I recently joked on Facebook that I think I’m pretty much done with my nudist phase. It was a long-lived phase, and the truth is I’m not really done with it at all. I just don’t live a life conducive to the kind of nudity I used to indulge in frequently. No skinny-dipping in secluded lakes. No prancing around the dressing room waiting till the last minute to get into costume so I didn’t get too stinky. No being young and in shape-ish. It gets harder and harder to align motive, means, and opportunity.
I still strive for emotional nudity, still aim, with those who pass (in)security clearance, to be vulnerable and clear. This is not always the best idea, as I’m painfully finding out this week. I am in relationship difficulty with someone I thought I was closer to than I am.
Awkwardly, this person knows about this blog and reads it. Or did. Is a warning email too much or does it simply assume too much? I don’t intend this post as a secret/not-secret message. I need an outlet for these feelings and thoughts and can only hope they don’t sound like a mash note, or worse, a guilt trip.
In my checkered past, there is a long list of people with whom I felt close, an instant-karma kind of connection, only to have the ground supporting the relationship shift suddenly, plate tectonics of the worst kind. The earliest I remember this happening was in fifth grade, when I failed to get the memo about how Best Friends Forever savagely betray each other often move on to other Best Friends Forever with each new school year. It’s happened many times since, with varying degrees of intensity, from the collapse of my first grownup love relationship to the natural flaming out of some of my less-well-advised friendships. (Just because conversation is easy doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s enough in common to sustain a lifelong friendship.) It may be happening now, with a friend I met fairly recently and connected with deeply.
To be sure, there are complicating dynamics in all these situations, and in my wounded state, I know I’m not seeing clearly the negative effects my intensity has on others. I’m too clouded by how much it hurts that I mistakenly thought it safe to be vulnerable.
I guess if I’m willing to be naked before someone, I have to accept that the person might turn away.