Intimacy 101

Tea drinking girl

I am a sucker for coziness. The leave-no-space-between-us kind.  Of fire-place warmth. Feet wrapped in thick, woolen socks. & fingertips curled around a generous mug of hot cocoa. My mother’s favourite. & feeling the sweet heat of the beverage sip through my fingers into my blood.

Radiating. spreading the warmth to all parts of me. nourishing.

Coziness is what you get when you un-bridle me. in conversations with me. When everybody else was learning how to do small talk, I was getting stuck in the reasons behind the small talk. In the deep & heavy. the nitty & gritty.

Are we talking about the weather & UFOs because we are uncomfortable, nervous or because it truly is interesting both of us?

What is going on with your heart?

How are you feeling?

See, some of us were born with this need for intimacy weaved into the very fabrics of our being. all mixed up with bone, tissue & nerve. Impossible to tell where it begins & where it ends.

It is a curse & a blessing. When it is met & satisfied, it is nourishing soul food. the foundation for any real & robust relationship. But the lack of it impoverishes the soul. drinks it up dry.

We are all wired differently. Some of us do intimacy like the back of our hand. & some of us struggle to even glance at it, immobilised by the fear of what it entails.

When I was little, my siblings & I would sit at the feet of my Dad listening to his mesmerizing voice as he weaved story after story. There was intimacy there, at his feet, in his voice & in his stories. With Mom, it was the way she held each one of us & made everything better. the way she gave expression to inarticulate things.

I didn’t stand a chance. Intimacy won me over. Thoroughly invading every crevice in me.

We all crave it.Some more than others but we still want to experience it with lovers, friends & families. It is the silky, luxurious spice that makes relationships deliciously magical. But the thing about being a human being in any relationship is that we show up with our fears & insecurities. & one of the most general fears we have is that of being found out – as inadequate or not good enough.

Intimacy cuts through that crap. & it compels us to fall in love with the us that our loved ones so willingly embrace. We come as we are even as we grow & become better versions of ourselves. Intimacy has room enough for this expansion of self & togetherness.

Movies & films have no capacity to capture or represent intimacy in its entirety so they try to convince us that it’s all in the kissing & cuddling & their all-time favourite, the hot, steamy sex scenes. This upsets my stomach.

But even without much help from the movies we all seem to share a general misconception – that intimacy is like chemistry. It just happens. How else can we explain our closeness to certain people & not others?

Intimacy & chemistry are two different things. One may have aspects of the other but that is where the similarity begins & ends.

It makes logical sense that intimacy be influenced, shaped or grounded in shared history, interests, backgrounds, culture or race. It makes sense, right?

Well, it doesn’t entirely work like that on the ground.

Here is your fundamental lesson in intimacy – your intimacy 101;

It is about intention. Pure & simple.

Psychologist Kristen Howeton captures it so fully & so eloquently: “intimacy is about shared vulnerability and a commitment to grow – the best friendships are birthed from a desire to engage at a deeper level…to challenge one another, to grow individually and collectively and to be willing to learn from another.”

There is nothing about this that suggests easy or safe because intimacy takes work, vulnerability & courage. It doesn’t just show up on your doorstep. You have to open the door, walk out with your heart & soul in their undergarments. To be seen & to see. This is scary stuff but it brings back into your life a beauty that is out of this world.

In an age where true & raw friendship is becoming a rarity, we need to do our part in preserving intimacy, by doing it right ourselves. We have to work on our relationships because they will not suddenly become deep & meaningful. There is no magic-wand waving here, baby. This ball is the one in our court. We do the work. & we get to decide if intimacy is in or out.

I hope you choose in. I know intimacy is dying to love your face off with relationships that will rock your world.

Who in their right mind wouldn’t want that?

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