Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Does Pain Equal Intimacy?

I used to think so. To some extent, I still do, but I think that maybe my paradigm has shifted slightly. I think that in my my distorted view of things, being able to share my physical pains with others was my attempt to expose my own vulnerability while still holding on to the illusion of my own invincibility. It was an attempt to say, "Hey, I'm just as fucked up emotionally as you are" while still being a hardass. I was chasing that emotional intimacy through the exposure of my physical pain, but it was an invitation to that intimacy without actually having to become intimate with someone. Clearly, this hasn't worked out very well for me.

I would do the same with fear. It has always been more comfortable for me to expose my fears in physical manifestations (skydiving, driving too fast, getting drunker/more fucked up than anyone else in the room). Those sorts of things have always been easy for me. Put on a parachute. Walk to the door. Jump. Grow wings on the way down. Simple. Everyone is afraid in that situation. It is a very comforting sort of fear because of that (just for the record, I am still planning to get a skydiving license, CM).

But physical pain and fear are easy. They can be found without really looking or trying. They are fleeting compared to what you can feel emotionally.

What is truly frightening to me is standing completely naked with someone. But that can't be forced. It takes time. It takes trust. And I am starting to believe that it takes a lack of sex, for a while at least. Of course, I am obviously speaking of romantic relationships, but I am starting to believe that before we have THAT sort of physical intimacy, the emotional intimacy has to be in place. In order to BE naked with someone, you have to STAND naked with them first. That's fucking difficult, for me, anyway.

I kind of had this song on the brain while I was writing this post. I've liked this song for a long time and I think that the sentiment is great, but it seems to me like it would be better to stand naked regardless of whether someone is going to stand naked with you. Details, I guess. It's just a song.

One last thing that I have to lay out there. This has been a purely intellectual exercise for me so far (as far as I can tell, anyway). Furthermore, I have exactly zero idea of how I am going to get this out of my head and into my heart. On some level, I think that this blog is helping me to do that, but I also think that I will actually have to go out and have a relationship with a real, live human being and actually allow myself to be vulnerable within the context of it.

Peace and love,

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Value of Vulnerability

I kind of feel like this post has been a long time coming. I have started a few other posts, hated them, then scrapped them for being fraudulent. I think I even posted one or two that were fraudulent. I apologize. I am afraid of my own vulnerability.

A dear friend and teacher of mine brought to my attention today that I need to find the space within me that is vulnerable. This isn't necessarily news to me, as I have huge difficulties with allowing myself to cry.

For example, my yoga teacher training came to a close on Sunday. We made up a class on Saturday that would be taught in different sections by different people on Sunday. I got to go last. I felt responsible to end the three months with something inspiring, yet still weird. So I decided that I would read the last page of Hell's Angels by Hunter S. Thompson and then follow it with some kind words about what these people meant to me. I got through the reading without a problem. But when it came time for me to be a real human being with feelings, I totally bitched out. I fucking punted. Thinking about it actually makes me want to vomit a little bit. As soon as I got to the end of the reading, I started getting choked up. I felt the tears welling up. And just like the tough guy that I am, I swallowed them along with whatever emotions may have brought them to light. What would people say if they saw me crying?! I will tell you what they would have said. They would have hugged me and given me reassuring words and told me that they felt similar things to what I was currently feeling. But instead, my emotional constipation continues.

I can look back on the situation intellectually and know that I would be far better off if I had just let it all out. Hindsight is 20/20. I can even make the decision that I will never hold back my feelings again. Unfortunately, vulnerability is not at all an intellectual matter. It is a matter of the heart and not of the mind. And so, I have found where my path will take me next. I have to teach my brain to shut up enough to let my heart be vulnerable, to let myself get hurt from an emotional standpoint. And even more importantly, to let myself heal from an emotional standpoint.

In the past I would have just started asking what I needed to do to be vulnerable and then acted that way. But I can't do that anymore. I have gotten to a point where I have to find authentic vulnerability because the fake shit makes me sick. The thing that gets me is that this process is going to be a slow one. Any of you that know me have the understanding that I am a rip-off-the-band-aid, give-me-a-parachute-and-kick-me-off-the-plane-I-will-grow-my-wings-on-the-way-down sort of a guy. Unfortunately, again, authentic vulnerability isn't covered by band-aids or found by growing wings. I'm not even the least bit sure where to start looking for it. I do know this much, though, it's going to be a hell of a ride finding it. You are all welcome to join me. I may need a shoulder to cry on somewhere along the way.

Peace and love,