Remember when I said we all live in our own little universes? Each and everyone in a bubble, hardly ever touching another, passing by most of them?
I meant it. Still do.
But there’s something else that holds just as true. We’re all connected.
Living each in our own universes doesn’t mean we’re disconnected from one another. I am not, however, talking about the touch of a hand or eyes connecting across a room. It’s not about the physical connection, which we tend to only choose to engage in with very, very few people.
No, there’s something that goes much deeper than that.
We’re all made of the same stuff. The same atoms that were born in the Big Bang. They may have gone through different molecules in the mean time, but they’re still the same atoms that came into being in the seconds and minutes after the Big Bang. I’m not shitting you, read it up.
We are, and this may shock you, all the same. The package doesn’t matter; neither does your ideology or life style, religion or your favourite colour. If you decided to colour your skin green and purple your hair, implanting little horns on the top of your skull, we would still be the same, you and I, still and ultimately human.
That is what connects us. That is where empathy is born. You know what it feels like to be sad. So do I. You know joy and happiness; at least I hope you do. And so do I.
You may not know what my sadness feels like to me, but you know what yours feels to you and because this is how we evolved, we’re able to recognize it in one another and offer consolation, bridge the gap between our bubbles and reach out to let each other know that maybe we’re not always as alone as we sometimes feel.
That is a long sentence; you may need to read it again.
Here I am reaching out to you. This how I feel. I dare to show you and make myself vulnerable, because I cannot help myself. I must write. This is how I communicate with the rest of the world. Take it or leave it. That at least is your decision. But it is there.
And you can throw it back at me or reject it, which is your prerogative. That won’t make me stop.
Amanda Palmer spoke in her talk about writers not being very social. It’s true; we’re a fairly unsocial bunch, not necessarily anti-social, mind you. I can pretend to engage and be social, but only so much for so long. I don’t mind solitude and in case you wonder, the person I will grow old with, has to be very understanding of this. If ever I meet her, I shall be the lucky one, though.
Yet, and this is the irony, we’re driven to try and connect via our writing. I’m sitting in my room writing these words reaching out to the entire internet, if you will. I’m reaching out to each and every one of you.
I have no desire to meet you in person. I don’t want to be friends with you. Maybe some of you would make great friends, maybe others of you are already my friends, but most of you… nope.
I will never apologize for saying what I think. Maybe that is unsocial as well, but if you’ve never shared this sentiment then there must be something wrong with you. Or you’re a liar. Nobody is so inherently good that they never had a “mean” thought. It doesn’t matter how fleeting a thought it might have been, it was there.
I applaud you, if you were able to shush it up and move on. If that makes you a better person is something I can’t judge. I for one don’t fancy stomach ulcers, premature grey hair or grinding my teeth in my sleep because I’m afraid of speaking my mind.
There was a time, when I was a child, when I rather burst into tears than speaking up. It aggravated my mother to no end and she pushed me towards opening my mouth and saying something. It took a while and at some point I was pretty exasperated with myself. To this day I couldn’t tell you why I behaved that way.
My Mom can be quite intimidating, but I don’t think I was afraid of her. I’m not sure if I did it to protect myself or not hurt her feelings. Eventually I let go of my anguish and yelled at her when we argued.
I opened myself up to whatever was going to happen, reached across the gap and started to communicate. It changed me. It was part of her raising me and my brother to the independent people we are today.
I am grateful.
If I had never managed to cross that first bridge, which seemed so insurmountable for such a long time, I don’t know what would’ve become of me, what person I would’ve grown up to be. I’m glad I’m here and not there.
We have to bridge a lot of gaps in our lives. Often more than we would like. We have to connect to one another or forever be lost in our own little worlds. It’s a conscious choice every time. Always an effort.
Every time I press “publish” to post another blog, it is just as much of an effort. The gap I’m trying to bridge is huge and extends into multiple dimensions. It’s a leap of faith every single time. But I couldn’t tell you, if I’m putting my faith in myself or in you. Maybe a bit of both.
I won’t ask you to be kind or gentle with me. Be honest.
I will be.