Thursday, June 5, 2008

Are you a securely attached, anxiously attached, or avoidantly attached

Last night went to see Choreographer Dianne McIntyre and Mississippi Bluesman musician Olu Dara (Nas's dad) in Brooklyn perform Peaches, Plums, and Pontifications at the BRIC Studio. This collaboration between a woman and a man couldn't have been more perfect.

“I knew, if I ever got a chance to work with Dianne, it would be like a horse and a carriage,” [Olu Dara] said in a recent interview in his apartment in Harlem. “I felt she needed something closer to who she was....She would be fully Dianne,” he added, chuckling, and “I could be fully Olu.”(La Rocco, NYTimes May 25. 2008).
I went to a lovely little restaurant called Scopello in Fort Greene to grab a bite after the show. Had the best ceasar salad with homemade dressing and anchovies I have had in years. Also had the butternut squash ravioli. It was a lovely meal. Struck up a conversation with a man at the bar. He's an Algerian-born New Yorker now living in Atlanta. (That's life for you in the 21st century!) The gentleman, a chef by trade, seemed quite interested in our conversation and eventually me. During our conversation, after I shared about Success with the Opposite Sex (TM), I noticed how resigned he is about relating to the opposite sex and romantic relationships. He is not alone, I told him. Most of us in our thirties and forties are saying this, as if it's true we are never going to be happy.

This got me thinking about how attached we are to having things work and then we give up when the last relationship doesn't turn out. So I did a little work on attachment for you today. But first a little more about the collaboration I experienced last night in the performance.

Dianne and Olu individuals working and collaborating together without trying to make it fit. Olu is a ladies' (emphasis on the plural) man, a playa, a sweet-talkin', bullshittin', cut-you-to-the-core-with-laughter, bluesman who makes the greatest live musical experiences I have ever had. Dianne's choreography is from Slavery and Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance Reloaded for the 21st century. It's Improvisational downhome-edness with rigorous dance technique. She asked the audience how we would describe Peaches, Plums, and Pontifications after the show. I said "There are a lot of themes about death and rejuvenation. It's like the blues come alive." What I left thinking about relative to attachment from their collaboration is, they have no attachment to how things should be, how they should work together, they are just totally connected without changing a thing about the other. KnowwhatImean???!!??

CONDITIONS OF ATTACHMENT (cf. John Bowlby's Theory):
"When potential threats are perceived, secure individuals should remain confident that current [partners] will be attentive, responsive, and available to meet their needs and mitigate their distress. These beliefs should increase their feelings of security, deactivating their [need for] attachment ... and allowing secure individuals to use constructive, problem-focused coping strategies. ...

[W]hen [insecurely attached] individuals who are anxiously attached perceive threats, they are likely to be uncertain that their attachment figures will be sufficiently attentive, available, and responsive to their needs. These worries should sustain their anxiety and keep their attachment systems online, leading anxious persons to adopt emotion-focused coping strategies (e.g., remaining hypervigilant to signs of possible loss, ruminating about worst-case scenarios).

When individuals who are avoidantly attached feel threatened [i.e., trust issues abound], they are likely to experience—but perhaps not consciously acknowledge—distress and anxiety at a physiological level. To keep their attachment systems deactivated, these individuals would be expected to strive to inhibit and control their emotions by deploying avoidant coping strategies.

[PROBABLE RESPONSES:] Securely attached individuals, for example, [usually] focus on building greater intimacy with their attachment figures. Individuals who are insecurely attached ... cope differently, consistent with the particular form of insecurity they manifest. Those who are anxiously attached [often] yearn to achieve greater “felt security” [perhaps experienced as "neediness" in lay terms]. Those who are avoidantly attached [often] strive to obtain and maintain interpersonal autonomy and control [I'm fine and I don't need you. /I can do bad by myself .]."
(Simpson, Jeffry A. et. al. 2007. "Attachment and the Experience and Expression of Emotions in Romantic Relationships: A Developmental Perspective." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , Vol. 92, No. 2: 355–367.)

So where are you right now? You could be in a different space tomorrow? Just check in right now. Are you a securely attached individual, an anxiously attached individual, or an avoidantly attached individual when it comes to SUCCESS with the OPPOSITE SEX (TM)?? Where are you on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being securely attached and 5 being avoidantly attached?

One day I am gonna get y'all to really reply instead of lurking out their anonymously. LOL!
Oh me? Where am I? Today, with no one calling and me not calling anyone, I might say that I am a 5, avoidantly attached. Hey but I have an adult playdate today with a male friend who adores me. And I am not avoiding it. LOL!

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