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  • Sonya Cooke

Human Contact

If you are like me right now, you are craving some human contact. I’ve never gone this long without seeing (really seeing in real time and space) people I care about, outside of my husband and child. I watch neighbors on walks pass by our front yard, and I find myself waving! Like a child, thirsty for interaction. In the absence of so many relationships in the here and now (I’ve had plenty of Zoom meetings and FaceTime chats,) I am coming to terms with my actual need for human contact and proximity.

It reminds me of my early days as an actor. I used to long to act as it seemed like the only true and deep way to connect with others, even if they were practical strangers to me in real life. The intimacy that contact (pillar #1, p.s.) brings while acting is unlike anything else. Time stops, and there is only the vibration of two souls, like magnets dancing backwards and forwards. This energy cannot lie; in its rawest state it attracts and repels without discretion and with total simplicity.

There is a vibratory exchange that can only occur with two bodies (at least) in space. Unfortunately, online communication pales in comparison. We are supposed to be in close proximity in order to impact each other. And although now is not an ok time to do so, without our individual biospheres intermingling, then the alchemical impact of one person on the other cannot take place.

I once learned each person has a microbial perimeter composed of their own bacteria emanating from them at all times, and depending on how much or how well one showers, the larger or smaller this sphere can be. It’s akin to having a personal bubble, which is the relative private space you require in order to feel comfortable. And, actually, the confluence of these two ideas makes great sense. If we are encased in an orb of our own bacteria, then, yes, we likely do feel the energetic impact of someone entering that space. Such closeness means that we are exposed to them, and they to us, which is a vulnerable, risky event, especially in such dark times as now. And yet, in this intimacy is the potential to unite forces, expand the boundaries of “self,” and surrender an individual will to another, maybe better cause.

People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.

--- Funny Girl, Barbra Streisand

Again, I hope and believe that I am not alone in this strong and familiar longing to connect, touch, and exchange real energies with others. As an actor, this impulse reminds me that my work does not exist in a vacuum. My performance hangs on the work of my colleagues. Actors put so much attention on their own process when they could give more attention to their partners, leaning more heavily on the to and fro of their contact, much like those dancing magnets. In the absence of closeness at this time, I feel more empowered to surrender fully to my partner on stage or set when that work resumes. If I hook into the delicious band of energy that reverberates between us, and if I allow them to affect my heart, mind, and soul, what more is there to do but let the text drape on the shape of that exchange?

Sometime in the near future I will hug a friend; maybe this summer I’ll get coffee with a colleague in a busy café. At some point, I’ll brush shoulders with a passerby on the sidewalk. In the meantime, I can ready myself to enter into my acting with more abandon, knowing that the net of human connection is there to catch me.

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