OT: Revisiting an old friend
Who remembers the cartoon character “Ziggy”? The short, bald, pants-less, lovable loser with mournful yet humorous outlooks on life?
Ziggy was around for about 40 years, so he had a lot of mileage in the comic world. Reading him in my most depressed years, I related to him often. Of the hundreds of panels I read, one stands out in my memory. I tried to find it online but could not, so I’ll describe it. It was very simple, one of his “observation” cartoons where he’s just standing there and talking to the reader. In this one, he was saying:
“Maybe people who need people really aren’t the luckiest people in the world.”
(For those too young to know the reference, it’s a play on an old Barbra Streisand song, with the lyric “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”)
Today, I am revisiting that sentiment.
I like to think of myself as a fairly strong person, self-sufficient, independent. I love many, and some love me. Love is a good thing. In my darkest days, I used to believe that I’d be safest if I kept myself reserved and apart from others, because to love was to be wounded. The lyric from Simon & Garfunkel’s “I Am A Rock” spoke to me: “If I never loved, I never would have cried.”
I accept love in my life now. But what I still can’t stand is my neediness.
I don’t like needing others. Loving and enjoying people is one thing; life is rather colorless without that, and it feeds my soul in ways I never dreamed imaginable. But as soon as I start to need, then I am in trouble. Then I lay myself bare for hurt, for pain, for insecurity, for loss.
Neediness strips away my armor, my layers of protection, and leaves me tender and vulnerable. Neediness reduces me from a strong woman to a gullible little kid, desperate and hungry and willing to believe anything I hear. I become ridiculously hypersensitive and weepy, craving attention like a spoiled child.
If I need someone, they can let me down and hurt me. If I rely on someone else other than myself, they will let me down. Not because they are bad people, but it’s simply human nature. No matter what the songs, the poems and the romance novels say, no human being can always be there for another. Even those who love us most will hurt us sometime. And the haters will smell vulnerability and weakness and swoop in like vultures.
When I get into a needy place, then I’m focused outward. This is lethal for a depressive like me. Because then I am giving others power over my serenity, my happiness and peace of mind. When I’m feeling needy, rather than look to someone else to fill up that gaping hole, I must fill it for myself, from within, from my own strength. As long as I am outwardly focused, I will render myself powerless and vulnerable to disappointment and hurt, which then starts the downward spiral into depression for me. Not good.
Powerless over people, places and things. The only thing I can change is myself, and the way I deal with things.
For today, I am going to remove the outward focus and the neediness, and bolster myself from within. Today, I will nurture my inner Ziggy and be kind to me. No, I’m not a loser like he was. But there will always be a part of me who relates to that little guy.