Another golden morning in early summer and I am sitting at a battered yellowwood table listening to rock doves cooing insistently from nearby oaks and thinking about fear.
There is nothing scarier than intimacy. A friend writes to me with unaccustomed tenderness and I get breathless with feelings I can scarcely name because it is so long since I have let myself feel them. I sit and my heart quite literally clenches with a small pain and then slowly lets go. When I go through to the bathroom, my face in the mirror is white, even my lips.
This is what happens when you forget to fucking live for two decades. It is like learning to breathe or crawl before walking all over again. The fear comes first, the terror of having to feel anything at all, the strangeness of it. Then the body shocked into sensation and longing and half-forgotten desires and going hot, cold, pleasure, pain, soft, warm, wet, alive.
Other women have made this journey back to the self and reclaimed the body, rediscovered the capacity to feel and give of themselves.To let myself be loved and not let the fear gain the upper hand. If somebody cares about another person, it does not spell annihilation. Coming back from the gaping cave mouth, the torrent, the frozen cataract. Into the sunlight of the Spirit, into human contact, into the heart aching like a muscle that needs more exercise, more blood, more tenderness.