Friday, May 20, 2016

On Trust Issues and Disbelief

Blind faith is not my strong suit.  The other day, a young lady who was helping me direct our most recent play came up to me and said, "Hold out your hand," and she held her hand above mine as if she were holding something inside.  I panicked a little.  In the span of a second or two, all sorts of things blasted through my brain---things like, "Maybe she's putting a spider in my hand!"  or 'What if it's something gross?"  I had nothing to fear or worry about from this young lady, so I don't know why I expected it to be a fiery hot thumbtack or some sort of weird creature that might bore a hole in my palm.  But I did.  I expected the worst.

Knowing that that's an issue of mine, I went against my better judgment and held out my hand, cringing the whole time.  Every bone in my body screamed at me to pull my hand back in the nick of time, but I didn't, because I KNOW that my instincts and emotional reflexes aren't always the best. Once I held out my hand, she laced her fingers in mine and held my hand and swung back and forth and made some silly comment and laughed.  I should have relaxed at that point, but I didn't.  I laughed it off and flung her hand off of mine and made some smartass comment about being convinced she was putting boogers in my hand.  

I don't trust easily, even when harmless or stupid things are happening.  A trust fall, you know those team-building things that people do on retreats, just before they sing "Kumbaya" and make s'mores? Well, a trust fall for me would be an emotional disaster, even if I didn't end up in a pile on the floor. There is no way that I would ever blindly fall backwards and expect someone else to catch me. Instead, I would expect the opposite, that they would drop me, let me down.

It's become a viral thing lately for people to stand on busy streets or in marketplaces blindfolded with "Hug Me" signs hung around their neck.  I saw a few of those myself the last time I ventured onto the Charlottesville Mall.  I was fascinated and enthralled.  I could have sat and watched approaching huggers and their reactions all day, but it was really the "huggee" that intrigued me more.  I was too squeamish to walk over and give hugs.  I don't readily touch people, not even people I know well---there was no way I was going to hug a random stranger on the street.  (Besides, in typical non-trusting manner, what if it's a trick?  A  candid camera experiment?  The horror!)  So there is no fathomable way I'd ever stand blindfolded anywhere, much less with an invitation for bodily contact hanging around my neck.
I don't think I'm naturally suspicious--I don't automatically assume that people have malicious intent. In fact, I think I do quite the opposite. I give the benefit of the doubt and look for the good in people  perhaps more than I should (and sometimes it bites me in the ass).  So how does that fit?  It comes down to a lack of evidence.  I need evidence to support my trust, to support my patience, to support my energy and effort. And if it's not there…if I'm working on blind trust…well, then my brain does its own thing, my psyche jumps in just for shits and giggles, and all proverbial hell breaks loose.

I don't often quote 80s hair bands as being words that speak from my heart.  But Poison's "Give Me Something to Believe In" has been running through my brain the last few days.  They're singing about faith in a bigger sense, not the day-to-day trust in other people.  But for me, they're the same thing.  I need something to believe in, and I need the evidence.  And if that evidence isn't there, well, I'll keep looking until it is.   

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