It's the morning after a sobering night. One of those nights where you wake up and wonder did that really happen? Yes, yes it did. Lastnight I got talking about a subject that was so stressful to me I began to stutter and slur, again.
It was as simple as physical affection with a member of the opposite sex. There's only one male, aside from family members, that I am comfortable being affectionate with. Over the years we have built trust between eachother, I even allow him to take nude artistic photos of me. He has seen me vulnerable many times, always respected my boundaries and created a safe space for me to express myself fully.
I feel like, until lastnight, I didn't realize how thick the liquid surrounded me was until I tried to swim through it.
Having repeated positive experiences can rewire the brain's anxiety response, so why not be physically affectionate with my male friends (not talking sex) until I learn positive associations? I know how devastating one negative experience can be on the healing process, that's why.
I know how people can use your physical affection as an excuse to violate boundaries, make it your fault when you tell them "No." "But you let me do ___________, so I thought this would be cool with you." Or "why did you lead me on..." Part of me believes they are right, social programming has taught me be chaste or be promiscuous there is no safe space in between. I can communicate boundaries all I like, but if the other person is only hearing what they want to hear...
This is when my little voice, the one that used to be loud, bold and joyful whispers to me: "Your
strength is in seeing the risk but living joyfully anyways. Fearing pain doesn't always stop you from
experiencing it, you'll just experience it as a feeling of constant confinement. Go out, take baby steps if you need to but don't lock your heart away."