To keep this post from being entirely maudlin, give me your best guess (after reading the post, of course) as to why you think I chose this picture to go with it...
I know I've blogged about this before, but it's amazing how the same stuff just keeps coming back to you sometimes.
There have been some recent examples of how hard it is to be open in blogworld about everything when the real world intersects with it...in whatever way that happens. It opens us up to pain and possible censure, sometimes worse. But opening oneself up to another also allows for the possibility of intimacy, friendship and joy.
I have at times been so very open here on my blog that I am not quite sure how it is that I have not disintegrated into a pile of ash. But I am also painfully aware of how it is that I hold back parts of myself and my life from even this little space.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I sometimes feel like I speak in code. But it goes deeper than that - I'm pretty sure that there are not words for some of the things in my heart and in my head.
It's a frightening thing to open up. My therapy sessions are painful for me...and I'm sure my therapist. He suggested last week that it might be good for me to slow down. A good suggestion, I'm sure, but when I left I found myself wondering what that meant. How do I let down just a little bit of my boundaries at a time when they have been so incredibly rigid and high for so long?
Part of why I've held myself so close for so long, though, is that I am distrustful of attention. Most of the attention I have received in the past has been negative (or that is my perception...which may indeed prove false somewhere down the road). But the reality remains that I have believed that if people saw and knew the real me that I would be not just rejected, but ridiculed.
And this is where this blog seems to be helping me. Here in this space, I have felt such incredible positive regard both from people who know me and from those who I've only "met" online. The attention is good and has helped me think of myself in more positive ways.
And so we meet the double bind...I have found a space to be more open and have gotten positive kudos for it. Then along comes the old fear...the fear which makes me want to retreat. It doesn't always win anymore, but it still holds great power.
Twelve years ago, I wrote this poem (before I even liked poetry) and it so clearly illustrates how powerful the fear was...how far I've come away from it:
In agony, she shrinks back to the walls of her soul
Letting the void absorb the confusion and noise -
The rustling of dead leaves on a windy day.
The fire dims to embers, barely warm - glowing.
Everything is cold - she shivers and draws closer to the corners.
Daggers are shrieked at her - hitting her walled defenses - denting and crumbling as they come.
I won't be letting down all my walls here anytime soon, that would be too messy for any of us to bear, I think. But it does mean a lot, and as I said, the positive regard has helped me grow.
A little note of interest, I have recently gone back to look at old postings and recognize how much this blog has morphed over the 9 months of it's wee existence. I've been thinking about how I feel about that...I'm pleased with it overall. Even though I am more aware of writing to an audience, I think that I am more honest and more sure of who I am than I was then.