Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 99: Emotional Connection

Libra (The Friend): Hey Mom… Hey Ivy.

Mom (Me): Good morning Libra.

Ivy (The Companion): Hey sis. What’s with people wanting to bug both of us lately?

Mom: Come now, Ivy — Libra’s only the second. What’s on your mind, Libra?

Libra: I’ve just been thinking of how I used to make friends. I was hoping to compare notes with Ivy.

Ivy: Really? Making friends is your purview, not mine.

Libra: I’m not exactly looking for friendship tips — I’m trying to understand our relationships better. Sure, I’ve made some long-lasting friendships, but our longest lasting, closest relationship is your purview.

Ivy: Oh, you mean with our partner. I sort of fell into that relationship by chance, of you remember. It was rough at the beginning, but my partner and I kept showing up for each other, and we bonded. We helped each other out a lot, in the beginning — we still do, of course.

Libra: You still do because you’re still together. In my time, I fell into all sorts of relationships — that happens when you’re in college, after all — but most of them didn’t last longer than a year, let alone lasting until today.

Mom: Does that bother you, Libra?

Libra: A little! Even among our friendships that lasted until transition, most of those came apart afterwards. Or rather, they’re on “indefinite hiatus.” I thought I was making good friends back then, but… Now I don’t know.

Mom: Back then the friendships that stuck were rooted in mutual interest. A friend might have been into video games, or we did tabletop roleplaying together, or we shared a class… That’s not a bad basis for a relationship, mind. It makes finding something to do a little easier.

Libra: It doesn’t mean we have anything else in common though — and my interests shifted after transition. Now I can see that most of those friendships weren’t as deep as I’d hoped, not even with the people I thought I was closest to.

Mom: We’ve discussed how empty those relationships felt back in Scene 27, when I helped you with your mask. Feeling like you had to act like your pre-transition self to maintain friendships was a hard thing to let go of.

Libra: It was, but with your help, I managed. I don’t feel like that very often anymore. On the other hand, Ivy doesn’t seem to deal with that at all.

Ivy: My relationship was different though. You forged relationships through shared interests; whereas our relationship with our partner was forged through shared experiences. We both cared for each other when there were unexpected deaths in our respective families. We’d go to concerts and shows together — heck, we even met at a show where a mutual friend’s band was playing.

Libra: Is that really so different from what I was doing? I’d share experiences with my friends all the time.

Ivy: Sure, but those experiences were focused on the interest at hand, with everyone focused on a board game or movie together — or they’d be speculative discussions about science fiction or video games or economic systems or whatever else. More interest-based interaction, in other words. Our partner and I share some interests, but much of our courtship was sharing experiences with each other and enjoying each other’s company, or spending our downtime together and connecting emotionally. Or making out; we did a bunch of that too.

Libra (dismissive): Well, I wasn’t about to make out with my friends.

Mom (playful): If only we’d transitioned sooner, right?

Libra (blushing): I don’t know Mom, that feels like something *you* could be doing for us now…

Ivy: As the Companion, I’d like to argue against smooching friends — we’re monogamous, after all.

Mom (mumbling): We’re in a monogamous relationship, at least.

Ivy (confused): Right, because…

Mom (interrupting): Smooches aside, connecting emotionally is a big part of why we’ve been together with our partner for so long. Before transition, that kind of connection mostly happened accidentally, since we didn’t really have the capacity to make deep emotional connections intentionally. Now that we’re in touch with our authentic self we can sense and pursue that kind of connection directly.

Libra: We can and we do — our friendships since coming out have largely been rooted in emotional connection.

Mom Exactly. We thrive on emotional depth and connection now. Many of our old friendships lacked that kind of connection, and those friendships have kind of fallen away… the lack of emotional depth is why they felt so empty.

Ivy: I think understanding that is going to help us reconnect to our partner too… We were never very good at dating, after all. We’d try to figure out some experience that she’d love, and we had such a hard time. We were trying to make an interest-based connection because that’s all we understood, but our interests don’t really converge in that many places. It didn’t help that we’d always be anxious over whether or not the date was going well — our response to that anxiety was to withdraw into ourselves, pulling away from our partner in the process. It’s a pretty counterproductive reaction.

Mom: It sure is, and it clouded our judgment pretty badly. I remember my partner and I having vastly different impressions of whether a date went well or not — that happened several times, if memory serves.

Ivy: Ugh, don’t remind me. Regardless, I recognize now that the specific experience we’re having together isn’t that important, it’s that we’re having it together. And our goal isn’t for everyone to have an unbelievably good time, though that’s obviously a plus. The goal is to connect emotionally and feel closer to each other.

Libra: That feels like a good strategy for friendships too. Focusing on emotional connection is a great way to… Well, connect with people.

Mom: I agree, though it’s certainly possible to come on too strong, or ask for personal details too early rather than letting a relationship play out naturally…

Libra (dismissive): Eh, details. I can figure that stuff out. Besides, we’re pretty open, aren’t we? Opening up is a good way to break the ice with people.

Mom: I suppose that’s true. What do you think, Libra? Did this feel like a useful conversation?

Libra (happy): It did! I appreciate it, Mom. Same to you, Ivy. You don’t do this all the time — at least not for me. I appreciate your engagement too.

Ivy (smiling): Of course, Libra. You’re my little sister, after all.

Libra (warm): Awww. Well thanks, big sister.