Have you ever had a dream about being held by someone? Just held, in their arms, for as long as you want – nothing more, nothing less. A dream so vivid, so colorful, so warm that it truly felt real. It’s as though you could smell their skin, hear them breathing, and actually feel their arms around you, holding you tightly, and making you believe that there is no safer place in the entire world.
I’ve had a few dreams like this throughout my adulthood. Each time, I awaken so comforted, yet also saddened that it was only a dream. I’m also typically surprised at who my subconscious chose to represent this hidden, often unacknowledged desire. It’s always a male, whom I’ve known at some point during my journey; and yes, it’s always someone who I shared an attraction with in some way, even if it was simply a mutual appreciation for each other.
Most recently, I had a dream that I was reunited with a gentleman I knew in high school. He was undoubtedly over the moon for me. He wrote me letters on an almost daily basis, sought me out between classes just to say hi, and when he looked at me, he almost literally had stars in his eyes. I don’t say this to boast, but merely to address this harsh truth: I was scared to death of him. I didn’t think I deserved him. He was beautiful, and intelligent, and sweet, and very athletic. I was shy, and chubby, and barely able to be myself around my closest friends. He was available, and I was infatuated with someone who was not. (I know, GIGANTIC surprise).
In this particular dream, we ran into each other as adults, and I saw his face light up with that same smile that he had when we were 15 years old. He opened his arms to me, and I hugged him. Hard. And neither of us let go.
I don’t want this to seem as though it comes from a place of regret, or “I wish things could have been different”… That’s really not the point. Nothing productive can be found on those paths. The significance lies in what the dream represents; not who it’s represented by. In this case, feelings of safety, contentment and happiness with another person.
Some people are afraid of heights, some are afraid of flying, and some are afraid of death. Me? I’m afraid of being vulnerable, I’m afraid of intimacy… I’m absolutely terrified of admitting that I long for someone to hold me in those moments when everything I’m experiencing is just too much to face alone. In a nutshell, I guess you could say that I’m afraid of needing someone, of wanting them – of opening myself up to the possibility that I don’t have to walk through this world by myself.
I pride myself on being fiercely independent, utterly self-sufficient, and completely capable of taking care of myself. While none of this is cause for concern on the surface, somewhere along the way, I started to believe that if I ever allowed anyone else to take care of me, I’d somehow be weak, not strong. I’d become dependent, not independent. I’d be lost, not found.
A conversation I had years ago, with one of my oldest friends, has stayed with me ever since. We were talking about expectations, and how it seems that sex has become something that is expected when you’re dating. This has caused my personal experience to be somewhat limited, as I’ve always been very clear in my standards. I will not share my body with someone I’m not in love with. Plain and simple, no exceptions.
I don’t judge people who are able to separate sex from emotion, and who can just enjoy the physical pleasure of the act itself. In fact, I admire them – Samantha Jones from Sex and the City is one of my personal heroes. I adore her for everything about her that is the exact opposite of who I am. I know myself well enough to know that, for me, intimacy and emotion are tied together very tightly. Therefore, I’m extremely protective of my heart, and my body.
This friend of mine gave me a perspective that I’ve always been grateful for. He kindly told me the following:
“I’m not going to lie to you, sex is awesome. But when you really care about someone, you will get the same amount of pleasure from holding that person in your arms. When you really care about someone, that’s the best thing she can do for you, is to let you hold her. So don’t ever think you deserve anything less. The right guy will be happy just to have you in his arms. Trust me. Anything that happens beyond that should be totally up to you.”
I was 18 years old when this conversation took place, and I still replay it in my head at 32. And each time I have a dream about being held by someone, I remember those words with crystal clarity. I think I remember, and I think I have these dreams, because I still pray that it’s true. Perhaps that’s naive, perhaps not. But I have to believe that there are people who will just be happy to hold me. They won’t be looking to take, take, take what I’m not willing to give. They won’t be playing an angle to try and manipulate the situation to their advantage, and they won’t look at me and see me as a conquest. They will look at me, and just see me.
Even better, they will open their arms, and just let me stay there – for as long as I want, and they will never let go.