Tuesday, February 27, 2024 20:59

Remaining Single: Apart From vs. A Part Of – The Mystery of Connection

I’ve been reflecting on all different types of relationships, as I always do, and am coming up with some interesting revelations about my ability to connect to other humans.  Hence, the title of this blog.  I wonder why it is that I feel so often more apart from others than I’m able to feel a part of with others.

I wonder if it started with my childhood.  I wonder how much of my isolation as a child came from my choices.  I have often written about the elusiveness of friendships and romances in my life.  How much of that is coming from others not wanting to be around me and how much of it is coming from my not wanting to be around others?  I realize now there were people who wanted to be friends with me, but I might not have wanted to be friends with them.  Maybe there were men who wanted to date me, but I didn’t want to date them.  This is not to say I have to like everyone or date everyone.  But as I wonder about this apart from vs. a part of paradox within me, I’m just thinking it all through.

Many times I think of myself as an extroverted introvert.  I can hit the ground running, be around people all day, plan events for groups as I have done my whole life.  And I’m smiling, shaking hands, working the room, making sure everyone has a ride, or name tag, or someone to talk to, or whatever they all need.  I’m making sure everyone is satisfied and having a good experience in these situations and I’m meeting some of my own needs because I enjoy organizing and I enjoy being in leadership roles and I enjoy having activities to do and people to enjoy them with.  But somewhere in the midst of all of this activity, I find myself hitting a wall, so to speak, and I begin to feel myself shut down and pull back from really being present in the moment, in the experience.  This is an interesting occurrence and I find it happens frequently with me, more than I realized.

Is it because I don’t feel a part of?  Is it because I hold myself back to avoid being hurt or feeling left out, or feeling different from somehow?  What is it about me that I’m not sure I want others to see?  Or is it because maybe I have a short attention span and then want to move on to something else?  Or is it because that wall I hit makes me yearn to be by myself, at home, alone, as quickly as possible?  Someone said to me recently she was told years ago the reason she’s single is because she’s not uncomfortable being alone.  I’m paraphrasing here, but that struck a chord with me.  I find that’s very true of me as well.  I enjoy my time alone.  In fact I often crave it.  I live alone in a house that I love and it’s so quiet there.  I love the quiet of my home at the end of the day.  I love being able to come back there and regroup when I hit that wall I mentioned and my introvert self needs soothing.

In the movie “Gosford Park,” Helen Mirren plays the housekeeper of a grand English mansion.  She is efficient, directive, orderly, detached, quiet, polite, marvelous in her understanding and anticipation of the needs of everyone else.  But there is this part at the end where she talks about being the perfect servant, and it is such a sad moment in the film, because basically she is talking about being invisible.  She is talking about attending to everyone else and not believing she has the right to have any needs of her own.  What happens to these people emotionally, these people who do for others but don’t necessarily have things done for them?  Do they shut off from feeling true feelings, believing their feelings won’t be valued or even acknowledged?  How do they go about getting these emotional needs met?  And what strikes me whenever I watch this film is how much the Helen Mirren character reminds me of parts of myself.  To the outside world, she is calm, contained, collected, and then at times she cries out her heartache and heartbreak in private.  What this shows me is at least acknowledges that side of herself, when she cries out her heartache and heartbreak in private..

I know there is a part of me that yearns to connect to others.  I have no problem wearing my heart on my sleeve.  I don’t hold back from displaying my feelings and am comfortable in my own skin.  I am aware and accepting of my character defects and own my part in the outcome of each situation I encounter.  I strive to be present, conscious, open, willing. And I know there is another side to me that runs deeply within me.  It’s the sad side, the lonely side, the fearful side of being alone.  Maybe that’s the paradox about apart from vs. a part of for me.  Though it’s my choice to be open about myself, there have been times when the deeper, more vulnerable side of me has been revealed, and I have felt rejection and abandonment by others because of that.

What I recognize today is I choose to be authentic, to live in my truth, to own every part of me honestly and willingly.  If there are times when I feel distant and disconnected from others, or even rejected or abandoned by others, then I explore those feelings and own the part I play in that experience.  Situations such as these are opportunities for better understanding of myself, which helps me get past the hurt feelings and come to a place of gratitude, secure in the knowledge and belief that the universe doesn’t close a door in one place without opening another one somewhere else.

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