Saturday, December 7, 2013

I realized I was safe, and ...

“Thank you for being you,” I say, resting my head against Nick’s shoulder because he is here and warm and real. It is simple gratitude for his visit that overwhelms me in that moment. I sometimes wonder if we've really only known each other less than a year.

I hold him closer, knowing he will soon be on a plane heading home ...

and I am safe!

I was safe while clinging to a man I'm not dating. I was more than safe … I healed in his presence. Nick helped me so much this past week! I can’t thank him enough.

He helped me process a few of my concerns regarding men, and we dug up some new realities to consider in the face of all my theories. I can only develop my ideas in actual practice.… Until real action and choices come along, I remain unstable. Nick gave me the freedom to really face my fears and ideas, and a safe place to cry and talk about it.

The past came up a lot. I’ll be writing more about what I learned from our time together, but I wanted to share something amazing about him, first.

I spent a lot of time with Nick. With family and friends. Curled up on the couch. Walking around town. In restaurants. Shopping. Standing in line. Snuggled together while we talked through an entire, precious night.

I kept feeling like I was missing something important.

Something was unusual, but what? (Everything was unusual for me, really.) I have never been so comfortable with a man … ever. I thought it might explain that odd feeling. Then, after writing everything out for Mica and Ree, I finally realized what it was that I kept bracing for.

We spent so much time together and hugged and snuggled and talked for hours and hours … and there was physical attraction there, too … but …

I want you to notice how amazing this is.

not once did he grope me!

In contrast:

I remember the first date with X. It is vivid because he shocked me by groping my leg. I nearly fell off my chair in surprise, and he laughed at me. After that the groping escalated and continued whenever X felt like it, until the day I moved out. 

Though there were times when he wouldn't touch me, there was never a time when I felt safe from the possibility, and a simple “no” wasn't a preventative.

With Nick touch was a simple honesty without pushing even to the edge of private areas. Even when we kissed, there was no invasion based on an assumption that permission for one form of contact must include access to everything. My clothes remained entirely in place the whole time.

No wonder I felt safe. He wasn't waiting around for a chance to sneak more than I was ready for. He just appreciated me right where I am for who I am.

Everything between us was a gift because we expected nothing more from each other than the friendship we had already constructed and gifted to each other. There were no demands, and if one of us hoped for something or wanted something we simply talked it through. When we had different levels of interest, we stopped at the lower level.

Apparently I believed men
(1) always have such urges and
(2) can’t resist them when given an opportunity
because I’m still amazed, even as I write this.

It is a relief to know that this respect of personal boundaries is a real possibility.