Building Walls With Words
I got really sick one night a few months ago before a super routine procedure due to some medicine I had taken. I woke up on the ground, my mom standing over me calling out my name. “Ally? Ally?” I had passed out.
My insides felt like they were melting. It was the sickest I’ve ever felt. I was scared.
Later that night - once the worst had passed - I texted a friend.
“Guess what I just did.”
“Passed out lolololol”
Laugh out loud.
I’m okay. See that lol? It means I’m okay.
This is me, building walls with AIM-inspired acronyms.
I spent two and a half years allowing myself to care deeply for someone who could never return these feelings. One time I added up how many days were within the span of two and a half years just to reiterate to myself how absurd these feelings were, how much I needed to rid myself of them. I don’t remember the number of days it ended up being, but it was a lot. Too many. (Gross.)
I use the term “allow” because I knew he didn’t feel the same way, all along - even in the times when I thought maybe he did, I still knew he didn’t. Yet I continued to allow myself these unrequited feelings despite my logic constantly reasoning with me to let it go. When I finally admitted to him this in a final full-court-press attempt to get a grip on it, to get these feelings out of me, I did so with jokes, sweeping my broken heart under a rug of sarcastic comments.
“Feelings are gross.”
“I’m not good at them.”
“This is the worst. Boys are the worst.”
And between, laughs. Smiles. Words.
I’m okay. See that I’m making jokes? It means I’m okay.
This is me, building walls with sarcasm.
A few days later, I recounted this story of my confession to a close friend while sitting in my car outside her apartment. I started crying.
“Sorry I’m crying.”
And then I laughed.
“This is dumb.”
Still more laughter.
I’m okay. See that I’m laughing? It means I’m okay.
This is me, building walls with laughter.
I went on a date - the fourth one, actually. We were watching The Office, the episode where Ryan catches the microwave on fire and Amy Adams randomly makes an appearance as Jim’s girlfriend. And then he kissed me. And after, I said things. Silly things, just to avoid silence. Spilling out words to fill the space, the quiet. Because to sit in silence would mean listening to breath and hearing quickened, nervous, we-totally-just kissed heartbeats. Silence means vulnerability, silence is vulnerability, and I can’t do that, can’t have that.
This is me, speaking walls with words.
This is me, always me, using each LOL, each joke, each laugh, each word as just another brick to fortify the perimeters around my vulnerability.
I don’t know why I’m so averse to vulnerability, so set on pretending that I’m okay, always okay. I’m aware this flaw (Is that what it is? A flaw?) isn’t unique only to me. However, I witness friends and strangers alike who are so okay with sharing their weaknesses, their fears, their humanity with others. Why is it so hard for me to do the same?
C.S. Lewis (the ultimate bae) once wrote, “To love at all is to be vulnerable.”
I think we can take that a step further.
To live at all is to be vulnerable.
So this is me, knocking down walls with words. Trying to, at least. (LOL!!!)