No, really, I’m fine

“I’m really sorry”

“It’s n-”

“And DON’T say it’s not your fault.”

There was a time in which I kept to myself completely. I built up a brick wall all around myself, and though I’ve been working on breaking that wall down with select people, there are still remnants around everywhere. I tend to not notice them, or at least not worry about them, at most times, until I’m talking with a friend and they call me out on it or I do it without thinking and then wonder why I just did that or said that.

One that most people know about is the fact that my immediate reaction when someone says, “I’m sorry” I respond by saying, “It’s not your fault.” This exchange began when I would tell someone something about my life that was in some way hard to handle. When they would say they were sorry, I would immediately regret the fact that I shared something with them that may make them think my life isn’t perfect or that there are times where I’m not totally okay. I would shrug my shoulders, tell them it wasn’t their fault, and attempt a conversation change after waiting the appropriate amount of silence for a response, but quickly enough so that no questions were asked. Now, even when I’ve just told someone about a deep problem that obviously took a lot of trust for me to share, I still have the tendency to tell them it’s not their fault, shrug may or may not be included. After all, it’s another way for me to ensure that I’m not burdening anyone with my problems, because now they know that they can be free of any possible heartache that this knowledge may have caused them.

Another knee-jerk response I have is in answer to the question, “Are you okay?” An immediate “yes” or “I’m just tired” will almost always be heard, even to the person I trust most in the world, unless I take time to process the question and remind myself that it’s safe to say “no.” It should be noted that this is an honest answer sometimes. I can seem upset when I’m tired, and that’s where the response began. It was believable because it can be true. However, it is not always the case, and I find that this is one that I have the tendency to add a fake smile or immediately perk up and say something funny. And, once again, I can do this even with those I trust, because it’s just immediate. Luckily, most of them can tell the difference even between upset and tired, and therefore none of them let my act go unnoticed.

I could go on with a lot of things I’ve noticed about myself. One of my friends told me a few months ago that I bs everyone. When I told him that wasn’t true, that I don’t bs EVERYONE, he assured me that it was and I had to sit down and really think about it. It’s true, but not for a lack of trying. Walls take a lot to be broken down when the tools you have are small, and I’m working on it, but it’s still easier to hide. After all, vulnerability is hard. And with that, I think I’ll end with a Lewis quote:

“To love at all is to become vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safely in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless space, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

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