Posted on June 6, 2011 - Filed Under art therapy, feelings, healing, touch
I was eating dinner alone tonight, took out my new gadget and hunkered down to READ (instead of watch figures move around on a screen or distract myself with a game of solitaire) and stumbled upon this blog post on Kindovermatter.com that spoke to me right down to my whispered breath and tears. The article speaks to the deep desire to have one’s lover touch with kindness, a deep, cellular connection that speaks to being loved, cherished, respected, and connected with in a profoundly kind way. One way this showed up was in requesting, as her story goes, her lover to ask permission before touching her intimately… and I sighed with a level of “knowing” the significant regard that experience represents.
In my own journey – and effort – to find my sexuality, and regard my body as a “vessel” that is perfect in all its imperfections, that houses my soul and all that I am, I struggle to undo some early beliefs that would place me at peace with myself. What I desire, also, is to be regarded, deeply and reverently. I do not want to be a warm piece of meat to be banged sexually for the pleasure of another, but rather want to be played, like an instrument, attended to with the awe and grace that surrounds sexuality. I am finding that sex is such a deep intimate act, and I do not easily open up to all it could be, lacking the depth of trust that I will be safe – not necessarily physically, but emotionally and spiritually, in that space.
I have had, in my early lifetime, some deeply confusing and dishonoring experiences regarding my body and sexuality. Some of those experiences are visible only on the surface, much like a reflection on water that hides what swims below the gleaming visuals on its smooth surface, and those swimming pieces remain unaccessed. As an adult, I struggled with a belief my lack of interest in “sex” was because I was somehow frigid – disconnected. I have spent endless hours crying over the loss of my desire, unaware that my lack of desire really tied in more to not wanting to be vulnerable in a space where I was not emotionally or spiritually safe. In a place in which I felt like an object (of desire) rather than a partner in dancing through the breaths and touches of being intimate. Being now divorced, and moving in and out of the experience of knowing other people, sometimes on a more intimate level than others, I feel, in my body, desire, and am somehow deeply dissatisfied with my inability to access a connection that is honoring, tender, and connected. “Are you here?” I find myself asking, both of myself and others.
Recently, I was deeply saddened by a connection with someone that offered the potential for a fluid sort of partnership, and yet, as the weeks went on, there was a quiet vacancy in the way we connected intimately. I found myself struggling with feelings of rejection, and thrown back into the resentful struggle of my sexuality and the injuries that have caused me shame and distress. I was refused touch in some ways, and this vessel – that holds all that I am, was regarded as temporarily damaged and not part of that intimate dance. For weeks I tried to make sense of it all – on the surface some very logical parts, but under it all, some deep gouges in the landscape of intimacy. I went through cycles of acceptance, negotiation, grief, and anger, and eventually, exhausted, I kissed him tenderly, took in a deep breath of his scent and presence in my life, and stepped away. Once again, uncertain on the terrain of my sensuality what this has meant “about me” or what space it keeps in my already blossoming but sometimes uncertain sense of my own sexuality.
What I know about how I experience partners is that in the space of intimate connection, my hands touch with a soft vibrant energy, exploring a hand, a wrist, soft hair, the curve of a chin, the warmth of skin… and when I feel most akin to another, my skin becomes this permeable sort of blanket that feels and knows nothing and everything all at once. A part of me feels joy in the energy of being seen, and another part uncertain that I don’t know myself enough to capture that connection and hold it tenderly for just that brief moment. I long to keep it, sacred, for when I most need it to fill me, so that I am not alone. And a part of me grieves that I can not hold on to anything, other than myself.
Regardless, what I want, as Julie Daley describes, is a deep and reverent tenderness, just as I know I offer in the godly act of connecting with others – regardless if the person I am with is a partner or a friend, a student or a colleague, a client or a acquaintance. Regard for the beauty found in each person on my path, the flaws that give them the character and grace to move through their journey, the breath and beat that celebrates the life energy they hold. And on a passionately intimate level, the deep and reverent tenderness that lets me know, “I am here.”