“At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don’t keep other people out. They fence you in. Life is messy. That’s how we’re made. So, you can waste your life drawing lines…or you can live your life crossing them.” ~Grey’s Anatomy
A while back, after my relationship ended with the Superhero, I had vowed to pull up the drawbridge of my heart and restock the moat around it with piranhas. I was hurting again and my heart was ready to retreat into the protective shell, behind the walls of the fortress I built after my divorce, and stay there. Between him and Mr. Wonderful, really both very great guys just not meant for me, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to handle risking it again. I didn’t just draw boundaries to keep people out, I built walls and they were thick. I shut and locked the gate of my heart, my secret garden, determined to keep the world out. But as the quote says, I may have been trying to keep others out, but I was only isolating myself.
My heart’s garden is a wonderful place, full of good and beautiful things. I know this not because only I think so. I’ve been told by those that have been granted access to the inside of me, to see who and what I am, the parts of me that I generally keep hidden from the world. Because the outside wall of my garden is rough, cold and hard, and sometimes not real attractive when my defenses are up, the majority of people that come across my path don’t usually get to see the real me. Being very shy I tend to throw up an extra layer or two and can often come across as a bitch, or brazen, or as the ex so nicely put it, a nut case. I’ve spent my life the misfit of sorts so I had to learn early on to keep a tough shield around me. When pushed I push back, take a strike verbally, I will fire back harder. Hurt my feelings and while it may just be a perceived wrong, I’m going for your jugular with a vengeance. Unfortunately that is the side many see, before they see the softer side of me.
I’ve been reading a book, at the indirect recommendation of my friend, Chuck (you remember him from the Dating Diaries?), called Love and Respect. He had mentioned that any woman that wanted to be a part of his life long term had to first read that book, among some other criteria. I was intrigued and looked it up and don’t you know, it is available on Kindle. Naturally I purchased it! I am SO glad that I did too, because it is an EXCELLENT read. In fact, I can see crystal clear why 22 years of marriage went to hell in hand basket thanks to this book. No, I am not all to blame, the former prince holds half the guilt on his side too. So many of the conversations between spouses in this book were ones he and I had over the years, the fights right down to the very words (I knew we weren’t unique and I wasn’t in need of anger control meds!). I was so shocked by what I found. Seems men miss our cries for love, and we women miss the whole need of respect that they have. We misinterpret things they do and say as lack of love (but they think they are hitting the mark) and they in turn miss our efforts to communicate in frustration as a lack of respect toward them. The book refers to the “crazy cycle” and oh did I see me and the ex in that one. We could shift it into turbo in a heart beat.
Seriously the more I read the more I wonder if the author happens to have my former residence bugged and was creeping on us with mini cams or if the arguments and fights we had are pretty much the norm across the board. Of course..NORMAL! No one had my house cased. I totally understand now what went so wrong in my marriage, and how two people that loved each other could rip things to shreds seemingly beyond repair. Well okay in this case it is beyond repair, I could never go back, too much water under the bridge and now that I have uncovered so much of the me I had buried I want nothing to do with even thinking about fixing that mess. However he would be wise to get the book and read it himself so he doesn’t make the same mistakes (and he will because ALL men do it) again and ruin the next long term relationship. We can all say we won’t, and blame the other person, but the fact is we all do these things the book talks about and I for one don’t want to live that out again. I want to show honest, true respect for my spouse.
I recently have allowed someone to take my hand and lead me across the lines I had so neatly drawn. It was scary as hell to me, I kept waiting for red flags, but none appeared. I trust when I never imagined I could do that again without someone first earning it. I fall asleep with him on my mind, and wake up the same way…and I smile a LOT. I am happy beyond belief. Life may indeed be messy, but it sure has some sweetness in that mess that I’m glad isn’t locked outside.