I am a needy little thing. I suppose we all are sometimes, but I have this real issue of seeing the difference in what I want and what I need.
It's not things like food or clothes or even shoes—though I still argue that my delicate girlie psyche needs glittery shoes from time to time. I get understand how to tell what's necessary for sustenance, what bare minimum is required for maintenance.
Sometimes, the things I want become so important to me that I turn them, emotionally, into things I need. Maybe they're things I just love for their aesthetics or their irony or the sheer delight I feel when I think of them. They can be small or large, inexpensive or pricey. And maybe they're not things at all, but ideas or experiences or understandings that are so glittery and poignant to me that they distract me from anything and everything else.
When I latch onto the idea of something so attractive, I can lose sight of whether it's a want or a need. I may know the difference in my head, but I will almost certainly miss the delineation in my heart. Once I become emotionally attached, I crave the rush of serotonin and dopamine and oxytocin and whatever other neurotransmitters flood my brain when I think about the object of my affection.
My humming brain is distractible and noisy. It's filled constantly with a dozen different, sideways thoughts. If I were to take a mental snapshot and tell you what I was thinking about at any given time, you'd probably ask, "What the hell is wrong with you, Stephanie? How are those things even connected?"
To anyone else, there probably would be no connection, no commonality to the multitasks in my mind. I always understand how I hopscotched from one thought to the next. It's kind of like Six Degrees of Stephanie, trying to figure out how I managed to jump from one synapse to another.
But when something is so persuasively enticing that it becomes the object of my singular focus... watch out! That's when I can become my most dogged, determined to get whatever it is that I can't forget. I will persuade myself and anyone else that this thing I want is so important to me that I can't live without it, that it's something I have to see to fruition.
It's a power I can use for both good and evil, certainly. Sometimes it's as beneficial to those around me as it is to myself. But other times, no one but me can see the importance of my obtaining my lofty-if-insane goal.
If I don't get my way, I can be petulant and difficult, like a child who wanted the big scoop of ice cream, not the kiddie cone. Sometimes when I get the big scoop, it falls off the cone, leaving a dripping mess of Rocky Road down the front of my pretty dress. My petulance will likely turn to smugness, over-confident satisfaction that I still got my way, even if it didn't turn out like anyone wanted it to.
Every so often, though, I get what I want in the way that I need, and the satisfaction is exquisite. All of those neurotransmitters flood my brain again, setting off a field of Pop Rocks landmines, synapses sparking and lighting in unadulterated joy. There may be a letdown when the pops and crackles stop, but it will be brief. It won't be long before I've moved on to some other obsession.
And no matter what, I will always have the memory of fulfillment, and I will tap into that when I need a boost, reminding myself that sometimes my dauntless determination is worth the internal drama and the overwhelming anticipation of achievement.