Posted by: Marie | August 3, 2012

(682) My secret ways

Post #682
[Private journal entry written on Saturday, September 3, 2011 at 6:00pm]

I had a lesson today with James, the cop. It was his second piano lesson and the first one without his daughter along. Because it is the weekend, we were the only ones in the building.

I was a bit nervous about this lesson . . .

Even though I know for sure that he would never do anything dishonorable, I still felt the tiniest bit of fear that I was wrong about James . . . that he would show his “real colors” . . . that he would turn out to not really be the honorable man I had convinced myself he is.

On the Hike by Martin Chen

It wouldn’t be the first time that has happened with a man . . . it wouldn’t be the first time I gave away my trust just to have it betrayed . . .

And, I worried that I would do something that would cause James to turn and run . . . I know I wouldn’t do anything inappropriate on purpose . . . but, again, I worry that I am not skilled at behaving appropriately in a situation such as this. I worry that my desire to connect emotionally might override my desire to behave appropriately.

I knew I would be okay during the lesson itself . . . I am always very careful about using the lesson time only for teaching – I want to respect people’s time and money. I was more concerned about the time before and after the lesson when our conversation would likely turn more personal. I was concerned that I would give out too much information or say something else that would cause James to be uncomfortable.

But, my worry was for naught. When he arrived, we got right into the lesson and stayed focused on the music. After the lesson, we had some polite conversation. Then, he left. We kept the whole interaction light-hearted and professional. So, that’s that.

Now, I’m left pondering his habit of touching people during conversation. He touched me a number of times on my arm today. But, it didn’t bother me today. I felt even safer with him today than I did at his first lesson . . . his touching felt very safe to me today. It felt healing for me.

I don’t allow very many people to touch me. It’s a big deal for me to allow someone to touch me. I know he has no idea what a big deal it is for me. I’m sure that, if he knew, he would be more purposeful in choosing when and how to touch me.

I wish he knew more of my story . . . I wish he had a clue what kind of issues I’m dealing with here. Because of his career, I know he would understand that my history affects how I now experience physical contact. I would like to tell him at least some of my story. And, I think him knowing some of my story would help build the emotional connection with him that I desire.

I don’t want him to stop touching me. It is healing for me. Telling him part of my story might make him too uncomfortable to be alone with me. At a minimum, it would cause him to stop touching me, I’m sure. So, I have to choose . . . do I want the touching or do I want the emotional connection?

Maybe I could ask him to just not touch me from behind . . . just to make sure I can see the touch coming so I’m not startled by it. Would asking for that cause him to withdraw all touch? Is it worth that risk? Maybe the touch from behind isn’t that big of a deal . . . maybe I can learn to expect it – to just know it will be coming – then I won’t be startled and it won’t be a problem.

Is it possible that I could connect with him on an emotional level without sharing any of my story? Maybe I’m making a big deal of the touching thing just so I have an excuse to tell him my story. Why do I have a need to use my story as a way to connect?

Is my story all I am about now? Is that who I am? Am I using my story to connect with men like I used to use my sexuality to connect with them? Do I not have any other way to connect with men?

Part of me wants to make healthy choices around all of this – which would likely include talking to Edward about it. It would be healthy for me to do what is best for me and to do what is respectful of both James and me.

But another part of me wants to slip back into old habits and mindsets . . . to manipulate and keep secrets . . . and to fantasize about illicit and inappropriate interaction as a way to fill the hole in my soul.

If I speak openly and honestly with Edward . . . and maybe with James . . . I’ll lose the opportunity to slip back into those old habits. All my secret ways will no longer be secret. Everything will be out in the open.

If I talk to Edward about it, I’ll feel obligated to do the healthiest thing rather than the impulsive thing . . . and part of me still wants to do the impulsive thing . . . grrrr . . .

I don’t know what to do with all of this.


  1. Hi Marie, if you talk openly with Edward you still have the option of being secretive with others. It may be that on occasion secrecy will be important and useful to you. My view (not mainstream) is that respecting privacy contributes to intimacy.

    Is it possible to organise the furniture so touch from behind is minimised.

    I don’t think you need to explain, you can just say, “It freaks me out when I get touched from behind. Sorry about that but it really does – so if you wouldn’t do it for now I’d be grateful”.

    Our stories are part of who we are I think. They aren’t all of who we are. And I think you already do have some emotional connection with James. Sharing your story could deepen this. Another option is to go wider – talk about other stuff you are interested in or other pieces of music or whatever.

    I did wonder if James has had contact with a European culture where they touch more than Anglo-Saxons. (We are a pretty inhibited bunch.)

    • Hey, Evan –

      You have some wonderful input here!

      I think these boundaries . . . emotional, sharing information, touch . . . are probably something we all have to figure out in our own time and our own way. I’m finding that I really have never paid attention to what I want and need . . . that is a whole new way of thinking.

      James has not had contact with a European culture . . . he is very, very American, very small town-ish . . . I think he is just a touchy person by nature, LOL!

      Thanks for your input!

      – Marie

  2. I wonder what you ended up doing Marie. My immediate reaction is by all means discuss with Edward, but do not discuss your issues with your student. Not at this early juncture for sure. Like Evan said, you are a lot more than your story of abuse, and I hope you give people a chance to appreciate that. Your story of abuse is very personal. There is a big difference between privacy and secrecy IMO. I personally keep any stories about my own past private at work, even if I like someone and feel a connection.

    • Hey, Ellen –

      You make some great points here about the line between personal and professional worlds . . .

      Something that made this less black/white for me is that I really wanted to develop some emotional relationships with carefully selected “safe” men . . . as a first step in learning how to be emotionally connected with men in a healthy way.

      It is challenging to find men who fit in this category and who are willing and able to participate in such a relationship. It seemed to me that James would be such a guy . . . and therefore, I wanted to push the boundaries a bit.

      But, it was a tightrope walk, as you will see . . .

      Thanks for your input!

      – Marie

  3. I really struggled with this when I was learning to establish boundaries with people … I felt as if I had to share something of my story, or they wouldn’t understand. Now I feel quite the opposite — that if someone doesn’t simply respect my request without an explanation, to hell with them. Reasonable and kind people respect boundaries. However, it was also my fortunate experience that reasonable and kind people want to hear other people’s stories.

    • Hey, David –

      I’m glad you can relate to this struggle . . . it is a really tough struggle . . . very confusing!

      I think what added to the confusion is that part of me ached to share my story . . . but I wasn’t sure why I ached to do that . . . I didn’t know if it was due to an underlying wound or an underlying healthy need . . .

      I really struggled to figure out what was the healthiest and most satisfying course of action . . . I’m still figuring that out!

      Thanks for your input!

      – Marie

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your blog. It is very personal and I’m honored that you trust me so much. You are very brave to do this so that you can grow. I don’t think I could be that brave. I have already learned from you just reading this one entry

    I touch people all the time, without permission. I am a very kinesthetic person. It doesn’t occur to me that they won’t like it, I unconsciously assume everyone likes being touched as much as I do. I even touch stranger’s clothes cuz I want to see what the material feels like. I wonder how often I make people feel uncomfortable, I don’t mean to and I would like them to tell me if I am. I realize that telling me could be very hard. I’m more aware because of your blog and will hold myself back some. Can’t see myself totally in control of it, but I can be more considerate and aware in the future.

    If you were seeing your client outside of class, I think you could tell him your story or if the client is in a similar situation, you could share some it to help them realize you understand them, but I don’t think it is appropriate otherwise. If you want to change your teacher/student relationship with him into a more personal (I don’t mean sexual) relationship, you should go out for coffee or something.

    • Hey, Deanna –

      I appreciate you taking the time to check out my blog! It has been (and continues to be) a significant tool for me in my healing journal. And, I’m glad I’m finding friends in my 3D world with whom I can trust with the details of my journey!

      I’m sure it can be a challenge to someone for whom touch is a natural part of communication to always be aware of the impact a touch might have on someone for whom touch signals impending danger. Thank you for being willing to heighten your awareness around that!

      I like your suggestion to keep the conversation professional within the professional setting . . . and go elsewhere to take it in a more personal direction . . . that’s a good way to stay out of sticky situations!

      Anyway . . . talk to you soon!

      – Marie

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