I am in recovery. Having been exposed to the world of addiction, I don’t use that word lightly. Addicts are dependent on a substance or action (food, drugs, alcohol, etc) generally to either feel less or feel more. Sometimes it’s to feel both less of one way and more of another. Sometimes the addiction is to simply taking anything and everything as far as it can be taken.  Some Most of us have been hurt by exposing our true selves – broken and brilliant – to others, so we build defenses to feel stronger, and to stop feeling weaker. Exposing yourself to any one person is scary. Being vulnerable to everyone is downright terrifying…at first.

So we build walls. We pretend. We become addicted to those walls that keep us from being hurt, or that help us to feel strong. Or maybe, one person at some point in life hurt us and we determined that we must prevent anyone from ever hurting us again. What if…? I can’t keep living in “what if.” “What if” is killing me. Maybe I should say that it’s keeping me from living. What if I get hurt? Then at least I’ll know that I can feel something. What if I’m mocked? What if I am? The mockery of others doesn’t change who I am, and is a very good indicator of who they are. Derision and scorn need to teach me to guard against those who offer it, not against everyone. But I can’t tear the wall down all at once.

Like a raw nerve, being real with someone else leaves me tender and scared. Can I trust that person? Will he use me? Will she judge me? We have to take that first step of trusting. I’m learning to have soft walls. I haven’t learned to completely let go, and maybe I never will, but I can tentatively trust with small pieces of who I am, and when I find that kindred soul, I can feel the freedom of transparency.

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