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Intimacy vs connection |

Young Star

Intimacy vs connection

- Paula C. Nocon of the Philippine Star’s YS -
Be still my beating heart! Maybe it was really too much lechon or too little iron, but my heart problems these past few months were real. Without caffeine or anxiety or lovelife dilemmas, abruptly, inexplicably, at the oddest hours of night or day, my heart would skip a beat. Each time it was like a deep heaving in the chest, as if my heart were sucked into a black hole. And then it would be over as soon as I’d notice it.

The undercover metaphysician that I am, I came up with a non-medical theory as to why this was happening. You know what they say about how biting your tongue means someone is talking about you; or those times when you’re thinking of a person and then the phone rings and it’s him. Well, I tried to apply the same logic to my situation. Every time my heart would skip a beat it meant that someone was thinking of me. Someone was missing me!

I thought that this was the most romantic thing since singing telegrams.

I shared this idea with my mom and she thought it was so crazy it just might be true. She said, "You’re experiencing a bizarre form of cosmic communication. To sustain that you must always keep yourself open to it, 24-seven."

It’s like the passiveness of owning a cellular phone. If you want to keep getting text messages you have to keep it on, 24-seven. Thump-thump, thump-thump; beep-beep, beep-beep.

The irony is, I can only scientifically test my superstitious theory by way of the cell phone itself. Every time I would feel one of my palpitations I would have to send a text message to everyone in my phone book, including ex-boyfriends, my boss, my students, business acquaintances and secret infatuations: "Hi, sorry to bother you, but I just wanted to know if you were thinking of me right now. Please reply. Thanks. ü" In doing so I would lose my jobs and all my friends, be blacklisted by my phone company, committed in an asylum, gorge on lechon the whole day, and then die of a real heart attack.

Oh, that thing called communication -it’s my great passion. I majored in it in college, based my grad school thesis on it, and presently teach it. In my CV. I would love to write as my career objective: To find creative and innovative solutions to communication problems.

All around me I see how technology is changing communication everyday, and how it’s changing our lives in return. Everyone mouths the cliché "keep the lines of communication open" as the formula for making any relationship work, and we all know this to be true. The top communications brand in the world, Nokia plays on this human need, thus its tagline, "Connecting people." As old as time itself, through everything from carrier pigeons to telegrams, people have yearned for connection.

The thing is, connection can be tricky. Communication technology can be the smoke-and-mirrors of human closeness; ergo phone pals, online lovers. Drugs like Ecstasy can induce complete strangers to make out with one another. Sometimes you find relationships that are very intimate, but you don’t feel the connection, you don’t hear the click, you don’t see the spark. Other times you find ones wherein the connection lasts for years and years despite lack of contact and geographical constraints.

Then you find that it might be easier to be intimate, easier to feel close to someone, easier to create a sense of familiarity, than it is to ever truly, genuinely connect. And that it’s actually possible to have connection without intimacy, as well as intimacy without connection.

It all boils down to the quality of communication. On how much you keep yourself open, honest and true. In this sense, I know for a fact that I’d choose connection over intimacy at any given time.

My best friend has just left for New York to work on a project. He’ll be there for two months. When he called me the other day we chatted as if he was just across the street. He was cold, he was tired, he was miserable. When we hung up I truly felt his absence -he was not around, and I missed him. This is the magic of the platonic boy-girl relationship: connection without intimacy.

My ex-boyfriend and I now have a fabulous friendship, and we can tell each other things that we could not when we were still together. That relationship collapsed from the strain of the long distance, the failure to sustain the intimacy of the boyfriend-girlfriend connection. Now that the layers of intimacy have been peeled away we are simply enjoying the remaining connection that we always had at the core of our relationship.

My 20-month old niece is becoming adept at talking - she is starting to form sentences, express feelings, opinions and desires. As she becomes more articulate she becomes less frustrated, her disposition sunnier and more constant. We have found a unique method of communicating with one another. It’s the combined intimacy and connection between flesh and blood.

These relationships are most precious to me, and they all depend on a precarious line of communication for survival. It’s called trust. We have to take care of it, and never take it for granted.

I can’t fly to New York right now to keep my best friend company, but he knows that if only I could, I would. I can’t be a girlfriend to my ex anymore, given the circumstances and the issues, but he knows if only I could’ve, I would’ve. My niece and I aren’t on the same wavelength yet. We can’t exactly discuss communication theory, but we both know that if we keep working at it, someday we would.

That’s what the finest communication is about. To make another person feel that you are there, even if you’re not. That you are always near at hand, willing to be closer, ready to narrow the gaps, here, now, ASAP. Without skipping a beat.
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