Connection

How do we connect with people? I have been thinking about human connection a lot lately and how much it has changed. We lost the ability of physical intimacy, dropping by our friends or family member’s house just for a short visit, and late-night food runs with our friends.

People say that technology radically changed the way we communicate and connect. But I don’t think anyone predicted that there would be a pandemic that would force us to physically distance from one another. Life in this pandemic has severely altered how we as humans can connect. For a good chunk of this time, the way I viewed this shift in connection was that it was gone and I was not sure if or when we would get it back.

But over the last few weeks, I think I have proven myself wrong. Yes, connection has changed dramatically, but it hasn’t gone away and it probably never will because humans are social.

Connection has changed in that the small interactions and conversations we would have throughout our days are gone. Normally, it wouldn’t matter because connection would come in some other form. Through this pandemic, I have noticed that those small snippets of my day brought me joy. And not having those small works conversations in the office, or the chit chat with the barista or even the random conversation with someone on the street has left me feeling a little less connected to other people and the world in general. However, even though I lost those small moments of connection, I find the connection I am experiencing now is more profound, deep and true. Not only myself but those around me are making an extra effort to reach out and have the scary, vulnerable and raw conversations we used to be to busy to have.

So yes, connection in a lot of ways has halted to a stop. But in other ways, true and authentic connection has increased. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my chit chats with the barista and having a good laugh with people I only know from class. But if we want to keep connecting with others, we have to adapt. If it means more face times, zoom calls or phone calls, then so be it! What I have come to realize is that connecting with people never stops or fully goes away, but it changes or shifts dramatically without our consent. The only way to keep it and to have it mean something is if we lean into the new way of connecting.

Connection comes in weird waves and it changes without notice. The only way we can satisfy that need we have as humans is to change along with it. Connection does not go away if we keep trying to connect with people.

Listening To Your Heart

I recently finished reading Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly and I wish this book was being turned into a movie. It made me reflect so much and the book has such a good message that I think everyone needs to hear.

Still tied to the classic tale of Cinderella, Stepsister explores the story of Cinderella’s stepsisters, Isabelle and Octavia after Cinderella got married to the prince. Not only does the book give us insight into what happens after the fairy tale ends but in true classic redemption style it explores what happens to characters that are categorized as “bad” or the “villains” of a story. But as we all know, villains are not born as villains, they become villains. Isabelle, one of the villains in Cinderella, discovers that the person she has become stems from the category she has been placed in by society.

How do we allow someone else to dictate who we can or will become? Why do we let people determine who we will be? Why do we listen to them?

The thing about society is that the constraints it imposes on people are so ingrained in everything we do and engage with that if we break from those constraints we are shunned and cast aside by society. How do we unlearn something so ingrained in us? We begin by listening to the parts of the heart that we have quieted so much. Often what we want most and who we truly are, are buried deep down in the depths of our hearts because it was a way to protect ourselves.

This is not a way to live a life, and it surely was not what Isabelle or Octavia wanted anymore. Isabelle had a magical fairy queen appear to her with a place to start, but unfortunately, that isn’t something we all have access to. 

Please allow me and this post to be the magical fairy queen that you need. Take a moment to just be and listen to yourself. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling and open yourself up to what you want most in your life. You might find this hard because we have suppressed it so much. But take a moment or even a few days to reflect on what you have been pushing down because it did not conform with what people expect from you. Or, it might come to your mind right away no matter how hard you have tried to push it away.

When those feelings, dreams and goals come to your mind I want you to take a moment and envision who the person with those goals and dreams is. That is who you truly are and who you want to become.

Now from here, I can only tell you to be vulnerable and brave enough to follow that version of yourself and those goals. You need to face why you are the way you are now, and you have to realize that who you are from now on is entirely up to you. It’s time to deal with the things that have broken and shattered your heart and the walls you have put up to protect yourself. Because they haven’t protected you, they have hindered you from succeeding.

Those broken pieces can be fixed and all of the mess that you will go through is beautiful and so true to you.

I challenge you to start listening to your heart and work on reworking your life. You are under no obligation to stay in the mold of society and you do not need to abide by societal norms of what is expected from you.

As always, this is easier said than done. But I do recommend reading the book for a bit of inspiration, and motivation to become who you are and to listen to your heart.

I leave you with one last, abbreviated, quote from the book: “There is magic in this sad, hard world. A Magic stronger than fate, stronger than chance. [..] It is magic of a frail and fallible creature, one capable of both unspeakable cruelty and immense kindness. It lives inside every human being ready to redeem us. To transform us. To save us. If we can only find the courage to listen to it. It is the magic of the human heart.”

Thanks for reading. Stay safe! x