I don’t remember what it feels like to be kissed. It’s been a long time. Too long. I can picture it in my mind and I can even recall the rush somewhat, but the actual tactile sensation of lips and cheeks and tongue, of force and softness; that I can’t quite recall. I long for that magnetic attraction between my body and another. The unconscious grasp of hands. The subtle reassurance from a glance or light touch. The familiarity of two who have appreciated every nuance of the other. That is the pinnacle of security and vulnerability. Security, because I was loved, in spite of, and because of each little perfection and imperfection. Vulnerability, because the possibility of that person slipping away is ever present. But in that vulnerability, maybe I could find true connection again. To know and be known, imperfectly but with love. I long to be awakened in one kiss.
I wrote this a while back in connection with a journal prompt that I really liked: “I remember/I don’t remember.” Being a newly single person in the world after more than a decade of togetherness, I find myself in longing pretty often. It took me several months to figure out what it was and more to understand and describe it. I’ve realized that writing is a really powerful tool for me to process emotion. I try to get into my body and understand how the emotion feels. Where do I feel it? What color is it? What does it taste like? Is it hot/cold, fast/slow, light/dark?
So let me write a little bit about longing. This is an old friend now. Sometimes it shows up unprompted and other times, I completely bring it on myself by listening to a song or leaning into a thought or fantasy. The Lumineers sing, “It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all. The opposite of love is indifference.” Longing believes it IS better to feel pain. My heart instantly recognizes the pain and clings to it fiercely. But longing is hollow. It sinks down into my chest, creating a void in my very core. It’s a hunger, an actual physical sensation seemingly fueled by the same neurons queuing my brain that it’s time to eat—except that it’s for you. Or if not for you, then someone.
Longing is indulgent. It is the sensation of emptiness and passion in the same space. It is a suffocating fire, consuming and energizing at once. Longing pulls at the center of my being. Hope to the point of pain. The soul reaching, grasping for the heart’s desire.
That’s when the thought storm begins. My brain, in a desperate attempt to resolve this hunger, applies intense creative energy to solving for the longing. “Maybe I should say…. What if I text…? I could go….” It churns like a machine, producing various scenarios that might fill this void. I often can settle on one of these strategies. “That should work!” Then I realize what I’m doing. Sometimes it’s too late; I’ve already enacted the strategy. But longing is not solved by strategy. Strategy always leave me feeling icky, even when it’s motivated by my sweetest, most benign self. No–strategies never work.
The only balm for longing is connection. That powerful flood that can fill all the spaces in my mind and heart. Connection is longing’s polar opposite, equally fierce. Connection inspires. It is current and movement, energy and electricity. Connection also pulls at the center but the center is full. Connection is white light. It radiates in to every aspect of my being and out into the world. Connection is secure. It is open and safe. My brain is quiet. Connection is love. Connection is being seen.