A lifelong scholar of affection

I love at first sight. Ironically enough, I never believed it could happen when I used to read about it, and it took me literally years to realise this about myself. But there it is, and nothing to be done about it.

It’s hard to explain, and sounds vaguely mystical when I try to, though I don’t feel that way about it myself at all. Sometimes, when I meet a new person, I just know, sometimes even without talking to them, sometimes after half an hour or so, that they are going to be a part of my life. I don’t know why or how I know this; it’s just, literally, a gut feeling, somewhere between the shortness of my breath and the pit of my stomach. But then I find myself talking to them as if they are already a good friend, a trusted confidante — without reservations, telling them exactly what I think and feel, with very few of the usual barriers of politeness that you have with acquaintances and gradually lower as you become real friends. Generally, 90% of the time, I’m really protective of my privacy and my inner self. I tend to be the silent person hiding in a corner at large gatherings, and when I meet new people one-on-one, it’s an agony of stilted small-talk and awkward silences, because I will not actually show enough of myself to connect. I don’t like revealing myself to strangers at all, except when I get this feeling of recognition? attraction? some sort of strong signal that the other person is a kindred spirit. It doesn’t happen very often, usually; less than a dozen people in my entire life so far. I don’t know why it happens, or even what exactly it is, — part of it is purely instinctive for me — but I’ve grown to recognise it, and trust that instinct completely. So far, anyway, none of the people I’ve felt like that towards have turned out to be anything other than my dearest, most trusted, most cared for, friends.

This sort of connection can be a bit unnerving for everyone involved. People don’t, in the normal course of things start talking to complete strangers as if they’ve known them for years, as if they care deeply about them, as if they really want to know what makes them tick, to know their secret inner selves. I do find myself thinking cringingly afterwards: did I just tell her that about myself? did I really go into his office five days in a row and talk to him for an hour every day? And of course, the other person sits there and wonders what I’m playing at, why I do this, do I honesty just want to reveal myself like this, do I seriously expect that sort of candidness from them in return? Usually there is some suspicion involved among all the mutual recognition (it’s always been mutual so far), and maybe some resentment — why should we have to accept another person into our lives, to care about, to worry about, to try and spend time with? It’s a bit like being besieged by a hungry kitten; you can’t ignore it, you know you will feel happy after you feed it, and will grow to love it, but dear god, you certainly didn’t ask for it to show up and turn your life upside down! It’s very intense, as intense as a romantic relationship, and with a lot of the same elements, (eg: I will openly admit I love every one of the people I have this connection with) — but it doesn’t have to be one.

I guess it’s important to me to say that, because the possibility is definitely there, always, but it’s not inevitable, and I don’t like it when I feel pulled or pushed into something, even if, or especially if it’s by my own emotions. In fact, usually the connections are mostly platonic, and I like that, deliberately try to make these connections fit that safe mould. In the way I think about it, this is the thing that tells me when I want to be really good friends with someone, share my soul with them, and it’s completely separate from sex or romance. I’ve only felt it once and known also that I was deeply attracted to the other person, not just physically, but head over heels in love, and I’m still feeling the reverberations of that particular upheaval, inside, even now.

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~ by mortarandpestle on November 19, 2007.

2 Responses to “A lifelong scholar of affection”

  1. I know exactly this connection you describe. There’s a communication on the spiritual level (not religion, but spirit or soul). And you’re right. I feel a particular ambivalence about several such relationships. They often go neglected, but i feel more whole when we connect again. I have more to say about love at first sight, but i’ll have to write that out another day…. ❤

  2. I, too, believe in love at first sight. I’ve always experienced it as energy more than sight, but I know right away when someone and I will connect. It’s in their gaze, their body gestures, the magnetism between us. I think the hardest thing is when you feel that with someone and you never find the opportunity to get to know them… it’s like a missed connection. You know where you should be, but you can’t get there.

    In thinking about this, it might be why I’m friends with everyone, but have only a handful of very close friends. If the connection is not intense enough, if I don’t feel it in my soul, I don’t really invest in it. I wonder what I’m missing out on by following that gut instinct so closely.

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