Introvert Life

Physical Closeness Is Not Required to Feel Love

“I don’t cry because we’ve been separated by distance, and for a matter of years. Why? Because for as long as we share the same sky and breathe the same air, we’re still together.” – Donna Lynn Hope

I don’t know if it’s introversion, trauma, or simply a different way of thinking, but I have always felt connected to people regardless of sharing the same space or the frequency we speak. When I care for or admire you, no amount of distance can change that fact. It doesn’t waver. I don’t need proof that you’re still thinking about me necessarily. I believe it. I also understand that we’re living our lives. We’re not always going to be the main characters in each other’s stories, but it doesn’t mean we’re not a part of the plot.

I am an energy person. I pick up on people’s energies, I read their energy, and I can either bask in it or repel it. For me, someone’s energy speaks before they do; if we connect, the combining and mutual nourishing of our energies can sustain our relationship quite a bit. I thrive in created intellectual and emotional bonds. That transcends physicality. We don’t need to see each other every week, month, or year. My people are on my mind. I sit with the feeling of missing them. When I am not actively talking with them, I am talking or thinking about them. There is something daily that reminds me of them, a song, a meme, the sound of a stranger’s laugh, a tv show character, the smell of food, or just the air. They are ever-present with me.

With the pandemic, lockdown felt welcomed in this regard. I have always felt that physical closeness wasn’t the primary component for feeling someone’s love. However, due to other people’s perceptions, I would try to show up, often in the way they needed, to squash any doubts. In practice, that looked like frequent phone calls or texts, frequent trips home, and planning visits or dates. These are not bad things to want or need by any means, but it’s not universal. For me, it’s simply not my natural personality. The temporary halt in shared-space socialization was refreshing. Despite all the cons, the pro was that, perhaps, others would remember how you can still build and maintain connections regardless of needing to see people. And, there are infinite ways to show your love and support for someone.

Once upon a time, before social media, we would mail each other pictures, it would take a fortnight to receive a letter, and you would catch up with people when you could, often after months or years. It was glorious, especially when your fav relative would pop up and tell you hours of stories for a day. It didn’t mean out of sight, out of mind. I think people forget that in actuality, especially as we each grow older and find and create our own families, we are very capable of maintaining long-distance relationships. Your physical absence from different occasions doesn’t automatically mean that all the love is lost or is drifting away. Depending on our connection, I can communicate with people after long periods of silence and feel like no time has passed.

Of course, this perspective is different from person to person. Traumas and experiences also inform how others expect people to show up for them, especially if they were abandoned, abused, or neglected in childhood. What I see as the natural ebb and flow of life, someone else sees as disinterest, divestment, or ghosting. These different viewpoints are valid, but not all thoughts and feelings are factual. Direct communication and boundaries are integral for understanding each other. You may read this and think that I sound cold. But I read this and think, this is how I can ensure you receive the best version of me to love you. How we wish to give and receive love is unique to us all; not everyone will understand or reciprocate your love language(s), there are plenty of people who will.

When it comes to reopening and joining the world with open arms, I am not running. I know folks are aching to see me and spend time with me, but it’s not something I am entirely ready for yet. Each day my comfort level is different. Truthfully, I thoroughly enjoy my own company. When I think about spending my time like I used to, it makes my stomach feel uneasy. I am not too interested. I am taking my time, listening to my body, my mind, and the world. When it feels right, they’ll know it. My attention and energy will be intentional and abundant. In the meantime, there should not be a question about my love and support. It is always there and present, wrapping you like a blanket fresh from the dryer.

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