Thoughts on the privilege of “higher” needs.

What a wild time to be alive! I just opened my last jar of Raconnto Marinara, which is my absolute favorite, for the meatballs I’ve meticulously been working on for the past hour. In to the slow cooker they go with the marinara that I realized I have no idea when I’ll be able to purchase it again. I’m certain that just like you, your grocery store shelves are empty.

Poor me.

(Before we move forward, don’t judge me for only making the meatballs homemade and not the marinara. I’m a Texan and a Scot. I only truly know meat. If you’re Italian and come out of the pandemic unscathed, you’re invited to my house to teach me how.)

But back to my present-day marinara issue. Oh sure, I wish I had hoarded it and planned better if I knew that would be the last of it for a while, but above all else, I am left with one overwhelming emotion. Gratitude. I’m just so grateful I was able to buy that one jar of marinara. I know, I’m going overboard with the emotional marinara, but let me explain.

Have you ever heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Simplypsychology.org defines it as a “motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid.”

maslow’s hierarchy of needs

You won’t move up the pyramid until each level is fulfilled. For example, if you are starving to death and can’t access the basic human need for food, then the last thing you are worried about is self-expression and concerns over living your best life. Your best life at that moment is a Big-Mac.

There was a time I didn’t have safety. I didn’t have shelter. I didn’t have food. There’s a moment in my life that stands out dramatically to me even to this day. Finding safety and shelter became my first priority. I finally went to a battered women’s shelter. After I completed my intake, a woman accompanied me to a locked pantry in which I was allowed to go into and choose several different items of food. She gave me some of those Banquet frozen dinners. You know the ones that are $.88 cents at most grocery stores.

She handed them to me and I cried. I’ve never been so happy to see an 88 cent meal in my entire life. Suddenly, I had safety, shelter, and food. And I was grateful. That’s one of the best meals I’ve ever had because it came with a big heaping side of freedom.

I’ve never taken anything for granted since.

Now as I celebrate ten years free of abuse, almost to the exact day, I am reminded once again of how blessed I am. I want for nothing. Even in the middle of a pandemic. My normal life is lived at the top of the pyramid. How cool is that?

Right now, I have all those first-level needs but I also have ALL the others. I have love, friends, freedom, esteem, and I can spend my days trying to be the most I can be. I learned through my trials that one of my greatest strengths is being resourceful AF. I think that’s why even though yes, I’m a little worried like all of us. I’m not THAT worried. I am blessed beyond measure and I’m concentrating only on the things I can control.

Oh sure, I no longer have any more marinara but damn I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to climb the pyramid and that now the top level is my norm and that my greatest concern is being the most I can be, live the creative life and serve that purpose.

Thank you, God, for saving me. Thank you for all the people you sent to help me. (You all know who you are! Ten years! Can you believe it?)

God, please extend your grace to us all and allow us to live at the top.