I had worked diligently to shelter myself from many things in life. I log ago developed a structure to emotionally protect myself, to disengage, to process in solitude. While I had often written of a fortress the reality is much more like existing within a fallout shelter. This started early in my life working to protect my emotional balance, seeking refuge within my thoughts. I learned to be very self-reliant. This can be both isolating and exhausting as well as a means of survival. I truly understand the role my past has in my present yet it makes it no easier to overcome. I understand the common civility of a response of “doing well” or “yes, I am alright”; I am the epitome of chin up and bully on. Vulnerability is one of my challenges, seen as a weakness in the armor, I have learned to not show the slightest chink.
This was a challenging week with moderate to excessive work stress, I faced the challenge of single parenting from each of my children, started a new course in my PhD program and worked on a few small home projects. During the middle of the week, add a sleepless night, a bit of hormonal imbalance to the mix and the little diminishing voice that whispers of all my faults and I was feeling pretty low. I decided to be open and honest and was gifted with nothing less than wonderful friendship, a supportive nonjudgmental ear to listen.
Today I again found myself facing a struggle and I was being asked if I am alright; my reaction was my typical. Why was my initial response “yes”? Will I ever not struggle with being vulnerable? Why do I find myself again seeking the security and safety of that shelter? I suppose it is akin to a cat whose tail has been repeatedly stepped upon, he learns to keep it tucked away from the danger, even where none exists. How long does it take that mutt to learn to not fear others?
“It is there within the momentary darkness you can breathe.” ~Brown Bird