The saying goes, you teach what you most need to learn.
And so I am learning all the ways inside my own intimacy, unlocking doors, touching the most tender parts underneath, exploring the corners left in darkness.
As it turns out, this kind of inward reaching and deeper connectivity is the hardest for me. I am not good at it. I haven't had a lot of practice of being met there. My walls have always been tall and well kept, not so much intended to keep others out, but more as a way to contain what is within and keep that messiness away from those who shouldn't have to see. It's what I'd always known, what I grew up with, never having witnessed my parents fight or cry, which was so confusing to a girl who had so much of both.
I have always felt a little broken for having so many feelings.
So it was in the sanctuary of anonymity when I went away to college, away from home for the first time, from friends, from anything that felt familiar or what might at all resemble my life, I slowly and spectacularly came apart. It wasn't my first depression, but it was the one that changed my life the most.
I realize now that there is an aching intimacy to coming undone. It's the kind of vulnerability that is the most scary to me - to feel all the big feelings, and to let others anchor you and see you in such an exposed way. It's still difficult for me to share the hard stuff, even in small doses. It takes an immense amount of trust and conscious effort for me to turn that filter off. I think it's why I often crave the shadow side and need the permission of descent every once in a while.
These days I am less afraid of my feelings, but I am still on a wild search for ways to safely touch my naked truth and to let others into that space with me. My sexual exploration and openness has become a huge healing part of that intimacy practice, and it is also these acts of writing that often helps me scale the wall, over and over, building the muscle to be seen. Really, all my creative practices have become breadcrumbs to help me find my way inside. It's talking about my life out-loud that is still the most difficult for me. To offer up that part of myself, the hard, ugly, imperfect parts, will always be a struggle. But I am getting better at it, and I gratefully no longer have to fall apart to go there.