there is no such thing as need; there is only need for _______. it is possible to simply want something, but in order to need, one must have a purpose... even if it is not consciously known. so, as i reflect on my desire to be needed, and as i speak with others about their similar desire, i must remind us and challenge us. or else i'll look & be super dumb, since i'll be contradicting myself.
why i want others to consider me essential to their lives, i have not yet figured out. fortunately i'm willing to wait for that particular revelation. for now, i simply need (in order to be at peace about it, and in order to live responsibly, and in order to help others live responsibly) to figure out what i want to be needed for. and despite my despair at hearing that voice-from-out-of-nowhere, i think it will be pretty easy.
i want to be emotionally fulfilling for others, such that if i were to leave forever, they would 1) always want me to return, and 2) be unable to fill at least one specific need. i suppose this goes hand in hand with uniquity. i want others to have isaiah-shaped voids in their lives, which could at best be only partially / imperfectly filled by anyone or anything else. and... i want them to express that to me.
if not-- if it simply isn't the case, or if i remain unaware of it-- then why would i remain in their lives? even if i needed them in that way, i wouldn't stick around for that. it would be selfish of me (barring cases where i had some practical need, rather than an emotional one). i simply cannot be content with having close relationships in which i fulfill those people in a generic, non-unique way. (acquaintanceships are different. i have very strictly-enforced low standards for those.)
i should give examples. the following traits are not exhaustive lists of the uniquities of the people described, nor is this list of important people exhaustive; i'm simply picking those that come to mind right away.
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Brandylion has an incredible memory. he can easily recall in overly sufficient detail conversations we had a decade ago. this is especially useful to me because my long-term memory is horrible. 1-10, i might be a 3. i value this even more than other 3s might, because of my reflective, introspective nature, and also because of my need (in order to become more and more myself) to use patterns to find meaningful correlations between otherwise disparate events.
it helps greatly that empathy comes easily to him. it also helps that i've known him for so long. others could have excellent memory (her eminence the Lady Frost comes to mind), and even relate and empathize with me quite well... but Brandon came into my life in high-school. this makes him an invaluable resource: that i might at any time learn, re-learn, or un-learn something important about myself, simply by asking him questions about my past. additionally, he has experienced some of the same uncommon & life-changing events i have.
in this way, he uniquely fulfills a need in my life, better than anyone else can.
King Andrew is the perfect foil for my tendency to worry too much about things, and to zoom in too closely (or for too long) on complex situations. it takes him about as much effort to find chords for my words & melodies as it takes me to climb a tree. and, he understands me the first time i say something. oftentimes he'll understand more than i do about what i'm saying, before i'm finished saying it.
others do some of those things for me as well. but none quite so well. and, like Brandon, he has seniority. he was the one who convinced me to sing on a worship team for the first time. he was the one who pushed me to develop my voice in that way. we wrote over a dozen songs together, songs that helped us unearth and preserve the meanings of some of our lives' most significant events.
his unspoken yet consistently obvious unconditional positive regard for me, his theologically grounded yet down-to-earth practical hope for my present & future, his unattenuated desire to spend time with me no matter how i'm feeling or how long it's been since we've seen each other... these cause me to view him in a certain light, a narrow band of the spectrum that illumines no one else in my life.
Sensei has some of the same qualities, but he applies them differently, and casts light on my spiritual life with a wonderful combination of tenacity and humility. i find it exceedingly easy to grant him the same authority over my life that a sysadmin has over his local network. this isn't to say that i agree with him automatically about anything... in fact, our modus operandi is to initially feel a disagreement of some kind, but through conversation discover that we have arrived at a single point via two very different roads. this benefits both of us. plus it's fun.
i have granted similar permissions to a few others in my life-- notably Professor Rybarczyk, Pastor Dogterom, and Pastor Cameron-- but none of those three would make good close friends. Sensei & i have many common interests, most importantly music. additionally, we enjoy many of the same people (that is, we have mutual close friends).
lastly: he has been with me through some of this chapter's darkest, most painful challenges. he hasn't simply been informed of them; he was there. i spoke with him face-to-face, experienced those events while standing (or sitting) next to him. it would take me days to get anyone else up to speed on them in a purely informative way, and even that would not create any adequate substitutes for him (in that particular way only).
for these reasons and others, i consider him essential for meeting my goals in this chapter.
~ i should take a moment to clarify something: the uses these people serve are paired with my desire to be close to them. practicality and healthy attachment inform and build upon one another in the same way that one and five make the major third overtone (when played just right). ~
until recently (and lingering on even now, like a resonant frequency, or like sunlight after sunset) Ghost has been a driving force for good in my life. i cannot begin to measure the positive effects for which she alone is responsible. like a wizard, she casts spells that i find utterly mysterious, transcending the absolutes that i previously believed governed my world without exception.
these things often take cruel pleasure in eluding me: unadulterated happiness. inspiration. self-confidence. positive self-regard. good sleep. a non-Christian perspective that informs and healthfully challenges mine (the recently established Evan Wade family does an excellent job of this, but that's different, because both of them were once Christian). motivation to move forward, to try new things, to strive for goals that fit me superbly but would have otherwise never occurred to me. she provides all of these, so naturally (and sometimes unknowingly, which, honestly, i find very attractive).
her weapons of choice are as follows: dry humor (very frequently a dead-on match for mine). brutal honesty. hilariously unconventional English. a killer accent (wow... i actually typed that out loud...). thoughtfulness. insatiability (trust me, it's a virtue). vulnerability (yes, reader, this can indeed be used as a weapon). a weird mix of self-deprecation and playful swagger. these she wields against my enemies (sometimes including myself as one such enemy) with ferocity & a dimply smile & gleeful disregard for cultural propriety.
i think it should be obvious even from this brief description that no one could ever take her place in my life, no matter how long that place lies empty. i have great difficulty comparing her to anyone else. she's pretty much a different species. i can say without reservation that i will always need her, no matter which chapter.
"need her in order to / for what, isaiah?"
thank you for asking. that's very isaiac of you.
*at the very least:* i need all of those things in the same way i need to see the world in colour, rather than black-and-white. could i live without her? well, of course i could. i could live without colour. but why the eff would i ever choose to? i'd as soon swear a vow of abstinence from essencia.
well... for her sake, i might choose to live without the colours she paints. but that is the only reason i can think of. living without perception of colour would make some practical things more difficult, like driving and photography and avoiding poisonous berries and hating pink... but even putting aside the practical things, i would (and do) find life dreary without her. gray. overcast. dulled. and aesthetics, as you well know, are not simply 'nice to have'... they bring us to life. both my life and my capacity for life are increased dramatically when she is present, even many thousands of kilometers away.
lastly (for now): when i am truly feeling low, at the core of me, very few things in life can lift me up. even the most moving music sometimes falls upon a heart of isaiahstone. and, while it's true that even she cannot *always* cheer me up, it's equally true that, in her, i have found someone who is naturally good at it. i cannot stress enough the staggering rarity of such an ability. sometimes she does so without even trying. so... i cannot help but invest, and recklessly. i have invested, to the point where i describe my relationship with her in terms of needs rather than just wants.
it wouldn't be enough to say that i won't ever have another friend like her. i know very few of the people on this planet, so perhaps there are many who could fill certain unique roles in my life. but my somewhat arational belief at this time, is that Ghost is one in seven billion.
"everyone is, isaiah."
this is different. i don't mean there are no clones of her; i mean that if all 6,999,999,999 other people in the world attempted what she accomplishes, they would fail. i mean that no one *could* ever fill the role she has played in my life. (not that i'd invite anyone to do so. my likeliest response to any applicants would be the same as the Queen of Hearts' catch-phrase.)
"...oh. that's more significant."
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there are some others of whom i could write similarly descriptive paragraphs 'pon paragraphs... but this post isn't about people. it's about this question i have, this question of that for which i want to be needed.
there is more to realize and say about this topic, but i need (in order to be satisfied with this post rather than deleting it) to form at least a partial conclusion. i think it is this:
my wanting to be needed is not unhealthy. it simply needs to be put in proper perspective. unless i would call my trusted & insightful friends dishonest (or perhaps bad communicators, which they most certainly aren't), then i have no choice but to acknowledge that i am, to some degree, in some way[s], needed by others... in order for the isaiah-shaped holes in their lives to be occupado (as the Spaniards say).
i have some small inkling of what that shape is, and how i fulfill those needs. and, in the context of this writing, i find a contentment which i suspected was there, but which i didn't entirely expect to find.
maybe the desire to be 'needed' is entirely human. and maybe that desire can (or already is?) met in my life. maybe the voice-from-out-of-nowhere speaks against that, with the almost-reasonable expectation that i will not reflect deeply or incisively enough to discover the malignance of its motives & goals.
maybe i will disappoint it.
i would be painfully remiss if i didn't make some mention of my best friend, of whom i spoke last-post. i cannot know yet whether anyone present in this chapter will remain with me in the next. but, if i could bring only one...