A Broken Down, Hurting Howl of Want

You know what I love? I love it when one of you replies to me and plays the “I Want” Game from the Uncover Your Desires e-course. The answers are so varied and heartfelt and I feel touched every single time one pops into my inbox. Some are simple. Some are playful. Some are so, so sad I can feel the longing and want jump out of the screen at me.

SadnessI found one of my own “I Want” games today, and I wanted to share it with you. This is from a few months ago, when I was in the midst of what felt like an incredible betrayal. My mind was going crazy. I had been hurt tremendously by someone close to me and I was in so much pain. Every moment was consumed with “Why? Why? Why?”

I knew from experience that playing the “I Want” game was a path to reconnecting with my own desires. Circling around the endlessly unanswerable question of why this had happened to me was getting me nowhere, so I played.

It didn’t fix everything (it took months of conversation with the person who had hurt me to sort things out fully, and that bit is still tender for me.) But playing did crack the door open to other parts of myself that were getting lost in the pain. It was reminded me that what I wanted was bigger than just the fear and grief and loss.

Every bit of my own insecurity, ambition and pain is in this list, a snapshot of a moment of desire. So much felt so scary to me at the time, and this “I Want” is my own hurting howl of want, entirely unedited… which makes it especially edgy to put it out for the whole internet to read. But I believe that it’s only by sharing our messy bits that we get the space and permission we need to be whole, so I’m sharing it here with you, now. Here goes…

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What I Want…

I want him to pay attention to me, to realize how much I’m hurting, to take more than just 20 minutes and actually GET ME, to realize I’m not demanding anything of him, that I”m simply asking something of him, and for him to give me an answer.

I want to not have to walk away because he won’t give me an answer.

I want to be able to enjoy the incredible beauty I’m surrounded by right now, here at my friend’s estate, without thinking about the pain I feel from having been dropped.

I want to relive that moment of eating the apple and the orange from the garden, slow it down even more.

I want to throw my iPhone in the trash. It seems, in this moment, to be the source of so much of my pain.

I want to pay attention to my breath. I want to not sound so much like a hippie when I say stuff like that.

I want to remember. I want to hold on. I want to hold all these moments. I want to capture these things. I want to not want that, because I know the futility of it, but I want it anyway, and I’m letting myself want it.

I want to be heard. I want to be loved. I want that what he said was true to be actually true. I want my trust to have not been misplaced.

I want to be a better cook. I want to know what flavors go with what and to be able to just know that that is the sausage to get, and those are the greens that go with it. I want to not be intimidated when people are having a potluck and I’m supposed to bring something. There are so many foodies here!

I want to be more disciplined about my writing. I want to be able to transfer the discipline I have in showing up for difficult conversations or creating experiences for people into my writing.

I want to understand the longing that other people seem to feel that I feel so rarely. I want to get what it is that makes other people tick. I want to not feel aversion to some of the things that lay under the surface of that ticking. I want to be able to be with it all.

I want flowers in my home on a regular basis.

I want less of my life to revolve around my damn iPhone.

I want to be sending and receiving more letters in the mail. I consider myself lucky that I have that at all. I want more of that.

I want to be speaking on stage in front of hundreds of people on a regular basis. I want my book to be written and published. I more than want these. I will make these happen. I believe these things will fulfill something deep in me that is more than want. I want to fulfill that.

I want my family of choice to feel stable again. I want to know where I fit in, whether there is a there there anymore. I want to be able to relax into knowing when I will see people and that I will be held. I want us all to stop being in so much pain over so many complex and hard things. I want my friends to stop breaking up and separating and for things to feel settled again.

I want to be producing more than I currently have the means to produce. I want more support professionally, and I want it to feel good and inspiring.

I want to go on a book tour. 🙂

I want to stop arguing with him in my head. I want to be heard.

I want to know how to end this list.


Desires and needs are rarely tidy. They are can be mixed up with pain and grief from not having it. But when you have clarity about what you want, then you have choices about what you want to do about it. Maybe you end things. Maybe you ask for more. Maybe you try a different strategy. By digging a little deeper you may discover the core nugget of what you really want, and clarity emerges. In this case, I went deep and discovered how much I wanted to be heard. And later, in part because I had that clarity, I got it.

(If you don’t know the “I Want” game, sign up for the free Uncover Your Desires e-course right here, and you can play too.)

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