Monday, September 8, 2014
Vulnerability, and Its Capacity for Connection:
In many ways this year–thus far–has been tumultuous. And in many ways–thus far–it was not. Nothing too overtly demanding, physically, has been present within my life, since the beginning of this evenly numbered year. And, yet, at the same time, everything in my life has changed. I have a new schedule; a new mode of living; a new way of being. I feel as if I have taken control of my life after floating through the motions of eat, sleep, love, work, and live. Now the word work has been replaced with study. I like that. And I like being the director of my own life. It's good to know that when I'm unhappy with any aspect of my life, I can, indeed–as I have always done, actually–make a change to it. But it's also good for me to realize that, most often, change takes time, and preparation. Good thing I'm incredibly patient. There is a scene–the opening scene–in the movie Death Becomes Her, in which the main character (played by Goldie Hawn) has a breakdown of sorts that's clearly been going on for some time. Her character’s sitting in a circle, in a type of self-help group, and when it’s her turn to talk, she begins by hesitantly, and slowly, saying that she’d like to talk about: Madeline Ashton–a friend of hers who ruined her, yet in some ways, she dug this self-pity hole, herself. This action elicits great sighs of ensuing disaster and grief from those in this group, those surrounding her. The movie then takes us back to a few years earlier, when Goldie's character is introducing her fiancé to her friend, Madeline, the famous movie star who goes on to steal this fiancé, which is, more or less, the story of their friendship; one friend takes all of what the other friend has, while the latter’s resentment slowly builds over the years, until she’s obese and, in the aforementioned self-help group. And so begins the movie. Now, I have not been to any self-help groups over this past year (not that I would ever be opposed to one–improvement of the self is my middle name, and this publication helps me to do just that). But I have been, obsessively-obsessing about certain aspects of my life, prior to this last week, that is, as if my life were a therapy session. It’s not that anything is wrong with my life, at all. It’s going swimmingly well, actually. And earlier this year that was the case, too. But it’s others that at times send my mind into summersaults. Overtly analyzing, what does that mean? What did I just hear? And–the killer–what do those two questions, together, mean? Impossible I thought was the answer that that last question, and indeed it’s not. Impossible, it seems, is possible; certainly in relation to one’s own thoughts. Bringing the self out into the world requires vulnerability. In order to truly connect with one another, we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable. When we are, others see us for how and who we really are. And for a some, that’s frightening. But, I’m learning, not everyone wants to connect, or will connect. And often times that’s–indeed–not because of me. This is what I'm learning. Often people will not, refuse to, or–owing to their own self-inflicted insecurity or philosophy–are not able to. It’s those who can’t connect–or, more specifically, won’t connect (for whatever reasons)–that I’ll no longer spend time attempting to connect to. One person can only expose so much of himself, before the other person on the opposite side of a relationship, must do so, too. Why waste time trying to connect with those who won't. In doing so, I'll instead connect with so many others; others who also care about walking through the world while paying attention, while simultaneously taking the time to appreciate, and leave behind, small traces of beauty. What more could one ask for?