If wishes were horses

I’m thinking about wishes, and wanting, and asking.

I’ve found, over and over again, that life does have a funny way of giving me what I ask for. Small things, big things, I seem to keep getting stuff without really trying. Sometimes it comes exactly as I hope it will, but most times, the things I want waltz into my life looking nothing like I thought they would.

Sometimes those things are profoundly impacting on my life. Sometimes they’re simple, mundane, or completely random.

Like, for example, the whole time I was in Ireland I just had this intense desire to sit in a sauna. A sauna or a hot tub, I wasn’t picky. I think it was just winter getting to me or the fact that you have to keep re-pressing the button in hostel showers or too long living on a houseboat. Hot water and steam, bring it on. I Googled around for spas, which, it turns out, are much more expensive than I wanted them to be. I looked at day passes at gyms, which were maybe possible, but the ones with hot tubs and saunas were still more expensive than I wanted them to be.

Then I booked a hostel in Dublin on my last night in the country, and when I walked in, they had a free sauna. Then I went to Findhorn, they had a free hot tub. And it was just like Boom, ok. Thanks for that.

Call it confirmation bias all you want, and it’s totally possible there are no big universal forces at work aligning to provide me with a nice sit in a sauna. Either way, it’s still such a good feeling to get what you want, especially when you don’t have to actively seek it out.

When I got to Cork, I had this nagging feeling that I just wanted someone to hold me.

One of the things I’m really working on now is trying to satisfy my own needs. If I have a desire of someone else, I try to think about how I can give it to myself instead.

I want to have sex with someone? Okay, they may want that too or they may not, and they’re not obligated to have sex with me ever, so I may never get that. What if I just want to have sex in general, not even with a specific person in mind? The chances of me getting laid are usually not that slim, but so often random sexual encounters leave me feeling wholly unsatisfied.

Probably because, the thing I really wanted in that moment wasn’t actually sex. It might have been something else. So I’m asking myself, again and again, what’s at the root of each desire? How do I break down what it is I actually want? Maybe it’s just plain sexual gratification, in which case, pornhub.com and welcome to the masturbation station. Maybe it’s warmth, closeness, connection. How can I give that to myself? Maybe it’s feeling wanted. How can I give that to myself?

And it’s not easy. But it’s often totally possible.

What I’ve found so far is that a lot of things we think we need from others, we can give to ourselves. Love and care and understanding and freedom and no judgment and compassion and kindness, those are, in fact, things you can give to yourself. And you can rely on yourself to give you those things so much more than you can rely on anyone else to.

But sometimes, there are things you want or need that you can’t satisfy alone. I’m of the belief that people do, on the whole, need other people. What I don’t vibe with is holding anyone specific, or anyone in general, to an expectation of satisfying my needs, not unless they’ve specifically said they will do so, and even then, I always want them to have the freedom to opt out at any point.

When I got to Cork, I just wanted to be held. That was it. It wasn’t a desire for care or kindness or warmth or being wanted or anything other than just being held. And then, someone held me. It just happened, without me trying for it to, and it was nice.

And that simple thing has taught me so much. I learned a while ago that when you rely on other people to satisfy your needs, it almost never goes down the way you think it ought to, or never comes from the person you think it ought to come from. That we so often get what we ask for, but when getting it doesn’t look like what we thought it would, we reject it.

The one thing I’ve found is not to be too specific. It’s not specificity that’s the problem, not really that, but using my rational mind to retroactively change what it is I asked for. For so long, I kept clouding what I wanted with so many assumptions and expectations of what that thing would look like that I felt constantly cheated and like none of my wishes were ever being granted.

Looking back, a lot of them probably were, I just didn’t know what it was I was asking for and wasn’t open to anything that looked different from my expectations.

The intuitive thing that pops up, that says “I want this” without me even understanding why, I’m just not judging that thing anymore.

I had a moment a few months ago while talking to a dear friend about him leaving to see a lover of his in another country. Out of nowhere I found myself saying, “Damnit! I want to fall in love and move to another country!” It was something I’d never thought I wanted at that time until the moment I said it. And another part of my brain turned around and looked at my mouth that had just spoken those words like, “Really? You do?” And I just knew, the answer was Yes.

In a way I never would have expected, that was exactly what happened. Fortunately or unfortunately, the object of the love in question turned out to be that same friend who was leaving to see another lover, and it all wound up a bit more difficult and painful than I would have liked, but in the end I fell in love and I moved out of London and it was exactly what I asked for. And looking back on it now, it was also exactly what I needed and I grew so much from it and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

I’m trying now to not retroactively sculpt my intuitive desires. When I want something that’s within my power to give myself, I’m just going with it wherever it takes me. If it’s something I feel I want from other people, I’ll break it down first to figure out what’s underneath it, if I actually want something from someone else or just the feeling that thing gives me.

So often with the things I want from other people, what I really want isn’t for Blah Blah to love me, it’s just to feel loved. It isn’t to fuck Random from the Bar, it’s to feel wanted. It isn’t Perfect Friends Who Never Judge Me, it’s to feel accepted. If I sit with it long enough, I can usually figure out what’s underneath it. I’m finding ways to give that to myself first and see if that satisfies. And, usually, it does.

Other times, it’s like it was with being held when I got to Cork. It’s not about any of the feelings it gives me, it’s just the thing itself. I wanted to be held by someone. The only feeling I was seeking was that of arms around me. I wasn’t seeking warmth and love and expecting it to look like being held. I wasn’t seeking being held and expecting it to feel like warmth or love. I wanted the thing itself, and I got it.

In general, right now, I’m working out how to figure out what I need and not make anyone else beholden to serving that need. I’m working out how not to have assumptions of people or experiences. It’s not easy, but so far, it’s led to my wishes feeling granted a hell of a lot more than they used to be. And all I can say is, life is so much more satisfying.


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