As is our usual practice, we opened last week’s circle with a poem — “What We Want” by Linda Pastan. In the course of discussion, each woman offered her interpretation of the poem’s meaning. These comments included such diverse comments as: ‘you either get stronger or run away from situations;’ ‘I tend to go for it all, whether or not I need or want it;’ ‘need is more simple than want;’ and ‘just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.’ As you can imagine, the writing that followed was equally diverse — and intense! The prompt that led to the following writing was to respond to the poem’s opening line.
This is what one of the women in the circle wrote that night:
What we want is never simple.
We have worked so hard for it, though.
It seems like what we wanted was far away.
Always grasping, reaching for it.
It made me so stressed out at times.
It distracted me from life as I kept desiring that which I wanted.
At first, I was excited about it.
Then it seemed to turn into a job itself in order to attain it.
Yet, I still wanted it no matter what.
Every day that went by, it made me want it more and more.
What was going on around here?
I became a former image of myself.
Consumed by what I wanted.
I forgot everything that I needed.
What I wanted was the most important thing to me.
I had to obtain it or I would go insane!
I said to myself, just let me have one more day.
That’s all I need was one last time to hold it in my hands.
One last time to make me feel numb and happy all at once.
One last time to cherish it and for it to satisfy me.
After that last time, I still wanted to have it.
But, what we want is never that simple.
What we need always seems to be waiting, right around the corner.