I haven’t been able to write for awhile. I mean, I haven’t been able to make myself sit down and write what was going on in my head for a long while. The very act of doing that opens you up to what you’re actually feeling and, in this case, broadcasts it to the world. I wasn’t ready for that because I barely understood what was happening….
but I think I’ve got it figured out. Not solved by any means, it’s going to take awhile to deal with and reprogram my thinking, but I know what it is now, and that makes all the difference.
See, I have kind of a shitty history with…people. I have abandonment issues that have caused me to learn how to control my emotions around others, how to shut myself down and be as cold as I need to be in order to protect myself. It’s a survival tactic, but it isn’t a good one. It’s something that has cost me friends and relationships, something that contributed to my abandonment issues because I didn’t yet realize that, in some cases, I was the reason things were ending as badly as they were.
Couple those issues with the devastating divorce of my parents, a complete loss of support system, and a sexual assault, and you’re left with what seems like, at the time, two choices. I could give up, let it all go, and let the world go on without me, or I could protect myself and make sure none of it ever happened again. I chose the latter.
Brick by brick, I built myself into this Rapunzel like tower, safe from anyone and everyone. I lived alone, I worked alone, I did everything alone. I thought there was a kind of stoic honor in that, in being able to survive without needing anyone else. But no matter how high I built the walls around me, I couldn’t keep my own depression out.
I was barely hanging on, ready to throw myself over the edge of the tower, when I decided that first, I would try moving the structure somewhere else. If I had a different environment, a different view, maybe I would get a second chance at life.
So, I made the plans for the move. Part of which meant that I would have to leave my tower for a little while to stay with my brother in his, occasionally smelly, castle. It was a sacrifice that not only was I willing to make, but one I was hesitant to admit that I really wanted.
As the weeks ticked by, I started to look forward to the times of day when I would see and interact with people I cared about. I wanted to be around them, even though I didn’t trust any of them not to leave at the drop of a hat. I was out of my tower, but still carried its bricks with me, buffering me from everyone I can in contact with. Something was still wrong, and I didn’t know what it was, or why I was still feeling this way.
It was one night, while I was sitting at the canal downtown, that all of this hit me. I was watching everyone walk by in pairs and groups, and feeling sorry for myself for being there alone, when I saw my life for what it was. I saw myself locked in a tower of my own making and I saw that it was killing me. It was then that I realized that having people come in and out of my life, whether they made it better or ripped my heart apart, wasn’t the problem. It was the solution.
I realized that I can’t survive by myself, and that I don’t want to try to anymore. Some people won’t like me for who I am, but others will, and I am just as deserving of friends as anyone else in this world. It is those very experiences that allow us to grow and shape who we are. Staying locked up in a tower, untouched by the world, will only keep you trapped, smothering you until you stop evolving, until you cease to exist.
So here’s to smashing those bricks with a hammer and burning all the rubble. Here’s to throwing my heart out there and seeing what comes back. Here’s to trusting my friends and working every day to be a better friend to them as well. Here’s to learning and growing again.
Here’s to living.
Pic credit: http://inkmonster.net/blog/tag/scructure