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“So tell me what you want, what you really, really want
I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want”
Wannabe, Spice Girls

“I want” can be one of the hardest declarations. What do you want? Like really (really) want? I’m not talking about wanting a new gadget or object. I’m talking about asking and living into the deep question: Who am I and what do I want?

It can be difficult to think about what we truly want, because our longings are often deeply hidden, even to ourselves. They are also clouded by what we think we shouldwant, or what other people want for us.

It can be equally uncomfortable when you do know what you want, and you’re not claiming it or going for it. This is especially true when that desire is linked to ambition – wanting to be known, and seen, and heard – and achieve crazy amazing things! This is stuff with a lot of charge around it – especially for women. It’s deeply linked to self worth. We rationalise it this way; “I should be grateful for what I already have.”

I’ve been feeling some of this myself lately, so I’m personally digging into the question of what do I really want?  It takes creating space to feel into it, and courage to see what answers dwell behind the rationalisations and daily activity.

And this is confronting. If we truly faced what it is we wanted, what does that mean about the life we already have? Would we need to give something up? Already it’s feeling unsafe. Which is why asking the question what do I want feels so risky.

I noticed I was getting all deep and significant about it. Then I remembered being four years old, and knowing what I wanted, and going for it without hesitation. It’s a small story, but for me it captures this essence of claiming wanting without apology.

At my kindergarten, when kids had their birthday, they got to dress up like a king or a queen in these gorgeous velvet robes, wear a golden crown, sit on a throne, and eat cake! I longed to wear that red velvet cape and sit on that throne, but mostly I wanted to have fun and be special and get attention! (Don’t judge! I was one of five children at that time – and soon to be one of seven!)  Each week there was always some lucky kid, and for me, with a birthday in October, I felt my turn would never come.

One day I came to school and just announced that today was my birthday! My teacher (Miss Cakebread – yes, that was her actual name!), was surprised but swung into gear. Out came the robe (ah, so soft and velevty,) and the crown and the throne! Cake was rustled up. I loved it all! I totally got into it and had the very best time! When my mum came to pick me up, Miss Cakebread discovered that it wasn’t my actual birthday. Uh Oh! Miss Cakebread was so cross with me, letting me know that when my actual birthday came round there would be no party for me. But I didn’t care. I’d had my perfect day. I already had what I wanted.

Clearly as adults we shouldn’t trick others to get what we want. But I reckon our inner four year old has a lot to teach us about knowing what we want, and going for it without hesitation – be that playing, singing, dancing or being queen for a day.
But we do need to first know what we want. If I were queen for a day, one of the things I would grant is a moment of grace to allow us to feel what we truly want, without judgement. Within our wants is the kernel for why we are alive right now, and how we are called to live and serve. Delving into and finding what you really want is not selfish. It’s necessary!
“So tell me what you want, what you really, really want
I wanna really, really, really wanna zigazig ah!”
Wannabe, Spice Girls
Come find your ‘zigazig ah’ with me!