Over cocktails the other week I got to talking with one of my girl friends about walls. The emotional kind, that we create to keep the rest of the world out and to keep our personal brand of crazy in. The topic arose when we were discussing a mutual friend’s issues with communication and her subsequent tendency to lash out when she feels like anyone is being even remotely critical of her, and the inevitable comparison was to me (another hot headed girl who doesn’t take negativity very well). It’s no secret that I have a bit of a temper and my fair share of trust issues, and my coping mechanism was to build an emotional wall between myself and the world.
|image from Stone Made|
But that’s where the similarity ends we concluded; some may chalk it up to the fact that I’ve evolved past needing to scream at the world and maturity taking its due course, but I think that the real difference is in what kind of emotional wall each of us constructed. I envision my wall as the kind you find accompanying an English manor house; the kind of wall that’s built of stone & mortar, about 5 feet tall, and with a handful of wrought iron spikes on top. It has a gate, since I let people in from time to time (no, I won’t tell you the password), but it has an undeniable physical presence that people can’t avoid or see through to the inner me. In contrast, my friend’s wall has more in common with an electric fence. It looks harmless from a distance, but if you touch it you might get an unexpected shock. This wall is also less defensible, since it’s porous by nature; not only does it allow outsiders a view of the inner workings of the soul it is meant to defend, but projectiles pass straight through gaps between the electrified wires.