When "Connectedness" Goes Wrong And Refused to Shake Hands…

One thing I like about Jay Smooth is the way he lay things down as far as “the human spirit” is concerned. April 2 of this year, he uploaded a video about “connectedness”, a principal which basically means when you are honoring a person’s spirit by connecting with that person by simply returning the gesture. If you sort of missed what I’m trying to say, in layman’s terms, it means to talk to someone just because they see you genuinely want to talk to them.

I “connected” with this logic even before I heard about it in this way. Everyday, I try to network, but some days, I just want to talk to someone to let them know that there’s something about them I admired and this is my chance to honor that. Any conversation afterwards would be consider a bonus. This logic I have simplified life and made it easy for me to speak to everyone. Of course, it took some time (aka experience) to know when to open my mouth and what to say when I do. And I met a lot of wonderful people via these strange, yet random times.

However, there are times when doing this principal is hard, especially when you are used to a formula of “shaking hands”. It’s natural to just come up to a person and wanting to touch them just to feel at ease with your presence, but what do you do if that gesture isn’t returned? That’s where my story begins.

Sunday, I attended a festival in Brooklyn near the Brooklyn Academy of Music (or BAM). I was passing out flyers to a Marcus Garvey event that’s going down on June 10th when I saw someone familiar. A tall woman that I swear I saw before. Then, it’s one of the Def Poets that I recently favorite and wanted to blog about. Now, I wanted to connect with her as an artist as well as a supporter of her work, so I went though the coward to greet her. Our eyes met and asked her if she was one of the Def Poets. She acknowledged that she was and I was like “Hi, my name is Matthew and I enjoy your work…”, extending my hand and on the tip of my tongue, almost said the name of her poem. Then she said, “I don’t shake hands.” While she said it with a smile in her face, her eyes said another story. It was almost as if she was grossed out by the fact that I recognized her. I thought she said something bad, but she repeated herself, smiling but looking a bit more awkward than before. For 10 seconds, there was this awkward silence. You know, the type that makes you want to hop on a plane and get away like they do in the Southwest Airline commercials. Getting her point, I took back my hand and just said, “well, I enjoy your work” and left it like that. She said thank you and left.

For five minutes afterwards, I was self-analytical. What did I do wrong? Was it my hair? My eyes? Did I give off the impression of being “star struck”? Was my breathe bad? Did I shower? I was talking with a lot of people that day and while my appearance and dress isn’t anything special, it was respected. I even go through mental notes and thought maybe I send off I was hitting on her. Maybe she just didn’t want to be bother. I do recall her speech pattern and she didn’t even say something like “Sorry, no offense, but I don’t shake hands” or something to that effect. She just brushed it off. Even thought I saw her a few times afterwards, I just didn’t want my spirit to be dampened, so I just left her alone.

Now, apart of me knows that I didn’t do anything wrong. The other part actually wanted to call her out because I felt she dissed me when I was being genuine. I even thought of my hands. Did I sneezed in them? I know at times, I won’t even shake people’s hand, but I always let them know why I won’t do it at that point and time. Maybe she was paranoid about the germs I was gathering.

However, I decided that in the end, it was either she didn’t want to be bothered or she just straight up didn’t like what I was sending and tried not to hurt my feelings (or maybe she wanted to hurt my feelings).

So what did I learn? I wish I can say I learned a lesson from all this, but the only lesson I learned was… well… maybe there’s just some people that don’t want to connect.

Oh… and who is this person that refused to connect with me? Well, like I said, I was going to blog about her and even have it so that I showcase two of her videos. However, I now scrapped it and probably won’t showcase her on this site, which is really sad. But hey… what can I say? After all…

… she didn’t want to acknowledge me, so why should I acknowledge her?

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