Missed Connections of the Non-Craigslist Kind
Can I Find the Courage to (Re-)Connect?
Courage to connect? I’m a coward. I am now living my fifty-ninth year of life. Even with the Internet, Facebook, e-mail, and snail mail, I could make a long list of missed connections, and I don’t mean the Craigslist kind. As we age, must our social circles always shrink? I feel the limits of time, the limits of responsibilities, the limits of work and pleasure. Time left over, that nebulous thing called free time, I tend to spend in the circle that emanates toward those with whom I share biology—my children, my grandchildren, my sisters, and their families.
Biology circles, however, have limits. In my biological circles, I share similar cells, DNA, and heredity I embrace as well as heredity I do my best to avoid. Family is foremost, but it isn’t always first in many life experiences. Other connections once existed in abundance for me. I miss those connections. In my teen years, I stayed as far away from my biology as I could. Friends and their families provided me a refuge, because the term dysfunction does not do justice to any definition of what awaited me in that place I lived; it cannot be called home. A living horror, an alcohol-soaked, violence-laden existence was prevalent there. If biology was destiny, I was having none of it.
As an adult, I have managed to escape much of that biological destiny. The scourge of alcoholism and drug addiction are not a part of my life, nor that of my children. I can attribute that to self-determination—alcohol and drugs would not define me, would not be my life. Self-determination aside, during my teen years, I had friends who afforded me a glimpse into what life could be like when I visited their homes and even lived in some of those homes for months at a time. Those glimpses, each one a hiatus from hell, provided me a respite from the dirty biology I faced when I opened the door to a broken house, a broken home, the place myself and my siblings went when there was no place else to go.
I am grateful, infinitely grateful, for that respite, for those times of laughter, love, safety. But I have lost those connections. Time and distance and fear, yes fear, keep me disconnected. I am marked by the days of hell on Date Palm Drive. I fight them, but I’ve been left with a lack of sense of home, a sense of place. I am afraid. I never felt good enough, and I still do not. And it’s not the fault of those with whom I’ve lost connection. They never made me feel less than, not good enough. It’s me. It’s as if I’m afraid I haven’t transcended those awful times, that even the glimpses of normalcy I gained and since achieved were never enough, are not now enough. I’m afraid that someone will think, “You know, she really hasn’t come that far from Date Palm Drive.”
My fear cripples me in many ways socially. Biology is easy. Family is coming… I’m comfortable. I’m free. They know the past. They accept me. But my dis-connection with those outside my family circle hurts people. I imagine they wonder what they’ve done… nothing. I am pained over the connections I have clipped—those I have kept clipped because of my misgivings about myself. It’s time to stop. Even writing this… today’s prompt… is difficult because I have to be honest. I’ve hurt people. I hurt myself. It’s time to widen the circle, to transcend the limits of biology. Friends are part of my destiny as well.
Today, June 22, 2011, this blog post on the “Courage to Connect” is part of participating in the #Trust30 30-day writing challenge from ralphwaldoemerson.me. The prompt for June 22, 2011 can be found here: http://ralphwaldoemerson.me/david-spinks