Tuesday, December 13, 2005


What do humans need in life in order to survive? Do we need to be happy? Do we need to be fulfilled? Do we need to be needed?

I am the oldest of three brothers born to a strong-willed southern mother who I often times clashed with because of my independence. She taught me how to take care of myself and my younger brothers. She taught me how to cook and clean. She taught me not to be needy.

At different stages in my life, I have felt happiness. Today is not one of those days. I feel as if the wind has gone out of my sail.

I have lived in the same apartment for more than ten years. I had no long term plan. I had a need to keep my head above water, a roof over my head, and not crawl back to Houston with my head between my legs.

When I feel shades of my mother coming through, I freeze. I have seen her in some of my reactions with family, friends, and co-workers. I have heard her voice and word choices pouring forth from my mouth as I disciplined my cats. Was I becoming my mother after all? Who is my mother?

Whereas I have felt my mother needed to be needed in order for her to survive and function, I have become an enabler, a facilitator, a protective rooster in the country henhouse. How different are we, my mother and I? Are our similarities more so than our differences the source of our past fights?

Every now and then I face myself in the bathroom mirror, doing my best to remove the mask we all wear from time to time. The mask that says to the world, “I am ok. Don’t worry.” Last night or this morning, I didn’t have to remove my mask; it fell to the floor of its own volition. Perhaps it was overdue for maintenance. Whatever the case, I have to reexamine myself today, before the weekend comes. I would rather not be stuck indoors, melancholy.

Today’s exercise is to figure out what I need to work through my habitual and exhausting role as big brother/father/nurturer to people who cross my path with a sob story. A friend recently confronted me: “Oh, you like that. You like that someone needs you. You live for that.”


One thing is for sure, I have to turn off the beacon in the lighthouse, and find a safe harbor for myself. I admit that I need to be taken care of as much as I have taken care of classmates, past roommates, and co-workers. I need someone to put me first. Is that too much to ask?

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