It's amazing how one can make a mistake, learn one's lesson, then continue to make the same mistake, over and over again. And of course by "one," I'm referring to me.
For as long as I can remember, I have been extremely sensitive, overly sensitive in fact. Even as young as age six or seven, one perceived stink eye, one offhanded comment, could send me into a tailspin of tears and rage and self-loathing. All these years later, despite my best intentions, that has not changed.
As much as I'd like to think that I've learned a bit over the years, I really haven't learned a fucking thing. I try to portray myself as someone behind a thick high wall, motivated by self-preservation, only trusting my heart and soul to a select few. I want to believe that I am an excellent judge of character, that I only open myself up to those who are truly worthy of my time and attention. Hell, only a fool would expose themselves to just anyone, right? After nearly forty years on the planet, I have to have developed some sense of who I should trust and who I shouldn't. I must have crafted a finely-tuned bullshit detector. With all the betrayals I've had to face, surely I would have the good sense to go by more than gut instinct when determining who really cares about me and have learned not to set myself up for heartbreak. What kind of fucking moron continues to trust and have her heart broken, time and time again? That would be me.
The longer I'm alive, the less interest I have in trusting anyone. Did you buy that? Fuck, me either. The really sad and sorry fact is that I want to trust, more than anything, even though I know I shouldn't. I want to believe the best in people, that no one would ever INTENTIONALLY cause me pain, especially when I try, with all my might, not to harm others. I know all too well the pain of being betrayed, tossed aside and disregarded. I consider myself, perhaps above all else, a "broken" person and it seems that the people I feel most drawn to are also "broken." Therefore, you'd think that they would be the LAST people to hurt me, they themselves knowing just how fucking devastating it is to be hurt. Yet, time and time again, I find myself being ignored and thrown away, just so much garbage, rendered utterly useless and worthless.
I want to take the "enlightened" point of view, to believe that it's "their loss" and that I am better off without them but the fact is, I do not and probably never will believe that. It is far too easy to blame myself, to imagine and re-imagine scenarios in which I must have done something, anything, wrong. I can't possibly keep getting hurt if it isn't somehow my fault. No one can be that unlucky, not even me.
So, once again, I find myself at a crossroads. Do I try to rebuild the wall, this time for real, and shut myself off from new people and experiences or do I continue to follow my heart and trust in people who I truly believe are worth it? I suppose there must be some middle ground, the area in which I so infrequently tread. The answer seems so obvious - let people in gradually, over time, if they seem like they can be trusted. But therein lies the rub. I never know how much is too much. What seems to be a perfectly acceptable level of sharing to me may be deemed far too much to someone else. And what happens when the rules change, when what is initially perceived as "appropriate" suddenly becomes "over the line", seemingly out of nowhere? Ultimately, I have to be true to no one but myself. But right now, at this very moment, my heart is broken, yet again, and right or wrong, I find it hard to blame anyone but me.
UPDATE: So, after about an hour and a nice long chat with my husband, I've come to a different conclusion. The fact of the matter is, I CANNOT blame myself, for this or any other incidence of being "tossed aside," "forgotten," "disregarded" or "ignored." Wearing my heart on my sleeve, trusting and loving others, is NOT a character defect. Sure, I've probably trusted and loved the wrong people on occasion but the act of doing those things is not, in and of itself, wrong.
I am one hell of a person. You will NEVER meet someone more loyal to her friends or more willing to give, in every way, to help someone she loves. This, too, is not a character flaw but something to be commended and appreciated. I know that I have many acquaintances and some true friends who recognize and value these qualities in me. Those who do not, well, quite frankly, it IS their loss.
I never say never. Sure, I may pull doors partway shut but I never close them completely. Everyone has the potential to grow and change. Everyone is on his or her own journey and has his or her own lessons to learn along the way. Some of those lessons may be to appreciate the love and support of others when it is given, to recognize that letting others help you does not make you weak but makes you STRONG and that being completely independent isn't always brave and can sometimes be the most cowardly way of coping. It is not my job, or my intention, to judge. Believe me, I will never EVER examine another human being under a more precise and damning microscope than I do myself. I guess what it boils down to is this: I am valuable, I am important and despite the hiccups along the way, I will, ultimately, find people who understand me and can relate to me on the precise level I desire. I, as does everyone, deserve nothing less.