“ ‘I’ve never seen anyone with such a thick wall up.’ That’s what he said to me…so I guess I have the thickest wall ever!” As I looked into my friend’s sweet, distraught face I couldn’t help but think “There’s a reason for that wall and that’s ok, give it time.”
We’ve all been there. We’ve all put up a wall or two. Walls are meant for protection, to keep us safe from intruders. It’s ok to use these protective mechanisms, that’s what our brains invented them for. I’m not saying keep the wall up forever. What I am saying is protect yourself, learn and grow from what has hurt you in the past. Move on at a pace that feels right and comfortable. Never force something before it feels right. Everything happens in it’s own time whether you like it or not. In this instantaneous day and age we forget we are born as humans, not technology. Even though we may learn and adapt to our surroundings, we still need to process, understand and balance our emotions and thoughts.
Days later when we broached the subject again on her thick protective wall, I mentioned to her what can happen when we have walls up around us. “I think people that put walls up feel more than those that don’t. When I surrounded myself in the past with a thick shell, it didn’t stop me from getting hurt, even though isn't that the very idea? In fact, I usually ended up getting hurt more so, feeling the pain even deeper than maybe I ever would have if the wall had not been there to begin with. Not being open can turn people away. This made and still makes me feel rejected and not wanted. So the wall I used to protect myself, in the end I just ended up feeling more ache.”
This friend of mine is young and she’s been put through the ringer in the past. I see a bit of myself in her. I’ve been where she is. I have experience similar situations as she has. In my mind, I see the light at the end of the tunnel for her. For me, I found the more I tried to protect myself, the more pain I would feel. I have learned through trial and error what works and what doesn’t for me. She will learn a similar lesson that will cater to her own situation and life path. For me, now, I put myself out there more. I’m not afraid to say ‘I love you’ when I mean it, to whom ever. I know more about myself, my wants, my beliefs and I’m comfortable being in my own skin. I can tell relatively fast if I will be compatible with someone, which helps me to gage the rate and velocity of my emotions. This change in behavior aids my everyday life but also, I allow the rejection. I allow myself to feel the pain for an instant and then move on. I won’t let any negativity linger, a moment is too precious to waste. Searching for shelter behind a wall is a thing of my past. I look for wide-open spaces to skip freely and frolic with the other woodland creatures. I can only hope that others come to the same conclusion. Live in the love, not in the fear.
Find this piece on Nantucket Chronicle: The Wall Between Us