Sunday, August 31, 2014

Intimacy and Fear and Twinness


It's been an odd summer for me.  Begun with such a visceral rampage of emotions, chasms so deep and dark, skies painted with the prism of fragile faith, paralyzing anguish and livid relief.  I think, in a way, I overdosed on introspection.  Facing some of my most unspoken fears forced an excavation of the soul; broken bits and lost bits and forgotten ones were found.  In these moments, we discover much about ourselves.  I curl in.  Disengage.  I'm not one to ask for help even on the best of days and this was so acutely displayed these last few months as to be painful to my friends and family.  My sincerest apologies for this.  Communication was impossible for me....hell, even the thoughts within my own skull were agony.

Recently I've watched in surprise as someone I know has gone through a similar season and yet, in complete juxtaposition of me, has publically announced every step of her journey; fears and hopes, updates and disappointments, all published via social media to hundreds, if not thousands, of people.  I'm awed... amazed...terrified.  That level of intimacy with so many is unthinkable for me.  And yet a great deal of my life has been spent in a quest for intimacy; an attempt to fill a cavern so vast that held only shadows.  Some might hazard this was a result of a rather isolated childhood and a family that I was never close to until ten years ago; but frankly the Why is so much less important than the Now.  The Here is more relevant than the How.  Forty years on this planet has taught me that one of our greatest mistakes is getting caught up, trapped within the Why and How, missing out on the gift of choice, forgiveness, and potential that is Now.

But it is true that my Now had a beginning.  Everyone's does.  In that quest for a soul mate I lunged toward the nearest hand offered--and thus the tragedy of my first marriage commenced.  A man that would order me not to breathe on him, that didn't like touching.  I was a fish thrashing about in a desiccated death valley of a relationship.  Which brings me to the story of my second husband of six years now.  His How is something that twists my soul every time I think of it.  Oh, to be grateful for such heartache is a terrible thing...yet our Now is chiseled and sculpted by our Hows and Whys, is it not?  This is his story, which has become my own.

Four and a half decades and our medicine has advanced in a miraculous way.  But there was a day back then, when a young mother was told at eight and a half months pregnant, that her unborn baby had perished.  There was no heartbeat to be found.  She would have to carry the stillborn to term and endure labor while planning a funeral that included an eighteen inch coffin...she nearly shattered.  Returning to the doctor, she insisted she could still feel movement and was assured this was merely a manifestation of her grief, and thus she wept and fragmented until the contractions began.  Hours later a beautiful lifeless boy was born....and fifteen minutes after that, my husband Jason was also.

Can you imagine the sorrow and the joy of that moment?  An excruciating combination that stained everyone in the room with the colors of  despair and wonder.  The world turned and life happened and Jason didn't discover he was a twin until he was fifteen years old.  This suddenly explained his feelings of perpetual aloneness, an internal 'missing' that never ebbed, no matter the company.  He dreamt, almost nightly, of sleeping wrapped around another.  Entwined.  His first marriage also, was full of echoes and emptiness.

And then we found each other. 

I know few who sleep as we do; a knot of limbs, flesh against flesh, where one ends and the other begins unknowable.  His face on my neck, my lips against his arm, our breathing syncs and we slumber.  Intimacy beyond my understanding at times. 

Twins bound by life.

16 comments:

Brian Miller said...

what an intimacy shared...as if twins entwined...public intimacy is not easy...scary even because people will judge you...it is a risk to love...and one we have to be smart about as well...i dunno how public i could be with some things and i am pretty open...there are some things i hold for only those special friends...

Shea Goff said...

Just amazing. Your writing always feels incredibly intimate to me. Thank you for sharing this part of you and Jason.

Freckled Philologist said...

Oh, how do you do this? You share, it's public. But, it's discreet. It's all the way down deep and yet you control what is exposed. In these years of reading your writings, and sharing in this world of social media, I have come to love you so. Today I waited until I was finally alone, with nothing else but the dark and sighing breathing of greyhound Sombra, to fully take in every word. Your writing never disappoints, sweet Chantel. You have to tell me if you're published somewhere so I can read more! In the meantime, I'm so glad you've emerged and shared. I've missed you. Besos & abrazos, querida.

Geo. said...

You sure write good. I don't know about twins but I know a person's true relatives are scattered across time and space and seldom number among one's immediate kin.

Out on the prairie said...

The season has passed too fast for me. I play hard and have put on lots of travel.

Big Mark 243 said...

I am glad you chose to share this... it has been too long and this is a love story that should be told... for real..!

Robbie Grey said...

This is what ensnared me;

"the Why is so much less important than the Now. The Here is more relevant than the How. Forty years on this planet has taught me that one of our greatest mistakes is getting caught up, trapped within the Why and How..."

Such a beautiful web you weave, m'dear. I've missed your words. And many thanks for these intimacies you've chosen to share.

Sangay Phuntsho said...

Nice Read. Touched going through.

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Chantel,
What a tenderly written portrayal of love and loss. Surely these are life's greatest emotions, the ones capable of taking us to the greatest heights and, also, driving us to unlimited depths of despair. But, how much better, we argue, to have the drama of life with all its intensity than to be barely alive at all.

This is a wonderful piece which cannot have been easy to write. We are the richer for having read it!

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

A boss once gave me a paperweight that says "Good writing is clear thinking made visible." Your writing is breath-taking. But what is so amazing is the richness of your emotional awareness, coupled with your risk-taking in life and in the telling. You are so right about the How and Why versus the Now, and the story you tell brings home the importance of Now in a whole new way.

terlee said...

Tears fall. At your words, your spirit, your love...

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I completely agree with Geo...true interconnectedness has nothing to do with blood kin...

Chantel said...

Brian--exactly, but I also understand the healing talking about something can bring. I suppose it's in the balance of it all?

Shea--thank you, my friend, that means much coming from such a talented artist. :)

Sweet Mary--you know, if I ever have the ability to visit your part of the world, we have a date for coffee. You do make me smile so.

Geo--such truth indeed!

Prairie--summer seems to have made her exit more quickly this year...but then again, perhaps I'm just moving more slowly?

Mark--thank you, it has been a while, hasn't it?

Chantel said...

Robbie--it's good to write again, been a bit holed up in my cave for a spell. :)

Sangay--Thank you!

Jane & Lance--such kind words, and I thoroughly agree with you about the peaks and valleys of life; I'll take storms over static any day.

Bliss--I like that paperweight, I might add that to my book of quotes. :) The risk taking isn't easy, but I find myself on the brink of hermithood and so choose to reach out lest I evaporate altogether.

Terlee--people like you make this world a richer place, my dearest. xo

Optimistic Ex--(I just had a chuckle at my shortening of your handle, is there such a thing?) Anyway, you're right--thank goodness love has no link to genes!

ND Mitchell said...

Intimacy isn't easy to describe but you painted it in those closing lines. Beautifully described.

Loco YaYa said...

stumbled upon you through MOTPG. beautiful writing. looking forward to reading more.