What I’ve Been Missing
Intimacy… I cringe at the word. If I were Superman(chick), intimacy would be my kryptonite. If I were Homer Simpson, it would be my Ned Flanders. If I were Lisa Simpson, it would be bacon (so glad I’m not Lisa). I’m really good at letting people in just enough so it doesn’t look like I’m stand-offish or a loner, but not enough to have that vulnerability. There have been a few exceptions to this rule. My best friend Stephanie (or as I call her “B” -short for Bacon) is one of the very very very did I mention very few people who I’ve allowed myself to be truly vulnerable with. I shared my past, my screw-ups, my feelings (ewww) with her. It was painful at first- but I knew she would be a special friend and I forced myself to. Oddly, the more I shared, the better it felt- the further away my sin seemed to be, the wounds that I have carried around seemed a little bit foggier. Yet even with this positive experience, I still clench my jaw at the thought of having to do that with another person or worse- God.
I must have been 18. I don’t even remember how the situation came about- but I was speaking with a fortune teller. I shared my dating issues with this woman. Her response to me was that I have a fear of intimacy. Looking back on this moment. I remember feeling surprise which gave way to defeat and consent. I consented to having a fear of intimacy- to a fortune teller of all people. I decided to go ahead and live with this “fear”.
Fast forward to this month. I’ve been working through lots of issues this month- I’m not sure if that’s a result of actually being able to go to Greenhouse EVERY Sunday so far this year (that’s 5 in a row!) or if by going through these things God granted me favor in my boss’ eyes to give me these Sundays off. No matter how it’s played out- here I am. I was looking forward to tonight knowing that Kati would be speaking. I’ve been very curious… but I had no idea it would be about intimacy and vulnerability. Really? Had I known, I definitely would not have looked forward to it- and possibly asked to work. Sitting there tonight I had to constantly fight myself to stay engaged and not check out.
I could blame it on all the junk that happened to me as a teenager- I could blame the people that turned those safe and innocent parts of me into shame. I could blame those who made fun of me growing up. I could say that these people are the reasons that I will not allow myself to be intimate with others. The truth is that I was the one that chose to live that way. I was the one who set up the barriers. I was the one who decided that not being hurt- even if it meant missing out on life and meaningful connections- was going to be my best defense. This comes in many different forms:
Weight gain and baggy clothing- textbook way to keep people at arms length.
Humor- Great way to change topics, avoid confrontation, and to tell the truth to someone without them realizing it.
Mindless chitchat- Another fantastic method. People think that you’re really nice, but no one gets to know the real you, thus no connection.
Those are just a few of the ways that I’ve kept you at bay. I want to apologize to you for doing these and various other methods that I’ve employed (not if, because I KNOW that I’ve used these ploys on all of you at some point or another).
I don’t want to be the person that hears something that can be life changing (whether at church or not) and just thinks oh, that was a good message- but doesn’t do anything about it. So… I’m going to put new meaning to vulnerability and intimacy today. It’s the only way that I can actually try to live this out. Vulnerability- I think of powerless. Not just weak, but powerless. I’m choosing to redefine that as allowing myself to be open to meaningful connections- good and the not so good. Intimacy- I think pain, hurt, fear. I’m choosing that definition as a step beyond connection- a bond, an epoxy, a fusion.
I suppose that means that I’m choosing to be open to fusion. I really don’t want this to wind up like Hiroshima. What I am asking from you- is that you call me out on it. When you see me putting up a front- tell me. When you see that I’m not truly engaging- tell me. Also, I ask that you are fine with giving me some space. I don’t want to move to quickly and feel over my head and regress. I want to have meaningful connections. I want to have a close community. I want to be fine with being intimate and vulnerable.