The Resistance to Flooding:
The mouth cheeks are turned inward, clenched, holding every muscle tightly around the lips as to not give away any irrational or instantaneous thought that may surge the mind. Bite that lip. Bit it, dammit, if you have to in order to conceal what would otherwise be too bright a revealing, innocent smile. The hands are lost and uncertain where to be on stage: first out and forward, then they retreat to the lap, finally they clasp to the side of the arm above the elbow, The impish child in us does not request permission from its host, but rather freely reaches out for a thoughtless possession. And why not? As we bend down to pick up a shiny piece of metal, we also come to the side of an individual who glistens in our eye.
This is the flood of attraction.
At the time of writing this, I’m thinking of a person whom I will meet later today. Her presence is calm and peaceful. Simply, she is a lovely individual to spend an afternoon with in the city. My curls will swirl, relishing in the possibilities of what could come of our interaction. Perhaps things will lead to an hour of laughter, perhaps a walk along the water, or, who knows, perhaps a kiss on the cheek. I can drift far from the shore in these gleeful thoughts, but at some point I’m reminded that it’s raining outside, that I’m sitting at a quiet kitchen table, that there’s a siren driving by the apartment. What illustrious images formulate in my mind become floored by the cognition of my senses. Daydreaming, again. What was a flooding of flirtatious rumination now rushes off the pavement to permeate and percolate back through the layers and channels of my world, my earth. Just daydreaming, again.
Those titillating daydreams do not only happen when I travel. Honestly, I am always daydreaming and proudly recognize that I spend at least a quarter of my day in another imaginative world. But be it envisions of picnicking under pleasant, blue skies of charmed laughter or a stage set colored by, maybe, more sultry tones of red. Yes, things may be dull—so why not spice them up? Yes, things may be settled—so why not stir them up? Yes, there is room for more—so why not invite someone up?
Why not? Or rather, why “no?”Because when I come to understand that what would seem to me as just a pattern of horny tendencies could actually be a symptom of my needs unmet. How does grounding, processing, and adherence relate to attraction though?
The last couple weeks in Tennessee I remember thinking that the only thing I really wanted was to cuddle with someone. Though, when asked by my sister, “is there anything you want to do before you leave,” I froze up and shrugged my shoulders “no.” Which, aside from my strong inclination to cuddle, was somewhat true. After all, what good is there to savor the flavors of something old when you are ready to try something new?—though, to be honest, I may have been avoiding some sort of embarrassment.
At the time of the conversation, I remember feeling so far gone, like on an island, separated and stranded from my friends. I remember having a sensation of not having anywhere to go and not trusting the option of going back. I understood my loud want for cuddling as a symptom of a need for closure, intimacy, and recognition. In other words, the result of needs not met through my fading platonic relations. I wanted intimate communication in the form of touch, as touch brings me back to remembering I am human, that I have a pulse, that I care, and sometimes I care too much. Touch is like the sensation of quiet after living in a loud, bustling city. But like quiet, I forget that I need it. In the absence of intimacy or in its depravity, my body acts in ways that indirectly request those needs: impulsiveness, sexual stimulation, or clinginess. Those impulses can be messy, hard to translate, and hard to explain later to someone after becoming intimate with them.
For most my life I haven’t had many relationships, platonic or intimate, that incorporated touch. I’ve held many friendships that have been supportive and loving, but touch and intimacy were relatively absent. Before I knew any better, I tried to provide love for myself on my own; but, even after giving myself a healthy routine and meaningful objectives, I still felt that I cannot truly give myself everything I need. Maybe if I was more stable, but who really can sustain that? That’s when I realized that love is not something that can be substituted. Thus, these tendencies I may retrogress into, that involve sexual arousal, could be just a quiet voice saying, “hey, I just want to let you know, that I don’t feel well right now. I feel kind of amiss and unrecognized”
It’s important to indicate that intimacy is one of my forms of communicating love. Intimacy is one way that I perceive and can receive love, and to a lesser extent offer love (my ways of offering love are more so through service and gifts). I bring this up because intimacy may not have the same effect on other people. To some it is everything, to others nothing. So, please keep in mind that I am only outwardly sifting through my own curiosity of intimacy, touch, and forms of affirming communication.
A loving intimacy is something humans need to breath in and, arguably, let go. Love (energy allowed through forms of intimacy) is not something that can be contained whether in a vessel, clasped hands, a fond memory, or even the words to a promise. The metaphor that love is like fire or that people “burn with a passion” makes a lot of sense to me. Healthy love is not something that volatiles and needs to be replenished. No, if that’s the case I think the fire is being poorly managed, perhaps letting it burn too bright or suffocating the fire. Simply, build your fire, design for plenty of circulation, and from time to time, set another log on the fire (Whatever that may mean to you).
Oh, but I am getting off topic…
Intimacy and affection, in the form of touch, being a secondary need (thank you Maslow) are qualities that require shared space, shared time, and to further extent, shared experiences. These qualities can be vectored (I’m getting really technical now) by touch to communicate the significant parts that adhere to a person or people. When time and space are shared, then relationships are allowed to be developed, grown, challenged, restructured, and maintained thus leading to opportunities for shared experiences like touch. But of course, touch is not the ultimate or end of a relationship. Again, touch is just a vectoring agent, a way to carry a message, a way to deliver a feeling of, maybe in my case, a sense of being significant.
What about intimacy when it comes to traveling? Think about how someone would pack for long periods of travel. Usually, a person will only pack the essentials and pick up whatever else along the way. Metaphorically, it is the same too, but in regards to character. There are qualities about a person that will never change, but there are also qualities of a person that are susceptible to influence. And traveling exposes a person to a whole new array of stimulus which that individual must process, balance, and sort.
Intimacy, if it holds significance to someone, has the potential to ground and validate an individual. That is why it can be so comforting after a stressful or exhausting experience. But if a traveler experiences something of an intimate moment, then there is the opportunity to take all those experiences and lay them to the side and simply focus on what is important, or maybe a better word would be what is more valuable.
In another way intimacy can be a form of balancing. Travel exposes a person to a wide array of stimulus. Traveling can entail putting aside old habits or perceptions in order to make room for new perspectives and experiences. It’s not only exhausting but disorienting. I don’t think it is completely possible to put everything someone experiences aside—or in other words, to forget about the day—but it is possible to balance all the stimulation of the day in a way that is manageable. With every step of travel it can be beneficial to reconfigure and balance before the next move. So, perhaps, attraction for me could also be the result of my need for grounding and a need to give oneself space from all the stimulus.
With this logic, which I don’t mean to write as if factual, proven, or final, I can come to understand my own natural process of being attracted to so many people when I travel (or in general, too). While, yes, there are other reasons I have an affinity to a person, there is also a sense of closure and balance that comes with the ability to center an experience through someone. Attraction could be a way for me to adhere to people in order to meet a need for grounding (which in the way that I worded that sounds exploitative).
Through someone that we tend to with a personal or intimate relation, we create a significant moment that also adheres to our sense of self. Like a pleasant or difficult time of life, etc. Beyond the person, there is the emotional associations to place. If intimacy involves a relationship forged by sharing space, time, and experiences, then as a result a person develops associations to a place. The emotional palette sets the lighting for the place. For me, as I wrote about in another blog, a city can be just another landscape, no matter how beautiful or lively, if I don’t have some enriching, shared experience to give it light and color. In a sense, my intimate experiences can become projected onto a place. Think about the songs that hold so much nostalgia for you. Those songs adhere to you because of deeply personal experiences that you shared with others during a time of your life. I think it is important to bring up this point as our relation and opinion to a place can be set by our relation and opinion to a person or people that one interacts with in that time.
But, I’m thinking too much and I hope to not get too stuck on something like this. After all, I’m not trying to invalidate attraction. If I were to spend such intimate time with someone while travel may it be, simply, a sweet moment to have shared.