Friday, June 15, 2012

The Walls Come Tumbling Down

I read the most touching blog post at Single Dad Laughing this morning called That Moment When...

This line really hit home for me:
That moment when you realize that the walls you put up to protect yourself were the very walls that destroyed you. Again.
Walls, limits, boundaries... whatever you call the things you do to guard your heart.  To keep you from feeling vulnerable because being vulnerable makes you feel weak and fearful.  And it can be a scary thing to give someone enough of your heart to realize that they have the power to break it.  Scary to feel naked and exposed and risking the rejection of not being enough.

But what about the times when the other person loves us despite our flaws and faults and deep dark secrets?  Isn't that the kind of intimacy that makes living worthwhile?

Keeping people out with our self-erected walls that we so carefully lay brick by brick only serves to keep us away from what we need and want most in human interaction.  It seems awfully silly to put all that effort into something we very much don't want.  And not silly at the same time because our intent in building walls and containing our self is to avoid the pain, whether physical or emotional, that has devastated our psyche in the past.

Expansion by Paige Bradley
 “From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a container already built for us to fit inside: a social security number, a gender, a race, a profession, I ponder if we are more defined by the container we are in than what we are inside. Would we recognize ourselves if we could expand beyond our bodies?"  asks sculptor Paige Bradley when speaking about her work Expansion.

I really like the imagery of this sculpture.  It says to me that when we make the conscious decision to start tearing down those walls, to let down our guard and be open to new people, ideas and adventures, that's when the light inside begins to shine.  That's how we expand beyond our body and finally find our authentic self.  And yes, I think it is a decision to take down the walls.  It's a very calculated risk.  Even if we aren't completely conscious of it while it's happening, something inside is weighing the pros and cons and always asking if it's worth it.

Yes, it is scary to step out onto that ledge where the possibility of being hurt exists.  It takes my breath away to look out and consider all the possibilities that I set aside in the past.  But it's also exhilarating.  And so freeing. I've calculated the risk, drawn a deep breath for courage and I'm taking the jump.

One by one I'm pulling the bricks away.  It's a slow, sometimes tentative, process this tearing down. I think it has to be.  All at once would be too much - too frightening, too risky.  Sometimes I'm surprised by how thick the wall is when one layer is gone and only reveals another behind it.

Looking back, I'm not sure how or when I got to be so damaged.  Maybe that doesn't really matter.  Because I am determined that what held me down in the past will not bind my future.  These walls will come tumbling down!

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