Over the past few years, the culture has offered, via books, articles, and blog posts, glorification of joys of one’s own company, single life, single travel, whatever.
I mean, fine, good for the authors. Not proudly, I am not buying.
There is nothing like the bliss of physical and emotional intimacy. Nothing like familiar hands meeting casually while walking, standing, sitting next to each other. Nothing like falling asleep in a familiar embrace (OK, sometimes I need to be pushed to the side to get some sleep, that’s fine). Nothing like a spontaneous kiss on a cheek or a forehead in recognition of a familiar quirk.
There is nothing like feeling expanding comfort in each other’s silliness, messiness, dare I say, imperfections.
Nothing like feeling that and thinking that maybe… maybe there is no imminent expiration date on this, like I’ve been “joking” there is. Maybe now that I sometimes forget to think, every time you leave, that you will not come back, one day, I’ll forget completely and it’ll turn out OK, just unfounded anxieties.
There is clearly, unapologetically, nothing like you telling me about the dreadful burdens you carry – I only could see the tip of the iceberg until then. There is nothing like hearing it and loving you more for it.
This is how it is supposed to work, right? Vulnerability and all, seeing each other how we are, allowing the other to see us as we are. This is truth, this is love, there is nothing like it. Somewhere out there, after years of knowing each other and growing more intimate, perhaps I can too be accepted as I am, my love, my burdens, my reality. Without shame, not as a sick fantasy (looking at you, D).
Self sufficiency, self realization, strong boundaries – this all sounds great, I might get this some day. How can I though, when there is nothing like getting so close to a lover that I nearly forget who I am and what I want, being content with shared experience of immediate surroundings, small talk, interesting talk, no talk. Thankfully, I have recognized and embraced that in that moment. In the content of that moment, I don’t care to consume, to create, to check social media, to post updates. Without wistfulness, almost reluctantly, I snap a picture of a pretty sight, when I occasionally remember that I might appreciate the memory later.
Because there is an expiration date.
Your exhaustion over your burdens traces over my shame over mine. You leave and don’t come back.
All the practices and tools have not been worthless. Yoga, meditation, prayer (calm down, everyone, still an atheist, this here is good stuff though), time, changed me to stay steady, to create some joy anyway, to have little to no anger.
I have glimpses of loving myself, where there used to be no such concept. Loving even the bits that (I assume) you wouldn’t.
Despite social anxieties, I managed to arrange a little community of sort of friends around me.
I am softer than I used to be. I am stronger and more expansive in capacity to meet grief with humor and humanity. This morning (I digress), I stood between Laura and a teacher, one of the most admirable women I know. Barely know. In a bathroom line, of all places. We chatted about seasons changing, of all things. “Do you have allergies?” the teacher asked, “Your eyes are red.” “That’s because I am crying,” I said, “but yes, I do have allergies.” “Why are you crying?” they asked. I shrugged, humans are sad sometimes, it happens, “I am sad.” “Come to brunch with us,” said Laura. “There you go,” said the teacher. That’s a way to meet people, I suppose. That’s strength, I suppose: to be sad in the open, to welcome and accept gifts, regardless of having deserved them.
This is something.
This is nothing compared to that (at this time, I am adding, per another teacher’s advice).