Creating intimacy is about making space. It is not about closeness. It is about trust, risk- taking, adrenaline, and love and probably a thousand other things. Intimacy is making a space for you to be you, with me, maybe in me. It is stepping back far enough to see who you really are, and are not, and saying this: I see you. It is allowing you to make that same space for me to be who I am, fearlessly (even though it is unbelievably scary), and be seen. It is you and me, looking at each other, naked, wearing only our self-ness.
I know I am closing the door on intimacy the minute I start saying to myself (because I don’t tell you until it is too late, until the resentments arise), she shouldn’t be that way. She isn’t that way, not the person I met. Etc. These are all the stories I make up about you. I then require you to be close to me so that I can try to mold you in to the shape of my fear. Very close. The intimate space erodes and we are fused. That fusion is what I then lie to myself about and call it intimacy. I have to tell the lie in order to make you be who I need you to be. I know this is happening when I feel stuck, cornered, lost with you. I feel ashamed and angry with you because I am robbing you of your space and that goes against my integrity. That robbery requires a lot of juggling and story-telling and it requires you to stay put and take it. The dance of fusion is performed in blocks of ice. We don’t flow.
I want to see the men and women in my life for who they are. I know it is only a statement but if I don’t at least say that, then I am likely to continue to believe that I must see them for who I think they should be. I want to be seen for who I am, fearlessly, even if I am afraid of that.
Todos Santos, Baja, 2009. Nikon D100, natural light. Painter, unknown.