In that moment of shared loneliness, seeing and being seen, we created a sense of safety and belonging. We were no longer alone in our loneliness, and we were no longer alone in our desire for more connection.
Somewhere between Salt Lake City and Lander, Wyoming, driving on a gravel byway during the first Connection Cure tour, nature woke me up. I didn’t realize I had been sleeping until the expansive plains surrounded me, and with the windows down and the smell of cattle wafting through the air, nature moved me to tears.
Over the span of two years, this idea has come alive. The Connection Cure is now a cross-country project that will take me to every state in America where I aim to host workshops that teach the science behind loneliness and connection.
Someone once told me that you can make something funny out of nothing. He was the same person who said to me “you’re too intense. If you don’t laugh more your life is going to end up in shambles.” It wasn’t the first time someone had warned me about my future, but it was one of the few times I had decided to listen.
Yesterday morning when I woke up, the first thing I did was look in the mirror. Over the years, this is how I have measured my level of wellbeing; the color of the underbelly of my eyes directly correlates to how sick I feel on any given day.
I need to confess something here. It’s a feeling I’ve been harboring for a long time now and I’m finally ready to get it off my chest – sometimes, I take inspiration for granted.
The power of storytelling and story listening never ceases to amaze me. There is something I’ve always found quite profound in standing powerfully in the tales of my life and sharing them with the world. Equally, I've found empowerment in listening to the stories of those I’ve been lucky enough to come in contact with.
I want an Oompa Loompa. Yup. I want one, now. And along with it, I want a bunch of other things too: a published memoir, an episodic documentary, and a puppy. I want it all. I’m just like Violet Beauregarde, only I’m not chillin’ with Willy Wonka. I’m in my apartment in Brooklyn stomping my foot and demanding my Oompa Loompa, but there is no one here to bare witness to my impatience. I haven’t turned into a blueberry just yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
I didn’t realize how stagnant my life felt while living in the uncreative void. There was little movement there for me, and I kept pushing and shoving my way back to myself but I couldn’t land where I wanted to, until a few months ago. Without warning, while talking to my life coach about writing, the phrase, “writing saved my life,” fell out of me.
There is a difference between telling a story and sharing a part of yourself with the world. This is where I struggle. For years I’ve stayed safe behind telling stories. I can share tales about life’s mundane moments but when it comes to matters of the heart, I sometimes feel like I’m banging my head against a concrete wall.