What it is like to be guarded…

There’s a reason why my walls are built so high, and there’s a reason it will take you longer than expected to bring them down. There’s a reason why I’m guarded.

I’m guarded because I’ve been hurt before. We all have. My weakness is that I carry the pain with me as a constant reminder that it could happen again. And while this is such a cautious way to walk through life, while instead I could be wildly sprinting, the wild sprint has made me fall and trip before, and the scrapes and burns were painful. So painful that it takes a while to try and run that fast again. So I walk, and I walk carefully noticing my surroundings because I worry if I were to ever fall that hard again, I might not be able to get back up.

I’m guarded because I’m scared of what you’ll think, but not scared enough to admit it. I fear your disapproval like a little girl fears the monster under her bed, and right now I will just keep quiet to avoid any disturbance. I’m guarded because no one has ever protected me as well as I protect myself. My own armor has been stronger than yours, or his, or hers, and it will continue to be until someone shows me otherwise.

I’m guarded because I’m no stranger to failure, and while it has made me stronger, it has also made me more aware of how all of it can go wrong. I’m guarded because I’ve mistakenly invested my trust in those who took it for granted, and because of their disregard, I no longer hand out trust so easily.

I’m guarded because I see the damage coming before it even happens, and I know that the lucky ones will tell me how unreasonable, pessimistic, and sad this all sounds, but even when you try to tell yourself that this time is different, the reminder seeps back in. Life will bring hurt and pain, and people will disappoint you, but no one has the ability to break down your walls except for you. I’m guarded because I’ve chosen to be that way.

I think when you’re young, you’re hoping that this person will be the right one, the one you’re going to be in love with forever, but sometimes you want that so much you create something that really isn’t there. But I didn’t understand then. That I could hurt somebody so badly he would never recover. That a person can, just by living, damage another human being beyond repair.

That is the way it is with a wound. The wound begins to close in on itself, to protect what is hurting so much. And once it is closed, you no longer see what is underneath, what started the pain. I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.

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