Deeper Conversations and Intimacy


Alternatively titled “Let’s Get Past Skin Deep”

Human connection has always fascinated me—different people somehow meeting in the middle; different shapes of ideas, beliefs, and passions complementing each other.
It’s that space and time where and when seemingly every atom in your body aligns with theirs.
It is struggles and triumphs being understood and appreciated. It is watching this person in front of you lay down their cards and become vulnerably naked. It is seeing their identity slowly makes sense as they tell their stories.
Somehow, I picture it like this: a wavy line and a zigzag line connecting— two apparently distinct frequencies linking and different color of vibrations in sync.

I hunger for stories of human connection and the struggles and joys shared in between. So when I discovered The Skin Deep, a YouTube channel, creative studio, and publisher exploring human emotion and intimacy in the digital age, my perspective generally improved and become more dynamic.

The And {} is one of The Skin Deep’s projects. It is an interactive documentary experience that brings people into the emotional space of real relationships.

“It is a documentary series that profiles a real-life couple in every episode having an honest conversation about love, fidelity, sex, power, and more,” as Glamour.com said.

Two people sit in front of each other, a table in between in which the cards that hold the questions they’d ask each other lay face down. These interactive interviews could be intimate, awkward, comfortable, or emotional. That’s the beauty of it— it’s genuine and raw.
Watching The And {} has always been a very eye opening experience. Videos of conversations between mother and son, father and daughter, exes, married couples, new couples, friends, siblings, and strangers in blind dates will give you great insight about human emotions and the dynamics of life and relationships— even when you just witness them through your screen.

{ Sidra & Ben }
-MARRIED-
11 years

Ben: “Has there ever been a time when you or I forgot how to get back here in this place of connection, and if so, how did we remember?”

Sidra: “Yeah, our relationship totally fell apart and we almost got divorced. Things were really bad and it gave us one of the most incredible lessons of all time: No matter how in love, and I’ll speak personally now, no matter how in love I am with you, no matter how perfect I think you are, no matter how perfect I think our relationship is— those things alone won’t get you through the thick and thin and into the years and years and the decades and into a lifetime together. Every day, we wake up and we choose to be together. You and I as individuals are still constantly choosing to be together in this partnership.”

Ben: “What scares you the most these days?”

Sidra: “It’s funny- I think about it constantly and I think about mortality in a way I never used to conceive of because it’s happening in front of my face. And I see it. It’s like watching a video or looking atva delayed lapse photograph. I look at her sweet young face [her daughter] and I just, I see my death, and I see your death and I see our death and somewhere in there is hers, too. Hopefully, I’ll never see it.”

{ Martha & Benji }
-MOTHER/SON-
23 years
Benji: “When was the time you were proudest of me, and why?”
Martha: “Maybe getting up to read that poem at your dad’s memorial service.”

{Emily & Bobby}
-DATING-
2 months
Emily: “What do you think is a weakness that I have in this relationship?”
Bobby: “If you do move up to the bay or move away or something and we have to, like, we have to break up or however it ends up working, I’m really- I’m really scared that it’s going to suck really bad for you. And, I would never want you to be hurt, you know?”
Emily: “Yeah. I know that. I already knew that. You didn’t have to say it. Because I know how you just thrive off of moving around and traveling and learning and I love that about you. And I think I’m the same way. But I think if I find something good, I’m more likely to hold on to it, and I don’t think you are.”

{ Kelsey & Nick }
-BLIND DATE-
Kelsey: “What would your last partner warn me about you if we were to be in a relationship?”
Nick: “My last partner would probably tell you that I’m horrible at communicating- in terms of, like, how I’m feeling or my emotions.”
Kelsey: “Do you feel chemistry?”
Nick: “I do, I do. I feel like we are comfortable with each other. I feel like we could talk pretty easily with each other.”

{ Rafa & Douglas }
-MARRIED-
4 years
Douglas: “What change in me could I make to improve my relationship with my mom?”
Rafa: “Love her and suspend all the nonsense or the criticisms or the “I wish this” or “I wish that"— so, total acceptance. Regardless of the circumstances, you love. Your acceptance of this human being is not tied to anything they have done or anything they have failed to do.”
Douglas: “Do you regret committing to me?”
Rafa: “Not at all. None of my, you know, other partners or people I dated gave me this sense of home, you know. This is like home. You’re home to me.”

{Ali & Andrew }
-EXES-
7 years
Ali: “Why did you cheat on me so many times?”
Andrew: “(…) I think it’s because I was interested in other options.”
Andrew: “What’s your fondest memory from our time together?”
Ali: “There was a night when I was in the apartment with Rebecca Winston, and we were in kind of a rough patch but you came over and slow danced with me.”
Ali: “Why haven’t you been in a relationship since we broke up?”
Andrew: “I just lose interest and I just break up with people. And it’s always as painful to do that and it really sucks. I just hate picking up the stuff from your apartment. I hate it, like, going through all the stuff that we had created with each other— like the paintings and stuff like that. And I just, it was like whooping out my heart when I was like, taking out your paintings. And I don’t want to do that again. And so, before things get too serious, I usually stop.”
Ali: “Why do you still want to be friends post-breakup?”
Andrew: “Because I really miss you.”

{Rosa & Jhein}
-DAUGHTER/ FATHER-
25 years
Rosa: “Do you ever feel guilty about being so angry in the past?”
Jhein: “I did my best not to be angry, but still... For example, I remember when you were born, I was entangled in business and your mom would berate me for not being around enough. How was I supposed to… the house and everything? I always thought that Mom should understand why I’m so worked up, she’d understand why I did it; she knew my weakness. But you can’t expect that from a partner. (…) And I’m sorry I wasn’t smart enough to understand it in time.”

{ Alejandra & Alexa }
-MOTHER/DAUGHTER-
7 years
Alexa: “Why do you love me?”
Alejandra: “I don’t think there’s any way to explain it. It’s like a chemical reaction; I just love you. I don’t love you because you do certain things. Whatever you want to do, it’s the same. You don’t have to do anything for my love, my love is given.”

These are just snippets of real people’s lives. These people I never met, stories never directly told to me— encouraged me to be more compassionate, understanding and humane. It encouraged me to try harder to see past through people’s surfaces; to see them past skin-deep. To look at them and see them as people just like me, just like my father, my mother or my sibling—people who carry different stories, different heartbreaks, pains, joys and struggles.
Just like what Sidra said, every person is someone’s baby. Any individual you see is someone’s loved one. And just when you look at them like that, in that light, you’ll realize how powerful that perspective can be. It changes your relationship with each person you meet. It can change your life.
Next time you see someone walking on the street, try not to just look at them; Try to see them past through all that they have outside. And if an opportunity arises, grab it, and connect with someone, with anyone. That alone will always teach you something—something about human experience and human connection, and somehow in there, you’ll learn about yourself, too.


2 comments

  1. Love the insight this offers. I love it when writers on Lithium get a bit outside of themselves.

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  2. the excerpts were so interesting, and kathryn NEVER disappoints with her visuals. LOVE this so much!

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