Beyond the walls


We all put up a means of protection

We all put up walls. We have to. It’s part of what gets us through the day, what helps us succeed at work, what lets us thrive in society. Without walls, that protection that keeps our most inner selves from emerging, we’re vulnerable; we’re exposed; we’re weak. So we build walls.

It’s natural.

I built walls. I spent years building walls. Hell, I built walls in my marriage, which is a huge reason why it failed. I built a veritable Fort Knox around myself, my feelings, my heart, and my mind. I kept it all to me. I kept it all hidden. I was afraid. I was embarrassed. The real me was behind those walls. The real Miranda I’d never really let anyone see was there. And I didn’t dare let her out.

Then I did. I let her out to someone I probably shouldn’t have. I let her out in a way that wasn’t exactly intelligent. I let down my walls for a man I wasn’t sworn to. I opened myself up to someone I shouldn’t have. I have no regrets in doing so (besides the hurt I caused), but it did make me build up thicker protections after everything.

If I’d built a barrier before the affair, afterwards my walls were 20ft thicker, 100m taller, and covered in fire-breathing dragons. No one was getting in. And I was happy with that.

I never let anyone past the surface. Never let them really see me, understand me, feel the real me. I was content with surface interactions. Physical satisfaction and inconsequential interactions. A flirt, a snide comment, a kiss on the cheek and poof; we’ll never see one another again. It worked. I was protected. I stayed safe. I stayed within my walls.

Then suddenly it all changed.

I let someone in. They found a crack, an opening I didn’t realize was there. Somehow, I let my guard down. The dragons must have been sleeping (bastards), but he got in. He got inside. To me. To the real me. And I let him stay there.

It’s fucking scary.

Here I’d spent all these years completely alone in this isolated place with me (the real me), watching these interactions from afar, knowing I couldn’t get hurt, knowing I was safe from the BS of relationships and partners and all the emotional crap that came with it. Knowing I could observe from a distance, never having to participate (but of course offering advice to those who are, because that’s what friends do!). And over the past year I’ve isolated my heart, mind and soul even more.

For protection.

Or was that fear?

No one likes to be hurt. Why would we? We know the result, the outcome. Why would we subject ourselves to that process, those emotions? Which is precisely the reason my walls came up. Why the hell would I want to be hurt again? Why put myself through that nonsense?

I find it amazing and refreshing how easily Owen throws around “I love you.” And also, how I know he means it every single time. Often, we’ll be driving somewhere, and in the middle of a conversation about something random he’ll throw out a; “Mummy, I just love you.” And it melts my heart. It’s so pure. So whole. He has no walls. He has no boundaries. And as happy as it makes me, it also makes me sad to think that as he gets older, he’ll become so much more guarded with each hurt, with each bad experience.

I’ve not told anyone (besides my child of course) that I love them (truly love them) in well over a year.

How important is it really to say the words, though? When someone is let past our walls, do we need to shout it out loud? Are actions enough? I don’t know… on the one hand I crave those three little words, yet they simultaneously scare the shit out of me.

I remember when I was about 12 years old, I attended a summer school program to help improve my French. There was also an English-language program happening at the same time. I met a boy. He liked me. I liked him. His name was Angel (I shit you not). He was from Mexico, so was there for the English not the French. We started “dating,” which basically meant hanging out and holding hands and sharing a scared, timid kiss every now and then. About 2 weeks into our “relationship,” Angel said, “I love you.” I panicked. I said, “Thanks,” and removed myself from the situation.

It’s not that I didn’t care for him. I cared for him a great deal. But to hear those words, something in me just panicked, recoiled, and wanted to get away. To protect.

Feeling it is one thing; voicing it entirely another.

So, it got me thinking: If we let someone beyond our walls, do we really need to say those three words? Is it necessary? Doesn’t it eventually lose its meaning and its significance?

I distinctly remember a time in my past marriage where I’d often (very often) throw out “I love you” and simply get a, “me too” or “uh huh” in response … it no longer had meaning. It no longer mattered. It was dried out.

So, how am I supposed to use it again? I tell my son I love him every day, multiple times. And I mean it every single time. I love him with every ounce of my being. Telling him I love him makes me feel whole, makes me feel complete and it makes him smile and I cherish those moments.

But what about someone else? What about someone who’s penetrated my walls? Someone I’ve let in. It terrifies me. Three simple words terrify me. For their meaning, for their significance, for what they mean to the other person (or not). Rarely do we make connections in life, but when we do we want to express them. But is it necessary to say those words?

I’m learning every day, every moment. This is all new territory to me. This is all the unknown. I don’t know how to proceed. I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. I know what my heart and head are saying though, and they are usually at odds with one another … so which one do I listen to?

We put up walls for a reason; so what happens when someone gets beyond them?

~ by drivingmsmiranda on October 15, 2015.

5 Responses to “Beyond the walls”

  1. Hello,

    First, I want to say thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. It usually makes me think about things in my life.

    I am not as elegant a writer as you are, but I can tell you what I believe. I agree 110% with the loss of the meaning of those 3 little words. I believe they actually lose the effect that they are intended to create at a certain point in a relationship. Therefore, I don’s believe they should be said everyday to your significant other. Perhaps, at the beginning of a relationship, when you get to the point that you feel you need to say it, because you truly believe it, sure. Say it, get it out there. but tell your partner, that you will not hear me say it everyday, or at the end of a phone conversation, or just because. It should be kept for special moments. For those 3 little words not to lose their meaning. But I don’t believe it should become a common phrase such as good morning.

    Anyways, that’s what I believe, but what do I know. I’m kind of in the earlier part of your state of mind in my life. So, who really knows. Anyways,

    Thanks again.

  2. He’ll leave you.

  3. He’ll leave you..

  4. […] Break through shield on your own and wow. Do it with another person and my god is it every fucking glorious. […]

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