My Needs Are Huge

When I was in college, my nutritionist told me “your needs are huge.” This was to be my mantra, my repeating thought, my go-to doodle, and probably the saying she wanted me to get tattooed on my wrist or something. What she meant was “your caloric needs are huge,” and that’s what I thought of it too.

I was dangerously underweight with a tall frame and pretty active lifestyle, so to put some meat on my bones required a consistent surplus of calories. “Your needs are huge,” I’d think to myself as I added exactly 6 craisins to my salad (sugar — the horror!). That made sense, I understood, but what I didn’t allow myself to understand was the deeper, heavier meaning underneath those four little words. I could scrawl it across the pages of my journal all I wanted, creating a script all my own with flowing squiggles, and yet I wouldn’t let myself really feel the weight of that mantra until I allowed it to work for its original, intended purpose. I didn’t want to need. I didn’t want to own that statement, but I needed to: I needed to say “My needs are huge.”

In reality, everyone’s needs are huge. Being termed “needy” gets such a bad rap, but I’m hoping to embrace it more and more each day. We associate needs with weaknesses and dependence. We want to need nothing, to have everything we need. And we want to be the cause of that fulfillment, to provide for all our own needs. But whether we have that contentment or not does not erase the need, it merely soothes it.

My needs are huge.

I need compassion and understanding, acceptance and patience. I need comfort and attention. I need respect and appreciation, as well as honesty and humility.

My needs are huge.

I need affection and solitude, quiet stillness and maddening chaos, and love and someone to love. I need a 140-character limit and an open document.

My needs are huge.

I need self-care and something about which to care, self-determination and advice, self-respect and self-advocacy.

My needs are huge.

I need to be right but I need also to be wrong. I need gains and losses. I need gold and silver. I need foresight and hindsight if I am to have sight.

My needs are huge.

I need the movie and the book. I need warmth and gentleness and passion and rage. I need night and day, sleep and restlessness. I need the sun if I am ever to see the moon. I need Jif Creamy and Jif Crunchy.

My needs are huge.

Allow yourself to feel. Feel your need and the emotion that is attached to is. Your emotions are linked to what you have and what you lack in the present moment, your fulfillments and your needs. Let yourself feel and let yourself need. This is how you heal: feel.

Needs make us human and unite us in spirit. Most every action performed is in pursuit of fulfilling a need, and who am I to say your need is less valid than my own? They change, they peak, they adapt and morph, they motivate and direct, determine and deter, and they are universally human. They form a common ground between the sexes and gender spectrum, between the East and the West, between parent and child, and between black and white, fat and thin, old and young.

Needs should be respected and should warrant response. When your needs are huge, your worth is huge, and that’s what I should have been embracing through my recovery and beyond.