Monday, February 06, 2012

I try so hard. Maybe people don't see it, but I'm constantly working on myself, trying to fix the things that are wrong inside of me, trying to get past the things that torment me from years ago. I'm always thinking, always trying: why did I say this? Am I relating to her for who she is, or as an echo of my sister or mother, etc? I don't want to spend my life caught and entangled in a net of pain, so I'm always sorting things through mentally, consciously trying to unravel those knots. If I didn't, I think I would go crazy, surrounded by so much stuff in my mind that, contrary to what other people say, I cannot simply cram away and not think about again. It's always there, so I have to deal with it.

But I don't think it's going to be good enough. Which is just as well, because I don't do it with a goal in mind other than being a healthy and reasonably sane person, but I do hope that someday, I will know what it's like to feel truly loved, truly safe, for more than a few seconds or minutes. I can't remember being held as a kid, except on my uncle's lap, the one who was like an older brother. I learned not to expect to be loved and to be suspicious when it was offered, to test the people to see if they really meant it. I grew a shell and it kept me safe, but also it kept me apart. I learned that it was only safe to love from a distance.

So many people have worn themselves out beating on that shell, begging, pleading, everything, to try to get me to come all the way out. But I could not. And every time, when they walked away and I pulled myself back into the dark safety, I cried, but I was so glad that I had kept the safety of that shell. Otherwise, it might have been worse. Every time someone I cared for, a lover or friend or mentor, walked away, it only confirmed that the shell was definitely the place to reside in.

And now (I still have no idea how this happened) I am naked and raw and bleeding, and when you look at me, all you see is pain. But if you look again, you will see those raw and bleeding places are where the shell used to be. For the first time in my adult life, I have no shell and this is terrifying and it hurts and I feel so vulnerable, but also it is new and I am learning.

Even if I scream and cry to have my old, safe shell back, I think that probably it was time to learn how to live without it.

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