I deflate too fast.
This is a world that rewards the bouncy, those who rebound quickly. Get your feelings hurt, make a faux pas, have a set back, whatever, then learn from it and keep moving on, take the next step and live.
For many, trying to find a technique to bounce back is the theme of a life. The power escapes them and yet they understand how important it is, how it shapes and defines the course of a life.
Many look for tools that should make them more resilient, more bouncy. What they find on offer is a sheaf full of mental tricks, perky aphorisms and sincere mottoes which are intended to help us rationalize the slights away.
Those rationalizations, though, can only try and build a shell over a sagging heart. Attempting to teach a way to stuff the hole, put a finger in the dyke, patch up the breach, well, it may be of some assistance in limiting loss, but it can never teach us how to win, how to refill and restore our buoyant equilibrium.
I deflate too fast. When I run up against pins and needles in the world, the unconsidered, uncaring, unknowing and uncompassionate bluster of others, rather than just keeping on, the boldness seeps out of me and I want to remove myself to safety.
Knowing how to put up a shell, how to not let people see that they got me, keeping up a performance is a strategy that I have come to own. Pierce my heart and my head comes into play, a smart shield ready to push back, to keep me standing. “Thank you sir! May I have another?” I know how to appear tough., how to show leather.
Inside, though, I deflate. That tender, feminine heart just loses form and integrity hidden behind a wall of will.
Reprogramming your responses, unwiring your emotional buttons can make you more effective in the world, no doubt. The cost, though, is usually bound in the compartmentalization required, the way we learn to cut ourselves off from feelings and heart. We seek to impose “should” on the world, wrapping our feelings in iron, but rather than bouncing back, we often just hit with a big thud, clunking along without being present.
The only way to regain your wind, to breathe in what you need to survive whole and vulnerable, without battlements, is to have the connection to something bigger which refills and nurtures you.
Our connections, the network of tubes and pipes that ties us to who and what we value most, is what keeps us full, pumped up and resilient. To be dendrites in a web of humanity is to be recharged and replenished, making our heart swell, making our soul robust.
So many people just don’t have those connections, the ones that keep them full of emotional energy. That’s why we fall back on tricks, on defences, on rationalizations, on should & would & could rather than risking the chance of a blow out which will leave us incapacitated. Stuffing the holes seems easier than doing the hard work of connecting.
For the most bouncy people, their connections are in their grounding. They know themselves to be part of the earth and the swell of people on it. From their earliest days they felt included in circles of energy, the gift of life, love and exuberance passed from hand to hand, from mouth to mouth, from heart to heart.
This kind of connection is powerful and basic, the kind that humans who grew up in a tight, consistent community have always taken for granted. They know themselves to be wired in, to be part of the network, always having someone to smile at them and start to refill any sags in their heart.
These people build community around them, becoming the aunt, making others feel a part to build team support and caring. Rather than using the threat of separation to motivate others they know that over the long term, people who will be kind, considerate and helpful to each other make a better place for all.
I very much admire these people, but, I have never really felt like I am one of them. I may strive to make others feel connected and cared for, but my personal connection has never been to the ground, to the earth, to other people, to community.
Instead, I learned early to be connected to the sky, to my cosmic mother who lives there. A relationship with creation was my only hope for survival, so when I felt deflated, I got off on my own to hear the voices which travelled inside of me. The voices outside were terrifying and dangerous, but I was sure that I was a loved child of God.
It is my relationship with the universe that feeds me so that I could do what I saw as the incredibly hard work of being in relationship with people around me. They may have had some sense of my body, but being trapped as just flesh felt putrefying to me, crushing my spirit and my dreams. My trans heart kept me floating above, supported by a big mind facing a family that didn’t know how to see, value and build connection.
My connection to creation was my gift to those I loved, offering them a context, a sense that there was always something bigger and more vibrant than the tortured skin which could nourish them. The network of stories that we hold about what lies beyond, about transcendence and transformation, about renewal and rebirth were my strength and the gift I wanted to share.
I live, though, in a world where embodiment counts, where connection to real, flesh & blood humans is an important part of any life. Seeing how others tend to those connections, finding strength and warmth and grace and energy in them, makes me feel distant, isolated, alone.
From the minute we are born our flesh starts to die and our story starts to grow until when we leave this realm our story is all that is left of us. Aging requires us letting go of our fleshly connection to the earth and grabbing on to our spiritual connection to something larger and more lasting.
Dreaming of being more grounded is lovely, but forces work against that. Even my feet, my connection to the ground, have turned against me, the result of many decades of denial of the requirements of the flesh. What is a woman, I ask, when she can’t even love her own shoes. her interface with the soil?
I deflate too fast nowadays, my own husk now thinned for a tighter connection with spirit. Being on a mission from God, a deeper calling, is almost never a good way to connect with the ardently embodied, those who feel connected though social conventions & mores, defended by lovely assertions about how things should be.
The divine surprise is not accessible through those layers, so unless what I offer seems to meet with their expectations & assumptions, I must be off the mark and without value. They wash in the blood, the spirit something vaguely terrifying. They not only don’t understand how anyone can live with a primary connection to the sky, they can’t understand why anyone would want to. My isolation, introversion and struggle is beyond their experience, beyond their comprehension.
I know why I live on the cusp and I know how that life has been a blessing to those who had need of letting go and becoming new. I hold their spirit, not their flesh, so I can affirm what is inside of them that they both fear and desperately need.
My own flesh, though, is going through the usual weakening of age. It cannot just carry me without attention and tending, cannot endure the neglect that I put it through as I desperately tried to stay inflated for others.
I deflate too fast and when I do, I can feel every ache & loss, every blow that cut me hard. It would be nice to be more bouncy.
The connections to others, to family and friends, though, were never built, so I cannot fall back on them for the breath I need now. My backwards life, spirit first and body later, may have had blessings, but it also has costs.
Our bounce, our true bounce, comes from how we feel filled up by a world of connections and sharing. That is something to value, indeed.