They keep me in.
And this is a thing I've been trying to figure out for many years, how it can be, that even when I feel myself connecting to people, they quietly slip away.
Even my very first boyfriend seemed to think I'd built up a wall around me, and I was only fifteen. Was it some romantic notion he'd got from a book or movie, and he was going to be the one to take down the wall?
The funny thing is that he was right. People have noticed it over and over again through the years.
The walls were put there to serve a purpose.
We don't leave our precious jewels, our treasures, or the ones we love out in the middle of a field in the rain. We wall them in. We protect them.
The problem with my walls, I began to see, was that they don't protect me at all. People get in. I see them, care for them, begin to love them. I look for the light and I see it and it amazes me.
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But they're less like walls and more like tinted glass; more like a porous selectively permeable membrane that allows people to seep into my heart while preventing them from seeing what has happened. Prevents me from coming out.
And I see it all the time. When I choose not to do the things that would make me shine.
I spent all of middle and high school liking guys and never saying a word about it. The one time I did, he wasn't interested and that didn't stop my feelings, not at all, not even as I hid behind myself and liked other boys and said nothing, because I'd been rejected by one. I spent a good ten years choosing not to try social dancing unless I could convince the occasional date to go with me. I spent about as much time only looking for dates online, because meeting people in real life and talking to them and letting them know I was interested was somehow too embarrassing. Too ripe with the possibility of rejection.
So each day I try to be out there, a little more. Try to ask for what I need. It's not easy. So many people have so much more practice at it than I do. But like all things, we don't choose not to do it simply because it's hard. We stay with difficulty, whether it's a handstand, a dance step, or opening to the universe.