Monday, September 13, 2010

Walls Walls Wall - An Answer For Bruce

When I shared about my new facination with the show Bones, Bruce commented that maybe the reason I fail to feel connected with my fellow humans was not because I was so weird. 
That I was really more connected than I thought, but the disconnect was in reality a construct of my own immaginings.  In more common terms, I am throwing up walls that prevent anyone from getting close to me and keep me from percieving the closeness that others try to give to me.

I'm no stranger to making walls.  Whether they are physical constructs on a property line or emotional barriers.  For a large part of my life I didn't leave my bed without full mental body armor, walls, centries, rampart cannons, and a moat.  I didn't let anyone close.  I didn't want anyone to know me, and I did not want to get hurt.  I was never "popular" and some of that stems from social awkwardness as a child and the fact that all the other kids knew each other outside of school, before I came on the scene. 

As a very young girl I was relatively isolated to just my family. I am the eldest of two girls.  I have one cousin who lived nearby and is in my age group, only 2 years older.  We didn't attend church while I was little, I really didn't see other kids.  Oh sure the house across the street was bursting with kids and sometimes we played a little.  I distinctly remember a couple playdates where my parents had met someone with a little girl my age and we played, one of them I even remember really being friends with, but as for reaching out and making friends, well I'd never picked a friend from across a crowded room, until kindergarten.  Even then, it was until first grade that I made a true friend. 
Forces, most likely of our own making, eventually pulled my friend and me apart and together several times over our life.  I still have fond memories of him and my first child's name includes an homage to him.  Over my childhood I never had more than a couple people I really considered friends.  I'm sure my walls and extreme lack of social confidence (combined with the humiliation of some major social flubs) were a major hinderance through all of this.

Eventually, I reached a few very vital decisions in my life.  The kinds that I really wish I'd had the confidence to make earlier in my life, but there it is.  At this point I decided the walls were a waste of mental energy.  I decided that I was simply going to be myself and consequences be damned.  I strive to present myself honestly to others.  No part of my existence is really off limits.  I'm a firm believer in sharing my experience if it could aid another.  Maybe that's why I employ more of my physical walls, locking myself in my house, my yard, my town.  

Now Bruce, even with my walls down and my life as though I live in a glass house (a very freeing for me philosophy), but be warned, I'm a nudist and you may not like what you see.  I still struggle to conect with other people.  I get very excited when I find someone I can really talk with, without simplifying my existance.  I don't use the technical speak, at least I don't consider myself to, but I do understand it.  Where we don't connect is in shared experience and overlaping word/concept associations.  

Standarized testing through the school systems (come on admit it you memorized most of the ITBS tests too and you still can recite the story about pencil lead, you know you can!) try to assure that our first level associations are all the same.  That we can relate concepts on this very basic level.  You know Apple is to Basket as Sock is to Hamper or something of that sort.  Nancy Kress in her series about genetic hybreds takes the explination to the next level.  In the last two books she highlights the importance of common word associations to facilitate quick and effecient communication.  She shows us that words are not simple pair assoicaitions as the ITBS has shown, but are rather a web of connected concepts and understanding.  It is this web that my brain jumps through, from rapid fire concept to concept.  

I often joke that of all the guys I know, I married the one whose brain associations I do not understand.  However, even with the differences in our association web of understanding we still muddle through our communication.  I state this to prove that we don't need those commonalities to form effective, enlightening, and entertaining communication.  It slows things down for sure, but it does not eliminate them.  Yet, each of us frequently is required to backtrack along our thoughts to explain associations that the other misses and to clarify in our communication.  This can get fairly verbose and occasionally the primary point may get laid aside for a while.  Sometimes though, it isn't just others who need an expanded explination for what I am talking about and how I have reached my ideas, it's me that needs the explanation, especially when it comes to the mysterious world of female humans.  

I obviously missed some fundamental girl classes as a child.  It's caused me endless confusion.  I tried attending a women's bible study a few years ago and it took me most of the time just to try to figure out what the author was talking about in her examples and explination than it did to understand the biblical concepts once I finally figured out what she was trying to get at.  Unfortunately, that particular author is one of the most common for bible studies for women because "she's so good at explaining things and women learn so easily from her", except for me.  The whole 9 weeks was a horrific experience for me and I've learned that I should avoid those classes.  I've also learned that for my health and sanity I should avoid strictly female web forums.  Yet, it's not just women I have a hard time understanding and connecting with.  Many men are equally as perplexing and difficult to build relationships with.  

Therefore, whether it's a lack of communication skills, difficulty in finding common ground, or a fundamental lack of a common experience on my behalf I frequently find myself failing to connect with others.  I find myself the outsider.  Maybe to others this is all the more connected they feel to others, yet I know something more is possible.  Maybe my perceived lack of connection is simply everyone else's norm, but I don't feel that way.  I feel distanced.  I feel myself not understanding or knowing the quick references that are vital to casual communications.  I feel as though my words are only partially understood and my ideas only grasped at the simplest of levels.  I feel my connection to others on a social level as distant and weak at best.


  1. Thank you for taking the time to expand. I still get the impression that you admit, as I stated earlier, it is your perception, rather than others' that makes you feel issolated.
    I don't think that it is a sin, or at least hope not, because I think we all do this (or maybe just you and I), to some degree. What is a sin, I believe, is to totally cut yourself off from experiencing and enjoying others at whatever level that is enriching to you both, and at least leave the door open if only a crack, to finding a common link that will allow a deeper connection. There is no guarantee that it will be reciprocatated, nor does the inability to link on all levels indicate a failure or flaw in character on either's part. If the attempt is made and the path is open then the motives are pure and then it is what it is.
    What I am trying to say is that walls are a great defense, but they keep you in as well as others out. There needs to be a door and a welcome mat or walls become a prison.


  2. I agree Bruce, which is why I've tried to eliminate my walls. In a twist, which supports my statements regarding just being too different, I have recently met a lady whom I connected with instantly. Even she is amazed at how well we connect. She told me today that it is very rare for her to find a woman that understands her like this. She's definitely one of those rare kindreds, a She-Geek.

  3. So, not so different after all just a rarity! Just as kindereds should be.



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