We learn best from personal experience. Hearing the personal experience of others provides a new perspective we might not otherwise have.
In this article Melissa Petro shares her journey to genuine intimacy. Reading between the lines, one gets the idea that she began her journey with a simple lack of appreciation for, perhaps, even exposure to, a road map to intimacy.
Like many in her early twenties, she probabley never even thought that a capacity for intimacy might be something worth working on. Like many young adults, she dived into sex with no idea of the role that sex plays in building a healthy happy life.
“Motivated by anxiety and fear, my interactions with people grew increasingly performative and emotionally void. Sex became an increasingly less intimate act. The opposite of intimacy, sex became my way of dominating, hedging off fear, and keeping someone at arm’s length.”
One challenge (among many) of growing up is that there are few resources available for understanding what relationships are about. A child suddenly wakes up 13 years old and sexual. Gender suddenly means something, but what? A young adolescent — male or female — starts grasping for anything that can make since of this new world.
Movies, stories friends tell, the internet, pornography — anything will do to fill the void in the absence of a clear map.
By the time 13 years old are 25, 30, 35, or even 40 years old or older, if lessons on how to be in relationship have not somehow accidentlly come accross their path, the chances are they will be living in some form of sexual dysfunction within a life that lacks real connection with someone who matters more that than the pleasure, the distraction, or the security they can provide.
The lessons of initimacy are painful to learn at any age. Just ask a 13 year old. But they are lessons that must be learned if one is to successfuly experience life with others in any meaningful way. Call this, “The Necessary Journy.”
When a relationship fails, as a result of an adictive process, as the result of neglect or abuse, or any other symptom of the absence of genuine intimacy, that pain seems to spill out of every encounter and every conversation.
This pain can be just one moment in a recuring cycle of paimful experiences in a life that lacks campanionship. Or, it can be a signal. It can be a flashing light and an alarm alerting one and all that the time for the necessary journey has come.
Image by kris krüg.