It’s not just about one moment; it’s about many moments that just over time eventually added up. Looking back I can’t put my finger on one specific time that made me shut down, made me lose my voice; I guess it was a bunch of little moments that slipped passed me and eventually I didn’t have anything left to say. I had watched people I loved go through hard times, traumatic experiences and life changing moments, during those times I wanted to be there for them so that they knew they were not alone. But I had forgotten during those times I was allowed to have feelings too, it just seemed that my feelings were less important, and eventually I started feeling selfish for wanting to talk about how I felt when they were going through something worse.
It became a mentality “if you have nothing to complain about you shouldn’t be complaining.” But that turned into a life style, one where I’m left numb to opening up to people. Soon though I figured people just wouldn’t care if I eventually did decide to open up. And then that became a fear, if I ever did open up would they use it against me? To protect myself I chose to remain closed off. And then silence was the only thing that felt comfortable to me. It became a safety blanket, whenever something went wrong or I was going through a hard time I would resort back to the silence, just shut down.
If I tried to open up I would feel exposed, vulnerable and weak. It started to effect how close I got with people, only letting them in to a certain degree and then pushing them away before it’s too late, or before I’ve said too much. I love helping people, talking with them, getting to know their story and letting them know they’re not alone; but it was like a double edged sword, I wanted people to trust me, but I couldn’t trust them.
It seems weird to me that the people I’m so close with feel like strangers, how easy it is for me to keep so much from them, how unfair I think it is that they probably don’t even know me. I wish I could just let people in, let them look inside my mind to hear what I can’t voice into words, but life doesn’t work that way and I’ve spent too many years silencing myself that I think it’s about time I’ve found my voice again.
I guess I’m waiting for all the little moments to add up again and one day I’ll finally find someone that I can open up to, that will not only hear my words, but understand their meaning. Or maybe that person has always been me; and I need to trust myself with how I feel before I trust someone else. It’s a work in progress, but I’ll overcome it, one small word and a time.