“I’m not interested in what you can give me. I am interested in what you create with me.”
I said this a few weeks ago as I lay in bed with a beautiful man. He is a successful man, an emotionally intelligent man. His is a soul compounded by pressing obligations, deadlines, and the rush of a city compelling him to add the trod of his feet to the hustle.
I admit, I may have momentarily congratulated myself for landing a spot within the whirlwind of his life. Still, a part of me wondered, should I remain alone following the utterance of those two sentences, would it have been worth it? Such is the price we pay for our honesty, for it is the truth which first attracts, then binds people to us, and the truth which just as easily repels, even tears people away.
There it lay, but a kernel of the thoughts I had swimming in my head, a meager offering. I was more than aware of what the weight of my words entailed, just as I was acutely present to the reaction, whether positive or negative, they might bring. My heart dropped in that instant, but when he looked at me, it was as if he’d just witnessed me spin an object into gold; and when he held me to him and kissed me, the space between us, my doubt, melted away when I heard him whisper those two words into my ear, and those two words were, “That’s wonderful.”
I had been unafraid of him, not once intimidated by his status, but I will never forget the way his gaze struck fear into the bowels of my heart! Here he was, an open vessel, a listening ear, and there are few things as unsettling as that once you’ve lived a life of silence. To survive a moment such as that, to come to such a realization and walk toward it with open arms, is one of the more difficult choices a human can make. The swiftness with which he could inflict a mortal wound in the space we’d opened up. How easily we forget our own power in the presence of such an overwhelming moment.
But to deny myself the depth of my own emotional capacity would have been inauthentic. So when I made the choice, long ago, to feel what I feel and say what I want to say, I reminded myself that there was no guarantee in anything, not even in the art of asking. But asking requires initiative. If I were to anticipate the word “no” regardless of circumstance, I would be depriving myself peace of mind. He could have kicked me out of his apartment. He could have asked me to stay, or simply allow the pleasure he took in my company to speak for him. But he could have done these things anyway, no matter how truthful or raw the words I used, and if the words had never left my lips, I would never have known how he felt about me then, and only one of us in the room that day would have given up the power of their choice.
I have not seen him in several weeks. We are in touch, but our equally hectic schedules cannot currently accommodate a meeting. But that is okay, because I am okay and he is okay, if I wish to view him that way. I could torture myself when I do not receive as prompt a response as I would like to my messages, but I could do this with anyone just as easily as I can do this with him. I could live in my head, though I know very well what that isolation would do to me. I can replay any of the conversations I have had with him from memory and find comfort in knowing just how similar our thought processes can be.
Because to create with anyone, however large or small their contribution to the almost imperceptible flash of your existence as we follow the flow of our current stream of space time, requires your acceptance.
Who is this man? He is a successful man, an emotionally intelligent man. But he could just as easily be a cold and unavailable one, just as I can create a moment with him, a jewel to live with, handiwork to admire, or anyone I wish. Acceptance lies in recognizing and respecting possibility, rather than entertaining it from the confines of our perception, the things we tell ourselves, the lies we believe and the love we spurn.