I’m revisiting my days as a younger woman again here. I’m thinking back to how I often formed walls, perhaps not consciously, to keep people out.
In a post I wrote recently I spoke about a time when my life seemed to be falling apart. I’d dropped out of school, but had stayed living in the college town, amongst all my friends. One day these friends were like family to me, but over time things seemed to change. I felt people treating me differently. I felt as if I’d have to walk a narrow line to keep their friendships. If I paid my rent late, well it be the talk of the town. Better not wear a tight skirt..your long time friend will tell someone else it makes her “uncomfortable” when you wear clothes like that. Go to a party with your friends that are still attending college…meet new people, and feel as though you are being silently judged for dropping out.
At this time, my relationship with my family took a major hit as well. Sometimes I wonder if that should have been the end, the first time they’d rejected me for not following the script they’d set out for my life. My parents had a very old fashioned view of life. They basically believed, even though I was of legal age, that I was not to be treated as a fully functioning adult because I’d been born a girl. Does that sound crazy to you..it does to me. Surprisingly though there a lot of people out there who still believe such nonsense….and they even blog about it! And they believe their brand of Christianity says this is the way to be.
So after that point, for many years in the future, to get along with my family I could only show them slivers of my life….my true self was locked up behind a wall.
It wasn’t just with my family that I started to close off though. During this ordeal one of my friends told some half-truths to my parents. That was just devastating to me. I started closing off more. The friend who’d blabbed to my parents…during this time I’d stayed quiet about how she’d cheated on her boyfriend(someone well-known to me)while he was out of the country and become pregnant with another man’s baby. I wonder why I’d kept her secret all this time when she couldn’t be a loyal friend to me.
When I look back and think about the sorts of men I was always attracted to, they were always people who tended to be more quiet than loud. Men(or boys) with a bit of mystery about them. Never the class clown types. I’m not sure why I always attracted to these types. At this point in my life I do know that I would be just exhausted if I had married someone who couldn’t shut up.
These quiet, mysterious types of course always came with a drawback. I’d always wanted someone who could open a window to my soul, to understand me…well of course because I was quiet and shy as well, I wanted someone else to do the heavy lifting. Taking a risk to expose my true self to someone was scary. Letting someone else see my dark sides…even scarier. But I desperately wanted someone to open that window, and love me, dark sides and all.
Well even though it was perhaps a process, and the journey was far from complete on our wedding day, I think my husband and I do this for each other. Love isn’t just about seeing the sweet sides, it is about acknowledging the bitter and sour elements in our partners as well. Accepting that we’ve each made mistakes. Accepting our quirks, accepting our struggles as well as our victories.