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Last night I had a really interesting conversation with a new potential friend.  She wanted to know – if I am committed to living fearlessly, why aren’t I intimate with everyone I know?  Don’t we refuse intimacy because of fear around what people will do with our deepest secrets?  Isn’t not trusting someone the same as living in fear?  Her question made me stop and think.  What I came up with is that in some relationships, intimacy is not necessary.  The clerk down the street doesn’t need to know that I am a left-leaning, Femme, feminist dyke.  It won’t affect the way money exchanges hands.  On the other hand, I would never dream of changing the way I relate to my lover in that store just because of who the clerk is. 

We also talked about intimacy in relationship to friends vs. lovers.  I find that I build intimacy with friends and lovers at about the same rate, but in vastly different areas.  My lovers might learn first about what my sexual desire is, or have more stories of my childhood.  My friends may learn about my passion around my hobbies, or my philosophical beliefs.  It’s like cutting a diamond.  You can chip away at one side or another, but in the end, you’ll see the prism of light through a completely transparent person.  That’s living fearlessly.

In my relationships, the levels of intimacy grow deeper with time.  Mostly they grow deeper by choice.  Sometimes they grow deeper because of necessity.  When I reach a crossroads with a friend, when I start to feel like we’re dancing around topics or conversations become uncomfortable, then it becomes necessary to look at my fear and walk through it.  What do I lose when I share who I am with my friends?  Nothing.   So what do I fear, the potential judgement of my friend, or the potential loss of that person in my life?   What is holding me back from being honest?  When I realize that I don’t really want to feel pain and it’s pain avoidance, then I can walk through and know the joy of my own truth regardless of the outcome.  That too, is living fearlessly.

I don’t have to be intimate with everyone I meet to live fearlessly.  There are some people I don’t choose to be intimate with, not because I’m afraid of what they will do, but because I am simply not interested in them.  No judgement, I just don’t have  the inclination.  And that’s my truth.

Did I mention that I love a good stimulating conversation?

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