What I Want

This is for those who ever wished upon a star.

Telling people what you want should be easy, right? Simply think about what you are lacking, put it into words in your mind, and then verbally describe your desires. Simple. Logical. Straightforward. So why is it hard for people to do?

Wants are more personal than needs. Needs are determined by what we prioritize at any given moment. We meet our needs because we try to be responsible over life’s important matters. A want comes from an inclination to be satisfied. The desire to be whole.

Is it possible to want what we already possess? Probably not with as much intensity. I am a man of deep desire and passion. I try to balance my life with discipline so as not to be carried away in my appetites. While some desire material things or the acknowledgement of others, I seek a more elusive prize. I don’t even know how to begin describing it to you.

Not often do people ask me what I want. Why would they? Everyone is so focused on meeting needs they forget that people have wants. Our society is designed to meet people’s needs. Something breaks; go to a shop to get it fixed. Someone gets sick; get them to a doctor. What happens when there are no pressing needs anymore? What do we focus on then?

No system is in place to give people what they want. That is something each of us has to strive for on our own. I’m not talking about happiness. Happiness is about feeling good and comes from trusting that things will work out. What I am talking about with want is more profound.

Ever wanted something for another? Wanting someone to live. Wanting someone to heal. To be safe. To be free. Truly, this is love. To meet the needs of others. To make them a priority.

People rarely say out loud what they truly want. It hurts to ask for what you ache for. I do my best to heal hearts. The pain I recognize in people breaks my heart. I wish they could tell me what they want so I don’t have to guess. We can’t expect to get what we long for if we don’t know how to ask for it.

To pursue what we want with patience shows maturity. Life isn’t about immediately satisfying our desires. Our wants will never cease. Life is about finding peace. If I can help one person to live, then that is enough for me. It’s enough.

Stupid Cupid

It is said all is fair in love and war. That doesn’t sound fair.

Dating and romantic relationships comprise a specific part of a person’s social life. For someone like me who is diagnosed with a behavioral disorder it is difficult enough to make friends with people let alone convince them to want to date me. I can’t speak for others, but I’m sure many people share my frustrations with the whole dating game.

As I’ve said before, having great social skills does not make people like you. Social skills just help you to not look like a fool in public. What makes people like you is your unique personality. Someone out there is looking for a person a lot like you. Dating brings people together with compatible personalities and potentially creates healthy relationships. I’m all for it. So why can’t I have one?

Inexperience

I come from a family that doesn’t express their feelings very well. If personal feelings are had in the Meldrum family, those feelings are quietly sealed away only to be allowed out during set times in a safe, risk-free environment. This background made it difficult to learn how to show or receive affection. Even feeling desired provides a challenge.

My own personal experiences of getting close to people are very few. The instances where I became openly affectionate with another lasted only a couple weeks each time. In all cases, I wasn’t the one who initiated the relationship but rather ended up in circumstances that lead to affection. I was just there at the right place and time. All I did was make it easy for people to kiss me.

I’m a little more mature now, but I still make rookie mistakes. People have gotten hurt because I didn’t know what I was doing. I wish I had a better way of learning besides trial and error.

Ineptitude

What is clear to many is confusing to me. People talk as if there are simple and intuitive rules to dating. All I see is a flawed system.

For one thing, my priorities are different from a lot of people. I want to meet people. I’m desperate for real human connection. Other people seem to prioritize finding romance. I’ve had experiences where people were hoping I was going to make some kind of move while I was just happy to have what I thought was a friend. When they eventually decide there is no romance to be had they would drop me to look for another person. In all cases, I didn’t realize this was happening until long after the fact.

So much I don’t see. Other people can look at a situation within a context of romance while I remain oblivious. Many women I know had crushes on me, but I didn’t know it at the time. I bet there are many more I am still oblivious to.

Love Conquers All

None of what I have experienced in the past has discouraged me from moving forward. I want to be in a close, personal relationship with a woman who genuinely loves me. I know that the woman I will one day marry is out there somewhere. She’s probably looking for me. I may not be talented in dating, but I am skilled in expressing love. Whoever chooses me to take their hand in love, I will not fail them.

Object of Desire

Don’t objectify me. Only my friends get to do that.

I’ve always felt people rank me lower than I deserve. Most don’t get excited to see me. They’ll compliment me on my talents and laugh at my jokes, but never make any attempt to keep me in their lives. In short, they would use me with no regard to my true worth.

The animal kingdom doesn’t worry about the worth of their fellow organisms. Concepts like honor and dignity are pointless when the only rule is to survive. An animal’s neighbor is viewed simply as either a threat, an ally, a neutral party, or food. I propose that these same relationships exist among human beings.

Threats come in the form of enemies. We naturally respond to them with fear and hate. Allies might be our friends and family whom we treat with love and respect. The neutral party is anyone we pass by in life that doesn’t have any direct bearing on our personal lives. The best we can do for them is to not get in their way.

That leaves the food. The food is anyone we treat like a piece of meat. To be consumed. To satisfy ourselves. These are the people we use up to serve our own ends. The objects of our desires.

I’ve been treated like this in many instances. Women wanting to be in a relationship with me simply to cure their own loneliness. Salesmen treating me like a friend as long as I have money to spend. Political leaders asking for my support and turning their backs to me once they don’t need me anymore. I was desired for my usefulness. I was discarded when I wouldn’t play along.

In some ways I desire to be objectified. Yesterday, my co-worker told me she thought I was cute. I told her I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth but that I wanted to know if she meant I was cute the way baby turtles are cute. She then said when she first met me she told her boyfriend that I was exactly the type of guy she finds attractive. This was a first for me. Nobody told me I was desirable without me having to ask first. It felt good to know I’m not unwanted.

Not every object goes unappreciated. I take good care of all my possessions. My favorite belongings are given a place of honor in my home. So it is with people. I cherish the ones I love. I do desire them for their usefulness, their beauty, and all other pleasant things about them. However, I never forget to honor them as equals and superiors. Sometimes I’m the object and I desperately desire someone to want to possess me. To belong to someone.

Solitary Confinement

John Donne wrote that no man is an island. If so, why can’t I see the mainland?

A group of people exists that are defined by their lack of a group; the lonely. I’m not talking about being alone or feeling lonely. Everyone can be in those groups for a time without it affecting them adversely. I’m talking about the lonely people who are socially isolated to the point where they can’t function in a group properly.

The person no one wants to play sports with won’t learn the skills necessary to play the game. The man no one wants to talk to won’t learn how to have normal conversations. The child everyone neglects to uplift won’t learn how to accept support from others. We all learn from being around other people. What hope do the lonely have?

Singled Out

Being separated from all social groups can be by choice or by circumstance. I choose to separate myself from groups that are mean-spirited, immature, or would in any way affect me negatively. And many groups exist I can’t choose for myself because I have no commonality with them. I can’t just go to a foreign country and expect them to welcome me in when I can’t speak their language and have no understanding of their culture.

Another cause for separation from social groups is due to exclusion. Some groups can consciously decide who to let in and who to block out. Not having any of the predetermined desirable traits automatically makes a person an outsider to the group. An individual can also be ousted from a group due to random occurrences. Sometimes a person is excluded simply because no one in the group remembers to treat them like a member of the group.

Fixing the Unbroken

Lonely people, like any other group, receive prejudice from the outside world. The world looks down on anything considered to be weak or undesirable. I’ve told people I am lonely before and they either respond by avoiding me or by trying to fix me. I don’t need fixing. Lonely people are not a lesser form of life. They can be just as smart, attractive, fun, funny, and nice as anyone else. The lonely simply need what anyone else needs; someone to talk to and someone to be with.

Take time to understand what the lonely man goes through. Your kind words to him may be the only nice thing he hears all week. He becomes a target for bullies because no one else will defend him. A lonely man who loses a friend often does not have other friends to turn to for comfort. Also, the lonely are often better at recognizing when someone is in need and are more sensitive to other people’s feelings.

Don’t avoid the lonely. Just because someone struggles to make friends doesn’t mean they can’t be a good friend to you.

A Many-Splendored Thing

Love is . . .

I’ve never been in a serious relationship with anyone. The few times I ever got close to someone romantically were more learning experiences than happy memories. I’m now a 31-year-old man who has never had a girlfriend and wonders how desirable he actually is to the opposite sex.

On the plus side, I belong to a large group of people; bachelors. All of us are born into this world single. No shame exists in being an individual. Getting into a relationship with someone shouldn’t have to be a stressful experience. People’s messed up expectations of love is what makes it stressful.

Practicing Perfection

Some people worry about making dating count. Others see dating as just a frivolous thing you do to pass the time. I elect to use both viewpoints. Everyone you date is practice for when you finally meet the person you want to go long-term with. Nobody knows how to make a romantic relationship work before starting their first one. You have to get good at it by trial and error. Unfortunately, someone has to receive the brunt of that failure. I feel sorry for the woman who agrees to be my first girlfriend. She will be the recipient of all my inexperience in love.

Tempting Templates

We think we know what we want. We think we know what is good for us. And so we play a game of Where’s Waldo? without realizing we can’t expect to a find a person we don’t know anything about. You don’t know what your future spouse looks like before you meet them. You can’t assume which interests you are going to have in common with this person. Don’t look for a person who fits a list you already filled out. Embrace the unknown and let other people have a chance at introducing you to new loves you couldn’t imagine for yourself. You may find a personality type you didn’t know fits you. You may learn to enjoy interests you passed up before. Realize you have yet to experience all the joys this world has to offer.

Fearing Friendship

Being a friend is a privilege. It frustrates me when people use the term “just friends” as if friendship was an inferior relationship to all others. Being in the “friend zone” should not be an insult. I refuse to be like people I know and divide all women into two groups; the ones worth dating and the rest. I feel people fail to understand what friendship truly is. I would rather make friends with everyone and decide who I wish to pursue romantically from among them. So many people have lost interest in me completely when they decided I wasn’t dating material. As if dating was all that mattered.

Learning Love

Romantic advice is meaningless. No one can claim to be an expert in love. Love is a living thing and doesn’t follow any set pattern. And it can’t be forced into existence. No one makes love a reality by saying the right words or making the right moves. It’s not about wining people over or convincing them you actually are attractive despite their first impressions.

I already love the woman I will one day marry with all my heart. She is living her life right now somewhere in the world. Everything I do is for her. I can’t afford to be bad at dating if I want to meet her.

Seeing Other People

Ask a person if they’re seeing someone and you’ll get a certain answer. Ask them if they love someone and you may get a different answer.

A symptom of Asperger syndrome can be not recognizing social cues. I refuse to believe a man diagnosed with Asperger syndrome would fail to recognize when he is loved.

Love is a fundamental human need. The lack of it is detrimental to one’s growth. However, love goes in two possible directions: what you take in and what you give away. One can be healthy in one direction and starving in another.

Growing Pains

As a child, I defined love as anything that makes you safe. Mom would comfort me when things were bad. I could get my brothers to play video games with me if I felt alone. That safety was threatened when seeds of hate were planted.

When we are hurt by people we react by either causing more pain or we try to heal that pain. It is tempting to want to spread the suffering. After all, pain can be fun. It reminds us we are still alive. Feeling anything seems a good alternative to feeling nothing.

Not getting what we want hurts. Losing what we love hurts even more. I’ve spoken many things out of anger in the past. I’ve hurt those I love with words and actions. I have even failed to heal the pain of those who love me. In response, I could potentially seek to justify my behavior. Maybe everyone else is at fault? Perhaps no one is at fault and no one needs to say anything? These thoughts provide no comfort. Instead, I choose to live in the real world. Pain is real. The only thing that truly matters is forgiveness, in both directions.

Most Wanted List

School provided no safety for me. I was judged, mocked, and attacked by my peers on many occasions. I didn’t mind it so much. Any attention on me was welcome. On the other hand, it was the fact no one would come to my defense I found heartbreaking.

We protect what we treasure. Sometimes we want two things that conflict with each other and are forced to let one go. I knew many people at school who thought well of me, but they didn’t approach me. I suppose they felt being in my company would keep them from getting what they wanted. They didn’t want to lose the high opinions of the popular crowd.

I’m not used to being wanted. You won’t find many photographs of me with friends or family because few people ever wanted to take my picture. I haven’t been to many parties because I have few people who insist on me attending them. I rarely get phone calls, visits, gifts, compliments, or talked to. Even being touched is foreign to me. Any form of kindness I receive overwhelms my heart. Believe me, this isn’t what I want.

Courting Fear

Love is more challenging to garner in adulthood. My peers aren’t very open with their emotions. Most women I know won’t regard me unless romance is involved. I’m forced to go on dates because it’s the only way available to meet new people.

Nearly everyone confuses my desire for love as a desire for a relationship. Two separate things, in my opinion. I’ve known women who fear me because they think the only thing on my mind is winning their hearts. I’ve also known women who fear me because they think I won’t accept them. Fear is supposed to keep us safe. Why should asking a gal out for ice cream be so terrifying?

Nobody should fear me. I just want to know who my friends are. I don’t dump people I learn to care for. I never stop caring about anyone. However, I can understand the fear. I’ve been dropped so many times myself.

Solace for the Soulless

I’ve met many people in my life. The encounters always seem so brief. You get asked the usual questions, hear the occasional laugh, and brace yourself for the inevitable goodbye. I long for something sweeter.

I get by with what I have. A few good friends have kept me healthy. They’ll drop by sometimes while in the neighborhood just to see my face. They’ll call me just to ask how I’m doing. They’ll share their positive feelings toward me openly. These are the most beautiful people in the world. I love them with all my heart.

Love is real. It is a living thing that grows when we nourish it and should be cared for. Even a weak love is still precious.

I can see other people desperate for connection. I know their pain. I know what it’s like to feel empty. I offer them my heart. It’s broken, but still works.

What To Expect When You Are Expecting

To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.” – Oscar Wilde

Once upon a time, I was playing video games with my older brother at his place. It had been a long while since we played together. He was working hard raising his family and moving forward in his career goals. I had the opportunity to spend the night with him at his apartment. We wanted to play some games for the sake of old times.

It’s important to note that the Meldrum brothers are very competitive in their video game playing. There are four of us and we filled each controller port on our Nintendo consoles with pure gaming skill back in the 90s. Each of us still purchases video games today and enjoys them in our free time.

My brother was having a hard time playing against me that one night I came over to visit. The game was Soul Calibur II for the Nintendo GameCube, a fighting game where you beat the snot out of each other with giant swords. I can’t remember if he won any matches in that play session. He became openly upset when I would score a slew of hits on him and he couldn’t get me back. He argued that I obviously played the game so often that I had an unfair advantage. In truth, it had been more than a year since I played that game.

I didn’t want to upset my brother. I decided to go easy on him in the next match. I chose a fighter character I never had the opportunity to practice; Yoshimitsu, the crazy samurai guy. During the match, I randomly pressed buttons in the hopes of giving him an edge. Unfortunately, I accidently activated some of the character’s special moves. Yoshimitsu suddenly hopped onto the hilt of his samurai sword and started pogoing all over the stage. My brother tried to knock me out of it but couldn’t land a hit on me as I repeatedly stabbed him from above (in the game). He didn’t believe me when I told him it was an accident.

My brother had supposed we would trade equal blows with each other. He expected his time away from playing games would not hamper his level of skill. He didn’t expect me to be overwhelmingly awesome at an activity that I love.

Reactions to Expectations

I rarely see people react positively when their expectations are not realized. My brother became upset when things didn’t go as he expected on that one night. The possibility of him enjoying his experiences was dependent on events unfolding according to a set plan. How often do we make our plans with the intention of changing them as we go along?

I love it when my expectations are exceeded. I wouldn’t read Harry Potter for the longest time because I expected it to be too childish. Looking back, I’m glad I started reading them. And when The Dark Knight came out in theaters I was blown away. I knew it was going to be good but I didn’t know it was going to be that good.

The expectations we put on life either help us to enjoy it or despise it. Keeping our expectations either high or low is the balance we must discover to make life sweet or sour according to our liking.

The Value in You

The reason we put expectations on things is because that is how we measure the value of a thing. Thing is the best word I can use. Expectation can be placed on any one thing. People, places, events, and even inanimate objects have set expectations on them.

It’s common to expect puppies to be cute. So if one puppy is cute and another is not, then we attribute higher value to the puppy that met the expectation. Sorry ugly puppy. We expected a lot more from you.

Don’t confuse expecting with wanting. Those are two different things. Let us say you scheduled two musical performances for you to attend. The first one is your kid’s piano recital. The other is a performance from a professional musician. You want the same thing from both events; a good performance. However, your level of expectation for the skill of each performer is adjusted accordingly. You love them both, but you value each of them in a different way.

From whom we expect little, we think little of. Whom we think of most is whom we make the most of. We expect our leaders to be strong, our models to be good looking, and our heroes to be amazing. We expect losers and weak people to do nothing special. It’s not wrong to feel we deserve better things in life. Just remember that the Universe does not care if things go your way or not. You have no right to the things you think are not worth fighting for.

Affections and Affectations

What are reasonable expectations? I recognize that I will not always get what I want. And I can’t get excited about life without good things to look forward to. How does one go about finding a balance?

I wonder how kings get established. Does one guy just take any group of people and expect them to honor him? And then he expects everyone to honor his kid as the next ruler and his kid after him? How does one earn loyalty?

My friends and loved ones do not owe me anything. They have done so much on my behalf that I cannot repay them. I do not expect them to do anymore for me than what they have already done. However, I wouldn’t regard them as high value if I had low expectations for them.

I expect my best friends will keep their promises to me. I expect my family will take time now and then to let me know they are thinking about me. I value them all highly because I expect the best from them. I refuse to think poorly of them.

I do expect I will be spending Friday night alone. I expect the next one after that to be the same. I would rather spend them all with people who value me. I’ve been forced to lower my expectations so I don’t react too badly to the inevitable lonely nights. I’m not offended when my friends and family don’t do what I expect. No one has to change their plans for me. On the other hand, I’ve got little to brag about right now.

What Did You Expect?

Not much is expected from a guy diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Do you expect me to be smart? Do you expect me to be capable? I don’t have much value if all that is expected of me is failure.

I’ve never had a self-esteem problem. It’s more like an esteem problem. I remember one time my brother said to me that he couldn’t visualize in his mind me as a married man. I knew what he was trying to say, but it still hurt. I don’t know if my siblings expect great things of me these days. I know that they do care about and love me. That has to suffice for now. All of us need positive support from time to time. If I don’t expect to receive that support from one place, then I will find a new place.

I’ve been working on a series of novels ever since I was six years old. I can tell when people have high expectations for me because they will ask about my story ideas. The people who desire to see me happy know that I love sharing my ideas with them. I hope that is not a surprise to anyone.

We give more of ourselves to the things we value most. The path does not seem so long when a loved one waits at the end of the journey. You would choose to spend more time with a good friend than you would an acquaintance. And you would definitely pay more money to see Taylor Swift in concert than you would to see the Wiggles. Just saying.

If I have offended anyone with my ideas, then I wish for them to feel at peace soon. If they expect me to feel guilty, then they should expect to feel disappointment.