Originally published on September 28th 2013
Last night I let a man love me. Usually something I avoid due to the implicit implications. Because I do not ascribe to a certain set of conditions, (namely, that if you love me as a woman I am obligated to pack your lunch and make my preparations for the convent) I have excluded myself from the entire transaction. I didn’t want to be like the kid who bitches about their parents and their parents’ rules but accepts the benefits. I would receive up to the point that I could deliver on unspoken expectations and no further.
But I know as a woman that my power lies in reception. I know this theoretically, of course, and in the context of another domain; sexuality. I’m the bigmouth who says that your payment for pleasure is the reception of pleasure. I watch it in woman after woman, her pussy contracting, ejaculate pooling all the while her cries that she is not feeling anything. A fundamental disconnect, not between the body and her partners finger, but between her body and the acknowledgement of the experience.
Then, I happened to be reading Ken McLeod, a genius of the first degree. He was talking about lovingkindness and the subtle ways that we dismiss it. Perhaps we say, “Oh, that person just held the door out of common courtesy.” or we say, “Well, I worked hard so deserve that acknowledgement.” Scarcity erodes the feeling of abundance by dismissing the motivation. You simply do not see that you are nested in a field of lovingkindness.
And I happen to have a friend who does just that. No matter what you give her, she cannot afford to acknowledge it. Her primary disposition is that she needs to be self-sufficient. To acknowledge another’s generosity would be to admit that she needs people. She needs to constantly focus on the lack to reinforce her supposition that the world does not deliver. The problem is that she feels like an endlessly deep well. Eventually, no matter how genuine your desire to do for her, it looks like a losing proposition. So finally you skulk away defeated. And that meme inside of her smirks in that self satisfied way. See! You can’t depend on people.
My meme is a different take, a product of my conditioning as a woman, although it may be more masculine in form. It is the notion that I am responsible for the happiness and wellbeing of all who come into contact with me; and that to receive depletes the resources others might need. It is the exaggerated version of my friend’s 70-year old mothers command, “No, no, you sit, I’ll stand.”
But underlying my refusal to receive love is my refusal to be bound. A guy that I was dating said that every coo from a woman is like a bow that she is using to tie you up. In order to not make implicit promises you have to untie the bow as quickly as it is delivered. The problem was that many of his women (and there were many) who were “sane” prior to him, suddenly got crazy.
I tend to do the same thing as him. But at its core is a lack of acknowledgement of the feedback loop of love. To do for creates a natural outpouring of love and to receive that love is an integral aspect of the process. Not just for me but for the other. Otherwise they end up “stuffed” and the response to stuffed can take many forms from consuming more to cover the feeling to a feeling of inadequacy and learned helplessness. In other words, my lack of reception causes the very response I dread in the other, an inconsolable feeling of need. What I misunderstood is that it is not a transaction but a cycle. And what I didn’t trust was my own ability to say no so I just shut down the entire process.
This misunderstanding led me to only interact with men who did not offer the love end so that I did not have to deal with it. I could give and give and give and they would merely absorb, until I was depleted and had to pull away or create a problem.
So here I am with this guy who I can feel really wants to pour genuine care on me which from my depleted and loveless perspective looks like that much bigger of an obligation. So I am pushing him away and pining over the loveless one.
But for some reason, I decided to just give in. Love nutrient deficiency drove me to it. I let him do terribly inappropriate things like compliment me without my usual very funny dismissal. I let him, oh dear god, hold me, and hold me tightly. I let him into my headspace where I listen to music and let him hear what I hear when I listen. I let him pull me in tighter and tighter and caress my arm. I let my body fall limp and at points even reach for him. I didn’t do my usual cat squirm. I just let him stroke me and let that feeling of softness penetrate my cells.
And when I thought I might just die, when I was sure I had now signed away my entire life, I said simply, “I’m full.” and he got up and got dressed. I watched, a bit shocked, and waited for the grip, the ensuing “when will I see you again”? But it didn't come. I realized, oh wait, that grip comes from the fact that I have not allowed the cycle to complete, when I do, he is left full too.
There we were, two beings who were, like osmosis both hydrated and in equal balance.
But this morning would be the true test. Would he now see me as a possession that would erode into an indentured servant? Then his text came:
I like what you have given me thus far, I have the lead to let you set your tempo and design our room as you see fit according to what you can handle within your design I won't crowd your space for I know you’re a free spirit, however I have to at least let you know I like how you fit in my arms.
Well, how about that? Even my defeated ego is happy with that one.
(Photo Credit: Evan Kirby)