Want or need?

We all have needs and wants and we’ve all had it drilled into us that wants are different from needs. That we don’t “need” all the things that we think we do; that, in fact, most of the things we think we can’t live without are just materialistic wants.

But what about when the line between what is a need and what is a want becomes blurred?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this week on this and how it affects my life and more importantly, my quality of life.

The truth is that we only need a few simple things to exist. Food, shelter.. really not much to live. Our society has become so stuck on wants that are perceived as needs that there is almost a disgusting sense of greed that so many think they need to have a life.

When I moved a year and a half ago, it was a long distance move from one city to another and I decided to make this the time to purge my “things” and start over. I held onto the most important items but very much cleansed my life of most of my material objects. What happened is that I have found myself living with the sense of “I have what I need, I don’t need more than this”.. true in one sense but the reality that has become obvious to me lately is that sometimes something that you think is just a want is really a need… when you look at living versus existing.

I can live anywhere… yet I moved to Victoria – and specifically to the area of Victoria that I did – because of a need to have a certain lifestyle to have a quality of life that’s not just a want anymore, but a need – a need to be happy. Being able to walk to work instead of drive in gridlock commuting… being close enough to the ocean and beautiful beaches to walk to on a whim and sit and stare and smell the air…having an apartment with character instead of a cookie cutter look… these are all, on the surface, extraneous wants yet to me, they have become needs for me to have a life that is fulfilling. Going back to the morning rushing and exhausting end of day from commuting hell is not something that is permissible now to me. This lifestyle is a need for me. Non-negotiable to my happiness; and my happiness is finally on my radar.

Just like we need food to fuel our bodies and enable us to live, our souls need nourishment too. You can argue that having love and companionship isn’t necessary and in some sense that’s true. I have spent the last long while living the truth that while friends are nice and feel good, anything beyond that isn’t a need for me. That I’m all good alone and that I don’t need anyone in my life to make me complete… and that is a truth… I can exist alone. Yet having recently started to let people into my life and my heart, it has shown me that what I have always perceived as a want may in fact be a need. Not in the way that I can’t live without love and companionship, but with an awareness that for my life to be the quality that I need, then having people who I love and hold close to me is fundamental to that happiness. Living openly in relationships that fulfill who I am and how I love is a need to me now in my relationships, no longer just a want.

We always hear “life is too short to live without….” and the simple truth is that it’s not the quantity of life, it’s the quality of the life we choose to live with that’s important. Sometimes the wants become needs and we don’t realize it.

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Day 3, chosen family

Smiles and happiness today because I am blessed enough to have people in my life that I care deeply enough to call my chosen family… and doubly blessed that they have chosen me as well to be part of theirs!

The saying “blood is thicker than water” doesn’t do justice to the truth that the people we chose to bring close to our hearts have special meaning. Whether right or wrong, there is a certain sense of obligation to love and care for the people that we are born into as family…if we’re lucky, then we like them too… but that’s not a certainty – the odds of actually liking and wanting to spend time with the family you are born to aren’t great. You have genetics or nurturing in common but that’s about it. All too often, families are groups of people who tolerate each other because they “have to”.

Yet with chosen family…we’re able to connect with a person or people that we share so much with… and build that connection and nurture a bond… and chose to invite them into our lives and our hearts and call them “ours”.

As I close today I smile because of that blessing.

The Intimacy of Snuggling

I was having a text conversation with a good friend the other day and part of it got me thinking about snuggling and intimacy and how it’s viewed…and what it, and physical closeness in general, means in my life, to me.

Now when I refer to snuggling, I mean cuddling, holding, snuggles… whether that be out at a dinner where you slide over and have someone’s arms around you for a few minutes or at home, curled up watching a movie in bed… or even a whole night spent together, naked bodies together with arms and legs entwined but sexual interaction not part of the night. Just writing about that puts a smile on my face …

Back to the writing though.

Physical intimacy and closeness is something that I think has been lacking in my life for a while now. Dealing with grief is something that , for me, results in me isolating myself and distancing myself from those that I care about in my life – physically at least, and sometimes emotionally as well.

Physical contact that I have musing over lately seems to settle on two primary types: sexual intimacy and non-sexual intimacy for me. The other night was one of the first times in a very long time that I wanted to be close to someone and actually desired to have someone to snuggle with. Wanted, but not “needed”… and that’s a big difference for me.

I’m not, by nature, someone who has one-night stands or sex with people who aren’t a part of my life in some way; whether that be friend with benefits, lovers, partners or such, it’s just not something that is generally in my behaviour pattern. Now that’s not a hard rule… I have engaged in encounters like that before and I will again. There are times that there is simply a click – a physical and almost chemical reaction with someone and sexual intimacy is what’s on the mind. Nothing wrong with it at all and certainly has its place. For me though, those are few and far between. My preference just doesn’t run towards that most of the time. Having sex in that situation doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cold or unemotional but, for me, the level of connection is different in a way that’s difficult to explain. It can be a great connection and you can share a bond and an experience that leaves you both feeling fulfilled and satisfied, just in a different way than when I’m with someone that I have a deeper or more long standing connection with. Don’t get me wrong, I have walked away from “casual” encounters that have been transformational – for me – for what I have taken away from the experience… but generally it’s more physical than emotional.

Snuggling on the other hand feeds a different need for me. It’s also something that I am far more selective about who I do that with. Snuggles and cuddling opens me up and exposes a side of myself that I guard fiercely. To be close to someone non-sexually and share that intimacy of holding and sharing time – even just a few moments – is a connection that I don’t easily do. For me to want to spend time snuggling is to want to be close to you, and to have you close to me…something that means a lot to me. It’s not easy for me to share my body but I have that ability and desire to at times… for me to want to and be able to share my Self is much harder and rare for me. The truth for me is that I can have sex with you and not have you see who I am, intimately… but that’s harder to keep closed off with cuddling or holding…that’s when you’re more likely to “see” me… and that can be scary.

When I decline an offer of “just watching a movie, nothing else” or “No pressure, just hang out and spend an evening together”… it’s usually because I’m not able to share “me” because of things going on in my head and heart that I need to work through…it would almost be easier to have sex with someone when I’m like that than to sit and talk or just be quiet and watch a movie. And nooo, that doesn’t mean that if I turn down a movie suggestion that I’m then open for a romp 😉 – well, maybe… or maybe not ;). It never hurts to ask.

For a long time I have recoiled from the idea of being close to anyone, physically or emotionally. That is starting to lift now and I’m seeing around me those that I care for and I’m starting to explore possibilities and options in a way that has eluded me for so long. I have always been a cautious and slow moving person with regards to personal interactions and I have a tendency to tip the toes then run back to the safety of the shore… Healing from grief and starting to see out of the fog of depression now has that reaction on a trip-wire that is spring loaded right now. Where I am usually analytical of getting myself into situations I find now that I am hyper critical of not giving someone misleading cues. I tend to pull back and hold someone at arms length rather than draw them in when that’s what I want… My logic being that it’s easier to just not show interest rather than have to explain why I am hesitant at times even though I’m interested in more.

I’m so thankful for those that understand and have expressed that a snuggle is a snuggle and not necessarily more… and thankful that I can finally voice that while a snuggle may be “just” a snuggle… it’s more.