Signs you didn't see....
Sometimes when you least expect it someone hands you a mirror and you start to find the reasons for the things you didn't think there were reasons for.
This has been on my mind for days and I've had a hard time finding the words, but I'll try to locate them and put them in some semblance of order.
Knee jerk reactions have taken me by surprise lately- I've twice in the same night recently found myself not knowing where something came from. First it was a pretty torrential cry that popped up in an otherwise unremarkable evening. I've been a great "bottler" for a long time now, so when the pressure builds enough to pop the top, it's a pretty spectacular mess. Or that's how it feels. Still, I was with someone I trust absolutely, and more importantly than that, someone who wouldn't judge me for not knowing where the sadness was coming from exactly, and things started to calm down as I realized I wasn't alone and didn't have to be.
Having said that though, it's another reflex besides the one I have to let things build up that bothers me. Somewhere in that great big spill of sudden emotion, someone reached out and said something I not only needed to hear, but wanted to. Exactly the right thing at the right time, but not because it was the right thing to say....because it was felt and meant. And I slammed the door in their face. I did it with force, I did it with speed, and just as quickly as I'd done it, I regretted it.
Like I said, this had/has gnawed at me for a while now. In discussing it later with a friend, that mirror got handed to me. And the things behind that shutout became clearer whether I liked it or not. Slam the door out of fear- the fear that you're just "being a victim" and that that's how you'll live your life, playing the strings of tiny violins and bemoaning the things that happened in your past.
But the truth is...I spend so much time avoiding that label, trying to pretend circumstances don't matter, I don't realize what effect they have. The way growing up knowing something is glaringly missing feels...or the way that all the criticism and negativity will make you the kind of person who feels like they always have to prove themselves. The way it feels to hear all the right words and out of naivete believe you won't get left in the dust, even though you do.every.time. The way it feels to walk out the front door on a windy day with your heart completely in someone else's hands. It creates fear of rejection and defensiveness and makes your heart a locked room. Entry forbidden.
The truth is, you don't let that define you. While ignoring it is healthy, holding on to it can't be either. But when someone brings so much love into a room and you slam the door shut before you realize why? Well...I guess it's time to re-evaluate how you're doing things.
I don't want to be that person. I didn't know exactly that I was that person. I regret what I said that night- I wish I could go back and let it all in completely. One thing that makes me feel better though, is I felt understood even in that moment. I trusted that even if I didn't say the right thing, it would be ok. I had faith that there would be another chance. I trust that the words that were spoken came from something very real, and harder to slam the door on than I think. And I'm grateful for that.
It's time to change the signs.