‘Knead the knead the knead the – wait, I’ve been kneading this breaddough for an eternity – where are the needs? I know they’re in there somewhere but I can’t find them…’ ‘They must be in there somewhere’ ‘You have to wait for them to RISE’ ‘Yes, RISE!’ ‘Only if you added them in the first place, only THEN will they rise!’ ‘-NO, that’s where you’re wrong! They were not added! They were just there in the first place – they were already there! It depends on what kind of dough-environment they’re in and what other types of doughs are around as to which needs might appear – but they are certainly not added! They are no decoration!’ ‘Oh, I see…’ ‘WHERE?!’ ‘No, I meant, I understand, I don’t see the needs anywhere…but I feel like they’re in there somewhere, waiting, wanting to rise…’ ‘…but, surely the more we knead, the more the needs become present?’ ‘YES, that’s the POINT – and then the more likely it is that they’ll RISE!’ ‘-but, no, I mean, surely, the more we need, the more the needs become other needs and the more the needs make friends with the other needs until before we know it the great big doughball we are kneading is one great big ball of NEED, 100% NEED, even before rising – and before we know it, we LOVE the need, we NEED the need, we are addicted to kneading the need and creating more need and being more needy of the kneaded need, and what if it continues to grow and grow and grow the more we knead and knead and need and need and knead the kneaded need, and what if it eventually consumes all space around us and crushes us and consumes us too and then there would be no us to knead the need and they’d get needier and needier and less kneaded yet more needed and then -‘
‘QUIET!’, screams Maible, silencing the mindcave.
…………….a sudden few moments of silence-fizz……………until –
Tiny voice, jokingly: ‘Maible you’re such a hypocrite, that was really loud’ *many sugarclown-giggles into the distance*… Maible tries to look crosser, but even grumpy Maible can’t remain unamused at the laughter of the sugarclowns.
A lot of the time, making people aware of personal needs is difficult because of not wanting to be misinterpreted or misjudged. It’s often hard to know the right way of verbalising needs because of the anxiety around asking for something, as well of the exposure anxiety of seeming needing of ‘special treatment’/adjustments when I usually would push my boundaries past their limits before even thinking about asking for adjustments, by which point it seems pointless to ask and I’m not saying that this is necessarily a good thing… though there have been certain times where I have self-compromised with my difficulties because sometimes asking for adjustments can make a situation worse than it had to be due to the unpredictability of what might change – with a ‘what if I preferred it before the adjustment and can’t figure out how to ask to switch back’ kind of thing so sometimes I would have had a better time self-coping. There’s also the issue of feeling like I would be ‘unnecessarily making a big deal’ out of something small, which is an unfortunate anxiety-effect learned from society. Of course, my personal choices to disclose or not to disclose any of my ‘issues’ are my personal choices, and I wouldn’t want anybody else to feel like they are making a ‘big deal’ out of anything if they choose to disclose theirs – after all, we must be aware of our own personal needs and limitations; we never truly know what someone is experiencing internally and we ought to respect them when they do verbalise their needs – it can sometimes be a brave thing to learn to do. As well as the issue of not knowing how to put needs into words, especially when being anxious about approaching someone, there’s also often the issue of firstly not knowing exactly what these needs are in the particular environment, if that environment or situation is new, and secondly, not knowing what adjustments are even possible, particularly when it’s always so unpredictable and transformable. Recently, for example, I had an anxiety attack just before leaving for work, then a post-anxiety migraine headache at work, and then eventually a minor injury – none of these things were predictable – and it’s thought-things like ‘I need to tell someone about the injury but I don’t want to draw attention to myself but walking around pretending it’s not really hurting is likely going to make it worse and I need it to get better as SOON AS POSSIBLE because I NEED to go running to fix my anxiety/mood-switch-brain – but I don’t want people to know how much it hurts and I want to put ice on it and carry on working because my brain is now quite alert from the adrenaline but I don’t want to ask for an ice pack and I don’t want to have to have a stranger look at my leg in a warehouse full of people and basically, I need to go home so I can deal with it myself, not move for a bit and be able to run again in a few days without causing further damage – but – wait… asking to go home requires talking to someone, and I have to give the reason, meaning needing to choose words, and… oh… maybe it’s easier to just keep quiet, pretend everything is fine and keep walking around for the rest of the shift, even if it makes me further injured and in further pain’. (Thankfully, I had people with me to do most of the speaking for me while I stood there trying not to giggle, and it probably looked like I was making a bigger deal out of it than it was which is ironic as that’s exactly what I was trying NOT to do – but in those situations when a new need appears it can be really difficult to ask an unrehearsed request).
‘I am small, I am small’ – smallgoblin-dollchild lies on the floor of the hidden cupboard within, the door wide open, trying to eat a tiny pink pudding with a happy plastic spoon. Maible, who is busy scribbling, smirks mockingly for a moment, feeling superior…’This doll-child will forever be small’, she mutters to herself… ‘Pudding on the ceiling, pudding on the floor!’, sings the doll-child, then giggles. Splash splash splash, pudding here, pudding there…a small droplet of pudding slow-motion flies in the air, predictably landing just moments into Maible’s space-circle – uhoh – Maible suddenly turns deep purple and fizzes with rage, immediately unhappy with the personal space invasion – and it seems too late to rewind the trigger-sparks – ‘GET UP OFF THE FLOOR! GET UP!’, she yells. ‘People will think you’re forever-small! Don’t you want to learn to do things properly? Won’t you at least pretend? Don’t you understand? Don’t you understand that you’re not supposed to not understand? NOBODY ELSE IN HERE IS THROWING PUDDING ON THE CEILING PUDDING ON THE FLOOR!’ *cue RollerDino, blank-expressioned silently and speed-motion whizzing through the mindcave throwing imaginary pudding on the ceiling and floor and disappearing into a cloud of magic essence* – a moment of confused silence. Zoom into the floor. ‘I’m sorry,’ sighs Maible, ‘but I’m tired and just wish….I just wish you would go and throw your pudding elsewhere right now! ’ The pudding-pieces frown but stay put, sad-pudding on the ceiling, sad-pudding on the floor. ’…But… but where else am I supposed to…go?’, asks the doll-child, jelly-tears emerging and growing. Maible is still angry…although now she’s also angry at her anger, and angry at being angry at her anger – but is also very very very sleepy. She gently collapses into a facedown flump of fizzy, realising that there isn’t anywhere FOR the goblin-dollchild to go – at least, not yet… and if she is suddenly removed too quickly by some sort of outer-force, there will still be pudding on the ceilings, pudding on the walls, all singing and smiling in the voice of the doll-child… she must find her way out herself one future day, taking her pudding with her…though of course, memory-scents always remain. Maible crawls out of the cupboard-room, closing the door behind her, sitting firmly against the door to keep it closed. The key turns locked – but the dollchild is still awake, softly murmuring, her singing inaudible to the outer-world beyond the mindcave.
I happen to be someone who pushes my needs past their boundaries and beyond and past new boundaries and beyond those too, which although hasn’t always been a bad thing, has definitely not always been a good thing either – so I’m still learning to find the balance between pushing boundaries and knowing where to be okay about not pushing myself further or making things more difficult. Thinking about it now, I don’t think I want to lose that risk-taking, boundary-pushing part of my personality because although I end up in some absolutely ridiculous situations, there are so many things that I would never have learned or tried or evolved through if I didn’t struggle through. Of course some would argue that health is more valuable than pushing boundaries to extremes; although I agree in parts, I have learned in this life that these brain things are always going to affect me in some way for as long as I have a brain – yes it’s important to keep becoming more aware of what might be extremely triggering or to notice when things might be going too far, but to erase the boundary-pushing completely would also limit the rewards I receive and that, to me, can be just as valuable as protecting myself would be – particularly because the resulting situations I end up in are things that I never would have thought possible. I don’t want to make seemingly impossible things more impossible by re-enforcing ‘can’t’ (‘Don’t be a can’t; be a can’ – DylanQ 2017), yet I want to also be able to confidently accept that sometimes the answer ‘I can’t’ is valid for the moment in time that it is said in, and is somethings a thoughtful ‘I have carefully chosen not to’ (not at all to be mistaken for ‘I can but I have chosen not to’ in a lazy or selfish way at all). I think it’s more beneficial to try to see ‘cant’s’ as temporary, rather than solid definite opaque walls – or to at least hope that they are – though I realise this is more complex in some sensitive situations, in which case some deciphering and re-translating will need to occur to divert the focus around the particular ‘can’t’ that emerges.
Pushing boundaries is great, but stepping back can be just as great and rewarding as achieving something through struggling, and can still be an achievement, and is certainly not unproductive like it sometimes disguises itself as being. I don’t want to over-pressurise myself when I am really needing of rest and self-care, and I think that this thought-process swerves and fluctuates depending on my mind-state as some days I would say that I would rather have experienced the struggle to discover the extra treasure than to never know the treasure-gems and to have had it easier…and then on difficult days I might feel like it’s better to not go through the things I go through and I’d never know about the treasure-gems but perhaps I’d be more consistently happier and healthier…or maybe I’d just be more bored, less skilled/knowledgable and still suffering… or maybe there’s a middle-balance where further awareness of the self can help me to utilise my boundary-pushing in a safe space, enabling me to minimise the unnecessary learned guilt that I get from giving myself the rest that I deserve, even when it is way past the point where I deserved it – and to protect myself from the harm that happens when things go too far. Afterall, once rested I may achieve things that could have been missed through the struggle for other achievement, so it’s a choice between achievement or achievement – it’s pointless and energy-draining feeling guilty about having to pause or step back; it’s more beneficial to make a decision and use the energy-space in a positive, self-supportive way.