*Disclaimer: In the spirit of ‘no weird looks over the Thanksgiving table,’ I am offering any relatives or associates who do not want to know about my, uhum, “personal” life the chance to TURN BACK NOW. You’ve been warned.*
Is this lust, a crush, love, none of the above? Is this absurdly inappropriate or does it make perfect sense? I feel crazy. And happy. And terrified. And safe. Maybe this will last a few more weeks; maybe longer. It feels good to be swimming in this stuff for the first time in years…to be examining these types of things. Men-stuff / sex-stuff / relationship-stuff is an aspect of development and discovery I’ve continued to shove to the back of the line, but my body and my heart are not so much whispering as they are screaming, ‘no more delays, baby girl…let’s begin.’
I worked hard to remain in my body, to take in the sound of his breathing and the weight of his resting form a few inches away. His steady in-and-exhalations gave way to something raspier…indicating he drifted off to sleep. I wasn’t entirely sure how to process the events of the previous few hours, but a knowing washed over me as if to say, “Ohhhhh…this is the thing. I’ve learned something about this thing I never knew before.” Rolling onto my side, still an hour or so away from being able to sleep myself, I shut my eyes, smiled, and savored the scent of cologne in my sheets.
All of me felt the magnitude of what had just occurred. Something very real and elemental shifted in the fabric of my being. I was never going to be the same woman again and my feelings for him were radically different. I’ve been sorting through it all ever since. ‘It’s complicated’ is an understatement, and yet, I can’t help but smile and think, ‘of course this is the thing that’s going to grow me up right now…of course the Universe is going to use this good man as a teacher and a lover and a protector. The Universe knows what she’s doing…no matter the outcome, this is going to be an important, perfect season.’
I’ve known and respected this man for ten years. We’ve “hooked up” a few times in the past (aka: drunkenly, hurriedly, unemotionally). The “hooking up” was theoretically hot, but not particularly meaningful. I had long ago decided “sex” isn’t all that meaningful, anyway. I was celibate for 15 months following the end of my last relationship and couldn’t shake the notion that perhaps something was very wrong with me because I simply didn’t give a fuck. I thought about sex zero times. Drinking helped me lie about that to men via illicit messages, but my truth was: not having sex was 0% difficult. After about the 30th person to freak OUT about my lack-of-a-sex life (which made me feel even more alien), I started researching asexuality and essentially condemned myself to a lifetime of lying and feigning interest in sex. I do believe I once Googled, “what the fuck is wrong with me?”
When I chose sobriety as a foundation for a more mindful and healthful lifestyle, I also accepted what I felt was the solidification of a sexless life. By the end of my drinking days, I hadn’t had sober sex in years. Sober sex felt as improbable as winning the lottery. I hated my body too much. The things I believed men wanted felt utterly ridiculous without the assistance of severely-lowered inhibitions. The majority of my adult sex life had been a lie…and when I chose sobriety, I chose to stop lying.
I keep trying to assign words to what happened that night with this man who I’ve always adored and respected, but never pined for. I keep trying to explain how it is possible to suddenly long to be in his company…to feel fluttery at the base of my chest…flush with the anticipation of his next touch or smile or message. That night, laying wrapped in purple sheets with our faces less than a few inches apart, he used one hand to stroke my cheek as we asked each other questions and gave each other answers and kissed three hundred times. That night, he began teaching me about things I feared I may never learn. That night, he broke something in me open.
The Universe was smiling as she presented me this gift. I could almost hear her whisper, “sweet girl, you’ve only just begun.”