Inward and outward. Like the thoughts in my head. I sit with them in deep contemplation. Who am I? By this, I mean, what have I become — since the realization 6 years ago that I’d let myself be defined by my marriage? Without it, I was lost. I regained independence and a strong sense of personal toughness. No matter what the gods put in front of me, I would endure.
But that resilience came at a price. In order to remain in that protected state, I walked around with walls erected on all sides of my being. In this little walled out world, I felt safe and strong but hardened (and unattractive). Back then, it mattered not. I could not imagine letting myself love again for I was certain that I’d be destroyed completely if ever I lost another.
Eventually, I took down my protective walls and let myself find love once again. And where does that leave me? Delicate and vulnerable, I would say, for perhaps I let go of a little too much of that personal toughness and sense of independence that lets me know that I will be okay if another storm where to hit. Instead of feeling like I could endure whatever is put in front of me, I feel as if I would fall apart completely.
I’m not sure that I want to be that vulnerable. I cannot afford to fall apart in the way I did when Tom left me.
But that is all on the inward side of me. The outward image I project is still one of personal power and endurance. Except for the weakening of the backbone which has kept me upright for all of these years, one would not know how vulnerable I had become.
That all, of course, is changing.
Like the metal structure pictured here, strong yet delicate, I too will stand the test of time. I will not raise walls around me. Nor will I harden to the point of lost beauty. I am, however, rebuilding the durable backbone of years past — that will stand the test of time yet allow me to continue loving the people around me.