What is intimacy? Is it the vulnerability associated with nudity? Is it sharing your shame, or your dreams that you fear may never come true? Or perhaps it is less to do with vulnerability of any type and more about consistency- sharing regular time and experience together and being honest in your actions and reactions to things. I have seen couples search together for this elusive intimacy, and some succeed and some fail to find it. I have seen individuals yearn, thirst, beg, and desire for intimacy in all of its forms. And where can it be found? In a friend? A lover? Family? The unconditional love of a pet?

Last night at school we had a very intimate presentation topic. Our block dealt with Visual and Sensory Anthropology and our assignment consisted of bringing in 3 sensory objects that contextualized us in a cultural or political setting. I went directly towards scouting for my objects as my focus as scouting is full of symbolism, and experiential learning. However, as I listened to the presentations of my classmates I started to feel that I had ducked out of the assignment. They brought in such personal, intimate examples. From the football cards that one boy had traded with a now-deceased friend that contextualized the politics of war for him, to a cut-off dreadlock that helped a girl express her non-hetero-normative gender, these secrets were dark and personal. I could have brought in any number of secrets. I could have shared. Instead, what was most important to me was not secret at all. It was very open, and acceptable. Is intimacy only built in secrets and shame, and the strength to share what is unacceptable? Perhaps it is built in shared passion like the boy who charmingly spoke of his obsession with the ticking sound of clocks…

I came home and my boyfriend met me at the bus stop with a jacket. He wrapped it around me and took my hand. We shared a dinner, cuddled up to each other and watched a television show. We kissed. He read me a story. We made love. In the morning we cuddled and I talked and talked, telling him all about the class from the night before. I revealed to him my fear that I was loosing my academic touch, and my joy at the response I received from my instructor. (A very positive  response, which also contained specific areas to work on.) It is a relationship that doesn’t lack for intimacy, for trust, for a depth of (Here I must insert a word that does not quite explain what I am going for, but there is no other) security. I have no fear with him.

Yet the teasing out of new intimacy reminded me not to get wrapped up in the soft love of a single individual. The intimacy of friendship, of family, of crushes, of animals on the streets and even the trees that grow around us are all intimacies that I need in order to be a happy, whole individual. 

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