I found out a few weeks ago that my Great (x6) grandfather was a slave and a breeder. I didn’t really know what to do with that information until I went to see The Bluest Eye on stage for a class. Seeing Cholly be forced to have sex by two white men, it struck a major chord and sitting in that theater I wasn’t watching a play, I was sitting inside myself…in my ancestry. So when in my kinesiology work last week when it was brought up that a deep sense of shame resided in me, and was residue from my ancestors I thought of him.
Currently, the thought of anyone being close to me makes me nauseas. I may be out of counseling practice, but I am positive that if intimacy elicits physical distress then that’s worth exploring. I will even go so far as to admit my willingness to engage in dysfunction far beyond its expiration date because of the illusion of intimacy. However, I know that its been far too easy to let people go for me to truly have been connected in any real way. So last night I read, If you allow yourself, you can become stronger in the very places you were broken. And while generally I am averse to being described as broken, this was different. I am not broken, but I certainly have some broken places within me. It causes an emotional cacophony to admit it…because I prefer to be put together, but the truth is, I’m not.
So, what now?
I had a professor recently tell me he admired my bravery. I said thank you, and genuinely mean it but I do not feel brave. And in the moments after the compliment I thought about what bravery was. Bravery is vulnerability, I thought, and the willingness to be naked. Bravery is emotional nudity in a crowd cloaked in shame. Then I thought, well maybe bravery is just removing the first piece of clothing. Cloaked to nude is a big leap…does bravery not exist in the middleground? Of course it does, I decided. And so moments after the fact, I allowed the words access to the rest of me.
I figure the same is true about intimacy. Eventually its nudity, but it comes by removing one piece at a time. First, the cloak of shame. And so I did it. In my own quiet way, I allowed my heart to speak freely and without commentary. Watching her she looked like that sock monkey from Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, just reaching out, begging for connection.
When was the last time you made a bid for connection? I asked myself. Forget the men, and the busy friends, the dads, even the butterflies. I haven’t. In a very long time, and even then it was from a place of expectation and control. Needing to understand it, all sides of it, never willing to stand in the unknown. But my heart wants to. And I’m going to let her. Another piece of my surrender puzzle…