I read this piece on Jezebel and was immediately both irritated and proud. Irritated at the subject, proud of the author.
I used to be like society. I used to try to present myself to boys I liked or was casually dating or thought that I maybe could one day have feelings for as “independent,” which in my sad little mind was the opposite of “needy.” But it isn’t.
I am irritatingly independent. You know, I drop my own dollahs and I pay my own bills. But that has nothing to do with needs. I am independent because I am the only girl in a gaggle of male siblings. I had to be self-sufficient to survive! I mean, my brothers are my whole heart, but we had seriously different interests growing up, so I was on my own a lot. I am independent because my mama is, and the apple doesn’t fall all that far from the tree. I am independent because my family is poor, so I had to make my own money very young in order to have normal things like a cell phone, and new clothes, and a car. Things parents do for their kids, I did for myself.
But needy? That, I am as well.
My first relationship was stupid, but really beneficial. It was more important than almost any course I paid for (yes, I pay for) in college. The first year we were together, we weren’t really “together.” We were very loosely dating, like the kind where you don’t call each other “boyfriend” or “girlfriend,” but you sleep in the same bed every night? (Listen, don’t do that. It’s crap.) But anyway, I let it go on and on and on all the way until he cheated on me and I couldn’t even really call it cheating because we had never declared ourselves “together.”
This is why I don’t let people call me smart.
Anyway, we got back together a few months later, official this time, but I never changed my irritating habits of resisting vulnerability. The last thing I ever wanted my boyfriend to know was that I needed him. Maybe it is because I never needed him, but regardless, I had this stubborn idea in my head that I could never let anyone into my secrets. I thought it was normal.
Well after we broke up (again), I realized that I really am needy. I do need attention from the person I choose to be with (and my best friends, but they are already good at it). I need a text response, not an hours-later-my-phone-was-dead excuse. I do need some TLC and movie dates and quality time. I do need lots of affection and explanation and conversation. And I do cry a lot and I will, most of the time, require an ear or a shoulder or the right to be alone and watch Stepmom.
Here’s the thing: humans have needs. Not just women, but all humans. Women should acknowledge and own their needs as much as men are allowed to.
The “neediness” crap is not just about relationships, it transcends that. It just so happens we are made to feel the worst about it in that specific area of life. It is okay to be needy at work, and with your parents, and with your friendships, as well.
Emotional needs are just as important as physical needs. Food, water, shelter, love, attention, conversation, honesty, integrity, loyalty, ahem. I could go on and on, but I believe all needs are important, and I don’t care if that makes me needy.
I am needy, hear me roar.