Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Blast from the Past

It's weird how we, as humans, really rely on the interconnectedness we have with other humans. This is evidenced to me by the warm, tingly feeling I get after stimulating conversation. And, while I could say she is just bizarre, I find myself truly understanding Barbara Streisand in her "Inside the Actors Studio" interview, when she admits that her turn-on is good conversation. How odd, yet how true. Without physical contact, something so basic can reach right through your skin and touch your heart.

I've had a few of these interesting, stimulating conversations the past week. I go home floating on a cloud. The feeling is similar, yet more pensive , when someone comes into my life I haven't seen or heard from in a long time. That, too, has happened a few times this past week. In various ways. Most of the time it's a good thing, but sometimes there has been a reason you haven't conversed in a long time. Sometimes there's a reason that you no longer see each other. And it makes you feel both good and bad to see where they are and what they've been up to. Perhaps it's good, because you see they've moved along well in life. You can be excited for them, albeit remotely. Perhaps it's bad, because you're reminded how for some reason you weren't able to stay connected with every cool individual in your life, and you're now faced head-on with the fact that it can't be resolved, even if you don't know why.

But the worst is when there are people in your past, no matter how great you are, that don't like you very much. When I was in elementary school, I took pride in the fact that I was the one who could float from group to group and get along with EVERYONE. I never understood hate. And I thought it was impossible for anyone to dislike me either. It took a long time to swallow the fact that no matter who you are, you can't please all of the people all of the time. (although, strangely enough, that's often what I try to do for a living, when I bother working) So what's really weird is when you come across one of these nemeses and, having grown a lot, you realize you've let a lot of hard feelings fall by the wayside over the years. But you don't want to reconnect with them. Why? Because what if they haven't let it all go? What if they've told all of their friends all kinds of horrible things about you and just because the new person knows your ex-friend and not you, they believe it. They have preconceived notions about who you are and what you're about, based on heavy biases that perhaps weren't true in the past, let alone today. I wonder how many people hate me without knowing me. I wonder what would happen if we met randomly and then later discovered who each other was. I wonder why I care.

I've always been fascinated with first impressions. I guess as someone who doesn't always make the best first impression, I'm curious how others come across. One day I'll write a book about it. (and if you steal my idea, you'll hate me more than perhaps you do now via your friend who used to know me tells you to) But I look back on the friends I have and the people I am acquainted with, and I find it fascinating to think that if everything were true based upon first impressions, how different things would be. And really, I regret little to none of it. I've taken chances with people who seemed a little psycho at first, and I've avoided people with quite friendly first impressions. And the worst experiences have taught me as much about life as have the good experiences. And, perhaps not so surprising to me anymore, some of the so-called psychos were the good experiences.

To connect or not to connect, that is the question? In most cases, I find it a good gamble to reconnect in some small fashion with the lost ones from the past. It may not be the best of times, but it could be great and, no matter what, I'm guaranteed to learn a lot about where I've been and where I am.


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