Radical Intimacy: Why Being Real Rules

By Isabella Konold

I judge the shit out of my relationship.

I can compare my lover relentlessly to the men around me. He’s not this enough, he’s not that enough. If he would just be more creative or complex. If he would just be more of this or better at that…

I read the relationship articles that pass through my newsfeed. “7 Ways to Know if Your Man is Evolved” or “9 Things Every Priestess-Dressed-in-Burning-Man-Tribal-Wear Needs to blah blah blah” or “Is Your God Godding Your Goddess Enough.” On and on and on. I get excited when I think my lover “passes” the tests.

And I feel bummed when he “fails.”

The grass so often looks greener in the field of conscious relationships, especially when you’re surrounded by fully-expressed, sexually empowered, cutting-edge masters of social entrepreneurship and global transformation at every glance.

And they’re all hot as shit.

I mean seriously, damn. Maybe it’s just California, but the tribe is frickin’ gorgeous.

Yet when I stop and listen to what’s going on around me…when I witness how many men (including the aforementioned dudes mowing the greener pastures) show up in relationship, I see there is a longing in their women. It’s a yearning that looks like complaints and unhappiness and is often dismissed as, “he just wants me to be epic and not so goddamn needy.”

Yet that something is seldom recognized as inherently necessary. It is something I didn’t know I needed—even after I was experiencing it.

I’m talking about the beauty of reception.

This is about being fully received and fully welcomed for all that we are and all that we struggle to be.

I’m not talking about being tolerated or accepted or learning to be understood. And I’m not talking about him loving all “parts” of me or getting that I’m a little bit of everything.

I’m talking about being fully gotten, being held and seen and honored for it all, all of the time.

I’m talking about how there is nothing that can replace the safety that comes from having your landing spot. The peace in knowing that your dreams, your anxieties, your body and your wild woman are held without question.

I’m talking about knowing you can be fully you.

Anytime, anywhere, your feelings and your fears and your fierceness and your tears are invited to dine at his table.

I sit on my partner’s lap. A lot. And everywhere. I climb into him…at home, in restaurants, at his desk, in my mother’s living room, on a park bench or sitting on a rock at the beach. I tried to get in his lap in an airplane seat once and that gave me a run for my money.

Not enough money obviously to afford first class, where one can leisurely sit atop one’s sweetheart with ease.

Economy class is for suckers.

I crawl into his warmth and nestle my body into his. But it’s not me that I’m talking about. It’s him. It’s his reception. It’s his arms that automatically open, it’s his body that naturally expands, it’s the spaciousness that is created for me to sink into. It’s the way his hands bring me into him without flinching, without hesitation, without thought. It’s the nothingness of it. And it’s the everything.

It’s that he almost doesn’t notice because he takes me in so effortlessly.

I sit my life in his lap, and there is always space for all of me.

I sit my shame and my guilt and my hormones in his lap, my crazy, goofy, Indian accent jumps on him.

My self-deprecating language and inner critic reluctantly take up residence and he pulls them in and smiles at their foolishness.

My vulnerability rests on his legs. Tears pour from my eyes and roll down my cheeks and drench his clothes.

He celebrates each drop.

He says, “your pain is beautiful.” I contract. He lifts up my head so I can’t hide. He never lets me hide. He says “I see you.” And I know he does.

He asks me to breathe and feel deeper. He champions my emotions.

And my body.

Frozen in terror and paralyzed from the trauma of sexual abuse, he squeezes me tighter still. He grabs my skinny butt when it’s tight and toned and he grabs it when it’s jiggly and fat because I’m drinking wine and eating too much cheese again.

My yeast infections and bloody cycles and hangovers sit in his lap.

He spreads me open. He invites himself in.

I traipse around naked doing fake yoga poses and dance to music that isn’t playing and talk like Scooby Doo or a French seductress. I drink too much coffee and run in circles and drive him crazy.
I write pages of my life stories and get scared to share. He forces me with love to open my heart, to be seen, to open…to open…to open…and to read to him what I’ve written.

I walk up behind him, put my arms around him and kiss the side of his neck while he works. His head tilts to pull me in and squeeze me into his neck while he types. It’s quick, it’s silent. I go back to what I’m doing.

But I have been received.

My wise, confident woman plants her stake in the ground of his lap. I am divinely inspired and fully on my mission to disrupt and interrupt the patterns of human suffering and I will stand for truth.

I embarrass him and everyone around because I speak my truth.

I am Tough.

I am Strong.

I miscarry our baby and I fall apart.

I crumble.

I cannot function.

There is snot and tears and too much blood.

More snot, more tears, more blood.

There is fear and anger and depression and suppression and regression and more tears and more snot and more blood.

I am useless.

I lay in his lap for days, for weeks. For months.

He holds everything and all of me in his lap. All my shit, all my beauty, everything is welcome. All my pain and all my power have equal real estate in his hands and in his heart.

He honors the Feminine in all her Messiness and all her Majesty.

I can breathe, finally and for once.

I bask in the safety of reception, the gift of being met.

Honey, I want to let other women have you hold their wounds in your hands and let the medicine in your heart heal the pain of their path and their power and their periods. Yes, their menstrual cycles.

I want to offer the women of the world the beautiful, magical, absolutely sacred gift of being fully received.

This is my wish for every woman in the world.

May you find a lap to climb into. May you rest your head and sink into the arms of safety, understanding and love.

I find my way to him again.

He engulfs me.

I’m home.

There is no place I’d rather be.

Then one of us gets aggro and he stands up and his lap is gone. And we’re like five year olds fighting in the sandbox.

Yeah baby, ain’t no fairytale ending here.

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