“Who you are is Connection”
I was trying to remind myself of the truth that had been reflected to me when I took on the practise of asking people what I brought into the space. People had shared that I brought everyone together. The whole room became more connected when I was a part of it.
But I didn’t usually feel like connection. I felt shy. I felt like an ambivert — a contorted attempt to combine both introversion and extroversion into a satisfying description of myself. I felt like ignoring people, hiding away, and finding ways to take comfort in the lack of connection that was often more present in my life.
I was trying to remind myself of who I was, or at least, got to be, while waiting at the bus stop.
Ben and someone else were standing about ten feet away from me, waiting for the same bus I was, chatting with each other and laughing. I knew Ben vaguely from a stint I’d done at the free legal clinic. We didn’t really know each other, we just went to the same law school, and had interacted once.
And here I was standing off to the side, putting a lot of my attention into my phone.
If I *was* Connection, why was I avoiding it so much?
I was avoiding it because I was scared. Nervous I’d be an imposition, not wanting to interrupt into a conversation, not wanting to be some dork that injected himself.
All really valid reasons to stay quiet and nice and off to the side.
What I noticed is that those reasons were always valid. Like, every time I thought of doing something different, those were the reasons I had, and they pretty much always won the day.
I wanted to create something different but I was scared. What I wanted was a different experience of who I was as a human being. I wanted to live up to the promise that people had reflected to me. But… you know — being a dork, being an interruption, etc. All of that stuff just hung there in the space for me.
“I should go and say hi”, I thought to myself, then got really interested in my phone again.
I spent the next fifteen minutes idly checking my phone, trying to ignore my thoughts, and simultaneously getting distracted by them telling me what I *should* do in the face of my fear. I re-read the same paragraph for the next fifteen minutes.
And then the bus arrived, and all of us waiting got on the bus.
And I swallowed, and I walked to the back of the bus, and I said, “Ben, right?”
And he looked at me, quizzically, and said “Yah?”
“I’m Adam — we did a few hours together at the legal clinic.”
“Ohhhh, right, yah, I remember.”
He introduced me to his friend, and we started talking.
And that was the moment when my practice went from being something intellectual, to something embodied.