Friday, April 23, 2010

you're the only star in the film i never made.

Today I was talking with a friend. We were discussing her current predicament in life and she mentioned to me that she thought she must be detached, emotionally removed from people. I gave this some consideration; in fact she is not emotionally disconnected. She is actually properly emotional, cries healthily, expresses genuine kindness and empathy for others, etc etc. She is a passionate person and therefore cannot be called emotionally removed, at least not by my definition. However, I did point out that she is an emotionally cautious girl. She is friendly and outgoing, even to the point of seeming committal, but deep feelings and their expression frighten and confuse her. She doesn't like them, so she doesn't go there, displays of meaningful affection included (I suppose part of this is pride also, but that could be said of everyone). While we were discussing this I realized that I am the opposite sort of person.

As it turns out, I have become pretty cautious myself. I have few relationships that I would count as important in LA, save for my suitemate's, though even that was not my personal choice and rather an emergency that sort of turned into friendship because it had to. But I digress. Few close friendships here, no one I would go out of my way to spend time with. In fact, here I have to remind myself that I really should spend time with people (that's when you realize you have a problem, when "hanging out" goes on a to-do list). I avoid it, I don't really know how to bridge the gap between acquaintance and friend anymore, and I don't want to. I go around blocking my own peripheral vision, not seeking out opportunities and even refusing the ones that come after me until they get tired of doing so. Even more, I have never had a romantic relationship in my life. I have alot of theories and opinions on that topic and whether or not I care in the end (I don't think I do, except for the sake of my pride), I don't know how to even like boys anymore. I'm either disinterested or intimidated. I stay clear of most clubs, organization, services, internships, and despite my joblust every time I get some sort of job lead I hesitate at the commitment it may require.

This is the problem. Over time I suppose I've understood that I cannot be as my friend is, which is cautious with her feelings, emotions, expressions. I am not made that way. When I love something it is with intensity. Over break, Emily and I were traveling in the car together and a Cat Stevens song came on that I hadn't heard in a while. It was so fitting for the scenery we were seeing and the feeling I was feeling, I was absolutely thrilled to hear this song. "I love this song! OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS SONG!" Said I. Emily told me to calm down and I felt like I had been punched in the nose. I can't help it, when I love I LOVE and it is vocal and physical. When I enjoy someone's company I want to be with them all of the time, when I like a shirt I will probably wear it all week. This means of expression has sort of been my undoing before-- I don't want to say I wear my heart on my sleeve, but my feelings are almost always upfront, while everyone else seems to be much better at, or at least much smarter about, playing close to the vest. When I've been very honest, both verbally and in every other form of expression, about who I am or what I feel, others have not been. This gets you used or, at the very least, makes you seem very foolish, and in the end you get the short end of the stick. It's something everyone learns at some time or another-- caution is the lesson that we must all put into practice. I think maybe once you realize that, your naivite finally fades away. It's a shame, but I suppose the earlier you figure that out the better. Opening your mouth and your heart, if done at the wrong time, will get you punched in the face.

So I figured it out. A little late, but better than never, as they say. And although I don't suppose I've ever processed it consciously until today, I learned somewhere along the way that if I simply can't curb my feelings and the way I express them, then I should just keep myself to myself, entirely. Once I do connect to someone else, it is only a (short) matter of time before my affection or desire to know that new person thoroughly will surface, so it's as if I knew to keep from reaching that point. And apparently I've been successful for three years.

This is an interesting find. I'm not sure what to do about it. Obviously it's not something that makes me happy, but certainly it's not as though I've always been a girl who has hoards of friends chasing after her only to reject them (I'm an old soul, since age eight I've rarely had patience for people my age). Still. I don't want to go through life avoiding getting to know people. Human connection is so important. However, I feel as though I've really grown into this uncomfortable, curmudgeonly role. Unfortunate. There are so many ways that we isolate ourselves. Perhaps I will make a significant effort to change that, even if it's just a little. The important thing to recognize is that reaching out would be beneficial not just for my own sake; there are so many people in the world that need someone. If there weren't, there wouldn't be volumes worth of blogs discussing it, there wouldn't be films that wallow in it, there wouldn't be The Catcher in the Rye.

Hello, Operator. Can you get me number 9?


Sonja said...

I don't know how to bridge the gap between acquaintance and friend either. And hanging out is often on my to do list too.

Your paragraph where you talked about how you're "wired" and that "opening your mouth and your heart, if done at the wrong time, will get you punched in the face" made me sad because it's so true.

I've never really thought about this the way you have - interesting thoughts.

Emily Gant McGuire said...

I think it's wonderful and beautiful that you feel things like that.
I do too, and I hope that never changes for you.
I'm so frightened by ages, and time.
I'm so frightened that one day I will be like everyone who started out as a child feeling, and loving everything, to feeling nothing, releasing all my dreams, and living my life just to make it to the next paycheck.
I've never been numb, and though I have depressive periods where I'm apathetic towards everything, it never lasts long.
I feel too much, and I like it that way. I love it that way. I cry all the time. When something excites me, moves me, hurts me, anything.
Is this something we're all chained to, to become emotionless? I don't want to live life that way.
I've always worn my heart on my sleeve, and even though it's been rocky, I never changed that part of myself, and I met the love of my life. It's who I am, and I don't think it's something I can change. I've tried before.
I do agree that you should make an effort to not be so curmudgeonly (I love this word, my mom calls my dad this all the time), but everyone does this to a certain extent. It's a form of protection, and also I don't really have time for more people in my life, and that's part of the reason I don't bridge that gap most of the time.
People I've become friends with, it just sort of naturally happened. James did too. I think when you meet someone, or the someone, if there's really a connection, a true connection, I don't think it will fade out.