Hey there bloggers! It’s almost the weekeeeend. I hope every single one of you are thriving and getting some serious writing, blogging, and/or vlogging done. I apologize for this entry being a day late; work was pretty busy last night, and I had a much-needed heart to heart with a couple of friends afterwards.
*Big announcement alert!*
Tomorrow I’m debuting my first-ever vlog series. I’m already on the verge of spilling the beans, so I’ll hold back for now and instead invite all of you to stop by “You New Adult Nostalgic” on Saturday between 5:00 and 6:00 PM (CST), which is when I’ll be posting my first two videos. My hope is that this new series will strike quite a few emotional chords with single men and women in their twenties, sometimes through laughter, other times through a raw sense of resonance and empathy.
Without further ado, here’s another “Sounds of Summer” entry.
Please be naked.
Three simple words. Without any vocals, the title of this song by The 1975 becomes all the more poignant. From the moment I first heard “Please be Naked” on a night drive a couple of weeks ago, I knew that I was ready to take my next step in growing more mature.
Falling in love. Focusing too much on the positives of an attractive person. Talking about sex. Lusting after your crush. Crashing out of love. I’ve done all of these things over the past few years, and remembering some of those bumpy moments still hurts me. And the self-deprecating thoughts…oh man.
Why were you so head-over-heels for that one guy?
Do you think he’d ever want to be with you, as skinny and unassuming as you are?
It’s easier to sleep around than go for something meaningful.
I told you those bumps hurt like hell.
Then, one cool evening in November of 2012, I went with my mom and dad to the dollar theater in McAllen. We saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and for the first time in years, I felt found, like I’d been an amnesic for some time and suddenly had my memories of my own identity restored.
Because a single line that Paul Rudd utters in the movie made me remember the importance of self-love.
What have I been thinking is the so-called love that I deserve? Someone passionate? Sure. Honest and sincere? Definitely. Likely to hurt me — and be hurt by me — during the course of our relationship, even if unintentionally? Cue screeching of brakes
No. For so many years, from high school, to college, to grad school, reasoning with the fact that my beloved partner could challenge me through pain and suffering was a reality of life that I just could not fathom. Yes, I grasped the fact that life would be hard on us, from bills, to grave illnesses, to lulls in our sex life. But in my bubble of compassion and love and genuine affect, I allowed myself no room to accept one truth: that I could fall in love with someone and stay in love, even after feeling slighted, let down, or otherwise pushed away by them. The opposite is true, too: I fled from the notion that I will inevitably hurt them in some forgivable, but still deeply emotional and raw, way.
And I was stuck in that hyper-aware mindset for a long time — until recently.
Recently, I experienced yet another rise and fall of a love interest. Compassion has been there between us for a few years now, but of the friend kind. I didn’t want to take that kindly. Then I stopped. I took some deep breaths. I realized that life was giving me a chance to rewrite myself, to undo old and unhelpful ways of facing heartache. So I began to write and really listen to the music I was hearing.
There is beauty in vulnerability. That’s why I think so many of us feel that coy giddiness when we’re hurrying to meet our loved one, the possibility of them being undressed and waiting for us making our heart trill as the cool night wind nips at our heels.
Sometimes there is more to being naked with someone than just sex. I think about the friends who are brave enough to skinny dip together in a cool clear lake, or the way children know such innocence that running and cartwheeling together without any clothes on never becomes something to be ashamed of.
As I write, drive, and take quiet walks by myself, I sometimes listen to “Please Be Naked.” The wistful chimes of a xylophone, the warbled electronic distortions and soft guitar riffs — they all help me feel comforted and whole. When I hear those super delicate piano notes, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come in learning to love myself so much that I feel free…so much that the old ways of expression my passion, like holding hands, getting intimate, and reveling in my own body’s sex appeal, simply become less important.
My name is Richard-Michael. I’m 27, and I’m so glad I finally reached this point of being able to express a fuller and more enduring kind of love. I’m naked in my new awareness, and that’s perfectly okay.