Thursday, 29 December 2011

Strength and independence: compatible with intimacy?

When I miss someone, whether it's my partner, my dog, or a particular family member, I tend to berate myself afterwards for not being " strong and independent enough". Apparently, somewhere in my "I must be a strong and independent feminist woman" socialization, it got coded into my brain that having emotions associated with missing somebody makes me WEAK. 

It's like I feel like my humanity needs to be suppressed so I won't be "weak". MUST BE LIKE SELF-SUFFICIENT AUTOMATON!!!!! But let's look at the analogy a little deeper...

Even computers are more useful and powerful when networked together. (I cite as proof the distributed analysis of extraterrestrial signals a la the SETI program.) not to mention that being hooked into the net provides a wealth of information not otherwise available. 

And it's sort of funny, the fact that one of the things that I consider myself very good at is networking: I once asked a group of people that if they needed access to something (lets call it, oregano), who they would call if they needed a hook up. Most of them said me, even though I do not smoke, I mean, cook with, oregano. What's even funnier? Is that I really could. Mostly by using my network. This goes for catering, troubleshooting technology, trades, and sometimes, a bed for the night in another city. I do this by nurturing my network. I've often wondered whether this might work to find say, a living organ donor if someone needed a kidney? 

So if I consider one of my strengths to be the bringing together of people, why am I such a spaz when I catch myself missing the presence of those closest to me? Again, it comes to an internal conflict between my head and my heart. No doubt some of it comes from my history. When those who are supposed to protect you from the harsh judgments of society are the ones who are the harshest and most brutal judges, it fucks you up a LOT. I tend to become rather paranoid-egocentric when alone, like this week in Hong Kong when I am ever so aware that I do not look as one is expected to look given my social standing here. Even though I doubt anyone of consequence gives a shit, I still feel hyper-aware that here I would be considered rather unattractive due to my body size and the lack of attention I devote to things like clothing and hair.

It seems natural then, that I miss having the usual loving and accepting friends and loved ones (and yes, loved ones absolutely include my dog in the mix) all around me. So maybe I just need to stop being such a bitch to myself about it.

After all, even androids develop attachments...

From Star Trek: TNG, episode 4.6 "Legacy"

Ishara Yar: Are you able to have friends? 
Lt. Commander Data: Yes. 
Ishara Yar: But you don't have feelings, do you? 
Lt. Commander Data: Not as such. However, even among humans, friendship is sometimes less an emotional response, and more a sense of... familiarity. 
Ishara Yar: So, you can become used to someone. 
Lt. Commander Data: Exactly. As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. The input is eventually anticipated, and even missed when absent. 

1 comment:

  1. I don't feel weak for missing people - quite the opposite, actually, since I think it's so amazingly brave and difficult for people to connect with each other in the first place. I don't make a lot of those deep connections.

    My problem is that I rarely miss people, and when I realize that I do, I feel like shit because it's like, "OMG, it took me THIS LONG to realize that I missed Person X?!" and I freak out at what a horrible person I must be. When people are away from me, I sometimes sort of forget they exist. :(