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June 20, 2020

Here Goes Nothing: Intimacy in the Wake of a Global Pandemic.

I woke up in a hotel room somewhere in downtown Miami, a city I just moved to only a couple of months before the pandemic started.

My long hair was wildly tangled, just as my legs were with his in the crisp white sheets, and my long, gold necklace was dangling over the right side of my torso. My mouth tasted a bit bitter and sweet—a combo of tequila and toothpaste. As I started to open my eyes, he held me tighter and we had sex again, which was probably the fourth or fifth time that night/morning. 

We laid in bed post-sated, and had pillow-talk for a good while. But I had to go because I was teaching at 10 a.m. and I needed to process what just happened. So, I peeled myself up and out of bed, put on my purple mini dress from the night before, kissed him hard on the lips, and ventured to my parked car. 

As I rushed home to greet my students on Zoom, I was flooded with flashbacks of our night and was even a bit confused by the passion I just experienced. I needed to process it all. 

That is what I do. I am a processor—someone who needs to process thoughts and feelings. It’s just how I operate. I am emotional, which I mask well, and sometimes I cannot discern the difference between my head (thoughts) and my heart (feelings); or where my thoughts end and my feelings begin (and vice versa). 

Once I got home, I showered the night off and was able to switch gears from night vixen to yogi. I taught with style and grace and complete presence, which is a gift of being a practitioner and long time student of yoga.

During the class I was teaching, I was completely engaged for the full hour, rather than in my head. But once class ended, I was back in my head and thinking. What the heck happened last night? How did it happen? Why did it happen? And, who has a passionate affair during a global pandemic? 

I also could not stop thinking about the intensity and the passion we experienced, nor could I stop thinking about the primal ways he had his hands all along my body all night long.

With all the thoughts racing through my head, I sat and meditated, hoping my thoughts would cease. They did not. So, I tried another tactic and took a walk beachside.

That did not help either. So, all day I was wired with thoughts and no appetite. 

By early evening I received a text saying he had fun. I responded with, “ditto” and told him how exhausted I was.

He didn’t respond. 

Fine, I thought. I guess he is playing it cool. (Something, I do very well, too!)

I fell asleep around 8 p.m. and woke up feeling fresh the next day, and as usual, I meditated and journaled. 

Can you guess what I wrote about? 

Yup. Our night. 

I noticed that as I was journaling, I wanted to connect with him. I was yearning for more connection, more attention, more lust, and with those thoughts, I got turned on, and I touched myself, and as I did so, I reflected on our night together; as I climaxed I said his name aloud. Thrice.

Feeling utterly vulnerable post-orgasm, I sent him a text and told him what I had just done, and I got a cavalier response, which was not what I was expecting. What I was expecting was that connection I was craving, that inner child saying: Love me. Pay attention to me. Can you see me? Do you feel what I am feeling? 

He did not satisfy any of that, so I went about my day feeling a bit embarrassed by my vulnerability, but luckily I have enough self-love and know how to mindfully self-soothe, so I did just that.

Side note, rather a question: Why do women often confuse sex and love? What is that need, or yearning, to connect emotionally post-sex? And, how is it that men can seemingly separate the two? 

I wonder. 

A couple of days after our tryst, our friends that we would usually see on Sundays for Sunday-Funday invited us to their BBQ, but he declined the invite. I could not help but feel personally rejected. He blamed it on the thunderstorms, but I thought, blah, blah, blah—and I decided to have a Paloma for breakfast with my friends. 

I think I was agitated and thrown off guard, because I was celibate for two and a half years before being with him, so sex and intimacy were not at the forefront of my mind or body. But, when Stella Got Her Groove Back in the proverbial sense—I quickly remembered what I was missing physically. Yet, I was also utterly annoyed about how I was feeling emotionally! At that moment, intimacy seemed like a double-edged sword, something that can help or hurt me—and I was not ready nor in the mood for either.  

What also threw me off was that I was not planning on sleeping with him because he was a casual friend, who just happened to be riding out the pandemic in Florida, rather than in his hometown of the epicenter. And, throughout the quarantine, we would hang social-distance style on the weekends with our mutual friends and their kids, who also recently moved here. We all, surprisingly, really bonded.

A few days later, we met for a happy hour, where we sat at an oceanfront table and drank martinis and ate oysters. I was enjoying the company, as I often do, and I was feeling desire, big time. As the check came, which he paid (which made it feel like a date), he dropped a mini bomb on me. He told me that he was worried that being intimate would ruin our friendship camaraderie with one another and with our mutual friends.

I said I had the same concern and told him we could be “friends with benefits.” I followed that up with a caveat that if either of us sleeps with anyone else, we would give each other the courtesy and tell them. That is when bomb number two dropped, and he mentioned that he was just starting to date someone at home before the pandemic began, and that they were in talks about her visiting Miami. I said, if that happens, then he and I would be no more.

He said he understood. 

Again, I was taken aback by him, and I felt a sting of rejection at the possibility of him choosing someone other than me. But, at that moment, I let it go and said, I want you. Take me home.

As we were crossing the street, he said, “You can have any man you want, why to choose someone like me?” It was then that I understood his insecurity, which was something I had sensed all along, For some reason, it made me want him more in that moment. 

As we left the restaurant, we could not keep our hands off one another. And within seconds of being back at the hotel, we meshed together like peanut butter and jelly on a warm summer day. We stayed that way until the early morning hours—until I had to get up again to teach, and of course, process yet another night with him. 

After our second time together, I realized that we have undeniable chemistry. Period. On a friendship level and as lovers. My initial thought: sh*t, I am in trouble.

The following day I did not hear from him, but I saw him the day after at our friend’s. We acted as if we were buddies drinking beer at a BBQ; not like the lovers we were only 30 hours prior. Part of me liked the secrecy, and part of me did not. Nonetheless, I went home with an empty feeling. 

I told one of my friends what was happening, and she said that men are more black and white than women and that I should take his words and actions at face value. Meaning, that I should cut the fantasy crap out and realize that I suggested the friends with benefits idea—which she called me out on because she knows I am a serial monogamist and not okay with being in such a scenario.

I told her she was right, and within seconds I shut down emotionally, as if I was switching off a light switch. I can do that, fortunately, and unfortunately. 

The friend proceeded to tell me that I deserve someone available, which he does not seem to be. That I deserve someone who chooses me, and would choose me over and over again.

She was and is 100 percent right. 

I decided not to text, call, or entertain the thoughts of him. 

Ha!

That lasted a couple of days, and when he did reach out, I flirted back, and then he asked to hang. 

What did I do?

I went. Obviously.

We greeted each other at the beach with cheek kisses, and we laid in the sand and shared stories. After an hour, I suggested he come home with me to hang at the pool, as my pool just opened. I told him that I would cook dinner, which consisted of my infamous chicken meatballs that I happen to seduce every man with.

It may sound funny, but it is usually my chicken meatballs that makes them all fall for me. Or at least that is how it seems. I even thought of writing a book called Chicken Meatballs and sharing stories about all the men I have had in my life, all of which seemed to choose me, yet who I don’t choose (which I believe is partially the reason why I have not yet settled down). 

Which, brings me to my next thought: Am I consciously choosing this man?

And, if so, is it a genuine choice, or is it my ego that wants him to want me? Or is it my inner child that is yearning for love, which would be a sign that I still need to heal some latent wounds? Or, perhaps he is a mirror for me, and his insecurity is mirroring my insecurities, and this situation is ultimately a way to heal that insecurity by facing it head-on.

Whatever it is, I believe it is still too early to tell, as it has only been a couple of months. But we went from social distancing to emotional distancing—and I do not know what is worse.

As I write this, it has been a couple of days since we woke together again, and we did not even have sex, as I was on my cycle, yet it was pure intimacy because we laid in bed chatting for hours into the late morning. That is just as intimate, if not more so, as the physical act of intercourse. 

Bottom line, I enjoy him, and I like him as a friend and lover. And have I always said my perfect partner would be a combo of both…and here the carrot dangles.

I cannot deny what I am feeling, nor do I want to, but I’m guarded and wondering if I am setting myself up for heartbreak with an unavailable man.

Perhaps I am, but for someone who has a hard time with vulnerability, I feel I must speak my truth and let him know how I feel, and whatever the outcome, I have to trust that by being honest and truthful to myself, I am gifting myself growth and self-love wrapped in a bow.  

I keep thinking of the quote,

“And you ask ‘What if I fall?’ Oh but my darling, What if you fly?”~ Erin Hanson

And I know deep down that I cannot truly experience love if I do not put myself out there.

So here goes nothing.

~

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