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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Why are we so dead inside?

I read a popular blog today and the entry was called "Why are we so cruel?" Since the dawn of Man, we've been a cruel bunch. There doesn't seem to be any answer as to why.

What fascinates me is that in spite of all of technological advances and modern conveniences that enables us to keep in touch with people, so many of us remain quite dead inside. We connect with others in the loosest sense of the word but actually "connect" and stay connected is far more elusive.

I felt very alone for the first eighteen years of my life so I have no fear of being alone. You can have tons of people around you and even those who may well love you very much but still feel very disconnected and alone. That was my life. I believe getting a life entails learning how to enjoy solitude without feeling alone and knowing how to connect in a real way with others.

The best example of this comes to mind out of a brief relationship I had with a fellow whom I'll call David. He was very good looking and knew it. Intellectually he wasn't a sloucher either. David was definitely a player and prided himself on that fact. He didn't want to be tied down and his initial attraction to me was that I was a woman who wasn't looking to get married and insist that he settle down too. The reasons we liked not being settled down in the traditional sense were very different though. Here's where that example I mentioned earlier comes in.

After about two months into the relationship, David and I were out to dinner, talking about life in general and the subject turned to friends. David said that he disliked being alone and the idea of not having anyone around him was scary. There were many ways to take this so I probed a bit. He said that he would feel very alone if he wasn't in some kind of relationship with a woman. Didn't that just make me feel so special? I have no desire to be another teddy bear on the bed so I asked him, "Do you have someone in your life (other than family) that if you got into trouble at any time or felt like an emotional wreck at 3 in the morning you could call? A good friend?"

The fact that David didn't even understand the depth of the question was enlightening enough for me but I did feel some concern over that. "David, don't you have a friend that you know will be there for you if you need that kind of support?" The bottom line was, he didn't. This guy for all his smarts, all his looks and busy social agenda didn't have a single person he felt would be there for him in a crisis on a pure emotional basis. The only interaction David understood was one involving a penis and a vagina. There wasn't any strong bond between two people if that wasn't involved. Even then, by his own admittance, his fear of being alone was turning into a self-fulfilling prophecy because his fear of being alone was about the fear of emotional intimacy and commitment. He couldn't engage in that behavior which would salve his fear of being alone as he would learn to build solid friendships and/or committed, loving relationship. So unless David learns some lessons, he will be alone. In fact, as far as I was concerned at that moment, he was already alone in this life.

It took me many years into my adult life to learn the value of working to maintain relationships whether they be friendships or romance. When I realized that David was already very much alone in this world, I felt terribly sorry for him. I didn't enjoy the fact that all his strutting thinly masked a person who was building a life for himself that would make his greatest fear a reality. Why was he so dead inside? What created this void?

Friends who will be there for you in times of trouble are worth nuturing. If I learned nothing else in this life, I learned that.


Cassie said...

Your post inspired my post, Nancy

Nina said...

I think one reason some people don't learn this lesson is because society devalues friendship. We're taught to expect to have all our needs met by our "significant other." We're expected to be loyal to family but no one else. I've got a lot of thoughts on this subject but this isn't my blog...anyway, I enjoyed reading this Nancy.

RebJam said...

I like to blame the "media" haha. . but seriously the messages my generation (late 30s) has received and those younger than me . god! egads! Only "things" make you happy not laughing with friends over a dinner and vino for hours. .but hot cars, designer jeans, the latest iPOD. . .the pendulum has it swung far enough . . . ? Some are so alone because, i think, they value stuff/things. . a la the toothpick model on Desperate Housewives. . .that show in and of itself, while funny at minute times, explains quite a bit about our cultural sensibility.