“I know what intimacy is,” I said to myself, shoulders pulled back, chest out, and eager to crow like a proud rooster.
Then she said those three little words:
“I love you.”
I was trying to be vulnerable, but failed.
She knew how to challenge, inspire, and humble me, and under the sacred veil of mutual trust, my dignity still well intact.
Come to find out, the words, “I love you” I just wasn’t ready for.
I had some education about physical intimacy. From what I’ve learned in school, to what’s written in popular magazines and blogs, to the trial-and-error that would make up my becoming a man. Ya, I know exactly what physical intimacy is.
Yet, sex and intimacy felt empty. It’s in that moment I realized I’m more than just this physical body, and that whatever that “more” is, craves more of itself. Intimacy wants to see itself, and experience itself with and through someone else.
Immediately I assumed this all must be the word, LOVE, we’re talking about.
Photo by Tomas Sobek on Unsplash
Not real spirit-driven affection and acceptance, but the sticky Hollywood style kinda love that makes us sigh and want for the dysfunctional display of neurotic behavior that later we learn makes us miserable.
Ya, I want that. Right?
Those people in movies look miserable at first, but eventually they’re happy. Right?
I’m uncertain if it’s the disease of unbridled passion that curbs my superior intentions to the gutters of derailment or just a misguided sense of my internal romance that I rarely know what to do with.
For me, Intimacy… true, heart-exposed, vulnerable intimacy has always been hard, perhaps even terrifying.
When I question other men, I’m not alone.
But, sadly, I didn’t have other men (or the internet) to consult when she said those three little words that, come to find out, we’re not all that little after all.
“I love you.”
She called out, or better said, called IN to answer the question EVERY woman wants to know from a man.
And before I answer let me say, in retrospect, I think this should probably be the first topic two perspective lovers ask each other for certainly we could avoid the many problems that come from of hurt feelings.
But I’m stalling and you know it.
The question women want to know: Are you emotionally available?
Ya, I’m much more comfortable telling you what to do, but this time as in all times of anything regarding greatness… I must go first.
As I explored the question, seeking this love within myself, I found a sacred space of connection, where two people are still individuals but the lines of differentiation blur and the division of separation evaporates to nothingness.
An overlay of playful humor blankets us, laughing in acknowledgment that THIS space is where we always were. We just needed conscious agreement.
Okay, I’m on to something now.
I wanted more of this so I did what every seeker does: I sold everything I owned and hit the open road. For the next month to follow, I toured the country, seeking more of this state within myself.
I interviewed others along the road as I slept under the stars and explored the many landscapes to hear the deepest parts of me and just reconnect.
My defenses eased. I scaled all the internal walls and, in time, dismantled brick-by-brick, allowing nudity of soul to be reformatted to a new normal. I could feel truly seen, as spirit, as physical, as heart and soul, and it all became blended into a mixed soup of creative yummy-ness that we can drink to nourishment never felt before.
- My thoughts changed.
- My language changed.
- My friends changed.
I came into sync with a natural rhythm that felt as though I’m arriving at some sought-after, far-off shore, yet right back into the comfort of your childhood home.
Forgiveness seemed to come naturally and run a gentle course, grace flowing from the belly of my truest self and a constant outdoing of other’s affections gave a peaceful reminder that YOU, are always on the other person’s mind, heart… oh yes, and soul.
I became ridiculously vulnerable in my heart, and strength reverberated through my veins with a feeling of tremendous protection.
Photo by Kate Hliznitsova on Unsplash
I’ll admit, it felt foreign at first, even scary, but I just kept placing myself in positions to have intimate conversations and really connect with others. In time, I changed and new habits were formed.
My love lost its attachment to form and judgment.
Even the few times I caught myself in judgment, I could stop and redirect it all into a more useful state. I guess you could say I became kinder.
The opinions I held so dear that were eager for validation, all gone.
The vanity that robbed my mirror of self-reflection when I looked into my partner’s eyes slowly dissipated.
Realness kept me warm, intention kept me safe, and I could finally step into a circle of sacredness where time stops and a third entity is birthed to coddle and create.
In retrospect, the eighteen inches from the head to the heart is the longest journey any of us will ever make.
Intimacy was a road less traveled.
It’s more than a word, a state of momentary bliss, orgasmic release or a burden for the attached with licenses of marriage or domestic partnerships.
It, this thing called intimacy, this described state… it’s a place of unadulterated purity, where universe partners with us to heal, reunite to oneness and experience bliss.
Intimacy became the art of allowing defenses to ease, letting the nudity of my soul reformatted to a new normal — an easier normal, a more comfortable normal.
Forgiveness ran a lovely and gentle course, grace flowed from the belly of my truest self and a constant outdoing of each other’s affections gives a peaceful reminder that you are always on the other person’s mind, heart and soul.
I wonder if I’ll forever struggle with intimacy and what it means to be known fully?
Every day, I come back to this arena, committed to a state of authenticity in every encounter with others. I look for the smiles, the clues and the subtle head tilts that show I’ve been true to myself and made a connection, an imprint to hold.
Intimacy, this state I craved and desired for so long, began with me.
Um… gosh, don’t make me say it… “I love you”. (Gasp)
Just go love someone, start with you first.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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