The Girl in the Tower.

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.

tangled

Pic credit: http://inkmonster.net/blog/tag/scructure

Community. 

When someone finds out I’m moving, they often ask me “why” or “what’s in Texas?” And I haven’t been able to give much of an answer outside of “it’s not Indiana” or “I’ve always wanted to live somewhere else.”

The closer the move gets too, I find myself checking and double checking my reasons for wanting to go so badly. It isn’t like being in a new state, in a new city, is going to solve my depression. It isn’t like it’ll be easy or that I know that many people there, or all of my Trump anxieties will disappear. So why do it? What am I hoping to find there that I haven’t been able to get here? 

The answer is community. A support system of some sort. Friends. Human connections that have evaded me in so many ways in the life I live in Indiana. 

The times in my life when I have been the happiest and the most fulfilled, besides when writing of course, were times when I belonged to a group or had a small network of friends. When I was part of a dance company. When I was a youth at IYG after I came out. When I accidentally stumbled upon two great people who eventually became close friends. When I’m surrounded by friends and family at my second family’s house. When I was unofficially adopted into a big loud family that loved me as much as I loved them. 

People come and go, I know that as well as anyone, and because I know it so well, I have a hard time trusting people. For instance, I have friends in TX, but already I’m afraid of burdening them, of wanting to hang out too much or saying the wrong thing or just not being good enough in general. I’m already anticipating the day when our friendship ends. I’m already anticipating the day I form a new group of friends I haven’t met yet that then will at some point also dissolve and leave me right back where I started. By myself. 

I’ve done everything in power over the past 3 years to make sure I can survive with only myself to count on. Now I know I can. But I also know that being that alone, that lonely, changes something in a person. We are solitary creatures by nature. We, I, need to feel like I have support and a sense of belonging to thrive. 

So that’s what I’m looking for. Maybe I’ll find it, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ve been alone too long already and broke the part of me that used to relate to people and therefore will have to live like this forever. I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t know if that’s something I can do. But there’s no reason to worry about that yet. 

I have to go down there first.

I have to at least try.