Thursday, September 1, 2016

Opening my vault

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day. Just to let you know, wine was not a factor in this discussion. That is an important detail that you will understand in a minute.  The next thing I know I am sharing something that I don't share with a lot of people and as the words are coming out of my mouth I'm watching them in slow motion wondering if I could cough, or fake faint to blame my recent admission on a freak seizure.

But it was too late. I shared personal details about my life, and there was no going back.  It wasn't a huge secret or anything, but it wasn't as trivial as the fact that I don't like tomatoes.   My friend didn't even really react.  Our conversation just kept going on, and the sharing continued.

The thing is, I couldn't get it out of my head.  Why did I tell her that?  I understand that when you are having a deep conversation with someone, you usually share intimate stories to become closer. That is what friends do.  But usually wine is involved, and I can turn around the next day and hope that either a.) nobody will remember the conversation or b.) I can blame it on the wine.

But I couldn't do either of these things.

A college roommate that I will refer to as Medusa  once told me that I have built walls around myself and I don't let anyone in.  Which was true in my relationship with her, because she was scary.. hence the nickname Medusa.  But if I learned anything from her other than the fact that she didn't like the "pattern" I vacuumed our rug, it's that she was right.

I will listen to you tell me about your problems, your sex life, your lack of sex life, your digestion issues or your childhood phobias, but I very rarely share back.  In addition to my brick walls I build, I also have an incredible vault that I keep all those secrets in.  That is why people tell me so much I guess.

But here I was, an hour after my conversation with a friend and trying to come up with a way to text her to tell her to delete her memory of everything I shared with her.

As much as I don't want to admit it, I am not okay with vulnerability.  All the personal details of my life I hold inside to protect me from who knows what?  Maybe this feeling I was having right then. Like someone had left the door open to my soul and now all of the cold air was being let in.

I like having control of what I share and when I share it.  And I felt angry with myself that I told someone something that I hadn't prepared to tell them. It must have been her fault; she must have drugged my coffee or something.

My plan B was never to talk to her again.

What is so scary about opening yourself up?

So naturally when I can't figure something out, I take out a pen and start to write.  Write until I come to some kind of conclusion.

This is what I figured out.

I like control. I worry that people won't like me if they find out something that they don't agree with. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I don't want to appear weak. I don't want to expose my insecurities; I don't want them having knowledge about me that could be hurtful if we get into an argument in the future. I don't want to lose a friendship.

And there were many many more on that list, but what I began to realize when I was looking it over was that it was all very negative. Every single thing was what I didn't want.  I counted, and I wrote DON'T over a dozen times.

I got a text from my friend the next morning thanking me for listening and that she felt so much better after talking with me. And that it was nice to know she wasn't alone. Followed by several emojis.  And I have to admit; it made me feel better and kind of warm, and not as freaked out. She didn't think any less of me, and I knew I could trust her.

I'm not going to go out with my guns blazing sharing all of my deepest secrets, but I have to admit, that door that I had left open to my soul may have needed a little fresh air. 

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