Our Connection Crisis

I hate what our society has done to connection. Hate it, hate it.

People need connection -


But we don't understand it, often fear it and thus ultimately aren't getting it. And it is hurting us - emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. There is study after study that outlines the problems caused by not having connection in our lives. 

We need emotional and physical connection. 

The Problem?

Our society has sexualized almost all connection. 

If I want a close emotional connection with a member of the same gender, it's very likely I'm gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc. And can we even talk about physical connection? Something as simple as holding hands - if we see someone holding hands, most of us probably automatically assume they are in some kind of romantic relationship (read this article for how hand holding could benefit all of us).
Society has allowed hugging to be a little "safer" as we often hug friends of either gender, but it is almost as if we have a timer or a thought in our mind that we can only hug "briefly" or it must mean something romantic.

But wanting to connect with others, very often has nothing to do with our sexuality - it has to do with our humanity!!!

So too often we either hold ourselves back from connecting closely with others, or we throw ourselves into connecting by making it sexual or a combination of both. And thus we end up depressed, anxious, unhappy and unfulfilled because what we really need is authentic emotional and physical connection that has nothing to do with sexuality or sexual attraction. 

I'm going to tell you a little story now. This is a tough story to share. But it is my story and I think it is time I talk about it a little more openly. Today, I'm going to embrace courage because I hope we can change what has happened to connection. That we each individually can do our part and change the definition, view and reaction to connection. 

This is my story:

Like everyone, I had a need to connect with others. I remember noticing it when I was a teenager - probably around 14 or 15. It wasn't until years later, that I was able to realize I had a DESPERATE need for connection. For many years, trying to get or create connections, was one of the main focuses of my life. I thought about it all the time, and much of my time and effort was to try and make connections happen. The majority of the time I wanted connection with other females and had a hard time connecting with guys, which today I understand the why but it doesn't change the want.  

This desperate need for connection, often led to very poor behaviors trying to "make" other people connect. This of course, led me to work really hard to do things to be liked or wanted, And often using guilt or manipulation to try and get connection. This of course led to feelings of inadequacy, guilt, self-loathing, etc. Which led to doing more of the behaviors to try and connect. And round and round it would go. It was a vicious cycle. 

Ultimately, it led to the ending of a number of friendships and the friendships often ended in very hurtful ways. For someone wanting connection so badly, it was a devastating blow to be told, "I don't want to be friends with you anymore." Of course, looking back now I can understand why the friends did what they did, but that doesn't make it any less hurtful. 

When I reached my late-20's I was trying to figure out why I wanted connection so badly, yet never could seem to make it work. And I was trying to figure out why connection seem so much less important or valued to other people. And because I most often wanted connection with other women, I finally concluded that I must be attracted to women - that perhaps I was lesbian. This wasn't the first time the thought had crossed my mind, but it was the first time I actually said to myself, "This is what I am." It didn't feel right, but it seemed right based on what I wanted and what society told me I must be if that was what I wanted. 

I talked to a few people about it, "admitting" what I had decided was who I was. Everyone I told was supportive and kind. 

But then one day I was revealing this to a friend who knew me well. We'd carpooled for almost a year and had spent alot of time talking. She said, "Cherilee, I wonder if it isn't really just about connection for you?" She wasn't making a statement but she asked me a question that hit home and seemed to resonate. It was an "Aha moment" in the sense that it seemed to just feel right though I didn't understand it at the time but I spent the next 3-4 years trying to know for sure if it really was just about connection. 

In that 3-4 years I studied and thought alot about connection. And I did alot of soul searching - I wanted to understand what was going on for me really, regardless of what society said about what I felt and thought. I listened to many others' stories as well as their thoughts and feelings.

With all of the soul searching and listening something began to emerge about connection, what it is and what our society has done to it. I realized it had nothing to do with sexual attraction, or my sexuality and everything to do with my desire as a human and a women to connect with others, including other women.  

Because of that, I finally decided it was time to stop being quiet and only sharing my experiences and thoughts with close friends. I decided it was time to tell my story in hopes that it will even help one person to look at and seek real connection or at least think about what they are seeking and while for some it may be about sexual connection, I would venture to say for many it isn't. There have been times, in the last couple of years, that I've despaired that how we view connection and how we strive to connect is forever skewed. But I spent the last two years, getting the help and facing my own demons and insecurities to get to a place where I am at peace (most of the time) within myself. I still want connection but my desire for connection is no longer ruled by my demons or society. To finally understand that connection is a complicated thing for all of us. There are people and genders that will be easier for each person to connect with. That is ok! That is part of what makes us individuals. But too often we are too quick to jump to conclusions about ourselves and others, instead of just seeking to emotionally and physically connect with others to give and receive support and connection as a human being.  

I hope each of you that read this post will think about your own thoughts on connecting with others. Will strive to connect deeply with others and will be open to considering that connection isn't what society tells us it is! That connection often isn't about our sexuality - it is about our humanity!

Category: 2 comments


Natasha said...

Love this post! I feel like you were writing about my life haha. I feel the same way about connections with women. They are just stronger with them then with men, but it's never a sexual connection. I have had people tell me that I am a lesbian too, and to hear that repeatedly has made me second-guess my sexual preference. However, I know inside I am sexually attracted to men and that when I think of marriage/loving someone I picture it with a man…it’s just that I have a difficult time connecting with them on other levels and it takes more time for that connection to actually happen because I have to let my guard down with them. So yeah, I hear you girl! It's great that you had/have someone who knew you well enough to point that out. I've struggled with understanding it, but I'm at a point in my life that I don't care what people think/say about me because I know what I feel and they can’t tell me to change. I’m not a great writer, so hopefully everything I just said makes sense haha.

Megan said...

Thank you for posting this!

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