Hi, it’s me.
So my newish friend told me yesterday that I have serious intimacy issues.
Really? I asked, “Serious, not just garden-variety? “
“Yes, “she said, “Your intimacy issues are some of the worst I’ve ever come across.”
“Whoa,” I said,” that’s a lot to think about.”
Then she said, “Truthfully, I’m actually a little surprised that this is news to you, because if it really is, that suggests a lack of intimacy even with yourself.”
“Oh my God, “ I said, “Shit!”
“Look, she said, “I’m practically an expert on this, a lay expert mind you, but an expert nonetheless and the good news is I can help you, that is, if you’re interested in getting better. “
“What an offer,” I said. “This is better than winning the lottery.”
“See,” she said, “That sarcasm is part of the problem. “
“So, I said, “Assuming what you’re saying is true, what should I do?”
She paused for a moment and then brought up the love letters, the ones I’ve been writing to you! I’d no idea she’d read them because she’d never mentioned them before.
The thing is,” she said, “They’re very well… general. Intimacy is about specificity. I mean really, “No one in particular? “ That’s pretty much nobody. You’re so obviously terrified of any kind of real closeness. “ Also,” she went on, “You try to too hard to sound smart and to make your language sound beautiful. It’s like you want to impress everyone. It oozes a kind of neediness and desperation. Don’t take this the wrong way, but it’s well…creepy.”
“This isn’t a very fun conversation,” I said.
“The crux of it is, is that you’re a control freak. Being a control freak is an intimacy killer because it creates a power imbalance between you and the other person. It’s manipulative and reeks of insecurity, which you mistake over and over again for authentic vulnerability. One is not the other.
“Oh my God, “ I said. “I feel so humiliated. How embarrassing. I’m an insecure, control-freak, intimacy- murderess.”
“True,” she said, and I’d venture to guess that I’m not the only one who thinks so. “But you know on the other hand, the letters are somewhat relevant, in a way- and there are whispers in there, in some of them, of something true. ”
“Thank goodness, “ I said. “Which ones? I’ll keep those and delete the rest.”
“Oh no, “ she said, “That’s a terrible idea.”
“Should I delete them all?”
“Your chronic need for approval is truly pathological. Look at you. You’d do anything for a quick fix wouldn’t you?
“Pretty much,” I admitted.
“What I’d suggest,” she said, is that you reveal something personal and true about yourself, something small that you aren’t particularly thrilled about. You can do that in your next letter. Don’t gush though. I have noticed that you are a gusher and when you gush it is as if you are puking from your heart. So don’t do that, at all. Be casual and seductive, revealing just a bit at a time. Be easy with it, like a light breeze. Create space. Don’t jump in and in and in. Intimacy is about pretty spaces with variations in size and design. It is about closeness and distance. It can be intense, but there is always grace and ease. Also, be gracious. You need to thank the reader for her tolerance and patience.”
“So what you’re saying is that I’m too much?”
“Exactly, “ she said. “You learn quickly.”
“Anything else?” I asked.
“Of course,” she said, “But I wouldn’t want to overwhelm you. I’ll save it for another time.”
“Thanks,” I said.
So anyway, I’ve been kind of freaked out about all that she said and I’ve been turning all of it over with the spatula of my mind like a hamburger. I think she’s a little bit of a know-it-all and I also think some of what she said is true, so that’s where I am with it.
So, what I’ll tell you now is that I have never been able to manage double-sided tape. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great invention, but I’m just not adept at operating it. Every time I’ve tried to use it, I end up with these sticky globs that I must flick off my fingers like gigantic, translucent booger sculptures. Also, the packaging of double-sided tape looks so much like the regular kind of Scotch tape that I end up buying it by accident and just re-frustrate myself thinking each time that it will be different. There is no intentional metaphor with all this. I’m just trying to work on my intimacy issues in the way that was suggested to me by my friend.
Also, I took a walk in the park yesterday, which I often think of as reading the self-help book of the world. And I would so very much like to help myself. Looking at the chorus of naked elms on Montrose, I thought about how no one talks much about the armpits of trees even though the armpits are so very numerous. The armpits of trees do not sweat of course, but I am fairly certain that I would not mind a YouTube video or even a photo of someone climbing a ladder and putting deodorant on the armpits of trees. I thought Tom’s of Maine would be a suitable brand if this were to actually happen. I think Tom’s makes a Tea-Tree variety or maybe it’s Eucalyptus…
What else? Oh, there are some fields in the park and I’d like to give them to you as parting gifts. (This may be my last letter. I might be moving on to a new project. ) The fields are very large and clear the mind and I think you’d enjoy them. I thought about how I could give them to you and realized that the only way to do so is just to tell you that I want to and where they are. So I want to and they are in Welles Park on the north side of Chicago. They do not belong to me, but please have them in whatever way you’d like to or can have them. Included, are two baseball diamonds, which after a rain, when the sun is setting, sparkle, as all diamonds should.
Finally, I looked up at some clouds and decided to name them, just because. The names of the clouds are: Alexandria, Beatrice, Hortense, Cliff, Owen, Puffy and Barack. They may or may not still be there due to the nature of clouds but if they are and you go there, tell them, I said, “”Hi.”
Oh, and to you I say thank you, love, peace, yours, sincerely, XO, OX, all that.