Friday, October 22, 2010

Reflection: A Loss of Pliability

A soapbox post -- not the one I was planning, but a very 'me' one. I have hesitated sometimes to mention the cat -- aware of people here and there, just freezing at the mention -- but it has been a long time since he died. For a time, I would go to a support group at the humane society, and I was aware how some people hesitated to bring another animal into their life because they were afraid they would love it and it would die. I was aware also how people would sometimes interpret things I said that way -- like once when I was talking about how maybe it would be better to get a foster animal. Someone heard in those words that I was afraid of getting attached and having an animal die. No. The pair bonding impulse in me is so strong that... I have never in my life even one time that I can remember resisted any attachment because of a fear of being hurt. Quite the contrary. I can't imagine being hurt by the people around me because I can't imagine loving them. But that's not because I don't mold myself to others' shapes. It's because I do it too much.

When I was a little kid, I was like Play-Doh fresh from the can. By the time I was a teenager, the pliability was down. I wrote before about the classic storybook image of the little girl who can only love her doll, and not even another doll someone buys for her that looks just the same. Up to a point, that tendency is part of the beauty of being human. But too much of that is a barrier to normal living. It's normal for a person who's been married to someone for thirty years to say, "I will never love again," and be a perpetual widow. It's not normal for a young teen to already be moving in those directions -- finding it progressively more difficult to love, not out of fear, but out of doing it so completely (We're not even talking romantic liaisons here!) that anything else just gets a "But that's not my rose!" reaction.

So many issues people have are normal -- even good -- traits and drives that are just upregulated beyond the norm.

This picture was titled "Helping Hand". But what do I title it? "A Loss of Pliability"!