Yup, I have been a Needy Nancy. Believe it or not, this was something that just dawned on me recently. Not sure why but it probably has something to do with the fact that I went through a pretty needy period not so long ago. Truth be told I didn’t like me too much during that period either.
In looking back though I wanted to see if I could understand where it came from or if it was a good or a bad thing. I’ve always prided myself on being very independent and for most of my life have taken care of myself. Even as early age eight I had some sort of going business concern – washing cars, raking leaves, babysitting. Something to earn money. Even at that age I had a real affinity for money or more for what money could get me.
And there is nothing wrong with being independent, in fact, we encourage one another to be so. We work toward it from the first time we reach for something on our own, don’t we? The first time we push the bottle away or try to grab the spoon that mom is shoveling down that mushy lump of peas? From the cradle our impulses are always in the direction of finding our own way and making our own discoveries.
And that was me. In fact, I believe it was the source of much torment and dismay for my mother in particular. I remember distinctly a time when I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking tea and talking with my mom. I forget exactly what the topic was but I believe it had something to do with the fact that some other family member had disrespected her or embarrassed her. For an eight year old, I was giving her some pretty sage advice – like ‘forget them’ ‘you don’t need them’ ‘don’t pay any attention to them’ or something equally brilliant. Suddenly though she looked at me and started to cry. When I asked her what was wrong she lamented that I’d never been a child.
This was an odd statement considering I was only eight at the time and I pointed out to her that I was in fact, a kid. Then there was more lamenting about my not playing with dolls or some such girlie thing. I shrugged and told her I preferred books.
As the years went by the term, ‘you were born 40’ issued from Mom’s lips hundreds of times and I always marveled at why she seem to think that was such a bad thing. I suppose she was right – there was something adult about me even when I was a child – even in photographs of me as a very young child I have the same face I have today – fewer wrinkles of course, but definitely the same.
As usual, I digress – suffice to say that my independence was something I wore with great pride and in many ways became my best friend. Despite a few fragile moments in my life – my bounce-back-ability was second to none. Then last year happened…
I don’t know what it was about last year. It seemed that everyone I knew went through (and in some cases are still going through) some set back, crisis, bad news, disappointment and so forth. In my case there were many things – and they made me shaky – but it wasn’t until my friend Kelly had her accident that I began to doubt my own ability to ride the storm. I’ve talked about this many times and am not going to revisit it except to say that seemed to be the beginning of my needy nancy stage. I fought it and I fought it hard but I found more and more I had to ask for help. Something I am particularly bad at doing – it embarrasses me so. Track up to my move to the east coast and then back again – and needy doesn’t even begin to describe what was going on there.
It’s been a tough few months trying to regain independence and righting my footing. Though I had a few realizations along the way…
1. It is okay to need other people
2. It is okay to need help and to ask for it
3. It is okay to admit you aren’t bullet-proof or infallible
4. It won’t kill you to feel lost or even alone
5. It won’t hurt you to just look at the hopelessness of it all
6. Just because you need someone doesn’t mean they need you
7. If someone can’t help you doesn’t mean they don’t care
8. Other people have troubles too
9. Sometimes you just need to get over yourself.
So to all my friends who have helped to prop me up – encourage me, even dole out some tough love, I say thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you.
How about you guys – any needy nanciness happening for you? What did you realize about it?