“What do You want?”

The other day I accidentally locked myself out of my apartment. I had no idea what to do. I was wearing a robe, a tank top, pj pants, and slippers. I had gone to the garbage chute which is right next to my apartment. I heard an odd click as my door closed behind me and wondered what it was but didn’t think anything of it. When I went back, I couldn’t get in. It had automatically locked behind me. I had no keys and no phone. After I resumed breathing, I tried to figure out a way out of it. The things I came up with were pretty absurd. Sadly, I’m not Spider-man. Finally, when I reached the absolute bottom of my list of possible solutions, I realized I had to ask someone for help. Of course, it was after hours so the landlord had gone home. I knew it was after suppertime but I also knew I had wasted a lot of time trying to avoid having to ask for help so I had completely lost track of time. I realized I absolutely had to do it. At this point I had been sitting in the lobby in my pjs watching people walk by me probably thinking I was nuts. I finally asked someone but it was only because I was getting desperate.

I wasn’t afraid to ask for help because of a pride thing. I was afraid to ask for help because I’m afraid to ask for anything. I don’t want to be a bother to people. Someone recently asked me what I want and I froze. I couldn’t answer. He genuinely wanted to know. It probably seemed like I ignored the question. I just sat there getting lost in my own mind and maybe panicking a little. “What do I want? Why can’t I answer? Just say something! Why is this so hard??” It seems so simple but I couldn’t say a word.

I know what I want. I want to write, I want to be outside, I want to explore the world, I want to meet people, I want to help people, I want to be let out of this tower so I can go on adventures. I want to experience all of the opportunities that this life provides. I know what I want for myself and from myself but that wasn’t the question he was asking. He was asking me what I wanted from him and what I need from him. It completely threw me off. No one has ever asked me that before. No one has ever asked me what I wanted. He said, “I ask you for things but you never ask me for anything”. I realized that was true. He does ask me for things. He’s always the one to ask me to spend time with him, he’s always the one asking for what he wants and needs from me. Doing those things makes me happy. In general, I love doing things for people. Especially my friends and especially if it’s something that makes them happy or something that helps them.

The more I’ve thought about it the more I realize how important it is for me to answer. He started asking weeks ago and still, I haven’t answered. Thankfully, he keeps asking. That is something I need. I need time to figure it out. I’ve been so focused on growing up and finding what I want out of life that I sort of missed this entirely. I missed how important it is to be able to be vulnerable with people. That’s what is holding me back from answering; the courage to be vulnerable. Telling him what I want and need is letting him into a space I never let anyone into.

Sure, I ask my family for things. They are usually right there to help me out. Most of the time, the things I ask for are things I really really need. Like help when I’m sick, or someone to pick me up when my car breaks down. Things like that. Even then, I don’t ask for things I don’t absolutely need.

So how do I tell this person what I want. I don’t even know where to find the part of me that contains that answer in order to open it up. It seems like an annoying question and I could easily say “I need you to stop asking me that”. For some people that may be the right answer. This takes time. But for me right now, I think he asked just the right question and just the right time. My life has changed so much in the last few months. I have been working hard, figuring things out, taking better care of myself, and thinking about the future. I thought I had sort of figured it all out and was heading in the right direction. I had read about courage and vulnerability but now I’m faced with a real life opportunity to practice it. It’s easy to read about these things and come up with scenarios and think about how you would change your behaviour in those scenarios but this isn’t a scenario I could have possibly foreseen. How can I be vulnerable right now?

I already have a hard time making connections. I have a harder time letting go of them. I’ve had to let go of so many in my life. I now know that that, in itself, is loving. Letting people move on is just as important as letting them in. Love is a choice. It’s choosing to do things for them and be there for them even when it’s hard. It’s choosing to help make sure they have what they need. It’s choosing to accept that sometimes they will stay and sometimes they will go. In order to answer this question, I need to be willing to do both. I need to be willing to let this person in deeper than I normally would, deeper than I’ve let anyone in for a really long time, and I have to be willing to let go if it ends.

I often think of how hard it is for me to build connections, but it’s more that I just haven’t been up for it. I haven’t been willing to. When I was younger, I was actually pretty good at it. I approached people and got to know them. I loved my friends like crazy and we had a ton of fun together. I let them in. I talked to them about my inner thoughts, even my insecurities. The results were that I felt chosen and like I belonged. I wasn’t ready for us to grow apart. Of course, it happened. College can’t last forever. I’m lucky to still be able to keep up with their lives and tell them I love them every once in a while. I’m lucky to have had them in my life.

When people move on, it creates space for new love and friendships. It shouldn’t just create hurt and loss. When you let people in, you let them love you back. Doesn’t that sound great? So why is it so hard? I know I’m not the only one who has trouble asking for things. I know many of us don’t ask for what we need in our relationships. But we have to start. You’re not being a burden when someone who loves you asks you what you want and need. It’s not selfish to tell them. It may actually be kinda selfish not to. It might be selfish to not allow someone to love you back. It’s going to take time. You have to be patient with yourself. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to be patient with myself. I’m going to ask for that. I’m going to start practicing letting people love me back. I hope you do the same. Actually, I’m asking you to do the same.

Thanks for reading and thanks for letting me practice being vulnerable with you today. ❤