I am fond of words, especially words with more than one meaning. Wordplay is fun too. Double entendres are great; I am a fan of Austin Powers because of this reason. For the last few months, I have been thinking of the word “intimacy” and writing a blog about the word. Now that I am penned up due to Covid 19, I have a different view on the word, reflecting more upon some of its meanings.
Probably the first definition of intimacy that most people, including me, think of has something to do with sexual intimacy; not all sex is intimate. That is a basic view of the word, but even as basic, as it has to do with something sexual, it gets muddy and complicated. Sexual intimacy can be energizing, kinetic and thoroughly vicious. Sexual intimacy can be hurtful, toxic and immensely collapsing. Sexual intimacy can also, among countless other things, be magnetic, encompassing and penetrating (both pun and double entendre are intended). Sexual intimacy can get confusing.
A person who is in a professional role with a company may have an intimate knowledge of how the business is run. Like sexual intimacy, this person will be view the company stripped bare, and be able to see the fine details of what makes the company work, they make the company succeed. Someone who has intimate knowledge covets that knowledge. They spend great amounts of time to gather that knowledge, and they may find sharing the knowledge being successful as joyful, even cathartic. In this sense, the view of intimacy extends far beyond the realm of business. Anyone, in any job, can have intimate knowledge. A farmer who has learned to sew the seeds then intimately harvest the fruits of their toil humbly holds their intimate knowledge. A seamstress who can envision the end before carefully threading the needle, then continually pulsing the rhythmic pattern to surround themselves in their intimate vision may find intense satisfaction at the climax of their craft. A musician or an artist may invest countless hours shaping their talent to the point where they can burst past with an explosion of energy and spread on the canvas about the passion of which they are intimate. An Olympic level athlete who has honed their body, their skills, their intellect to reach the peak, to envelope the intimacy of gripping at the gold. A teacher who works late into the night preparing, planning, researching topics and lessons by which they are energized by which they are enthusiastic; the immaculate pleasure they endure when the engagement and progress of which their students’ show holds a shinning intimacy.
As a teacher, I have become intimate with many of my students. Relax, put down the phone, no need to class the police I have not doing anything inappropriate. I have developed a rapport with students to the point where I have been sorrowful when they no longer were my students. My view of their progress is amplified by how intimately I feel about their growth. Many of them I have pushed to the point where they are able to view how they have made progress, to feel how well they can do, to feel good about failing because they know failure shows an inventment in their growth. This level of intimacy creates a scenario where I gather happiness even when a lesson that I invested incredible time and energy fails.
When I began college, the internet was beginning to become useful as a tool. At our house, we had dial-up internet. In college, we had access to, a lot faster internet. While on the internet, I was introduced to the word cyber. For those of you who are not my age, you are probably in need of an explanation. You probably were not asked to cyber. If you are older, it’s more than likely not something you would have heard. For a similar reason, if you are younger, what is being asked is probably asked in a way that I am not aware of. I can remember the first time I was asked if I wanted to cyber:
I was in a music chatroom messaging with a person, their asl (I believe this is still used as age, sex, location) was 19/F/USA, and we were chatting about Led Zeppelin. I was expressing that many of their songs were making references to The Lord of the Rings. “She” felt the same Stairway to Heaven was about drugs. Now, understand, the internet was not the tapestry of information simply accessed as easy as it is now. The analysis was based on our individual abilities to argue. I suppose you can see how the internet is filled with misinformation currently as well. We discussed back and forth and when I presented, as it turned out to be, my closing argument, “Look at the lyrics to Ramble On, “’T was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair, But Gollum, and the evil one
Crept up and slipped away with her.’ Come on, what could this be referring to OTHER THAN “Lord of the Rings”?” No response in the chat for minutes, then, “Do you want to cyber?” I replied, “What is cyber?” I was shocked to be propositioned in this way, and I almost more shocked at what I was propositioned to do. Having belabored the point enough, I was being asked if I wanted to have cybersex; if I wanted to describe a sexual interaction where I was playing one role and she was describing the other. Is this intimacy? Hmmm, I don’t know, but for the sake of making it fit, here’s how:
If one were to get to know someone well via the internet, words can create great emotions. The elations that one might feel from receiving an internet message or even a text message are quite personal and intimate. There have been many cases where people who have had these “relationships” lead them to be taken advantage of. This is not unlike when a con artist takes advantage of another in real life; this is now called “catfishing”. In healthy and strong relationships the intimate feelings that can be gained from a message, even the receipt of a message from a loved one can give the rejoiceful feeling of intimacy.
Persons who are not sexual can be intimate. I have been intimate with many of my friends; male and female. An intimate conversation can be held when the shackles of deception are released. An intimate conversation is one where the two participants are not encumbered by hiding who they are, they often expose themselves to each other, become vulnerable. The trust expressed in these intimate conversations shows how intimacies can be held in a state of value. Spending hours at a time discussing topics that are important to each: life, politics, religion, personal feeling, events, are only the beginning of topics that show the intimacy of friends in these interactions. Companionship is holding true to shine forward with intimacy. Similarly to my claim about holding my interactions with my students as being intimate, with other non-sexual intimacies, I value and care about them all greatly.
When it comes to someone who you love you can show intimacy without being sexual. The love is not exclusive to romantic love; a child, parent, cousin, another relative, often a friend or even a pet. This can be shown in different ways. Putting your hand gently on their hand, back, arm, shoulder, if they are upset. Providing a sincere smile when they are excited so you both share in the joy. Running your hand through their hair to show support, letting them know you are there with them to share the experience they are embarking upon. Hugging them warmly, just because. Upon the non-verbal ways to show intimacy, you can also show intimacy with someone you love by asking them to tell you about the things you know they are passionate about. You can listen to the ones you love without interruption or even just wait to talk. You can say kind things to them with truth in your words as a way to be respectful of who they are the person, even in a note or letter. Showing that you love someone may be a knowing way of being intimate.
Intimacy can be seen in various ways. Due to Covid-19, sexual intimacy is not recommended. Intimacy can be seen shared between loved ones, people with whom you have much care. People who have never met in person, but have grown close through digital interactions can be intimate with each other. When you work with or for someone intimacy often grows from this familiarity. When someone gains intimacy with their employment they put tremendous amounts of effort toward being successful within their work. I see intimacy in varied ways. I see intimacy as having a common thread. That common thread is that the interaction between the person and the subject of their intimacy is provided with a heightened awareness and knowledge of that subject. Do not restrict yourself from intimacy.