Do you know what you want?
I am learning that, while I am pretty good at knowing what I'm trying to do, I am not too good at listening to what I actually want. Because it turns out the two things are not always the same.
The urge to please others can be really powerful. Meeting other people's needs can form a wall against discord, or build up insulation from scrutiny. But when you are chasing approval, or validation, from others, you rarely come out ahead.
It might feel scary to stop rushing around and allow yourself the space to hear what it is that you actually want. Because what if those wants contain truths that are hard to face? What if those wants tell you to strive for something great, to seek a vastly different path, to make radical changes in your life?
But I think it's worth it to face your fears, stop, and listen. I think there is more to be gained than lost if you set aside everyone else's needs just for long enough to think about what you want.
That doesn't mean letting your id take over, and doing whatever you please with no regard for the consequences. That doesn't mean trampling all over the needs and desires of those around you. It just means giving yourself a place at the table with everyone else — saying that your needs are just as important as anyone else's.
I got to thinking about all this afresh after reading the condensed version of an epic Metafilter thread about emotional labor. (If you haven't read it, make yourself a pot of coffee and get comfortable. It's worth it.) And I think that, especially when our needs center on the sorts of ephemeral things that emotional labor focuses on, it's particularly hard to articulate and advocate for them. It feels plain silly to say, "I really need you to call your mother back." Somehow that doesn't seem as concrete as, "The car needs an oil change" or "Will you help me move this couch?" But it is work, it does matter, and we benefit from being able to speak openly and think clearly about it.
I got this floppy hat and crazy fluffy scarf at clothing swap my friend and I put together, and I'm in love with both of them. I am excited to try styling this hat with a midcentury-influenced look, a la Nora Finds. But my first thought was a pure 70s, "Almost Famous" vibe:
Hat, scarf: Swapped
Top: Free from clothing giveaway
Leggings, boots: Thrifted
Total cost to me: About $2