Loosed From the Ties that Bind

When I arrived home from Los Alamos late last week, I didn’t have the energy for blogging. However, I wanted to somehow improve my blog. In the days when I was using blogger, I ran my site through a grading system and was able to raise my grade from a 23% to a 90% in five days. I was unlikely to ever score higher because I hadn’t purchased my own domain name. Yet, still, my hits were regular, if not high, and I had some repeat visitors, as well as visitors who remained for longer than a minute. Comments and followers were another story–I didn’t ever have many of those. But I wasn’t a complete failure.

For the sake of trying, I ran this site through the same grading system and received a 56%. Sadly, my low score is mainly based on on my lack of engaging content. The analysis was based on titles–mine are neither unique nor compelling–and the fact that I have 1.5 repeat visitors a month, and those non-repeat visitors stick around for less than a minute.

This struck a blow to me, the type of blow that affirms my worst suspicions–that I’m an unengaging person who doesn’t connect well with others. If I’m very passionate and excited about something–a concept, a story, whatever–nobody else will care (just for the record, I’m not blaming this on anybody. Clearly, I’ve failed to make anybody care). And in the interest of a last ditch attempt to connect with the world, I’m going to let you in on who I am emotionally. I’m going to spill it all for you right now.

At about age three, according to my mother, I ceased to be the type of person who wanted to be touched and loved by others. I don’t know what happened, but I lost my human connection. To all outward appearances, I lost the ability to be human. However, even though I didn’t feel quite human, I remember studying people around me to find a group or a tribe I could connect to, the way others did. My eyes fell time and again on the special kids, the ones who were in wheelchairs drooling or didn’t quite have muscle control or spoke in slurred syllables because they were mentally slow.

That was my group, my tribe. I couldn’t succeed academically, socially, or in sports. I suddenly felt an overwhelming compassion for these people–my people–because the other children were cruel and abusive to them, yet I knew their lack of mental acuity didn’t change their emotional perceptions. They knew when others mocked them. They knew when they didn’t fit in. I knew this because I felt the same way. I felt just as deeply as anybody because, as it turns out, I was and am human.

But somehow, I’m a human for whom the regular rules don’t apply. You can’t begin to guess how I longed to be treated as others, how I longed for anything–a nickname, maybe. Other kids had nicknames, and they played the game of pretending to despise their nicknames, but I knew they couldn’t really despise terms of endearment. Who could despise being endearing to others?

Yes, I realize I’m beginning to sound pathetic, and I don’t want you to leave in disgust or, worse, pity the poor, wee non-human human-me. As a child, God gave me the gift of loving Christian parents, which saved me a lot of pain. So let’s fast forward to the present. God also blessed me with a loving husband. I’ve come to accept physical and emotional love, even though I’m not altogether comfortable with it. Birthing children is an overtly physical process, and I’ve felt a renewed connection to the world through all four of my pregnancies.

Throughout my adult life, though, I’ve gone through cycles of attachment and detachment. And, frankly, I’m sick of it. I’m sick of feeling the need every other day to crawl into a cave where I can shut off all my overactive senses–my olfactory nerves that work a little too well, my taste buds that can pick up on trace amounts of undesirable spices in foods, my eardrums that vibrate at the slightest whisper, and my skin that crawls at caresses or touches.

Mostly, I no longer want to shut out love. I want to be human because humans forge connections with others, and that’s what I desire more than anything else. I don’t care about engaging others. I don’t care. My books, my writing may never be successful, or quite as compelling as authors who are naturals at being human. And I still don’t care. I want connection.

But how does that happen? I still don’t have a clue. Maybe you do.

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