I thought divorce was a challenge. Writing this post on needs is right up there. I don’t get writer’s block. Quite the opposite. I can go and go; endurance is clearly an asset of mine. (Note to self, that’s not always a desirous attribute. See boundaries.) But for a reason that I will uncover, it’s been one excuse after another to avoid writing down my needs. Sure, they were decent excuses – being sick, getting into the summer cadence with the boys, squeezing in some challenging workouts to continue to prepare for Whitney and the bay – but I can see that they were excuses for pushing off what I must be afraid to write down.
Maybe I’m so out of touch with my needs that I can’t find them. Or I can’t articulate that which I don’t feel I deserve.
Since my bay swim and the dust-up with The Genius, I’ve been trying to sweep away the red herrings and white noise and get down to what’s really going on here within my divorce. I know I’m not an ‘entitled brat’, but when I’m called that more than once, coupled with being called a princess, I react by questioning myself. I want to defend myself. I want to engage in a battle of words and barbs to clear my name. When I’m told to come down off my high-horse, a favorite expression that has been used against me time and again, I start to dismount.
I’m getting a little nauseous by just writing those words. The tears are building up around the rims of my eyes. I am not an entitled brat. I am not a princess. I am not on a high horse. I’ve allowed myself to be led by my nose so often in my life that when someone tells me who I am or what I am, I am inclined to dutifully accept it. I wear it and the shame that comes with believing that I am a brat or a princess or misplaced on a high horse that I don’t deserve to ride.
When I met The Genius I was at the top of my game. Killing it at work, in great shape thanks to trail running and a healthy way of life, and truly, blissfully content and happy with me. I was delighted to be alone, with myself. Then we collided. Slowly, I allowed myself to be drawn into his world. I went along for the ride. I was just so happy to unexpectedly be in the arms of a man I loved, when I had just come to the realization that it would never happen, that I just rolled with it. I let myself go.
During the pivotal years of my 30s I lost my way and I lost a lot of ground. I wasted so much time living a life that was designed by another because I thought it would make him happy. (And, let’s be real, because it was easier to fold into another than to remain centered on a path I did not even know I had the right to travel.) But the opposite happened. When I stopped taking care of my needs I became unhappy, and then so did The Genius, if he ever was happy to begin with. I imagine this is not an unusual occurrence. (I sniff Need #1)
Moving to California, reigniting my love affair with myself and Nature, and challenging my body to be in its best form has brought me right back to where I was when I met The Genius. Right where I left off. Only a whole lot wiser. But still with so much to learn that at times I wonder if I’m just a super late bloomer. (Do you smell that? Need #2)
This realization, which occurred at about 11 PM last night as I let hot water run over me in the shower, that I did not tend to my needs and got lazy with life while with The Genius, opened up the gates that had been woven shut by vines and webs, behind which impatiently waited my needs.
They tumbled out like a bushel load of schmuzzies.
If you don’t know what a schmuzzie is than you must also not know about the magic that is The Upside Down Show with David and Shane. Oh. Delicious. Madness. You must see a schmuzzie and an episode or 10 of the show. Start here. The schmuzzies, colorful little furballs, appear at about the 20 second mark. David is a prime example of my definition of pure hotness, just as an aside…I love a well-developed sense of humor and a willingness to be ultra silly.)
It seems I needed to determine where I went astray, why I put my needs away like winter clothes as the mercury rises, so that I could reconnect with what they were then. Not create them from scratch now, as if they never existed at all. They waited so patiently. It makes me feel sad that I was so willing to ignore them. It is time for them to stretch their furry little arms, rub the dust from their eyes and climb all over me like a litter of kittens smelling the milk of life.
Before I begin with Need #1, I need to say, for my own benefit, what most of you probably already instinctively know. Needs are not wants, or desires or luxuries. Needs are not what I expect from another. Needs are what I must fulfill and nourish in order to be cared for so that I can naturally live an honest and true and authentic life. This web of boundaries and needs, values and morals, woven together harmoniously, creates the unbreakable foundation upon which I may stand tall and live large. Confidently. And joyfully. Playfully. And happily. So centered that I can embrace sadness with as much respect and love as I can embrace joy. So well cared for that I have unlimited resources to care for others. Peaceful. Content. Compassionate. Loving. Free.
Without further ado, I give you Cleo’s Hierarchy of Needs. Well, the first three anyway. This post deserves to be a two-parter…
Need #1: To make tending to my needs a top priority in my life. Identifying them goes a long way towards fulfilling this need, no? When I am meeting my needs I am taking responsibility for my life. And, at this time, my needs need to be met by me alone.
Need #2: I need to be in Nature on a very regular basis, challenging my physical body and taking time to nurture my emotional and psychic bodies, in her arms. It is clear as virgin glass that my journey involves a deep partnership with Nature. My heart bursts open like a double Peony when I’m soaking in her energy. I will honor this need and honor myself by treating my body like the absolute gift it is.
Need #3: To remain independent while experiencing interconnectedness. Whether that is while with the boys by providing them ample room to be who they genuinely are without hyper-guidance or controlling critique from me – playful, spirited, energetic, mad, sad, tired, cranky. Or in the midst of an encounter with another by feeling centered and confident enough to simply be who I am naturally, not trying to please or jostle for a comfortable position. It’s a beautiful feeling, but one that requires being fully present in the moment to nurture into a natural habit. I need to be who I am and resist the mind-created urge to shift around and be what I feel may make others happy or make my path easier to traverse.
I’ll take a breather there. I cannot express to you how amazing I feel inside right now. I knew big things were around the corner. Not loud or sparkly or all 3D glitterness but rather quietly beautiful and deeply magical, like discovering my needs. I am literally laughing and crying at the same time right now.
Okay, now I’m just sobbing. The most joyful tears. Tears of gratitude. That are being launched off my face by lips stretched into a wide smile.
I am me. I am loving. I am kind. I am honest. I am centered and grounded. I am grateful. I am worthy of having my needs met. I take responsibility for insuring that they are well-cared for from this point forth.
Needs Part Deux to come tomorrow night after a very important meeting about my future and a brilliant bay swim.
I’m so grateful to have you all here to walk with me. Your support over these last few weeks has been so key as I navigate these choppy waters. Thank you, love you, owe you.