Bodies, Feelings, Intimacy

Sometimes It’s Just So So Good

I met a man and had a touch that exists without frame, without reference points, without time before or time after.

The day I arrived I saw him and couldn’t stop noticing him. The way he walked and smiled, hugged people, smiled. Those teeth like perfect pearls, making me smile for absolutely no reason. Like a painting that tickles you every time you see it. Why? Who knows. But I’d rather have the feeling even if I can’t explain it than not have it at all.

It became apparent that he had been seeing me the way I was seeing him. Wanting to speak, wanting to touch, Wanting to uncover the mystery; why can’t I stop noticing you?

Walking alone under an open and unjudgemental sky I told him,

I want to touch you with curiosity. Just run my hands on your skin without shame or fear and see what I find.

That sounds amazing. I’d love to connect with you that way.

After years of thinking the same thought in relationships and situations where it’d not come true my brain was flooded with anticipation. What would it be like to get what I’ve always thought I wanted. Really though.

I tossed and turned imagining luxuriating in the temperature of his chest, grazing my fingertips along his lips, those lips that smile like he’s about to tell me a secret. By the time the time came I was high on my fantasies, vibrating, embarrassed to have passed a whole day with this elevated awareness of self, of color, texture, grinning stupidly about someone I don’t even know.

Reality was different of course. Curiosity means listening, responding not to what you had imagined but to what actually presents itself. What I found more intoxicating than the skin I’d wanted to caress was the muscle beneath it and the intention it held. Like a lionness stalking her prey, he put his hands on my arms and moved me through space, enjoying the way we walked like waltzers, hands full of information, structure, satisfaction.

Enjoying each others willingness to lead and be led, see and be seen.

Before I learned about the mechanics of sex this is what I thought it would feel like in my chest, the tightness and release in my throat, the tingling all over and inside my head, the freedom. He ran his hands down the sides of my torso like a builder looking for warp to address, stopping to notice muscles, ran his hand to the space just below my belly button and collapsed his weight into me, enjoying the roundness and warmth of the intimate no man’s land right above my underwear band. Not sexual, just private, pleasurable in it’s own rarely-noticed right.

Tell me some thinking or feeling words.

This is such a wonderful destination. Just itself.

He held my arms out to my sides floating in space,

Keep them there.

And I did, in the chilly night air, luxuriating in his palms scampering from fingertip, across the soft insides of my elbow, glancing off the lump of my shoulder, skateboarding across my collar bones, and out the other side and back again, breathing and watching his face gleam with joy at my skin.

Not long after that I put my shirt back on and we rejoined the world.

Heading back towards other people with all their eyeballs and opinions I remembered who I was, who he was. This was not the new couple, triumphant, announcing themselves, inviting the tribe to rejoice at their starting a journey as a pair. Just two people who shared a moment in the woods returning, ever so slightly changed, to their own lives. The idea of having to back away before being noticed, to not be seen as some romantic leech clanged around inside my chest.

I’m important to this person! I swear it, you should have seen how he worshiped the shape of my neck just a moment ago!

The knot rising in my throat at the inevitable “she’s not with me” implicit in the return to society. This person is allowed to be important to me, but not in a way I can ever adequately describe, and that makes it feel un-respectable.

The shame trapped me under it like a waterfall, the flow locking me in. Then I got what I’ve always wanted. In a room full of people, an unselfconscious arm around me.

Thank you for not making me feel like something to be ashamed of.

You aren’t something to be ashamed of.

frances-hodgson-burnett

Feelings, Love, Relationships

Marriage, Why?

I’m a woman in America over 25 which means that everyone keeps telling me how much I want to get married. How important it is to land the man, pick the dress, calligraphy my bridesmaids gifts. I do have horrible handwriting and love fancy calligraphy but;

How would I know if I wanted to get married? What does it mean?

Does it mean a wedding? A dress? Health insurance? To be square with your deity of choice? An opportunity to tell your whole world that this person is the bees knees? Financial stability? A guarantee that your partner will always love you? Sexual exclusivity until you die? Chosen family? Children? Someone to take care of you when your life is hard? Help in times of sickness? A commitment to supporting your choices, dreams, desires as you discover them? Waking up and having breakfast together? Doing the thing all your friends are doing? Fidelity?

Which of these are guaranteed because you’ve signed a contract with each other and the state? Which are important to you?

Weddings hold little fascination for me. I’ve never been much for throwing parties and I hate decorating. I like attending them but coming up with a color scheme for an event is my literal nightmare. Plus, isn’t it a bummer to decide that you can only have one favorite-ever dress? And that it has to be white and that you have to wear it only once? How about instead of deciding that there’s one MY DAY where I look better than I ever have or will, that I’m my most beautiful every day. That every dress I spend my hard earned money on should be a dress that I want to be seen and loved in. Instead of creating a false scarcity on my beauty there can be an infinite supply. Cause my beauty is infinite and celestial, lets be real.

Health insurance, yeah that’s a thing to consider. Thanks America.

An opportunity to tell your whole world that this person is important to you. This is the one that gets me. I want this. For various reasons bragging my love hasn’t felt very safe in my life. So I have a story in my head that this would be very healing. But wedding days are crazy and from what I understand the dominant feelings people actually experience are hunger and foot pain. I’d like to work on feeling safe shouting my crushy feelings from rooftops before I go around making expensive legal decisions.

Religious considerations. Probably a concern for some but not particularly me. “Hell” concerns me less than my rent. Though if I were to have some sort of ceremonial/party experience of showing off my partner I wouldn’t mind if a rabbi came by to say something that no one would understand and kiss me on the forehead.

Financial stability. Is this actually linked to marriage? Does getting married guarantee that you’ll never be destitute? If there’s a person committed to supporting you, then wouldn’t they want to help you financially if you needed it? But they aren’t required to, is that a big risk? If you’re in financial trouble and married will that partner automatically be the best person to help you? Will they be guaranteed not to resent you because of your rings? Not everyone can marry someone who earns more than they do, marriage is two different people, not a mobius strip.

Relatedly who do I tell if I kill someone and need help burying the body? It would be nice to have someone who is allowed to not testify against me. Am I the only one who finds that sort of romantic?

A guarantee that your partner will always love you. I’m not gonna link to divorce statistics. That feels rude.

Sexual exclusivity until you die. Do you really even want that? Do I? I’ve never wanted to be sexually exclusive to anyone honestly. My mother always told me “I had a long and fun single life before I met your father.” I think I’m pretty good at having my cake and eating it too. And lots of people are exclusive without marriage and lots of marriages don’t include sexual exclusivity. So we can unlink those two pretty easily.

Making a family, whether that means the two of you, or the two of you plus a few. The chosen family that you make as an adult and don’t marry are important still, right? The roommates you split life duties with, the friends you have standing dates with. The people you trust enough to travel with. Are they less your chosen family for not being contracted as such?

And babies, we all know you don’t need a marriage license to make one of those.

Help and support in times of struggle, sickness, and plain old soul searching. What is commitment and how do you feel like you have it? When I have any clue at all I’ll be sure to share it. Anyone can choose to give you those things. Hopefully a person who loves you can choose to keep wanting to give those things over a lifetime. But how do you receive that? How do you feel secure in this person to support you? In this essay lifetime I will show…

Mornings. I love breakfast. I love morning sex. I love cuddling to the sunrise. This one is hard for me. I think of the morning as my most productive time of day. From about 9am-noon I feel like my brain is full of potential and creativity. If I’m freaking out about something, it’ll be here, now, wanting to be addressed. If I’m feeling frisky, wanting to be sweet on someone then that’ll show up too. But lots of people who are married don’t live together. And obviously you can live together, or have sleepovers with people you’re not married to. Show of hands?

Fitting in. It has pros and cons. To each their own.

Fidelity – noun; faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support. What is the venn diagram between fidelity and marriage? Obviously this can exist within a marriage but regardless of what any magazine says, no white dress can guarantee it. And if you want fidelity in any partnership then how do you communicate that, model it, ask for it? By saying this?

I love you so much. So much that you can’t scare me. So much that I want all the ugly parts of you. So much that I want to know the completeness of you. So much that I want to see all the boring, sad, angry, and shameful parts of you. I want to hold them all carefully and look at them with you. I want to see you and watch how you change. I want to share in your times of joy and I want to support you when you are working through the issues in your life.

Doesn’t sound like a totally raw deal to me…

Feelings, Intimacy

You’re So Sweet To Me

My mom used to say “I just want you to find someone to love.”

My partner tells me “You are so sweet to me. You are being so sweet to me.”

It turns out that I enjoy being gushy. I enjoy being a completely goofy romantic. There are so many fun sweet things to say and do and make.

With no fear that I’m going to be laughed at. With no fear that I’m going to be misunderstood.

I want to give that ooey gooey melty center to someone who knows what it means, what it costs, what the associated fears are.

I love getting to be that drippy heart, it’s such a treat to get to show it on my sleeve. It takes a lot of practice to feel comfortable being that person in front of someone, even when it’s so graciously and appreciatively received. It is shockingly hard to push that edge for myself. But I can feel it already being so worth it.

Confidence, Feelings

Making Gold

This weeks sermon comes to you from having your own personal crisis in the most seemingly hostile of environments. And living. And learning that you can do that and not only be fine, but better than you were before. Absorbing rejection and living anyway, to realize that you can make it through anything. You can experience your worst fears and get confirmation on your cruelest thoughts about yourself and still wake up the next morning.

And if you are lucky then you get to the next morning and look around at the people who were there with you and you get to be grateful for them and love them harder than before. It may have been your worst day but it still wasn’t the worst day you could have had. Because you didn’t have to do it alone. And the people who supported you are not always the ones you expect. Maybe you have a family you never knew about before. People who help you climb by picking your feet up and placing them where they need to go. And people who listen and give zero advice, just hear and reflect back.

These are the things you learn from having the worst day imaginable in the most hostile environment imaginable.

That you are the strongest you imaginable.

Dating, Feelings, Intimacy, Love

O Brave New World

Dude, did you know that men are like, nice? Like really nice. Like hug you while you cry, rub your back, not look even the slightest bit embarrassed that you’re doing this in public. – Nice.

Like looking deep into your soul and saying “You are not something to be ashamed of.” – Nice.

Like “What are you thinking when you stop your hand right above the band of my bikini?” “Just how nice your belly feels against my hand.” – Nice.

My face is so leaky because the inside of my brain is just a photo reel of all this niceness now.

How could I ever have not known this?

I must have known this?

When did I know this?

And why does it feel like such surprising news?

I love men. Some of my best friends are men. Some of my favorite people in the world are men.

So why didn’t I trust them to be this? Or to be this with me?

And how did it come to be that now I do?

No matter. Now that I’ve seen this beautiful new world I’m never going back.

Even if this person disappears, I know what how it feels to kiss someone who thinks I’m fireworks. I’m kissing people who make me feel like a beautiful burning star. That’s mine now.

Feelings, Friendship

Demon Day

I’m a pretty independent lady. That’s the way I like it.

But sometimes

And I end up crying and walking 50 blocks at 11 o’clock at night because my future feels like 1,000 days that will feel just like this one. Endless and lonely and full of the word ‘no’.

No, you can’t eat that.

No, you can’t feel that.

No, you can’t lift that.

No, you can’t leave that.

No, you can’t tell anyone.

No, you can’t stop.

You’ve chosen this bed, now lie down and go to sleep.

And say thanks to god before you do.

Today the demons ate me and spat out a pile of bones to carry home. It wasn’t very helpful. And it seems there wasn’t anything any friend or I could do about it. Maybe I would have had more luck if I had asked more people.

But the embarrassment. The shame. The discomfort at needing instead of being needed.

Which means I’m the common denominator.

So how was I complicit in not getting the help I wanted?  And why does this keep happening? How do I do better?

Feelings, Friendship

I Play A Game

Can I tell you a secret? There’s a little game I’ve been playing with myself.

I give myself points every time I do a good thing, a mitzvah, a thing I’m proud of.

And those points are redeemable in acts of self-love.

I treated myself to a healthy homemade lunch and also a fancy dinner with lots of sauces.

I ate 3 mini brownies on Thursday.

I told a guy I liked that I liked him.

I painted my nails.

I took myself to yoga.

When I do things I respect I think I’m worthy of love. And then I give that love to myself.

When other people do things I respect I think they’re worthy of my love. And similarly deliver. Easy simple rules.

Confidence, Feelings

Normal, Facts, And Feelings

There are two sentences I keep using to sort through my moments recently. Two questions I apply to situations I’m in, feelings I have, things people say to me.

Is this a fact or a feeling?

Is this normal because it happens so often or is it normal because it is natural?

Lots of things are feelings, not facts.

I’m ugly.

I’m unworthy.

I’m not good at this.

Everyone is looking at me.

Everyone will notice that I’m secretly not qualified to be here.

Lots of things are facts, not feelings.

This subway train is not moving.

The person I’m talking to is yelling.

There are lots of things that are normalized because they are frequently occurring.

When I was in college, a teacher once said that all women live by a ‘rape schedule.’ I was baffled by the term, but as she went on to explain, I got really freaked out. Because I realized that I knew exactly what she was talking about. And you do too. Because of their constant fear of rape (conscious or not), women do things throughout the day to protect themselves. Whether it’s carrying our keys in our hands as we walk home, locking our car doors as soon as we get in, or not walking down certain streets, we take precautions. While taking precautions is certainly not a bad idea, the fact that certain things women do are so ingrained into our daily routines is truly disturbing. It’s essentially like living in a prison – all the time. We can’t assume that we’re safe anywhere: not on the streets, not in our homes. And we’re so used to feeling unsafe that we don’t even see that there’s something seriously fucked up about it.

Jessica Valenti, Full Frontal Feminism [x]

And things that are normal because they’re average, natural.

Toothaches

Puberty

Death, Feelings

Voting Without Dad

The last good day I had with my dad was voting day 2012.

He loved voting. Loved politics. Loved talking big ideas.

I still have the Ford/Dole pin that he proudly wore to the polls that day.

“You can’t wear that inside, Sir.”

“Oh, yes I can. You see it’s a bit outdated.”

He wasn’t walking so well but I guess he had timed his medications that morning so that he would have maximum energy to get out of the house and to the local school. I remember buckling and unbuckling him in the car, pulling him out of it when we got there. I remember him putting both his hands on my shoulders, as he often did, and using me as a more size-appropriate walker.

I stopped to take a picture outside with the “Vote Aqui” sign.

Then we went inside. My dad, clearly the gentlest giant in the land, always attracted attention. Every little old lady in the gymnatorium wanted to help direct us.

“My daughter will take my ballot. To the booths!”

I filled out both of our ballots the same.

“Just straight down Democratic.”

And then I walked us to the machine that scans the paper ballot, collected our stickers and we went home.

He had a heart attack two weeks later.

I know I saw him in those two weeks. I must have, I was living with him. But I don’t have any memories of it. I was running off to work, sleeping over with friends, living my own life which he never seemed to begrudge me.

He died the day before Thanksgiving that year and my aunt and uncle came as soon as they heard.

“Well I guess dinner tomorrow is off.”

“Why on earth would we cancel Thanksgiving? That won’t help anything.”

It was a weird thanksgiving but aren’t all family holidays? I expected all following Thanksgivings to be hard but the next one snuck up on me. And the next, and the next. Much the same way that you’re always surprised at the answer you have to give when people ask how old your little siblings are now.

But voting for president, that’s something I never envisioned doing without talking to my dad about it.

So, Happy Quadrennial-iversary, Dad. I know that somewhere you’re really amused by all of this. Just write down all the jokes you’re coming up with, I’ll read them later.