I’ve been less than connected to others during much of my life. I often felt dark inside. Unable to receive light. To use it in any way. Such as to cast meaning and clarity on a situation. To show me a direction. To give sight where it doesn’t seem to exist. It’s a singularly lonely feeling. There is an inability to latch on to others in any significant way. Sometimes it feels like you’re the only one in the room in spite of the cast of thousands swarming around you. You can’t even hear others breathing. Eye contact is not possible. The gaze of others is so bright it causes you to squint and guard your eyes. All that content, coming at you all at once. Blinding you. Confusing you. Causing you to shut down. Which makes it all the more impossible to go outside of your self. Which, of course, lends itself to cold, blanketing, deep isolation from others.
I felt that way a lot. Communication was painful. Nauseating. I was fully shut down most of my childhood. We moved a lot as a family, which made my antisocial behavior commonplace. It wasn’t just about girls. I liked them. Obsessed over them. Oh, their lips and their curves. I was aware of every girl in the room. Not that I believed they were attainable. I had too many problems dealing with people in general. Add sexual tension, and I was frozen in place.
I think that’s why it’s so fascinating that my first best friend was Lynn. She was cute. Not gorgeous. She had a fast reputation as a young woman. Unique, and otherworldly. Lynn definitely danced her own way. She did things she wanted to, and she had no real sense of restraint. Her eyes were bright. Wide open. Telling. Funny thing though: I didn’t need to squint when I looked at her. The brightness I shied away from in others was warm and subdued in Lynn’s gaze. It was beyond a gaze, actually. It was a gentle peek inside. There was nothing threatening or overwhelming about her contact. I felt warm and alive when she looked at me. I felt aroused. Nothing too deep or complicated. No rules. No agenda. Just a slow sucking in. A natural feeling of compatibility. A very special feeling.
I didn’t quite understand what was going on between Lynn and I. We were not officially dating. But we were joined somehow. It was as if we’d been gliding on a pathway that led to discovery and comprehension. No one ever understood me before Lynn. Freak that I was, I couldn’t make friends. I couldn’t behave long enough for my parents to be proud of me. They certainly didn’t understand me. I was lost even to myself, and so I couldn’t explain it. I had no respect for the feelings of others. You were no more than an object for me to use for my own ends. My ends were justified in my mind. There was only one way: the way I chose to go. I saw no other paths. I considered no consequences. Certainly, it was no concern to me how my behavior would effect someone else. This was, of course, the very root of my lack of friends. Even when my mistakes were pointed out to me, I couldn’t see them.
Except when they were pointed out by Lynn. She was gentle about it. It was as if she wanted me to learn something about myself that would lead to a happier life. She understood my isolation and hoped to teach me of its source. She knew it wasn’t of my own doing. It was because of things that were done to me. My isolation was because of others. Lynn didn’t want me blaming myself for my lack of friendships despite my bad habits and bad behaviors. She knew the egg in this case came before the chicken. My personality was hatched, in other words. Who I was and how I acted was a byproduct of how I was treated. Things were done to me that affected me deeply.
Some days I wish Lynn were still here. She died of ovarian cancer ten years ago.