Brendan (notquitezeus) wrote in shoresofavalon,

intimacy is a strange and unpredictable thing. i don't know if it's something we share in as willing participants or if it's something that happens with or without us. it can be as simple as a confession to a stranger, a moment as vulnerable as it is ephemeral. it can be as complicated as family. sometimes it's as plain as day, but more often it bears the guise of the quotidian. and so it is that acquaintances and colleagues are transmuted into friends and family.

a couple apparently random events in the past week seem to have conspired to remind me of this.

it started with an email on monday with new pictures of the kittens i'm going to adopt from the local siamese rescue and i was reminded of "the thing about cats" by john l'heureux:

cats hang out with witches quite a lot;
that's not it.
the thing about cats is
they're always looking at you
especially when you're asleep.

some cats pretend they're not looking
until you're not looking.
they are not to be trusted.

some cats scowl because they're wearing imitation fur.
they feel inferior.

some cats look at you straight on
so that you can't drink your drink or make love
but keep thinking "that cat's looking at me straight on."

but all cats do the same:
they look at you
and you look out and in.

a cat is not a conscience; i'm not saying that
what i'm saying is
why are they looking?

i wonder if my kittens are going to want to climb in the shower with me like other cats i've lived with. i know they're going to see parts of me that most other people never will — the me that wonders whether or not i should put some pants on before i venture out of my bedroom to roam about my apartment, the me that talks to my plants and fishes, the me that frantically cleans up before the cleaners come because i don't want them to think that i'm a slob.

on friday, our lunchtime escape from the office (mmm.... qdoba. tasty :)) was filled with discussion over the review process. although nobody said it, griping about the forms (which don't bother to define or explain about 90% of the categories you're asked to rate your performance in and use such broad category titles as to be wholly redundant on the face of it) helped ease our shared fears that this year we're not going to measure up, in spite of all rational thought and evidence to the contrary.

after lunch, an older colleague who is usually very carefully spoken made some surprisingly frank statements of his opinions on current events. the conversation was more than just letting his guard down and speaking honestly and sincerely, he told me about how he'd been drafted in 1954 and his personal experiences with us attempts at intervening in international policy.

there seems to be a common theme: intimacy requires vulnerability and it requires trust — whether it comes from seeking and giving support (reviews), moments of unexpected frankness and honesty, or sharing our boring but private-by-default daily routines. which leads me to a number of questions: what are your thoughts on intimacy? what experiences define intimacy for you?

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“We need others. We need others to love and we need to be loved by them. There is no doubt that without it, we too, like the infant left alone, would cease to grow, cease to develop, choose madness and even death.” - Leo Buscaglia

I began to write a response and then scrapped it upon taking a few minutes away from the computer to actually ponder the question. Every word including love and intimacy have a dictionary definition. Though in actually defining abstract ideas such as intimacy, one hundred people will give you one hundred different definitions. Personally, I have never known an intimate moment to occur while being outside the company of another human being. I consider intimacy to be a private connection related to love, mutual understanding, trust, and respect. I may keep a journal, which details intimate events in my life, but the journal itself is not intimate. The recorded history within is. As stated in the opening quote, we must have love, could be translated intimacy, to survive.

Intimate moments can happen anywhere, but anyone on the outside looking in might not even recognize it as such. One example might be, a couple, walking very close together through the mall, is holding hands. They kiss briefly and continue, excitedly along their way. By all appearances, they are just another couple on a Sunday afternoon. But what you do not know is that they have just picked out their wedding bands for the ceremony to be held soon. What would be just another public display of affection to someone watching is actually quiet intimate for them.

I find my most intimate moments to actually be directly tied to moments of intense pain or serious romance. (Some might they are one in the same.) These moments allowed me the chance to open up to someone in a whole new way, and to understand myself so much more. I'm not saying that I have not found intimacy in seemingly little nuansces of my day, I have. And as I get older this does seem to be more of the trend. All in all, I think intimate moments are very healthy for us all. And the more that we enjoy life, and the longer we exist, the more we appreciate our relationships and experiences.