Today I Believe: Intimacy
What do I believe about intimacy?
Day 1: #TodayIBelieve Writing Challenge
I believe that emotional intimacy is fundamental to the human experience.
Growing up, I was only taught about sexual intimacy. In fact, I don't think I really understood that the word "intimacy" could be applied to things other than sex until I was about 19. As someone who didn't receive a lot of emotional intimacy growing up, as an adult this resulted in trying to fill this internal gap through, you guessed it, sex. Through giving too much of myself to too many of the wrong people, it made real closeness feel terrifying; because for so long I only valued intimacy as something that involved genitals. I had to learn to open myself up in a non-literal way to what I now know to be my true all-encompassing meaning of intimacy: emotional intimacy.
Struggling with intimacy is not uncommon. And when emotional intimacy is not something you receive during childhood, you will definitely not be equipped to recognize it as an adult. Learning to invite emotional intimacy into your life is a painful and messy process; one that you'll fuck up - a lot. After all, if you aren't used to it, letting people close to you is scary. Your survival instinct takes over after being hurt over and over again and walls off that part of you because it is safer and less risky. All this results in is pain, for everyone. But from that pain grows a true understanding: that the only way to be emotionally intimate with anyone, is both people being willing to take that risk of getting hurt. And when the risk pays off and you don't get hurt, or at least suffer very little, this is what it is to be emotionally intimate. The age old adage of "you show me yours and I'll show you mine" is echoing in my brain.
Back for more tomorrow. Tell me what you believe about intimacy in the comments!