you & me

Quest For Connection: The Call To Intimacy.

There are certain elements that define a meaningful relationship.

The bonding between two human beings, the acceptance of the other in their wholeness, playing a huge part in deepening a relationship from acquaintance to friend to deeply intimate other who knows and recognizes the whole of you.

This intimacy is forged in those moments in which one soul sees another and smiles in recognition.

In my family, we are a disconnected bunch, most having no desire nor intention to know the other in the truth of who they are. Choosing to know me is no different, as in by daring to risk accepting my heart, they would have to connect to the whole of my past and my pain. And then accept it as a part of what shapes the all of me.

In seeking to know them, I face this same risk, as I’d have to accept that as human beings they are vulnerable too, and thus must forgive their humanity. This sharing of my heart as a child was a minefield in a family where to be vulnerable meant to be eaten alive for not conforming exactly to their unreasonable expectations.

Seen but not heard, carefully controlled as to what exactly was to be our outward presentation. I’ve lived my whole life searching for connection. Believing if I could change the me others saw, they would love the me I was. But I had the whole equation backwards.

To truly connect, I had to take the me exactly as I am, my super-sensitive, over-talkative, wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve-for-the-whole-world-to-see self, and offer it exactly as it is. Knowing my world could take it or leave it. And it was largely left.

But for those few in my life who chose to see the inherent beauty in my offering, a connection was made — a powerfully deep one. When I connect with another, I offer everything I am and have, in the depth of this bond.

When I was a child, my family connected through false means. Joint ideals, beliefs, niceties that we wore as the face of a family with strong connections to self and society. We were seen as a good family, bright kids, churchgoers, involved parents and helpful neighbors.

We were connected through image and outward appearance, but disparate in our empty hearts, all unsure why we walked through the world alone yet surrounded by many. Our armored hearts firmly taught to deflect each other’s attempts at connection because rejection was soon to follow the next time we failed to make the grade.

And thus I learned to live in solitude, while my heart shriveled and died in pain.

And now today I have no idea how to offer myself in the wholeness of my imperfection, because to do so in the face of another’s rejection taps into an ocean of emptiness. So I walk on the surface and smile vacantly in the face of my family, who smile back in return.

Carrying around the very pieces by which a connection might be forged as though unacceptable, messy, unwanted, and unclean. Exactly as I see myself. Yet as my world expands a crack at a time, I’m discovering that those who find beauty in the hidden within me create soul connections that reflect back the best in the both of us.

A gorgeous thing to observe. This fragile connection that grows from vulnerability shared. How sad that this opportunity to mine the treasure of each other’s uniqueness our family discarded. The process of observing another’s heart. To join in this greatest of human connections called kin. What a beautiful work of art we could have created.

So I create my art elsewhere. Painting connection with brush or pen and the laughter of others who don’t share my name. And this somewhat fills an empty heart. Though the family-sized well that is left in my soul still runs dry. A fact I must make peace with, or at least come to accept in its razor-hot stinging.

I was taught that relationship is built on connecting two souls in the non-judgment of their entire being — a lesson not learned in childhood. Understanding brings awareness of why in the midst of whole family I often feel separate and alone. Ships passing in the sea while still jointly harbored in plain view.

We know not each other’s hearts, and find safety in this not knowing. So I must search for connection elsewhere, and rest in the assertion that family by blood is just one form of kin. Family bred of connection, true sisterhood’s bond, the goal of this search to myself.

***

ChameleonChildChameleon Child is a woman who has just begun to use pen and ink to emerge from the shadows of an oppressive past. Her words are the lamp by which she lights the path of a larger life. She enjoys watercolor painting, pencil crayons and coloring books, mystery thrillers and the company of those who make her laugh. Her loves? Two four-legged felines and a niece who is the light that shines her way. Her mentors — one whose wisdom offers its tools, another who carries her heart — the reflections of her truth, and the ones who guide her healing.

***

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