Sunday Morning, Part 7

Lying next to the blonde, the brunette happily pondered the conversation they’d just had. She liked the feel of the sunrays on her legs, and the happy contentment of understanding and benevolence that seemed to envelop the bed like a golden glow. Even so, there was also an undertone of excitement at being in each others’ presence. She felt comforted, content and at peace.

She turned onto her side, toward the blonde girl. She lazily reached out her hand, and snuggled slightly closer. The blonde smiled at her, took her hand and held it. Her other hand stroked the brunette gently, from her outside upper thigh to her hip, and up to her waist, and then down again — back and forth, lovingly yet with a mutual sparkle at the touch.

The brunette smiled, and seemed to personify relaxation. Her eyelids slowly grew more and more heavy, and she frowned slightly, then mumbled a phrase. The blonde couldn’t make it out. “Say again?” she asked. “I wish we’d met long ago,” the brunette mumbled with another frown. Then, her face smoothed into a relaxed smile as if thinking “but I’m here now” and her eyelids closed. A few minutes later, her breathing became more deep and rhythmic, and she was once again asleep.

The blonde pondered the implications of what the brunette had said. She looked at the sensitive being lying next to her. She changed the movement of her hand from gentle stroking to just keeping her hand stationary on the other girl’s hip. She loved the effect of the sunlight on the colors of the brunette’s hair. She thought about how much emotional pain the other girl had been feeling until recently, and how simply content she seemed now. The blonde lay there for a long time, pensive. Then she, too, drifted away and fell asleep.

* * *

The brunette slowly awoke. She allowed herself to remain in the sleepy state where she was barely awake. She lay there, eyes closed, focusing on what she was experiencing. She felt the sunlight … where? On her hip and waist, it felt like. The blonde’s hand was on her hip. She liked how warm it felt. She listened to the sounds from outside their bedroom. The rest of the planet seemed far away, and the bedroom with the two girls seemed like a space capsule, a safe embassy of feminine benevolence. The blonde liked to wear a particular type of perfume, including spraying some on her hair. The brunette had come to like that smell due to associating it with someone who cared for her in a way that she needed. She tried to focus on that smell, to try to identify that scent even while lying an arm’s length away. She could do so, barely. She liked that. She made a point of not opening her eyes yet.

She thought of other beds in which she’d woken up, and people next to whom she’d woken up. She remembered how, long ago, she had concluded that her mind wandering like that was rude to the other person in bed with her, that she was supposed to focus on them, on the here and now, period — not someone from her past. She’d started to feel more and more guilty about her mind wandering. However much she had been, or thought she had been, resented for thinking of person A while in bed with person B, she had always resented herself more yet, and had meted out the worst type of punishment to herself: pain, specifically, emotional pain, with guilt being part of the poisonous cocktail she had made herself drink. Self-imposed emotional isolation had been another part of the mix.

The blonde had helped her change all that, gradually but steadily. They had talked for hours and hours. Eventually the brunette came to understand, then accept, that her mind wandering was just fine, when she was in bed with the blonde. The blonde liked how the mind of the brunette worked. This had initially seemed unfathomable to the brunette, and it had taken her a very long time to accept that this wasn’t just cause to dismiss the blonde since anyone who would truly like the brunette, all the way deep down, had to have a peculiar value system — in the opinion of the brunette.

The problem with the blonde was that she was always willing and able to calmly explain herself. Her gentle reasoning enabled the brunette to evaluate herself differently. In the beginning, that didn’t help her emotionally … but slowly, it started to have an effect. They’d been close in-person friends, sleeping together, for some months now. She thought of how typical guys would imagine the two girls in the nude, together in the same bed, as some 24×7 wild lesbian sex-fest. The reality was so different. It was so low-key as to what happened physically and so deeply intense as to what happened intellectually, and emotionally. This in turn multiplied the sexual intensity of whatever did happen, physically.

Her mind wandered to the men next to whom she’d woken up, over the course of her life. Due to the continued reassurances from the blonde, she no longer felt guilty due to her mind wandering. She allowed it to, initially almost gingerly. As she lay there, she consciously thought about her first serious boyfriend… what that had been like, in bed and out of bed, sexually and emotionally. She thought about that at length. She thought about someone else next, and waking up next to that person, a few years later. She contrasted the two. How freeing it was, to be able to think without guilt. She basked in that freedom, as she lay there next to her blonde friend.

She had the blonde girl to thank for that, as a catalyst. The brunette had done the learning and concluding herself, but the blonde had patiently enabled and inspired her to do so. She thought of the many hours the blonde had spent, focused on the brunette. She had next felt guilty about that, until the blonde had slowly helped her accept that she was worth it. That had been the hardest thing for the brunette … accepting that she could be truly lovable to someone whose judgement she respected. The next hurdle had been to work through and accept that the reasons were valid, as to why the blonde valued the brunette. Self-acceptance was a very new experience, for her. She revisited the reasons the blonde had given her. She had slowly come to enjoy thinking about them, as opposed to automatically dismissing them.

Her mind went back to pondering and contrasting three people next to whom she’d woken up: two men from her early 30s, and this strange blonde girl in her present and future. Until quite recently, she had imagined that spending social time with the blonde girl, in and out of the bedroom, would have been totally incompatible with the other aspects of her life — and yet, during hours of conversation, the blonde girl had enabled her to construct a path through the maze, so that she could — with integrity and honesty — enjoy the benefit of waking up next to the blonde girl, yet also leave intact so much of her personal and professional life, as it was at the time she’d met the blonde. She was still amazed at how easy it had been.

The blonde girl always slept in the nude. She lay on her side, facing the brunette, breathing calmly, deeply and slowly. The brunette loved that sound. She looked at the blonde with a warm glow of benevolence, thinking about how different it was to wake up happy, nowadays. Her mind-set next changed to an aesthetic appraisal of the blonde. The two girls were approximately the same age. Moisturizing regularly had had its benefits. She liked looking at the blonde, as if looking at a nude statue in a museum. Her mind-set next changed to an more sexually-themed feeling. She enjoyed lying there, feeling aroused. She took a deep breath.

The sound of that was just enough to wake up the blonde girl, who had been asleep with a slight smile. The smile deepened as she awoke. She moved some of the fingers of her hand, which were still on the hip of the brunette. She loved the feeling and what it implied. She mumbled, “I love waking up next to you.” The brunette smiled, and was on the verge of saying the same words back to the blonde, but then realized that she nowadays felt this way even on days when the two girls were not together. “I love waking up, now that you’re part of my life,” the brunette replied.

The blonde loved hearing that. Her hand moved to the brunette’s waist, and stroked her gently there. “Did you watch me when I was sleeping?” she asked. The brunette’s smile was the perfect reply.

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Shocked out of Sadness, Part 1

The blonde was driving, and she turned on the song “Under a Cloud.” The brunette who was sitting next to her gave her an odd look. The blonde had expected that, and she paused the music, then explained, “These lyrics are sad. You, also, write about being sad such as on social media and elsewhere. It’s not an isolated sadness but more like an undertone. Would you agree?”

The brunette wasn’t sure she liked this conversation, but she decided to go along so as to see where it would lead. “Yes,” she said.

“You’re either going to continue being this sad, or you’re not.” The blonde paused to let these two possibilities sink in with some emotional impact, not just as two mutually exclusive choices. For a few long seconds, both girls pondered the vision of the brunette’s remaining years being lived in an undertone of sadness. The blonde decided to continue.

“If you’re not going to continue being this sad, it’s fundamentally either going to be due to something you do, or some other cause, or combination of causes. Good logic?”

This seemed logically solid. The brunette nodded.

“Much as I wish you long-lasting and intense happiness, I can’t make that happen for you. It has to be something you do. I can at most be a catalyst. Can we agree on that?” asked the blonde.

The brunette shrugged. The conversation seemed pointless. But … “yes.”

“I have come up with an approach that might just enable you as such. I’m a good candidate for this. Do you know why?”

The brunette shook her head, looking skeptical.

“For many years, I was basically sad. I thought there was something defective in my head, as implied by how differently I thought from those around me. I tried to emulate their way of thinking and I couldn’t. Even trying to do so became exhausting. I took solace in isolation. When others were celebrating or getting nice things, I faded into the background. It was partly about avoiding social situations, but also partly about fundamentally feeling that I’m not worthy of enjoying nice things, so it’s good that at least others are. I put up with ongoing injustice because I thought I deserved it. Do you see some parallels?”

The blonde glanced at the brunette, and saw her nodding.

“Then, I found out I’m not crazy, and that a small percentage of the population is born like me: transgender babies, and the girl babies grow up to be trans girls like me. So, I’m a genetic rarity but it’s not inherently bad. I can consider it good or bad. For the first several decades of my life, I considered it bad. Similarly, you think in unusual ways and it wasn’t because you lived under a high-voltage pylon or got hit on the head by a meteorite. You were born with an unusual brain structure of a particular type, and that is known to happen to a small percentage of the population. Babies born as such grow up to be like you. Compared to typical people, you think things through a lot more, and you are more benevolent and more trusting. You can consider it good or bad. For the first several decades of your life, you’ve considered it bad. Yes?”

The brunette frowned, and nodded. None of this was news to her any more. She’d already read the blonde’s essays on the subject. She considered them well-intentioned but not practically useful. Bottom line, the brunette was still basically sad.

The blonde continued, “As for me, I managed to rethink things, reinvent myself, change my situation — and now I’m living happily ever after. As for you, by now, whatever you’ve done has so painted you into a corner that you feel stuck as to what you can do about it. Also, emotionally, you have perhaps surrounded yourself with negative self-evaluations that perhaps caused some problems for you, leading to more negative evaluations and so on, as a spiral. Yes?”

“Yes, and I’m not sure I want to talk about this any more.”

“I’m almost done. Humor me for 2 more minutes?”

The brunette glanced at the clock on the instrument cluster, and nodded.

“By now, whatever you’ve tried or done to make things better hasn’t worked, and you’ve had many years of trying or the opportunity to try. You’re perhaps on the verge of a breakthrough but perhaps you’re not, in which case quite possibly you’re stuck in sadness mode, and likely to remain so. Which one is it — are you on the verge of a breakthrough, or not?”

“Not.”

“So, we can’t expect anything better unless you do something different than you’ve done so far.”

This piqued the brunette’s interest a little. “Yes. And, you claim you’ve come up with something likely to be effective, following the sequence of events that helped you?”

“Yes,” beamed the blonde. “Now, for context, I’d like you to go watch several movies that will illustrate my point, and then we can pick up the conversation again after that when they’re still fresh in your memory.”

“You don’t have great timing. I was just finally warming up to the subject and now you’re pausing the conversation.”

“The best conversations are those that you wish had gone on longer,” smiled the blonde. “The movies I’m asking you to watch are: ‘The Vow,’ ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight,’ ‘Family Man’ and ‘Overboard.’ I’ll also be drawing on the original ‘Total Recall’ movie but you strike me as gentle and sensitive, and that movie’s blood-and-guts mode might be quite unpleasant for you. If I’m mistaken, watch that too, please.”

“Based on what I know of these movies, I already see a pattern and I’m starting to see what you’re getting at. Interesting.”

The blonde smiled, and said, “to be continued …”

Mothers, Integrity and Wild Times

The blonde and brunette were cheerfully chatting, while enjoying the road trip scenery along Pacific Coast Highway. At some point the conversation turned to their mothers, and the respective mother-daughter dynamics. They compared stories.

Their mothers were from different cultural backgrounds, and so to some extent were the two girls, but in the same way as they had many fundamentals in common, they found some unusual similarities as to their mothers too.

“I used to think when I became eighteen, I’d graduate to being treated more as an equal, as in: I’m an adult now, so new dynamics,” mused the blonde. “And yet even now, when I go visit my mom, I feel like the dynamic from her perspective is almost as if I’m still a teenager in her eyes. It’s disconcerting. I found it reassuring to find out that I’m not the only one. One girl whom I dated was in her forties at the time, and her mom & dad would give her the ‘third degree’ as to her relationship with me. One day she vented to me about that and said ‘I’m forty-one, dammit, not seventeen!’ — and yet the parental dynamic was as if she were still seventeen.”

The brunette smiled.

“I grew up in a very sexually open-minded context,” the blonde continued. “As a teenager, long before I was eighteen, I read Masters and Johnson’s book on sexuality. I read steamy novels. Open conversations about sexuality were part of normal life. Whenever I found Playboy magazines in the living room, I’d devour them cover to cover — and yes, I read the articles too. The world of sexuality promised to be an exciting adventure. My teenage years had some parallels to your situation, yes?”

The brunette nodded, and smiled, “Yes.”

“Some of the openness about sexuality was too much for me so I was sometimes embarrassed about the subject. Same with you, yes?”

“Yes.”

“What I noticed much later on is that a sort of two-tier structure prevailed. Officially, sexual open-mindedness was the household norm, but as for what was expected of me, personally — that was quite different. The expectations for me were very much consistent with the cultural mainstream: a heavy emphasis on respectability, including participation in cultural social events, getting excellent grades, taking things seriously, going to college, graduating, earning a responsible living, marrying someone nice and responsible who also fits culturally. If instead I’d lived a wild lifestyle that officially seemed OK as to the official household standards, I might have heard something like ‘yes, it’s OK for others but we expected more of you, specifically’ … you can relate to some of this too, yes?”

“Some parallels, yes,” replied the brunette.

“You get an A+ for fitting the respectable mold. The type of career you had in your mid and late 20s seemed to personify social rebellion and living a wild life, but as far as I’m aware, you managed both your personal life and your professional life with the utmost responsibility. Fair statement?”

The brunette agreed. “And you?”

“That’s where our journeys diverge. Starting in my mid to late 20s, my life style became steadily more wild albeit in a responsible way, like someone driving really fast but making sure it’s on a smooth, flat, straight, dry road on a warm summer day in a well-maintained car with no pets, children or other traffic around.”

“How did your mother react to your wild life?”

“She expressed disappointment, but she conveyed it in a way that came across as pressuring me to go back to being respectable, by her standards.”

“And you didn’t, right?”

“I very much didn’t. I cheerfully and intensely explored my ideas and ideals, including as to relationships and sexuality, yet while being commendably careful — though on casual observation that would be difficult to discern. At some point, I wanted to stop hypothesizing and fantasizing, and go experience things in person and find out. For some of the things, I felt too inhibited to proceed, so I saw a counselor who wisely suggested that for me to go explore such things might be very freeing. That was a good choice of words. Indeed, it was. I explored some things I thought I might like, and sometimes I learned that those things are not a good fit for me. With such insights, I could go explore something else I thought I might like. This way, I could learn, and refine, and adjust.”

The brunette was quiet, pondering all this.

“Just today, I was visiting my mom. She’s not young … she was born several years before WW2. And yet, the mother-and-teenage-daughter dynamic is still how she deals with me. When I do well, then she’s happy — but when she hears of my non-conservative escapades, she disapproves in a way that makes it pretty darn clear she’d rather I be much, much more conservative, with comments like ‘that’s not how I raised you’ and so on. She means well, so I’m not offended.”

The brunette nodded, still looking pensive. The blonde cheerfully continued, “Anyway, I’d mentioned I’ve reached the point where I’m now a paid freelance writer, and she was happy to hear about that — not that writing is how I earn a living, but even so, revenue implies much. Today, when she asked about the subject matter of the writing, my reply was that it covered my adventures in a particular aspect of my wild life. She strongly disapproved. She stood there looking disapproving, shaking her head. I smiled, and felt none of the shame, pressure and guilt that I would have felt a few decades ago. I thought that if the penalty for all my explorations is to see my mom shaking her head, that’s not too bad a punishment. It’s like driving a really sporty car safely but at 140 miles per hour, and then getting a $1 speeding ticket.”

The brunette smiled, but her mind was going in several directions, processing.

“Even more than when I was a teenager, I believe that life is to be taken seriously. By implication, how I live my life is important to me. I value certain things, and when I live accordingly, that’s me living with integrity relative to those ideas and ideals. That includes being sexually adventurous, and exploring. But, living by my values also includes being responsible as to working hard at earning money as a software developer, and building my classic car business, and being nice to people in my life. Life is too important to me, to live it by the standards of others.”

The brunette looked at the blonde with an odd expression, then slowly said: “I’ve always been responsible, and I always took life seriously. I still very much do, which is a large part of why, I gather, you like me as much as you do.”

The blonde nodded vigorously and smiled warmly, but the brunette continued somberly: “I’d never realized until now that it was possible to live a responsible life, and yet not take life seriously — if the standards by which I live are those of social propriety and respectability instead of my own. Keeping everyone happy while I’m not — that’s a breach of integrity relative to my own values, assuming that happiness is the emotional state that results from me achieving my own values.”

“In other words, if you’re not happy, it’s not because you as an individual are cosmically doomed to unhappiness. It’s because you’re not living in a way that results in you being fundamentally happy.”

“I have good days, but it’s been so long ago that I felt fundamentally happy that I wouldn’t recognize it if it bit me in the ass,” said the brunette, somberly. She continued: “Being fundamentally unhappy, and coping — that is my comfort zone by now. Until this conversation, I could at least comfort myself with the premise that I’m living the life of a good person. But your point is disturbing: that my own values should be the standard of what’s good. I should logically validate these so that my values are reasonable, but bottom line, I should live by MY values, not someone else’s.”

“You don’t sound very happy saying that.”

“I’m not. It’s far too late to change how I live, now.”

“Do you know how long it takes a supertanker to reverse direction?”

“You mean, the ocean-going cargo vessel? Probably a long time.”

“Yes. Why?”

“Momentum?”

“Yes! So, how much do you weigh?”

The brunettes smiled wryly, “Less than a supertanker. I see what you’re getting at. But, I’m too old to change. I’m married. I’m in the public spotlight. My cultural context limits me. My job limits me. I have children. I have parents. I’m often overwhelmed even without rocking the boat. I have social anxiety. I tried pursuing a wild life once, and it didn’t work out, and it hurt so much that I’m wary to ever try again. I lack energy and confidence.”

The blonde sympathized, but an hour of cheerful conversation later, the blonde and brunette had together analyzed these concerns and enabled the brunette to envision a road map to live the life she craved, consistent with her own hopes and dreams, including reconciling this to her current image, job, family and social context. “Wow,” she said, “I feel as if someone had shown me an algebraic formula so complex that it filled a huge blackboard, and we simplified the problem until it’s so simple that the right answer is evident.” The brunette seemed pensive. “I do wonder how my mother will take the news, though I understand your point that as an adult I don’t have to live by others’ prior permission.”

“Didn’t your mom recently work on an art project that had some racy subject matter?”

“She did,” the brunette confirmed.

“So, imagine you chose the lifestyle of one of the girls dramatized in the art project. How would your mom react?” the blonde asked. “What if life imitates art?”

The look on the brunette’s face was an eloquent reply. The blonde smiled, and asked: “So really, the things you’ve told me you’d like to experience … they’re much more conservative and respectable than the girls in the art project, yes?”

The brunette thought for a while, and then agreed.

“So, really, you’d not be all that wild — and you’ve figured out a way to reconcile your new path with all the concerns you raised, so it’s not as if you’re going to rush off and approach this in an unorganized way. You’d do this as methodically as you like to do everything else.”

“I didn’t figure out the way — you did. But yes, apart from that, I agree. Being wild methodically — that would be SO like me.”

“That’s how I am, too,” the blonde chimed in. “That’s the best way: sustainable happiness.”

The brunette nodded, her emotions churning. “I’m feeling so many things right now,” she said, and after being prompted to elaborate, she did — and finally, she felt good about life, and the conversation, and her plan.

“Most people I know have a wild time at some point in their lives. For some, it’s their teenage years. For others, it’s college. For others, it’s their 20s or 30s. For others, it’s a midlife crisis. But as to you … you have had many rich experiences but you haven’t as yet ever had a rich set of experiences that simply went in a direction of your choosing, with nobody else managing you into a particular direction or you feeling the need to compromise and/or manage things. True?”

The brunette seemed to react strongly to this. “True,” she said, emphatically.

“And now, you can.”

“And now, finally, I can. How did you know I craved this?”

“You’ve made it clear in your writing what you value, and that you were not achieving your values, and that you were unhappy, and that it bothered you.”

“Clear? I didn’t think I was being blatant.”

“You weren’t blatant. You were just clear, to someone who reads between the lines. I did — hence this conversation.”

“I’m glad,” said the brunette, and took a deep breath. The blonde smiled at her.

Sweatpants — and the Lighthouse on Kauai

The slender brunette looked lovingly at the blonde in bed next to her, and said: “the question of ‘what should I wear today’ used to be a non-question. The answer was always ‘sweatpants.’”

The blonde smiled back at her, in acknowledgement.

The brunette continued, “They were more than something comfortable to wear: they symbolized my way of thinking about myself. I might not have been happy but I was comfortable in my unhappiness. Your friendship and its likely effects seemed likely to be disruptive and unwelcome, like letting loose a dozen rowdy young kids at an art museum. Some might consider that sort of experience fun, exciting, and charming. I would not. I just wanted to be left alone. It took me a while to notice you, and initially your writing had all the warming effect as sunlight reflected off the cold surface of the moon. I was so dismissive of you that at most I observed your efforts with a bland and detached appreciation.”

The blonde looked at her, prompting her silently to continue. She did: “I felt hope rarely. I had good reason to be wary. The last time I’d been excited about starting a whole new way of life, of getting what I thought I’d wanted, the emotional effects on me were negative instead of positive. So why would I want to try a new paradigm yet again, this time with you? Even if you did everything perfectly, I’d just sabotage that, too — somehow. At my core, I have a hollow emptiness that often overwhelms me, and nobody can help me with that, so why bother — that’s how I felt.”

“You were most reluctant and resistant, both before and after we met,” the blonde agreed.

“I felt so naive at trying one more time. It all seemed so ridiculous, even had it not felt too late. Yet, somehow, things clicked, and it was neither ridiculous nor too late. I’m amazed.”

The blonde’s look was like a comforting touch.

“What shocked me was that even with you in the picture, I still felt overwhelmed and yet somehow that was acceptable for you and I both. Right from the start, you understood me as such so deeply. Instead of me trying to explain my mental state to you, you explained the fundamentals to me instead. You helped me understand why a bad day doesn’t have to be the start of a downward spiral, and that I don’t have to punish myself with these prolonged negative spirals.”

The blonde nodded, her eyes gentle. The brunette smiled, and said, “So much is better, though. I hope you’re clear on how much hopelessness you have inspired me to dissolve. I already felt old and unattractive 25 years ago. So, by now … you had a seemingly impossible task. Yet, somehow you persisted and prevailed. I still don’t feel young or pretty but I almost feel as if I’ve transcended that, which might be just as good — or better. It’s also huge development that I no longer think you’re crazy for liking my body.”

The blonde smiled pointedly, pushed herself up on one arm, and looked down at the brunette’s calves, then her thighs. The brunette laughed and rolled onto her front and said, “I still feel self-conscious when you look at me like that.” She wasn’t covered by a bed sheet and she no longer wore a peignoir to bed, so this change of position made her back and butt visible to the blonde’s appreciative eyes.

The brunette laughed again and playfully reached for the bed sheet, then pulled it over her butt. The blonde threw it aside. The brunette lay there with her face down and quietly said, “I love how you’re assertive toward me in just the right way. I’m not accustomed to that. I’ve craved that so much. You don’t treat me like I’m on a pedestal or as if I’m fragile or as if I’m a cartoon character.”

She gave a slight start as she felt the blonde’s gentle fingers on her upper back, and then she relaxed. Her mass of long, dark hair covered her face. The only feedback the blonde got, a few seconds later, was a quiet “mhm” of pleasure – and then another visual cue, as the brunette arched her back.

“You look SO sexy when you do that,” the blonde mused.

“It’s not intentional – it’s sort of primal,” the brunette protested.

“That’s much of the reason why it’s so sexy to me when I see you do that,” the blonde smiled.

The blonde’s fingers were lightly trailing over the brunette’s sensitive back, butt and the backs of her thighs. The brunette alternated between expressing her delight at experiencing this pleasure — and reminiscing. “I’m thinking back at our burn-the-sweatpants ceremony,” she said, her face still hidden by her hair. “Burning one’s bra used to be the symbol of emancipation, but for me it was burning my sweatpants. And then, because I still like to go on my daily walks, you and I chose something else for me to wear.”

“I remember you protesting the first two dozen suggestions I’d made. We had been to five different clothing stores before we found something you agreed to wear in public,” the blonde recalled.

“I now love that outfit, but I used to feel so exposed and inappropriate, wearing that on my first post-sweatpants day. Of course, it helped that you were there next to me all the time. I’m not used to going for my daily walks with someone like … well, like you … next to me, and certainly not someone who looks like a warrior queen so that nobody dares to mess with me. I feel so safe when I’m with you – safe and cozy at a soul-deep level. I’m trying to find the right word …it’s whatever the opposite is of feeling lonely.” Then, in a more playful tone, she added, “I was surprised you could keep up with the long distances and the pace that I like.”

“I used to go on multi-day hikes in the wilderness when I was a teenager and in my early 20s, carrying a thirty-pound backpack with the food for the entire trip, plus my sleeping bag – and not on level ground but up and down mountains and steep hills. Also, when I was trying to figure myself out, and where I fit in as to the rest of the planet, if at all … thinking about that somehow worked better for me while I was walking.”

The brunette mused, “I wonder if I was drawn to walking so much, for that same reason. Even so, I never came back from a walk with any of the insights I needed to change things enough, for me. That came to me during our many conversations, starting with that first long road trip. I love how you didn’t, and still don’t, hand me the conclusions on a silver platter. Instead, you arrange the pieces of the puzzle in such a way that I can take the last few steps on my own, and piece together the final answer, so that I feel ownership and pride at whatever I learn. You’re a good teacher … mhm, higher a little, please, and to the left … mhm, you have magical fingertips,” she said, the happy smile clearly discernible in her voice.

“I recall how strongly you reacted to my analogy of the lighthouse on Kauai.”

The skin tone of the brunette’s thighs changed to goose bumps. “Wow, that story still gives me the chills.” The blonde placed the palm of her hand on the back of the brunette’s left thigh, and stroked it vigorously as if she were cold, until she heard another moan from the brunette, emphasizing that she was feeling intense pleasure. The blonde kept up the motion for half a minute longer after that, and then gradually slowed down and lightened her touch, until two minutes later she was once again touching the brunette lightly. “Tell it to me again, please, just like you did the first time,” said the brunette.

“The first time, I didn’t have you moaning and happily in the nude in bed next to me, so it’s going to be hard for me to concentrate,” the blonde pointed out.

The brunette wiggled a little, as she lay face down, then felt self-conscious and said, “that’s something I had not expected to do – that motion. I feel like I’m eighteen again, a second time around – and instead of feeling self-conscious about sexuality, I’m nowadays happily immersed in it, as if I’m taking a warm bath. The “new me” is night-and-day different as such, and yet fundamentally I feel like I’m being more true to my core self, and my deepest values, than I’ve ever felt. I used to feel so self-conscious and socially anxious, sort of like I were personifying the story of the ugly duckling. And now, thanks to you, I’m in swan mode.”

“Not thanks to me – you drew your healing conclusions yourself. I was just the catalyst. Anyway: the story …”

“Wait, I want to lie right next to you when you tell it, “ the brunette said, and turned onto her side, facing away. She snuggled closer, then pushed her naked butt against the blonde so that they were essentially spooning. “And yes, that’s something else that used to totally not be my style, moving and lying like this. Being a sex kitten wasn’t something to which I aspired as to my public persona, but somehow that’s how people responded. Privately, I used to feel so very much the opposite. And yet, nowadays, I feel sexual and playful whenever I’m with you – and really even when I’m not — though I try to tone it down in public. It’s a whole new way of life, for me,” the brunette said, and shot the blonde a playful and sexy over-the-shoulder look right then.

“The island chain of Hawaii is the most geographically isolated place on the planet, in the middle of the Pacific … “

“Just like I was. I used to feel as if I were the most lonely, isolated person on the planet,” the brunette interjected.

“Good point,” the blonde smiled. “Anyway, on the northernmost shore of the northernmost inhabited island, there was a massive light-house atop a cliff, with its lens designed to create a rare sort of double-flash when seen from afar.”

“… on Kauai. That name is easy to remember — but it took me a while to remember and pronounce Kilauea, where the light-house is, exactly. I love that you and I went there to visit it – and what I wore for that. I used to dislike focusing on clothes even beyond the sweatpants aspect, just due to the way the music industry executives had focused on dressing us girls up with an emphasis on our looks instead of our music and message.”

“I remember that eloquent commentary you wrote about girls in the music being treated as clothes horses,” the blonde mused. “Anyway, as to the story: about a hundred years ago, long-distance airplane flights were non-viable and extremely dangerous, especially over the ocean. Flying from the mainland to Hawaii had never been done. It was easy to never find the destination, and to fly on with less and less hope, then eventually die alone after running out of fuel somewhere over the vast emptiness of the Pacific, perhaps with nobody else really even knowing what was happening while the crisis was occurring.”

“Wait, stop,” the brunette said. She was suddenly choked up. She tried to speak but her voice cracked. She felt the blonde’s arm enveloping her, pulling her closer in a comforting embrace, and she stopped trying to fight back the tears. She simply lay there and cried, taking comfort in being held by someone who cared and understood. “I’m sorry,” she managed to get out.

The blonde hugged her a bit more closely and said, “I’m not. This is long overdue. Accept how you feel and experience it fully.” She felt the slender body tense more in rebellion, and then soften in resistance, and finally go limp as the brunette simply lay there and cried for a long time. When the brunette finally spoke, she said: “the parallels are just so numerous between that flight and my life. The first time, you didn’t even point them out to me, just hinted — and when I realized it, it hit me hard. I was crying then too, the first time, though I turned away, and I tried to hide that from you.”

The blonde kissed the top of the brunette’s head, in reply. The brunette continued, “I’d started out my young life so well-prepared, with so much hope and with everything I needed to succeed – just like the pilot had prepared for that flight.”

The blonde nodded, and the brunette continued, “if being loved, understood, and cherished romantically was the destination, that was a good analogy for Hawaii too – something warm, lovely, wonderful, exotic, exciting, colorful, vibrant … “ her voice broke again. After regaining her composure, she continued: “What a long and lonely journey it turned out to be. My first serious romance, early on, might be likened to someone seeing the islands off the coast of Southern California, after taking off from LA … sort of a simple, limited-scope, early preview of what Hawaii would be like. At the time, I enjoyed that romance in a limited way, but I didn’t appreciate it as much as I did in retrospect. I was focused on something more yet, bigger and better and nicer. I wasn’t willing to settle for the relationship equivalent of Catalina Island. I wanted Hawaii. And then, for what felt like the longest time, I had neither. I felt so lonely and alone, pushing on yet getting ever less hopeful and ever more sad. Wow, the parallels are SO stark.”

The blonde nodded in agreement, as the brunette continued. “After much loneliness, bordering on desperation, I thought I found what I was looking for, and I was so happy and relieved. Islands are often surrounded by clouds, and here was someone who was like a massive cloudbank that seemed certain to contain what I’d been seeking: my Hawaii. And then, when the essence I sought wasn’t there, just the cloudbank … I was so sad. So on I flew, sad and alone.”

“The parallels are indeed numerous,” the blonde said. “for example, how at some point you decided you would be only too happy to settle for Catalina Island if that were an option again. You even formally turned around for a while to try to go back …”

“Yes, I’d overlooked that parallel, the first time around,” the brunette said. “But … yes.”

“… and then you realized that going back wasn’t viable, so you decided to abandon that possibility, and you kept on flying, alone and sad, even though you had a massive cloud bank to keep you company during your flight. It was better than an empty ocean but it didn’t contain the island chain you’d wanted to find when you set out,” said the blonde.

“… another stark parallel, I like how you phrased that, though it makes me feel guilty too,” the brunette said. “But … yes. The cloudbank was comforting but didn’t have what I’d set out to find at the start of my flight — and what I craved. I needed more. Please tell the part of the story where the lonely little airplane flies right by.”

“The little airplane was close to running out of fuel after its long flight…”

“…. which describes me so well, at the time,” the brunette said. “So does the real specter of running out of fuel, and dying alone in a psychological sense, never having reached what I’d set out to find.”

“What wasn’t clear to the pilot was how close he was to Kauai. In fact, he’d flown right past it.”

“That’s so apt a parallel too,” said the brunette. “You had been there, welcoming me, and waiting, yet I didn’t come to you. I just kept on going, continuing alone, moving along in my by-then-hopeless-seeming quest, ever more lonely — ironically, so near you and yet not noticing you, in the sense that I needed.”

“Meanwhile, on Kauai, the lighthouse remained firmly standing on top of a cliff, steadily sending out its beam of light, intended for you. Not a flare; not fireworks, nothing dramatic — just a steady, welcoming warm light, flashing out to the lonely ocean with steady regularity …”

“Just like the patient, comforting and welcoming things you wrote me at regular intervals. You were my Kauai lighthouse,” the brunette smiled.

“… and then, when hope was almost gone, the pilot saw the flash, realized he’d overflown, turned around, and landed safely on Kauai.”

“… and lived happily ever after,” the brunette said, “having found the most delightful, exotic, welcoming, warm, amazing of destinations.” She turned and looked up at the blonde earnestly. “Thank you for being my patient, welcoming, comforting lighthouse in the middle of a dark, scary, overwhelming, vast and lonely ocean. Thank you for helping me find you before I ran out of fuel. Thank you for … wait, there’s one more parallel. The lighthouse didn’t come to the airplane. By the nature of the lighthouse and the nature of the airplane, that wasn’t viable. The airplane had to come to the lighthouse, just as I needed to come to you. I’m so glad I did, and that it wasn’t too late for me after all.”

“I’m proud of you for setting out on this journey, and I’m so glad you came to me. I also think it’s endearing that you bought me a dozen pretty t-shirts that all say ‘Kilauea Lighthouse.’”

“You are my lighthouse. You saved me.”

“You saved yourself, by seeing me and coming to me. I was just there, welcoming you. You did all the actual work of setting out to find what I offer, and for finding me, and coming to me.”

“That’s interesting. Until you just said that, I felt so passive a participant. And yet – I was indeed not. I did enact the cause that had the effect of me being here in bed with you, happy to be me, and happy to be alive, happy to be a sexual being.”

“I’m proud of you,” the blonde said, and bent down to gently kiss the brunette on the lips. The brunette squirmed until she was lying flat on her back, and reached up with her slender arms, putting them around the blonde’s neck, and pulling her closer while kissing her back passionately.

The Year Ahead, for a Candid and Loyal Subject

The blonde and the brunette were on a multi-day road trip, meandering gradually from San Francisco to LA. Much of every day was spent leisurely, and a few hours were spent driving along scenic roads to that night’s overnighting location, slightly closer to LA than the one of the night before.

The brunette was relaxed and happy. “It’s so nice to be able to relax and be myself and not have to manage the conversation,” she mused.

The blonde smiled in understanding. “Why do you suppose that is? I mean … I think I know why but I’d enjoy hearing you articulate it.”

“That’s not the sort of conversation that two typical girls would have,” the brunette pointed out. “Anyway: I’m relaxed, since being atypical in your company is fine since you’re similarly atypical as to how you think about things.”

The blonde nodded. “That’s very clear, and with good word economy.”

The brunette smiled, her eyes half-closed, the epitome of relaxation.

“It’s hard to believe you used to be socially anxious,” the blonde smiled.

“Not used to be — I still am, sometimes,” the brunette replied.

“But not right now, very much not, I’d guess.”

The brunette agreed.

“Maybe not tomorrow either? I’m curious as to whether I can enable you to be yourself openly and not worry about the social consequences.”

“I’d become very unpopular, very quickly. I get along with typical people because I repackage how I’d naturally say things, and I map it to their paradigm. It’s … work.”

“It’d be interesting to me to imagine a situation like a movie I saw, where someone is hypnotized to be candid, and then never becomes unhypnotized and non-candid. You in that mode would be interesting to observe.”

“Not in a good way. I’m nice, and I mean well but I rub people the wrong way unless I actively manage what I say. It’s like thinking in English and then translating it to Russian for the benefit of the other person in the conversation.”

“I understand,” replied the blonde. “Still, why are you always the one doing the translation? Why aren’t typical people translating to your paradigm instead? Why are you the one doing all the work?”

The brunette frowned. It was a question she hadn’t seriously considered.

“Well, all my life I’ve always assumed I’m the odd one out, so I am the one who needs to adapt and be accommodating.”

“You ARE the odd one out, but if everyone thought like you do then the world would be a much more precise and benevolent place. So, your way of thinking is actually better, objectively.”

The brunette looked skeptical, and it it required twenty minutes of conversation to convince her. She finally conceded the point, and said: “I love the way we argue. It’s as if we’re solving a puzzle together, and we’re continually nice to each other, and on the same side. That is also one more example to underscore your point that yes, our way of thinking is more fundamentally logical than that of typical people.”

“Even so, if I suggested you simply go be candid, you’d not be comfortable with that.”

“Not at all.”

“But, if you lived in a kingdom where this way of thinking reigns supreme and it’s totally acceptable to speak like you think — then, you would be comfortable with it, yes?”

“I’d want to move there. I’d take a while to acclimatize, but I’d love it.”

“So, here’s an idea. I’ve recently convinced you that our way of thinking does reign supreme, on merit. So on merit, it should be totally acceptable for you to speak like you think, yes?”

“Yes, it should — but we’re so in the minority that it’d be like being the only two non-racists at a KKK meeting. We’re outnumbered.”

“Agreed, but let’s not pander to others’ standards. Maybe we can raise them to ours. It’s not like we’d get beat up. This is California, so let’s speak out.”

“I’d be too intimidated.”

“So, let’s play a role-play game. I’m the queen, and this is my domain,” the blonde waved her arm regally over the surrounding countryside. “I decree my subjects will speak their minds candidly henceforth – and for this game, you’re my loyal subject.”

The brunette bit her lip. “I’d actually enjoy that, being your loyal subject. I’d feel uncomfortable initially, being candid, but as your subject I’d feel protected and obligated to live up to your expectations, in a way I’d enjoy. Your expectations are simply for me to express myself without layers of conversational gift-wrapping.”

“Exactly,” the blonde agreed. “Next, you need some sort of symbol to formalize your role.” She pulled into a nearby parking lot. Ten minutes later, they were driving again, and the brunette was wearing some inexpensive yet elegant jewelry of which she felt proud, and which formalized her role as a loyal subject of her queen — the tall blonde girl next to her.

“This feels right to me. It’s where I belong,” smiled the brunette. “Random people are always treating me like I’m royalty, and little do they know that I crave to have someone else who thinks as I do, yet who leads the way and takes charge. I love this.”

The blonde smiled. She suggested some specific role-playing scenarios, and the brunette played along and was shocked at how much she enjoyed being candid. She expressed her surprise, to which the blonde replied, “I’m not surprised. You’ve been ready for this for a long time.”

An hour later, they were in a grocery store in a conservative community. They felt emotionally very close, and were standing right by each other while checking out. To each of them it felt so natural that neither of them noticed. However, a sour-looking woman standing right behind them did. When the two girls happened to look at each other and smile warmly at each other at the same time, the woman standing behind them started muttering that they should get a room — and similar remarks.

Both girls would normally have ignored this, but the brunette felt strangely empowered and inspired, as if she’d had her inhibitions dissolved. She turned and looked at the rude woman calmly, and reached out to take the blonde’s hand. She raised it to her lips and kissed it, saying: “My Queen, I am your loyal subject.” The outraged woman looked even more aghast, and stormed off to another check-out lane.

Five minutes later, the girls were in the car, headed toward their hotel. The brunette was pensive, yet she also felt exhilarated, and said so. The blonde reached out and patted the brunette approvingly. Both girls looked at each other, and smiled.

“I’m enjoying my new life,” the brunette said. “We’re almost back to LA and there I will feel overwhelmingly obligated to pander to the business and personal precedents that I’ve set, but I’d love to have another mini-vacation away together, soon — next week, if that works for you. I love how we have our special time, alone together and socially apart from everyone else, so that we can think and behave however makes sense to us, whether it’s popular or not.”

The blonde warmly smiled in agreement, and said, “next week is fine. I’m already looking forward to that.”

“Life is good,” smiled the brunette.

Martin Luther King Day for Cerebral Shy Girls

The blonde and brunette were on a road trip from the San Francisco Bay area back to LA, where the brunette lived. The blonde was driving. She enjoyed the brunette’s company for reasons that she was more emphatic about than the brunette understood.

As the big Audi quietly purred along the highway, south from San Francisco towards Monterey, the blonde said: “I’ve thought of a key point to emphasize how nicely you deserve to be evaluated, as a cerebral shy girl.”

“Why?” asked the clear, complex voice of the brunette, as she smiled at the blonde.

“So that you’re nicer to yourself, and give yourself more credit based on how hard a journey you’ve had as such. As far as I can tell, you’ve been one of your harshest critics, possibly the harshest.”

“What would you accomplish?”

“Justice.”

“How do you mean?”

“Imagine a girl spending forty years of adult life with a basically high opinion of herself, such as being lovable, vs. the opposite — feeling that she’s less lovable and desirable than typical people. There’s a big difference as to psychological consequences for her, yes?”

The brunette nodded pensively, her expressive brown eyes showing that she was no longer simply relaxing and enjoying the vistas of the green hills along the road.

“Next, imagine someone who’s objectively lovable and deserving of deep happiness yet she has for forty years been evaluating herself as undeserving of these. That’s not fair to her, true?”

“Not fair,” the brunette agreed.

“Yet, isn’t that what you did?” the blonde asked.

The brunette hesitated before replying. Then, she downplayed the situation. “You might be overthinking this. It’s probably not as huge of an issue as you’re making it.”

“You’re still not as sympathetic to yourself as I am, specific to your life journey. My point is that you had a very difficult road.”

“Doesn’t everyone? Many would say my life has been fun and easy, downright convenient even.”

“Superficially, yes, but it’s not just about what we experience. Rather, it’s how we process what we experience. As to how you experienced things, you were sad — very sad — for a very long time. Sadness, loneliness and even hopelessness — yes?”

The brunette looked down at the beige carpeting, suddenly too moved to speak. She just nodded.

“Yet, none of those you deserved. You’re a good person,” the blonde pointed out.

The brunette shrugged, her shoulders drawn inward.

The blonde looked at her gently. “Today is Martin Luther King Day. His point, as I understand it, was that people should get judged by the content of their character. True?”

The brunette nodded, her big, brown eyes still downcast. Her long tresses gently swayed, hiding her face.

“You’re a rare phenomenon, as am I. We’re cerebral shy girls. Does that make either of us be of bad character?”

“Well, no, but … I’m so different from typical people. Brain-wise, I feel freakishly different. I don’t think like typical people do. That’s a problem. It’s always been a problem, for me.”

“I agree, but I’m just focusing on your character now. It seems to me you’ve been exceptionally strict with yourself, as to having good character. Fair statement?”

“Well, yes.”

“Well yes, or yes? The former implies it’s not a clear cut issue. So, are you of bad character due to your unusual way of thinking?”

“Of bad character, no.”

“That’s my focus. So, you think in an unusual way, yet character-wise this doesn’t make you a bad person, true?”

The brunette bit her lip. “True, but it doesn’t make me all that great a person, either.”

“I’m not claiming it does. I’m just saying that your unusual way of thinking doesn’t make you a bad person.”

The brunette shrugged, then nodded.

“You’re so used to fundamentally evaluating yourself in a not-so-nice way that it’s difficult for you to say something that is simply and categorically nice about yourself as a person,” the blonde pointed out, persistently yet gently.

The brunette nodded slowly, in agreement.

“So … regardless of your unusual way of thinking, as to your character, it’s fundamentally good, yes?” The blonde pressed the issue.

The brunette finally conceded the point. “Yes,” she said, smiling in surrender.

“So, you’re a good person, yes?”

“Yes.”

“So, you deserve no less happiness than anyone else, yes?”

“Yes …”

“I sense hesitation.”

“I am hesitating. I even don’t know why. Probably, I have for so long felt troubled that I feel as if I can’t just agree with your point, even though indeed, it is logical.”

“That’s why I chose to have this conversation — so that you get to feel a lot better about yourself.”

“And that’s why this road trip — to have this conversation?”

“And others,” the blonde smiled.

“I don’t know if I should be excited or anxious, in anticipation,” the brunette replied.

“In the long run, conversations like these make things better — a lot better.”

The brunette smiled, and relaxed, and snuggled down into the heated, soft beige leather seat, and resumed enjoying the view of the green hills along the way.

 

Birthday Wish for a Cerebral Shy Girl

Next week, it will be your birthday, and you will be inundated by well-wishers. Benevolence does register at some level but it can range from having hardly any effect to resonating deeply. Much of it, I suspect, might well be experienced as more noise than substance.

I am writing early in the hope of this message not being lost in the noise, and also so that you have additional information with which to ponder your birthday as it approaches – in a way that makes the next week, and ideally the next several decades, happier for you. That’s my plan, anyway.

To me, celebrating someone’s birthday is a celebration of her existence. It’s being glad that she was born and became who she is – and that she’s still around.

As to your birthday, I’m celebrating both aspects.

As to you being born: from what I can infer, you were born with unusual brain wiring that would later enable you to be benevolent, trusting, precise and unusual to the point where being sociable with typical people required bridging a gap. I gather that, at an impressionable age, you seemed to consider that to be a negative reflection on yourself. I empathize but I also gently disagree with the assessment. If more people – or everyone — thought like you basically do, it’d be a much nicer planet. Things would get done much more benevolently, and in a much more exact and methodical way.

Regardless, being so cerebral, you eventually figured out how to deal with typical people magnificently well, with a brilliantly optimized and charming public persona. It’s sincere yet a translation from your behind-the-scenes self into a paradigm to which typical people can relate. How you manage that interaction dynamic is wildly successful — the public is intensely enamored with you, decade after decade. Such an intense and positive focus by so many strangers, very few girls receive.

As to like-minded people ( i.e., another cerebral shy girl): speaking for myself, who you really are (as best I can infer from what you say, do and write) makes the actual behind-the-scenes person much more interesting that your public persona, charming as it nevertheless is..

I’m inferring that early on, you viewed the standards of typical people to be the norm by which to measure yourself. By that standard, you didn’t fit, in the same way as a gold coin doesn’t fit with a bag full of pennies — but you didn’t realize that you were the better type of person. From what I can infer, you might still be using that standard to some extent, to the point where you sometimes feel overwhelmed. Adhering to this standard might well have worn you down, as to morale and confidence, over time.

I sympathize. I have enough cerebral shy girl friends to be reminded regularly, from what they tell me, how lonely and freakish a cerebral shy girl can feel when she feels like the odd one out on the planet, and is evaluated by a standard that doesn’t make sense to her yet it seems to be how typical people interact, so she ends up subscribing to that standard, too.

I haven’t personally felt that sort of loneliness for many years, because I make a point of enriching my life with the best type of friends I can find: other cerebral shy girls. Not every day is harmonious, and same days are very much not — but even so, I can’t imagine anything nicer.

Whether it’s the love of a deep friendship or more yet, there’s much value in being fundamentally understood and appreciated for who one is –such that dealing with us doesn’t require a gap-bridging amount of tolerance, patience and effort. There’s no “you’re weird but I love you even so.” There is only “I love you.”

Perhaps “unconditional love” is a good name for such love. It’s a love of the other person based on valuing her basic nature, her cerebral-shy-girl mindset — but also, her own unique personality and character built thereon; how she has expressed herself in her life path, her creations, her struggles — her. own special flavor of being a cerebral shy girl. You, for one, have been commendably creative and open, though your most eloquent statements require reading between the lines.

That’s not to say that continuous harmony is a realistic dynamic between two cerebral shy girls. In my experience, it’s not. I’m still figuring out the reasons, but perhaps one of them is that a lonely cerebral shy girl might have developed intense coping mechanisms that make it hard for anyone, even another cerebral shy girl, to interact with her candidly, when her public persona is turned off.

As to the coping mechanisms: they probably required many years to build up, so at best, it will probably take a long time to reduce them. Indeed, there were reasons these mechanisms came into being. Whatever their drawbacks, they kept the girl alive.

Coping mechanisms also can and do subvert what would otherwise have been a happy relationship dynamic — and often the cerebral shy girl knows that. The relevant coping mechanism is useful in that it pushes people away — so that the cerebral shy girl can be in the company of the one person whom she trusts, who doesn’t annoy her and who doesn’t misunderstand her: herself.

Preferring to be alone is a strong drive for girls like us, and yet feeling alone also isn’t a good long-term situation. Psychologically, girls like us can feel alone even when surrounded by friends and family — unless these individuals fundamentally value cerebral shy girl thinking. By “value” I mean: understand, appreciate, celebrate — not merely tolerate.

In practical terms, even when a lonely cerebral shy girl is discovered by another such girl, the more-than-friendship dynamics are often limited by the lonely girl’s conviction that, as to her own true self, she’s romantically and sexually so undesirable that the possibility of a dynamic with her is ludicrous, and any serious conversation on the subject becomes a negative reflection on the judgement and standards of the person who seriously considers the girl attractive as such.The cerebral shy girl might nod and smile at compliments and adulation but they don’t emotionally register.

In my experience, melting the ice around the heart of a cerebral shy girl involves primarily convincing her that’s she’s worthy of the type of love that focuses on her, understands her and says “I value you” with two different categories: her fundamental nature and in spite of her coping mechanisms.

If the above describes you, this essay is a gentle reminder that from the right perspective, you’re basically lovable even if you might feel otherwise.

My hope for you for the next year is that you come to realize how you, the actual behind-the-scenes cerebral shy girl, are worthy of deep and fundamental happiness – at a level of intense joy that typical people can barely understand, much less attain.

If you’re reading this essay, you have access to my other articles and essays too, and you know that many of them focus on this theme – that cerebral shy girls are the pinnacle of mankind even though, when troubled, we feel like the opposite. We are good people. We deserve to be commensurately happy. That very much includes you. And yet, happiness in a deep friendship or a more-than-friendship dynamic … it can feel very elusive.

I’d love for you to be clear on how positive you fundamentally are — you, the real, shy, private, currently-often-overwhelmed person. My hope is that, however you choose to shape your future, and whomever you choose to involve, that you thrive.

… and that is my birthday wish for you.