Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Trying to Connect

One of the consequences of living my life in the closet is being only tenuously connected, at best, with my true self.  I’ve written about this before, but usually only in “theory.”  Recently, however, I’ve felt this lack of connection very keenly, as it has affected my social functionality in general and my relationships with friends in particular.

Sometimes I feel really in-tune with what is happening around me and I’m confident and happy.  At other times, I feel like I’m in a centrifuge and I am out there on the edge of a whirlwind, disconnected from what is happening at my core and trying to understand and reconnect.  It's a weird feeling; and I feel sorry for those around me who never know where I'm “at.”  But if it's any solace at all to them, I don't know where I'm “at” most of the time. 

I frankly don't like feeling disconnected from myself. I've spent most of my life encased in a false persona, and my primary goal for this next phase of my life is to be truly one with who I really am.  Therefore, I get frustrated when I feel so disconnected.  It's like I truly want to make my way back to the core of the centrifuge, but the circumstances of my life that are whirling around at a billion miles per hour seem to keep forcing me away.  Sometimes I think all of this would all be so much easier if I raised goats on a mountaintop in northern California or something.

I guess that's why writing is so crucial and helpful to me.  It, more than anything, allows me to make contact with my "core."  But I also need to learn to do this in my relationships with those close to me.  This is something I'm know I will have to work on.  I guess I'm just now realizing that being in the closet for all of my adult life has trained me to put up barriers.  With my wife, for example:  in what should have been the most intimate relationship of my life, she never knew the real me, nor did I ever reveal that person to her.  I learned to be guarded, not only with her, but also with myself.  Or, as a friend put it, I lived in a closet within a closet.

Learning to overcome those barriers to intimacy and communication is a process that I am struggling with.  Particularly in social situations, I feel sometimes like an awkward young (straight) adolescent out on a dance floor with a girl: nervous, unsure of himself, extremely self-conscious.  I believe that, with the passage of time, I will become more confident, more sure of myself, more comfortable, more at peace.  Right now, however, to be honest, I think I'm a long way from that point; which, I'm sure, causes frustration in those close to me. It also causes frustration in me.  And, sometimes, when life gets too intense, I guess I just need to go and watch some old “I Love Lucy” shows . 


  1. I think that this sense of disconnectedness goes with PTSD or any other kind of trauma that is lived. I often have those moments of disconnectedness and feel like if I move my head to fast the world is spinning. Apparently, it is anxiety about certain situations, for me.

    I think that you acknowledging these feelings and identifying them is commendable. Not all people are that it tune with themselves. Now that you have done this, I think that you can now experiment with how/when/where/why you feel disconnected and where you feel most whole and aligned.

    AS you know, I have suffered from PTSD most of my life and am now coming to grips with it: understanding it and its effects in my life. As much as I love social settings, or should I say would love them, I have to respect my boundaries in that I pick and choose with whom I socialize. I've come to realize that I don't feel good in large groups of people, stores or anywhere with lots of chaotic noise and lights or artificial, overwhelming smells.

    If I go to a party, I normally stick with a small group of people with whom I feel safe and comfortable. I may venture out from time to time to speak to other people, but i try to stick with my core people and if they are out an about, then I sit down and tell myself that it is ok if I observe people or don't talk to others, or I may choose one person with whom to have a conversation. I realized that part of the disconnectedness I felt was from trying to speak to too many people and it felt like I was on a speed track or something with no exit path in sight.

    I think that a person always needs "centering" time when they can recuperate from external stimuli, as wonderful as it may be, think of it like a potter who is centering a piece on a wheel: if the speed of the wheel goes to fast, too much hand touch ... the piece will be off and can never be raised; it will just wobble and the walls will implode or break off. Centering time can be whatever you need it to be: meditation time in the morning or evening, walks in nature, walking through town with you iPod ... whatever.

    Centering time and allowing myself some slack at social gatherings (I've even quit one social group and meet with a few people from this group in different settings according to a more spontaneous calendar), and it has helped me to feel more comfortable in my skin.

    btw ... those two episodes of Lucy are the best ... along with Vitameatavegamin ... :)

  2. If I had to list the benefits of being more open about my sexuality, I think somewhwere near the top of the list would be feeling more of a connection with self and as a result, being better able to feel a connection with others.

  3. @ Libellule - Merci, encore, ma chere. Et merci pour le "link". Oui, j'ai oublie celui-la. :)

    @JonJon - Amen. I'm on my way!

  4. For those who appreciate a good belly laugh:

    Here's the chocolate factory:

    Here's the grape stomping:

  5. Invictus,

    As I read your blog post I couldn’t help but compare the feelings you describe (I too experienced a similar sensation; still do somewhat) to what it must have been like for us while in the womb. We grew into the environment, adapted to it, felt secure and comfortable; our basic physical and emotional needs were met.

    Then, we emerge- and not altogether by choice - through the painful process of birth. At first, we miss the security we had grown to depend upon, especially when we are not wrapped tightly in a blanket or held in nurturing arms. As cheesy as it is to say so, coming out of the closet is like a re-birth. I think it is natural to miss the security we had in the closet, despite the inconveniences and longings to get out. We feel a bit lost and overloaded with new sensations swirling around. We can’t even see straight for a time.

    I just want to let you know that for me, life eventually started to come back into focus. I became more secure in my new environment as I learned how to connect. I am much more at peace now than I was 18 months ago.

    I still may end up in the fetal position now and again but I would/could never go back! (I have an extra warm fuzzy blanket, if you need one!)