This I Believe

Marissa - New York, New York
Entered on March 15, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: community

Falling Inward

Why is it that we so rarely choose to connect with other human beings? Think about it. On a daily basis we have countless opportunities to connect, yet for whatever reason – be it discomfort, fear, annoyance or some other fill-in-the-blank emotion – we choose not to. I’ve always wondered how it was possible to feel so utterly alone while living in a city overflowing with occupants. How, if every day I pass so many people, do I still feel isolated?

Because “passing each other” is all we do. The line between stranger and friend is so fine, yet we’re terrified of crossing it.

Instead, we choose to uphold boundaries; we’re so contented with looking at one another, that only rarely do we really see each other. ?

When I first moved from Minnesota to New York I was warned never to make eye contact with anyone on the subway. I was new here and admittedly scared, so without rationalizing the rule, I abided. After all, we all have cultural codes – better to follow them then stand out, or worse yet, offend.

But today, on the 6 train, I broke the rule. And in the instant our eyes linked, I felt liberated. Not because I’d rebelled against a stupid regulation, but rather because in the moment our gaze met, I felt a powerful throng of energy zip through me. ?

We’d crossed the line, and it felt thrilling. ?

So they say, the eyes are the window to the soul. True or not, this I know: I can hold anyone’s hand, I may frivolously kiss cheeks and lips, but when I look into another’s eyes, for just a moment my heart sits still. For me, a connection between eyes is an incredibly intense and intimate human interaction. Perhaps the most powerful kind of contact there is. ?

Maybe that’s why we choose iPods over conversations, and why yesterday I stared at my shoes rather than the woman opposite me on the train – because eye contact is a passionate and extreme experience and we’re simply not wired to share such compelling sentiment with every Joe we pass. ?

And maybe that’s why we look at, and not in. When we look at we see corporeal, physical body, which automatically deflects our gaze from witnessing anything more profound. But when we look in, when our visions cross, we inevitably fall inward, through the window to the soul, to the very clockwork of being and character. ?

And that feels raw. Intense. Mindblowing.

From now on, I choose to connect. I want to always fall inward.