What we desire–that which drives us–is intricately woven within a tapestry, threaded by our interpretation of our parents’ desire for (or of) us.
I will use my personal desire for a continuously growing audience and steady stream of viral TikTok videos as an example.
I am telling myself I desire a particular outcome on TikTok–views, follows, and consistent overall growth, but when my videos were incurring their height of virility, my compulsive checking, too, was at its height. One viral video wasn’t enough. Two viral videos weren’t enough. Nor 3, nor 4. 16,000 followers weren’t enough. 20,000 followers weren’t enough. 30,000 followers, still, are not enough.
There is something hidden to me beneath my obsessions with my performance statistics–beneath my compulsive checking. How is this behavior related to my interpretation of my folks’ demand for my life?
When I was a teen, my parents wanted me working. They didn’t simply want me at work to pay for my own expenses, although that was part of it. They wanted me working at a job that kept me away from the house and slowly dying on the inside for many many hours a week–even when I did not need the extent of the funds such a job afforded me. My interpretation is that both my parents came from working class families. Both my parents slaved away at jobs they hated. Thus, the same was expected of me.
One semester I secured a job as a tutor making a significant hourly rate. This meant I did not need to work as frequently. My mom despised me for it. She constantly berated me to my father because I wasn’t working, in spite of the fact that she didn’t have to provide any financial support to me.
This translates to my current feelings of invalidation because of the fact that I do not work a traditional job. (Hell, I technically don’t work a job at all because I get paid next to nothing to do all the creative/analytical shit that I do).
To be fair, I do manage a Patreon account, and I actually make about $20 a month, and I am ever grateful to the 5 individuals that see my work as worthy of contribution.
Nevertheless, I feel invalid, still. Thus, I look for ways to justify and validate all the hours I spend on my blog and video and creative writing content. I tell myself the stats will compensate for the lack of financial recompense. (Thank you capitalism!)
Defiantly, I determine to prove to the Other (which, who am I kidding? is Myself!) that it isn’t necessary for me to work a dead end job that I hate because the numbers–the statistics–prove my worth as a creator. I also tell myself that since I will never be able to do the sort of work demanded of me (via my interpretation of my parents’ desire) because I am neurodiverse, if I can amass the numbers, this will compensate for my failure to meet the demand.
If I cannot meet the fundamental demand, then I must create a new demand I can meet. Then, when I meet it, I will feel satisfied. (Not!)
This, in Lacanian psychoanalysis, is referred to as the fundamental fantasy because it is the basis for drive. I am compelled to destructive behavior–self sabotage–because I believe this lie that I can somehow meet the demand (I inferred) of my parents in order to satisfy their desires.
This is an illusion because desire has no object. No matter what I do in life, I will never satisfy my parents because by nature, we humans are insatiable.
Desire has no object.
Desire is but drive.