Walls. They’re designed to separate, to shield, to protect. Every human being has their own set of walls they build for themselves. Some are flimsy like cardboard, others are middle-of-the-road like adobe mud and clay, and others are fortresses of steel and stone. I think I extend beyond fortress. Have you ever heard of safe rooms? It’s a room that can be built in a house that is invulnerable to attack or intrusion, and from which security operations can be directed. That more accurately describes what I have built for myself over the last 10 years. It wasn’t done by choice, but then again, I think most safe rooms are created out of necessity because of past, immediate or impending danger.
There was a time, where someone could knock and I would let them in. I had no fear that when they entered my life, they entered without any other motive than to know me, befriend me, and maybe love me, depending on who it was. I haven’t left my safe room in ten years. I have my reasons. I choose not to elaborate. But for the sake of this post, just believe it’s valid. If it’s severe enough to make a safe room, then it’s legit.
A major turning point in my life, about ten months ago, left the door swinging wide open. I had a choice. Close it again and remain trapped in this room alone, or step out. I stepped out. Letting go of things and people in my life that no longer served me, the things that kept me safe, kept me comfortable, kept me unwilling to make a move, made room for possibilities. Possibilities I hadn’t thought about in ages.
I was ready to feel something again.
Feel my heart beat, my mind race, my hands shake – not out of fear but out of excitement.
I want to be alive.
Safety comes with its downfalls. One of them being what I call “the nothing”. When you’re trapped in the nothing, you don’t feel, or at least you don’t feel much. You just succumb to whatever it is you agreed to settle for in your current existence. There is no challenge, there is no pain, everything just is. You plateau. You don’t have to feel the lows but then you never get to reach the highs either. Everything has its consequences. We all have choices. I chose to stay safe.
This time, I chose to believe. I was ready to run from the nothing. I wanted to feel. So, I abandoned the safe room. It turned out to be everything I thought – fucking scary as hell. Right now, I teeter totter on the decision to make a wild break back to the safe room. This is sensory overload. It’s all in addition to the regular shit storm programming of my normal life channels – the baggage that stays with me within the safe room or out.
I haven’t felt some of these things in I don’t know how long. I’m scared shitless. Letting people into your life when you have no idea what they’re capable of doing to you is frightening. I’m not just talking about the bad. Even the amazing things horrify you. Because you want them to last. And you think, will they ever truly last? If I let go, will someone or something be there that I can hold on to? Or will I just keep falling.. falling back to the nothing, burning with the fire of a thousand suns along the way, regretting every second of the free fall?
You think this is the part where I tell you one of two things..
that something showed me why I should have left the safe room a long time ago
something showed me why I never should have left the safe room in the first place.
In part, they’re both right. But neither of them are the first thing that comes to my mind. The first thing that comes to mind is FUCK, I spent the last ten years of my life practically alone, letting no one in, trusting no one, and leaving myself to all my own thoughts and ideals. I abandoned all other perspectives. The shell I lived inside was created from all the shitty cards people dealt my way and I used it as my defense to justify all I see, all I believe, all I do, all I say, everything I react to.
Well shit, I was wrong.
I put up this facade that I’m not penetrable.
Oh, I am.
Boy, am I.
When I left my safe room, I abandoned all defenses.
I walked out with arms wide open to accept whatever came my way.
That’s usually how it goes with me.
I’m all in or all out.
But scared or not, I wanted it.
All of it.
I was ready to let people in.
I was going to be my true self – throw this true self out there on a line and see what bit.
I wanted life more than anything.
I still want life more than anything.
Because what I had before was not a life at all.
All I did was merely exist – terrorized by the fact that all I knew my entire life before were false promises, bold-faced lies, excuses, words that fell short of the actions that were supposed to accompany them, one-sided love, the abuse of kindness, secret motives, and the list goes on. This includes immediate family, close friends, and lovers.
What you need to know about me is that I feel things like a hurricane. There’s no other way to explain it. I am passionate. My love, when I have it, for animals, people, places, and things – it has no bounds. In my own Stephanie way, I will care for you as deep as the deepest ocean depths, as hot as the center of this Earth, and as endless as the universe and all the universes beyond that.
I bet some of you are like that too.
But once you open those floodgates, it’s hard to close them. And what I have learned, is that this passion mixed with my blunt force honesty, and my hesitation to trust once it seems like you’ve broken that bond, can come off as something totally different. Crude, insensitive, crazy.
Not everyone is going to see life like I do or feel like I do. Or maybe you do, but it’s given out in different doses. And maybe the people I let in have been hurt too. Maybe they have their own safe rooms they’ve been living in. And we’re all just trying to figure out ways in which to leave our safe rooms and trust again – or trust more fully.
The point of all of this, I guess, is that I have a lot to learn out here. I don’t want to go back. I’ve made the decision to leave my safe room and I’m sticking to it. I’ve left behind all that served as a comfort zone. And I don’t plan on looking back. I have so many things to learn now that I’m free. I wanted to believe all those things were to be learned about other people not from myself. I thought I had it all figured out about me. But I don’t. Being locked up meant stinting the growth within myself as well. That’s hard to admit. But here I am. I’m admitting it.
I know who I am.
I know what I want.
And in knowing who I am, I know there are glitches in my programming.
Some can be fixed, others just need to be accepted.
I know there are many things to learn about others,
to still learn about me.
But I promise that I will be mindful – of you and of me.
I will take in just as much about myself as I do you.
I never want to stop growing and I want to love this life, my life, now more than ever.
I want someone to love the best version of me.
And to know, that this version comes with flaws..
some I cannot change.
And to know, that I know, that I am aware of these flaws.
And I know you have flaws too.
And I will love them just as much as I love you.
This – all of this – I can promise to all who encounter the hurricane of me.
What matters most, is making the most of what I have left in this life that could end at any moment. And I will try everyday to be a better, kinder, more compassionate me. To listen more than I speak, to quiet my rage, to trust enough to believe in the things that fuel my existence – what I believe to be the never ending pursuit of my happiness.
I have left the safe room.
My heart and my head have been tampered with.
And it’s okay.
Because my soul is finally free.
And I can tell you the freedom is worth the feelings..
all of them.