Twelfth Post

[I think I have never written the word “twelfth” before, it looks really funny.]

 

Another post about friendship – inspired by several long discussions with my best friend and my boyfriend.

To me, friendship is an affectionate and cognitive non-physical bond with people that came to mean very much to me. The difference to what most people mean by friendship is, that frequent contact, especially face-to-face, is not a necessity for me. In that way it differs from love which has a far stronger physical factor and thus requires if not necessarily proximity, at least immediate and personal contact.

I think both relationship types are influenced by my … immediacy … concerning the perception of other people.

First, people lose some of their substance when they are not in immediate contact with me; they become “disembodied” in a way. This also entails that they lose “momentum” – I would not ask a friend I have not seen for a while what happened in their life because I lack the intuitive recognition that they HAVE a life outside the time when we are in contact. Of course I cognitively recognise that they do not freeze in time as soon as I close the door but it is still difficult to transfer that to an intuitive, affectionate curiosity. To me, they are somewhat like porcelain figures on a shelf as long as they are not in actual contact with me; I can look at them, draw happiness from their existence and affectionately clean the dust away once in a while. I enjoy the time whenever I do have contact with my friends but it is not actually necessary very often. As long as I know they care that can be totally fine with me. And I do care about them very deeply, but it is rather difficult to explain how you can care about someone and not feel a compulsion to contact them frequently to take part in their life.

With love, on the other hand, this entails that each period of separation is a new “chapter” for me; a new situation in which I have to find a confirmation that my loved one and the bond between us has not changed and can be applied equally to this new day as to the last one.

I once read an example of a girl with Asperger’s who did not adhere to the instruction to raise her hand before speaking in class because when the picture was taken to illustrate what she should do, she wore a red shirt but on the next day she wore a blue one. She did not transfer the generality of the instruction to hold true no matter if she looked exactly like the picture or not. I never applied this example to myself because I CAN understand instructions separate from the situation or myself; however, I think that is still the same underlying problem with emotional situations. I do not generalise people or relationships. If someone says “I love you” on one day, with a red shirt, so to speak, I do not generalise that to the next, blue shirt day – emotionally, that is. When we see each other again, in a way, I am exploring my feelings and my loved one anew each day (and I do not think that is something negative, really, as long as it does not lead to irritation in the other).

I think I do not really need this confirmation with my friends because friendship is a more intellectual relationship. It is, to me, more easily grasped than love; more easily tied to common interests, similarities in character and activities. Love is difficult to define, especially why you love someone and even more why you are being loved by someone. Emotions are invisible and more often than not my own are quite enigmatic to me, not to mention those of someone else.

 

Eleventh Post

This post is about the physical sensation of emotions. Or, more accurately, how I perceive emotions and how I know which emotion it is. I usually perceive the bodily changes first and then realise which emotion it is exactly – or not so exactly. Of course I cognitively recognise which emotion is or would be appropriate in most situations before feeling it, but often I do not “just feel” it; especially negative emotions are difficult to differentiate for me. Joy is easier, more immediate.

Sadness

I recognise sadness as a kind of pressure on my chest, difficulties breathing in, a painful sensation radiating from the bridge of my nose towards my eyes and forehead and an overall inhibition in gross motor functions.

Anger

It is a similar kind of pressure but more from the inside out and less restricting. My muscles feel tense and a kind of heat builds up in my head, my breathing becomes shallower.

Fear – a little more difficult

Faster heartbeat, similar restricting pressure on my upper body as in sadness just more from the spine outwards and less from the chest; a feeling of coldness along with a compulsion to twirl something in my hands or touch haptically interesting surfaces to calm myself. If I am really scared an additional need to curl up and cover my ears arises.

Happiness

A warm sensation starting in my solar plexus radiating from the centre towards the sides and then into my extremities as a kind of flutter, but without actual tremors. Again pressure in my chest but not uncomfortable; just so it feels stretched, like filled up with something warm and light. And a similar fluttery, warm sensation at the base of the skull towards the face.

Apparently contempt is another basic emotion but I do not have a sensational pattern for that; I do not remember ever having felt strong contempt towards anyone or anything. It is similar with jealousy; I just do not feel that, I have no idea why.

All other emotions are – for me – constructed as combinations of the ones above. Love is happiness in multiple levels directed towards persons; short bursts of joy from specific thoughts, touch, gestures from and towards that person alongside a constant resonating happiness just from the existence of this bond – plus numerous cognitive components like interest, harmony, sense of belonging and protection, etc.

(Emotional) pain is sadness and fear – and maybe anger.

Envy is anger and fear – and maybe contempt?

Heartache might be happiness and sadness and it feels so strange because it overlaps emotionally but the physical sensations are different..? It starts in the solar plexus, like happiness, but instead of radiating outwards it is more clenching and tightening and the radiating sensation is inhibiting or paralysing. Also there is a dampening of sensual input followed by the painful sensation behind my forehead which always precedes tears.

I think emotions are, in a physical sense, like japanese sauces. They all have the same five or six ingredients but taste very different because of the proportions of the individual ingredients.

Stress

Stress is also different; it results in a similar compensation compulsion as fear and sadness but is more concentrated in my head and less of a bodily sensation. My thoughts feel foggy and slow but at the same time somewhat erratic and I feel the need to concentrate on simple things which channel and restrict my sensory input.

How do other people feel emotions? And how is it to just “feel” ..?