January was a difficult month for me. For the first time in many years, I was confronted with the death of one I held dear. But it wasn’t the fact that he is gone, so much as my own mortality that struck me to the bone. My life may well be half over and I have accomplished very little. If I die today, would I be remembered?
I have told Guy that my biggest fear is that of being replaced; which has lead to feelings of insecurity and jealousy in our relationship. It is a learned fear; learned from previous boyfriends who claimed to be poly yet tossed me aside when they entered a new relationship.
Yet in essence, isn’t that what my death would do? Swallow me up and leave little behind. Life would go on. My family would continue. Sure they would grieve for a while, but they would continue on until eventually I was nothing more than a cloudy memory.
Dealing with these thoughts and emotions has taken its toll. My mood had been a roller coaster ride; though I think I have finally gotten off.
I melted down recently, from the stress and emotional overload. I was tired from dealing with the emotions of everyone around me. Tired of trying to make sure that everyone was getting what they needed. Tired of feeling that my own needs were being ignored. I unloaded on a friend.
She was blunt in her usual way of smacking me upside the head. “If you didn’t feel taken care of, that’s on you. No one else can meet your needs if you don’t tell anyone what they are when you have them.”
She makes a valid point. For some reason, I tend to take care of everyone else’s needs before I think about my own. I have never been especially good at expressing what it is that I need, want or desire. I know this is a learned response.
Growing up I learned that nothing in life was free. In order to get something that I needed, even if it was as basic as a place to live, it would cost me. It was never money, but a commodity far more valuable: a bit of me. I would be asked to change something about my behavior or belief system in trade. Sometimes the price was far higher than I was willing to pay; thus, my need or want would be left unfulfilled. So now when I consider my needs or wants, I ask myself if it is really worth asking for and what would I be willing to give in return.
If it passes the “worth it test,” the next hurdle is overcoming the fear of rejection. This one ties in to the replacement fear, and is very deep seated. I am afraid that whomever I ask for something will say “no” or make me feel as if my needs, wants or desires are ridiculous; that I don’t matter.
But lately I have begun to grow. I have been able to express what it is that I need. Perhaps to paraphrase Cooper in SS104; if you don’t put it out there, you will never know the result. And by doing it, instead of just worrying about it, you have increased your odds of a positive outcome to 50%.
Funny thing is that actually my odds would be much greater. In being poly, I have more than one person that can help me fulfill my needs. And as any statistician could tell you, the probability of one saying “no” given the previous one saying “no” grows smaller with number of people asked. (Yes I am a geek).
And in facing my fears and asking for that which I needed, I received it. I am once again at peace with myself and my relationships. Perhaps there is something to this idea of ask and you shall receive. .