves are falling from the trees, scattering across parking lots and yards. I stood there with my hands in the water wondering what would help lift me out of this place I find myself. What do I need, I wondered. Making the connections about all those around me who need something from me -- from the basic needs of my toddler child to the complex needs of poverty and assistance -- and my own reluctance to be needy, let alone my apparent inability to even identify my needs, brought a moment of clarity.
How do I ask for help, express my needs, garner support and use it, without being needy, feeling needy?