This is love. This is intimacy. Part II – INTIMACY


August 21, 2019

To be quite honest, I think a part of me has always feared intimacy. And unfortunately, I don’t think that I’m alone in this.

We’ve been taught since…basically forever that intimacy revolves around sex and physical proximity. But I think that we all know that that isn’t accurate in the slightest. The media makes it seem like love revolves around physical intimacy and that if you aren’t engaging in it at least a couple times a week, your relationship is broken. And that really fricken sucks, guys. It really does. Like honestly, what the heck?!

I was asked by a fellow friend and follower to address my thoughts on the pressure of intimacy, and I’m no expert by any means, especially when it comes to relationships… but what I can offer you is some insight into what I think and what I’ve personally learned over my 22 years.

I guess in order to make myself a little more relatable, I’ll have to open up a bit and share some details that most people probably don’t like to share on the internet, but I mean… I suppose that’s my job in a way – to normalize taboo subjects and start the conversation of difficult things to talk about. I’m literally sitting in my bedroom, typing this, and cringing because I know that my parents are going to be the first two to read this LOLLLLLL @ MY LIFE.

I grew up in a Christian household where serious phsyical intimacy was not something to take part in prior to marriage. It was engrained in my brain, and I abided by it entirely. I had my first kiss when I was a sophomore in high school, and then basically swore off boys for a couple of years because I DIDN’T NEED A MAN TO KICK A$$ IN SCHOOL (LOL).

Then once senior year rolled around, I had a boyfriend again, and I wouldn’t even make out with him…I was super prude and super scared, and I think that it was 1. because physical intimacy was not normalized and not talked about, and 2. because I thought that holding hands literally immediately snowballed into having sex and I clearly was NOT READY LOL.

I quite honestly left high school having only pecked a boy for .3 seconds on the lips and that was that. It’s kind of funny, but honestly now that I look back I feel bad that there are currenlty kids that age going through the same things that we did – that fear of not really knowing what intimacy is and should be, and that it’s okay as long as there is dialogue present.

Fast forward to college, and I guess I can just say that I’ve learned a lot, whether it be from personal experience, from open and honest conversations with friends, or from wise words shared between my siblings, parents and me. When I started this blog almost 6 years ago….(omg what, this baby is getting old) I wanted to make sure that it was a resource for those that don’t feel normal and don’t feel like we should feel the way that we do.

First and foremost…when it comes to relationships, this is the most important thing that I have learned:

Your feelings are valid. You should never apologize for feeling the way that you do. And SOMEONE ELSE CAN NOT TELL YOU HOW YOU FEEL.

I’m going to repeat this so you really fricken hear what I’m saying:

Your feelings are valid. You should never apologize for feeling the way that you do. And SOMEONE ELSE CAN NOT TELL YOU HOW YOU FEEL.

I’ve learned that if anything, true intimacy requires you to be vulnerable. It kind of means that you have to love so hard, that you actually become softer. And that’s really, really hard. Quite honestly, before I met the boyfriend that I currently have, I hadn’t cried in years. I built this image of myself up in my head that I had to be happy and strong all the time and that I needed to be okay. And over time, he quite literally tore down my walls, and now I’m a walking emo wreck!! Haha, I kid…. but no, really. There is so much strength in sharing your heart with someone who will actually listen to you, and not just hear you.

As many of you know, I met my birth mother after I graduated high school in South Korea. That is something that is very near and dear to my heart, and something that I rarely open up and talk about. I honestly haven’t even had a sit down conversation with my family about it, and they were there. It’s something that I’ve recently realized will be something that I carry forever and will constantly have to cope with. It comes and goes, sometimes in big waves, and sometimes in small little drops. I never know when it will hit, but when it does, I’ve learned that there are ways to be at peace with it.

Mother’s Day this year was particularly hard. I was really at a loss for words and it hit like a fricken freight train that day. My boyfriend had me over and we watched some sports (I think…big sports guy lol), and I just laid on the couch while he rubbed my back. When the game ended, he said that he was going to bed and I couldn’t speak for some reason. I think I just felt really, really empty. When these waves come, I feel like I don’t know who I am and what I deserve, and it really scares me. And it scares me that I’m telling you all this….because it’s not even something that I’ve ever written down or said aloud until now.

Anyways, as he said that he was going to bed, he just kind of studied my face for a while and watched as tears pooled and fell one by one. And he brushed them away and held me, because I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. He knew what day it was. He started to cry and after a while I asked why he was crying. He said this, “It kills me to see you in pain like this. I just want you to feel like you’re loved and you belong with me.” And my goodness my heart shattered. I’ve never been so empty, yet so full at the same time.

So why do I share this with you all? We all have our own bouts of intimacy that don’t revolve around sex or doing things that the media tells us we need to do in order to live a life full of love and happiness. I think it’s more just a matter of recognizing them, holding onto them and remembering that those are the moments that override everything.

Intimacy is letting people in – to your mind and soul – and giving them the power to hurt you and trusting that they won’t. It’s telling them all of your embarassing stories and knowing that they’ll laugh with you instead of at you. And it’s telling them your goals and dreams with the confidence they’ll help you, instead of tell you it’s impossible. It means telling them about your failures, and asking for help to get through them instead of feeling too scared to even mention a mistake.

Intimacy is giving someone your undivided attention when the world is constantly making noise and competing for it. Our most valuable resource is time. Every second, of every day, you have to decide how you want to allocate those precious little moments. If you’re a parent and you haven’t been to your child’s soccer game, dance recital, or parent teacher conference meeting because of work….I seriously implore you to think about what it means to your child to just be there. Be present. I’ll never forget the effort my parents made to drive me to early morning swim practices as early as 5 am before work, and then doing it again in the afternoon after school. When I swam in college, they would drive over 13 hours in one day, each way, for a college dual meet and then drive home the next morning so my dad could still get to work on time. And I’ll never, ever forget my big brother, who is 13 years older than me, flying in from across the country for a state swim meet to surprise me when I was little. My little heart was overwhelmed with love and joy. I’ll always remember my sister flying in for every conference and big meet that I had in high school. It’s what we do for the people we love. We show up. Never underestimate how important physical presence is.

If you get anything out of this post, I hope it is that you start to show up for people. Don’t wait for people to ask you to come, just show up. When I had appendicitis, my friends brought me a stuffed animal and flowers right away – I didn’t even say anything. I just heard the doorbell. When I got my wisdom teeth out, a normal operation in our day and age, my friend came over and brought me a stuffed animal, no questions asked. Just showed up.

Showing up for people isn’t always an over the top gesture. Most of the time it just means being present, and listening to what we need most – companionship. Be present, my friends. Please, be present. ⠀

Intimacy isn’t taking your clothes off, but it’s baring your soul. It means peeling back the layers of fear, the walls we’ve built, and letting someone in. It means giving people a chance to really know, understand, and love us. And it means being there for them, especially when they need it most.

So here’s to intimacy.
May we feel loved.
May we feel like we belong to some place and with someone.
And may we feel good doing it all.

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