The Great Wall of Niccole

If you’ve ever been hurt in a relationship, then you’ve probably built some walls up around you and your heart. Maybe without even realizing you did. It’s a natural process to protect yourself from hurting. I for one, have become quite skilled in masonry. My walls are bigger than the Great Wall of China. The task now though, is learning how to tear them down. It’s not easy, and they won’t come down as quickly as they went up. It’s going to be a brick by brick process. But that’s ok.

I’ve already talked about my past relationships and why I am the way I am, so I won’t go too much into all that again this week. But it certainly is why I am so guarded today. I trust no guys, no matter what positive attributes they exhibit. I keep waiting for them to hurt me, leave me, lie, or cheat. After all, that’s all I’ve known in my past relationships. But I am trying to learn that not everyone is out to hurt me. Not every guy is going to be like an ex. And even beyond guys…people in general are not all bad. I need to be able to trust again. To let go. And so the journey begins to figure out how.

I’ve been seeing someone since January, but it hasn’t been anything serious at all. Despite having this connection, enjoying time together, and our kids getting along great…it just hasn’t gone anywhere. He’s extremely outgoing and fun to be around, and I really like him. I know he feels the same, but there’s just been something stopping us from making anything out of this. For me, it’s the fact that he seems so anti-relationships. From what little I know about his past relationships, he’s been through his own experiences that got him to his current mindset, and that’s understandable. Then there’s also the cultural differences between us that makes our views on life so different. He and I recently talked about why we are so casual with each other, when we’re clearly drawn to one another. What he had to say to me, about me, was probably exactly what I needed to hear. He pointed out how guarded I am with him and how he feels that he has to draw conversation out of me sometimes. Part of that is because by the time he usually gets his kids in bed and gets the opportunity to relax and enjoy the night with me, I’m usually mentally spent for the day and not feeling very talkative. At that point in the evening, I’m typically just ready to cuddle up for a movie and go to bed. But if I’m being honest, it’s also because I am so afraid to get hurt again. I don’t know how to be vulnerable anymore. I can sit here behind a screen and write about my life, for the whole world to see, yet I can’t sit next to him and express my feelings one on one. He jokes that I should just go home and text him rather than try and talk, because I have no problem speaking my mind that way. Or he jokingly has asked if I’m going to write another book and talk about him. My response to that was yes, and that it’ll be called No Titles. Totally kidding of course.

Ironically, he and I were watching one of the Madea movies several months ago, and Madea was telling her niece about healing and how we build walls. That scene in the movie truly stuck with me and resonated in me. She also mentions that you can’t keep building walls, you need to build fences. That way you can still look over and see if it’s someone you want to let in. I’d even go a step further in that ounce of wisdom and say that when you build a fence, build it with a gate. That way you can still have your boundaries and your sense of protection on your heart, but so you can also let people in a little easier and remind them that the gate swings both ways. You can send them back out it, the same way you let them in it.

He’s absolutely right though. I can’t seem to bring my guard down and just be in the moment when I am with him. In my mind, I am constantly questioning if this is going to work out. Is it going anywhere or is it always going to be what it is today. It is just so hard for me now to not be guarded with someone when I don’t know if they will be sticking around. Especially for someone that for all I know, could be on dating apps or sleeping with other people when I’m not around. That’s what my ex’s did, and it’s not like we’re in a “relationship”, so he can do any of that (as could I), and it’d be within his right to do so. But I guess at this point, with all the damage I have to repair within me, I really need to be coddled and shown that I’m it for someone. I don’t need a ring on my finger, or to even live with someone ever again. I really don’t even need a “title”. But I do need to know that to them, I’m enough…more than enough actually. I want to be treated like I am the end all be all for someone. Because that’s how I treat people I’m dating. If I’m dating you, then I’m about you. I’m not on dating sites or hooking up with other people. I’m making time in my life to be with that person and explore what could be. If it’s not for me, then I’ll tell you and move on respectfully. These days though, it’s as if mutual respect has become a dying art. Don’t sit across from me chatting with other options on your phone. Don’t make plans with me only when it’s convenient. And don’t use me until it doesn’t work for you anymore. But because these things have happened to me so often in the past, it’s all I see in people’s behavior now. Whether it’s truly happening or not. I mind-fuck myself and cause these walls to build higher and higher. And that’s not fair to me or to them. I set them up for failure, before they ever get a chance. They’re fighting my past and they can’t win.

I just don’t know how to live in the moment and to just be anymore. I don’t let myself relax and just enjoy the moment I am having. All because I am so afraid of what tomorrow will bring. I cannot control what he or any guy does, nor can I control if/when they’ll realize I’m amazing. But for me and this guy right now, clearly there’s something there that has kept us both holding on for the better part of a year. At this moment, I don’t know if it will be beyond tomorrow. I know he is nothing like guys I’ve dated before and it’s intriguing. When I actually do open up and talk, he listens to what I have to say, and he even offers his very unfiltered opinions and assessments. Which, are almost always spot on. I told him on our first date that humor and sarcasm are big for me, and there hasn’t been one day/night spent together since, where he didn’t have me laughing at his silliness. Anything I tell him that I like, he makes it a point to do for me. I truly love spending time with him and it sucks that we can’t get past our own walls or insecurities to see what could be. It’s not lost on me either, that if it hasn’t so far, it probably never will go somewhere. In fact, I’m sure it won’t. But I am hopeful. Of course I’ll be hurt to lose someone like this from my life, but I am glad that he was brought into my life, even if just for a short time.

I don’t know how long it’ll take me to take down my walls and trust again. But I am going to try, one brick at a time. And who knows, maybe it’ll just take the right guy to come in with a wrecking ball of love and encouragement, and tear it down for me, once and for all.

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