A friend suggested I write about something that scares me, so okay. I hereby confess to being needy.
I’m a male, and neediness is not considered a very male thing. I’m an adult, and neediness is childish. Neediness is not attractive, and I like to be attractive. Also I like to think of myself as a helpful person, it helps calm me down that when I’m worried or scared I can say “Eric, you are a good and helpful guy.” , but emotional neediness is not the posture of the helpful person, it’s the posture of the whiner who needs help. I like to understand the world as it is and to be rational – that’s what people do who have it together emotionally, not people who are needy. So a public confession of neediness fits the bill: I’m afraid it will make other people see me as childish, unmanly, unattractive and self-centered, and, just as bad, make me see myself as these things.
Nevertheless, to be honest, neediness has colored all the most important relationships of my life. And not just theoretical neediness – neediness with me in tears, kneeling in the street, begging other people not to leave me.
Needless to say, neediness has colored my relationships with women.: the women who I loved were always the ones who made me cry with fear of losing them, starting of course with my mother, who I am losing these days – slowly – as the plaques of dementia make it harder for her to carry on a conversation.
If I take a closer look I think neediness has colored my relationship with religious teachers. The deepest relationships I’ve had with teachers have started with need. I need to know how to be happy, or how to deal with my fear and anxiety and confusion.
Neediness has puppet-mastered my life as a writer in spades. I’m also writing so I can somehow trick people into liking me, caring about me, and paying attention to me. I often imagine that at the end of my life I will be poor and friendless, wandering through a vaguely post-apocalyptic landscape. I hope that in this environment I can say to strangers “I wrote for Futurama. You liked that show right?” and they will show me some small kindness, maybe invite me to have a little food.
Sometimes I am afraid that all my thoughts about reality are projections based on my need. I need someone to love me and take care of me and keep me safe, so I imagine a super-being or super-level of reality that meets that need. Maybe God is an inconceivable Source of Being – if that’s the case, then my conceptions of Him have been deeply warped by my need to be taken care of.
Now I could argue that my conception of a universe without God is rooted in my need too, my need to have a world that makes sense. And that does make sense.
Maybe my conception of God makes no sense at all. If He is all-sufficient then he doesn’t need anything, but if He doesn’t need anything then how can he care about me? On the other hand if he does care about me, then does that mean I have the capacity to hurt him by letting him down and not meeting his needs? Is God needy? What kind of God could be hurt by the likes of me? More importantly, if He could be hurt by the likes of me, then how can he fulfil my needs? I need him to be strong, and that’s so vulnerable. What good is God for me if he’s needy and vulnerable?
What good am I if I’m needy and vulnerable?
Will confessing to my neediness make me less needy or just confirm how needy I am?
There’s a reason I don’t’ do things that I’m afraid of. They’re scary.