By the time you finish reading this, if you do indeed manage to finish, chances are you will have done at least two of the following: refreshed your twitter timeline to see if you have new followers or @ messages, glanced at your phone in hopes of receiving a text message or BBM, looked at yourself in the mirror, checked your tumblr for new followers and/or reblogs, scoured gchat, squeezed your boobs, refreshed a comment thread on something you posted, or clicked on your Facebook bookmark (you definitely have it bookmarked; stop lying) for new massages, photo comments, wall postings, etc., infinite, forever. While journalists, bonified culture critics and wise old people alike all love to mouth off about how self-absorbed our generation really is, we have news for you: we are just as self absorbed as the men and women who came before us. We simply have the luxury of technology that reinforces to us (with statistics and hard numbers) that: yes, people care about what we have to say, and, indeed we look sexy in our masterfully-posed profile pictures and, of course people are inspired by our witty commentary in 140 characters. We don’t want to be celebrities. We just want to feed our insatiable human desire to leave a legacy. To be known. To be heard. To be envied.
But feeling important should never be confused with feeling wanted.
When we feel important, much like a sip of Hennesee on the rocks or a few shots of Jack Daniels, we might notice a warm, oozy feeling swirling around throughout our insides. We may also feel a bit lightheaded, which is due to our heads growing larger with self-importance, mixed with a tingly sensation like disco balls exploding in our guts. Our confidence begins to manifest itself in ways so subtle, they’re a collective mind fuck: we walk a little differently, we part our lips when we wouldn’t before, we pause a few seconds more before answering a question, we suddenly know how to be coy without trying. This dangerously potent elixir is addictive. Feeling even a little important ignites a roaring fire we feed with constant updates. Constant checks. Constant refreshes. 4 out of 10 of us will end up on Intervention for this, and rehab will be out of the question because how the fuck are we supposed to tweet about our rehab experience if no phones or computers are allowed?
But feeling wanted, however intoxicating, feeds an altogether different monster. To want and be wanted are two of the most basic, primal sentiments. We learn to want when we are barely toddlers. We need to feel wanted even sooner. In fact, if you ever had beef with a kid in your kindergarten class who threw sand in your face and peed in your cubbyhole and couldn’t play a simple game of “I-show-you-yours-you-show-me-mine” without getting really sketchy, chances are, he or she wasn’t held as a baby. And the need to feel wanted by a significant other is just as indelible as the mom-and-dad brand of love. When you know someone else truly wants you, and not just in a “I want you soooooooo bad I’m going to fondle you under the table” kind of way, (which is also nice), you feel a certain sense of wholeness. Unlike the fleeting tingly sensations of self-importance, now you feel full. Ready to burst. You are not intoxicated; you are high. You can go a few hours, a day at most, without seeing or speaking to this person, but their presencevoicetouchlaugh is a drug you would smoke, snort, shoot up and swallow whole. You are perhaps in another part of the city or country or world, but you have a delicate thread weaving its way across miles and state borders and oceans, connecting you to someone and keeping you grounded in a really weird, inexplicable way. If you suddenly feel as if this person has stopped wanting you, the inches around you crumble like a dream sequence from Inception. You disappear from yourself. Do you exist?
Feeling important makes you an obsessive barbarian drunk on yourself. Feeling wanted makes you a human being high on someone else. Big diff. Learn your drugs.