My Struggle to Emotionally Connect


Happy New Year to everyone and many blessings to you all.

My Christian parents came to visit for the Christmas and while we were driving from NY to MD a very familiar conversation ensued. My father asked why don’t I go back to church?Keep in mind that this has been a repeated question almost EVERY time I am around my parents. I give the same answer in a variety of ways but it is not satisfying. The bottom line is I just feel uncomfortable with strangers or large groups of people.

This is not something new. When I was younger, people used words like quiet and shy to describe me. I never liked large groups of people most of the time and I am ALWAYS uncomfortable around strangers. I am very slow to warm up to people. My mind was always social and exploratory but my body did not follow obediently. Ironically, I grew up with family-cousins, aunt, uncle, siblings, grandparents, parents and I shared a bedroom with my older sister. I left my parents to go away to college and lived in the dorm, I joined the military and had to share space. My only alone moment was in the shower (except in basic training) which is still a peaceful place for me even when I am alone. In a swarm of people, I was always trying to find my quiet place.

As I got older and independent, I made a strategic behavioral change to be more social which was a huge effort. I accomplished that goal but in the last few years, my old personality trait is now more dominant again and I struggle to be engaged with people including in a church. Throughout my life, I never had any issues making friends. I have a great personality with some quirks of course. However, something is very different with me now than I was at least 5+ years ago.

I am finding it nearly impossible to make an deep emotional connection with people. It’s concerning. Being on my own, I have enjoyed my single life. I have done a good amount of things with my singleness, I have made good use of my single time and I will continue to do so. However, after years of being in my personal solitude, it feels like I created a distance with being intimate with others. I may have created an emotional barrier that is now taking a toll when I truly do need that emotional intimate connection and support.

No man is an island. I now fully understand that phrase. I find myself being nostalgic of the days when I had my family around me and the strong relationship I had with others. I miss the ability to feel a deep connected love. I miss that support. I was watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 and I envied the main character. I have inadvertently created an emotional island with no easy means of allowing people to share it with me. Interestingly, my mother has a similar personality (she admitted to never having friends, she keeps to herself and socialize when needed, she has always taken care of herself and others) but the difference is she has had my father for over 48 years. I have my island.

Over the years, I have inadvertently created loneliness for myself and I am now feeling the side effects. This is not to say that you cannot be independent and enjoy single life. This is to say that throughout each aspect of our lives we need to stay intimately connected to someone. I did not realize that I was breaking those connections with the people in my life. I can admit that I am emotionally distant, I have walls with reinforced steel and a moat with piranhas swimming below.  I look at the relationship I have with people who are physically in my presence (versus friends and family far away) and I know that I am missing that connection – the connection I was once able to make. I have sat in churches and felt nothing as if I was in an empty sanctuary.

At this age, I do not want to intrude on other people’s lives. They have kids, spouses and other responsibilities that takes priority over me. I know that if I really needed help there are people I can call without hesitation but due to my emotional barrier, I have a hard time making a connection. My emotional health is not heading in the right direction because I can see a life of perpetual loneliness and emptiness. Don’t get me wrong, I will always crave and enjoy those solitary moments and doing things on my own – that is just a part of my personality because yes, I am 90% introvert. However, I am talking about having balance.

Our society now encourages isolation and there are more lonely people than we can imagine. For example, I do not know anyone in the complex I have lived in for over 2 years. I may be able to recognize two people and I have said no more than good morning to a handful. People make friends, date, and live virtually which is something  that offends my old school nature. I briefly dated someone who believed it was better and easier to text than to talk (hence briefly). So, how does someone connect when the world is disconnecting?

I would love to say I found an answer. This lack of intimate connection becomes painfully obvious when going through personal difficulties. The things I used to be able to manage on my own are now overwhelming at times. I become emotionally tired having to be 100% in charge all the time. I have worn myself out by systematically doing everything on my own all the time. I did not create a balance. I have allowed my emotional connection to become tenuous from building a protective wall without incorporating a flexible gateway. My goal is to try to fix the damage I have created. I am not sure what that is going to look like but I have to start somewhere-anywhere.

Minimum Is Not Always Good Enough


A number of things have changed in the space of a month. Job change, career change, some financial reprieve and my decision to go active husband hunting. Of all those things I listed, the husband hunting is the hardest and most cringe worthy. Looking at those words “husband hunting” makes me uneasy.

It’s not just about the words but the image that comes to mind – like a cougar (no pun intended) on the prowl for fresh available meat. It’s not just any meat but prime grade A quality meat. None of that sounds very lady like or Christiany! However, the reason for the pursuit of more than the minimum single status quo is due to one thing – the philosophy that if I want something, then I need to take an active role in trying to acquire it.

For the longest time, religion dictates that we should be content in whatever situation we are in. However, I have decided to challenge that concept. That idea of being a minimalist is such a weak philosophy for living. If I live in the gutters of India, should I be content and praise God for – being alive? Should I always end my prayer with ‘This is what God wants for my life?’ Or can I work my way out of that miserable state and thank God for every progress?

I happened to have formed a budding work friendship with a single (non Christian) 40 something waiting for her man to propose. She was so forthright about her desires to be coupled and that she would actively pursuit two other eligible guys if her man continues to be a minimalist (all the milk without buying the cow). While her and I are very different in characteristics, I did grab on piece of important tidbit – sitting on your ass and praying alone will not make the world work in your favour.

I can hear the conservative christians vehemently explaining how ‘God works in mysterious ways’ and ‘wait on the Lord’ etc. These verses easily slipping from their mouths’ but as I stated in my analogy about the gutters of India, I have decided to take the action point of view with my social life. PS- It’s quite fun to take an active role 🙂 A dear friend of mine is leaving behind the minimum thought too-she has a financial goal she wants to achieve and let’s just say it’s a lot more than pennies. She is actively going after that goal while still keeping her connection to God. It’s shocking how you can do both.

Contentment is certainly not overrated. However, contentment and having the barest minimum do NOT go hand in hand. Contentment and suffering are NOT synonymous. The idea that Christianity has become this perpetual suffering religion is ludicrous. Many of the Old Testament stalwarts were quite wealthy and God blessed them even more because such blessings were not evil – being happy in one’s life does not equal sin.

I can truly say that this time in my life I am doing the minimum dance which is very far from contentment. So whether it is husband hunting or career finding or financial stability or even something else that God has blessed for those bible characters, doing the minimum does not seem to pull me closer to God. I guess I am refusing to be this waiting suffering Christianish person.

The Pathetic Single


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I was excited to attend a very public event that usually hosts families and groups of all kind. I was very set to go when my activity partner cancelled and another potential companion ditched as well. I became unusually bummed out because I was facing the decision to stay home or going alone. Weirdly, it was a struggle to decide. Afterall, why should I miss out on an event just because I had to attend solo? I had to be very honest with myself on the reason I felt some intrepidation to go alone. I recognize that I did not want some random people to identify me as one of those pathetic single girls; I did not want anyone to feel sorry for me because I was flying solo.

Yes, I get that those are my thoughts and people could not careless because they do not know me. However, the point is that is how I feel. I can identify with those thoughts because on the occasion that I am out with friends in a social environment and I see a single person, dining alone or sitting somewhere alone, my first feelings are empathy and pity. A few years ago, I had made the brave decision to dine at chain restaurant for lunch by myself and it was the most uncomfortable feeling. Needless to say, I had never done it again. The truth is most activities are so much more fun with someone else involved; It’s just not the same when you are alone.

Sadly, I can see myself becoming one of those people who would mercilessly beg someone “please please go with me because I don’t want to do it alone.” This is slightly distressing because I hate those people and a couple of years ago I was sooo the opposite of that.  I suspect this is not just me fussing about being a solo activity member because a fellow single blogger lamented about the same thing.

As I get older, the idea of doing things alone has become daunting. I recognize that I have restricted some of my activities because they entail attending with me, myself and I if my activity partners are otherwise occupied.  I truly miss those days when I said screw it (after friends backed out on me) and went to different places such as the Grand Canyon by myself and had a great time.