Thursday, March 29, 2012

Intimacy Part III - The Final Chapter

Oprah and I broke up about ten years ago. And like all my breakups (with the exception of Ilya) once it is over you are dead to me. But I have been spending a lot of time on Twitter lately, trying to convince myself that due to the character limit it is less of a time suck than Facebook! Denial. And Monday night something happened on Twitter. My feed was blowing up about Oprah's Lifeclass. She had Iyanla Vanzant on. I love Iyanla Vanzant having followed her work since the mid-nineties: seeing her speak live at every possible opportunity and finally meeting her in 2007. She was, to me, a conduit to Grace, probably the way Catholics feel about their priests and Jews feel about their rabbis. She taught me so many life lessons. So, per my twitter feed, I found OWN (Oprah's network) among the myriad of channels and set my DVR to record the second showing of Iyanla and Oprah.

Iyanla said a lot of things, most of which I could say with her after watching her two seasons on Oprah, her short-lived television talk show, and reading her work. Words of wisdom like: "When you see crazy coming,cross the street!" and my favorite:
"Tell the truth and shame the devil." Most of all she always told people she loved them and genuinely meant it. And she referred to people as "Beloved. "My name means
"Beloved,"in Swahili. She then said something revolutionary (at least in my head). She said that we need to stop telling our "Story." The story of our lives. What happened to us. How we have been wronged. Who did what, when. And I realized - had an epiphany: (I will not call it an a-ha moment as Oprah and I are still on the outs!)I constantly tell my story.

My story is made of so many components and moving parts. Things that I keep talking about over and over. Thinking that re-hashing them will bring me closure. That's from years of therapy. But those things usually don't heal. They keep me stuck in my story. I get it: when you are told to surerender! We constantly make excuses about how difficult it is to surrender. It's because we don't want to let go of our story. Who would we be without our pain and our past? Well, we might be free people. In that moment I surrendered. All the guilt and the pain and the illness and the wrong I had done and that had been done to me. I decided to tell a different story. One that has me experiencing love and success and freedom - in this very moment.

It also did something revolutionary: it opened me to the possibility of intimacy. Intimacy is redefined for me. It is releasing your guard to invite people in. It is also the courage to let things go. I have been doing a great deal of excising people from my life lately. People can be thieves of my goodness, my compassion, my joy. All because I allow them to stay, afraid of hurting their feelings. But it hurts my feelings and it hurts me to be around people who "peck at you till there is nothing left of you," (Maya Angelou). And it also remindes me of another brilliant thing that Maya Angelou said, which is, "when people show you who they are, believe them." I can only change myself. Intimacy becomes something I do for myself. I learn to know and care for myself and then I can see the light in others. And more importantly I can open myself to others, without fear. What is the worse thing that can happen? They don't want to be around me. Fair enough, time saved.

After many years I finally get the message on how to be closer to other people. It is simply to trust myself and my love of self that makes intimacy possible. Hearing another's heartbeat. Some hearts will beat in time with yours and others will not. And either way it is okay. Accepting it without judgement is the answer. Intimacy is not being able to share the deepest moments of your life with someone else. I have friends with whom I share and have shared the deepest parts of me, and our relationships are anything but intimate. And there are people I have just met with whom I connect and whose heartbeat is in time with my own.

I get it now. And it is so much better than before. And so much more fulfilling.


Monica said...

Oh WOW this was important for me to read right now. Important to read, period. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

YardieGal said...

A double WOW! Exactly what I needed to hear at this point ,too. Thank you so much for writing--I appreciate reading you. You write with such depth, clarity and character.

I liked especially what you wrote about intimacy. It's something I feel that I crave--alot. As if a need is not being met inside of me. But, I never really thought about how it connects to how much I trust others.

Working on it...

John Garrett said...

Hey Keisha, yes it can definitely be a risk to the ego to open up to others, but as you say, if those people don't want to accept you then you can safely move on, knowing it was not to be. You can spend time on more worthwhile relationships.

I'm glad to see you are moving forward in life and keeping it positive. Maybe you should write a book of inspiration and put that out there?

Take care, all the best and I'll see you on Twitter!

Nanda Mama said...

Thank you for the comment. I am finding that thing all happen in their own time with their own results! See you on twitter :-)

Nanda Mama said...

I think I have had that same feeling of emptiness for quite awhile. It started when my kids were old enough to fend for themselves and be more independent. Suddenly there I was wondering what I wanted to be when I grew up.
How much you trust others and how much you trust yourself to open you up to trusting. It is a lifelong process, lol!

Nanda Mama said...

JG - you crack me up and I am so grateful for the support you have shown me and this blog. There is a book coming - very slowly though.

Darkflower said...

Hello my sweet!

I miss you on FB, so I came here to find you! I totally understand how it can be a time suck, as you called it.

I'll have to keep in touch this way!

Hope all is well!