I want everything too much.
-Rachel Berry, Glee
Just yesterday, I wrote an email in which I used the phrase ‘I want’. Not I hope, I would like, I plan to. No, I want. It felt strange. Wanting is bold. It’s loaded with meaning. I want you. She wanted it. Wanting is not for the commitment-phobic. Wanting is putting your cards on the table. It’s unequivocal.
Maybe that’s why we don’t use it so much, unless we’re talking about the purely material Dear Santa wishlist instinct, of course. It’s too transparent, too raw. Being vocal and purposeful in our wanting, we believe, is fairly challenging the universe or someone else to do their damnedest to deny us. And it’s setting ourselves up for failure. What if your want goes unsatisfied? What if you’ve announced to the whole world that you want to move to Hollywood and be an actor/actress like Lupita and around and six years later you’re still in the village working as the assistant sales rep of a hardware store? Well, see where wanting got you?
Wanting means admitting that you don’t have it all. That everything as it is isn’t enough. Wanting means lacking and well, lacking clearly means (or so we tell ourselves) deprivation or misfortune or a slew of failings (laziness, ingratitude a dearth of talent, etc.) that got you to the point where you must publicly declare that you are not full and yes, you are indeed going to go back for another piece of pumpkin pie, okay?
Wanting means admitting that we have desires, that we have secret dreams and diligently-researched plans. We’re not simply going with the flow, hedging our bets. I’d really like to open my own fashionable boutique someday. I’ve been thinking about maybe going back to school. There are things that matter to us, they hold meaning and value. Sometimes, it’s difficult to face that about yourself – that longing, desiring, coveting, aspiring, lusting part of you. Passion isn’t about being prim and antiseptic and satisfied with (or at least willing to humbly endure) whatever hand you’ve been cosmically dealt. It’s about craving, obsessing, fighting, bleeding, sweating and wanting it (whatever it is) until you hurt.
Stop denying your wants. Stop playing it cool and pretending that c’est la vie and/or que sera sera is where it’s at. Getting whatever it is you have your heart and mind secretly set on is less important than the act of setting them on something in the first place and acknowledging this want.
Give yourself permission to believe that you have the right to aspire to anything and everything and that the defining, constructing and pursuit of your life is worth as much desire and passion and raw undefined aching as you have inside you. Because it is. Trust me on this.
The next step is channeling the ‘I want’ into ‘I will’, but we’ll leave that for another day.