It seems that 17-year-old me has an edge on 20-year-old me.
I recently realised that I’ve chosen to spend much of my life alone. Not in solitary isolation, but I’ve let very few people get to know the true me, the vulnerable me. I’m kind and sometimes charming, I’m loving and friendly, but most people only get a little under the surface before they come up against a glass barrier. It’s hard to describe what I mean but bear with me. It’s like the outer-most layer of my physical form is skin and muscle and flesh. It’s warm and gentle and likable by almost anyone. But under that facade there is a nigh-impenetrable barrier. And you can search every inch of that fleshy covering but there are no gaps. And I erected this barrier subconsciously as a means of protecting myself when I was younger. I suffered bullying that breaks my heart to recall, from my brother (who’s since turned out to be a genuinely good man) and from the students of my high school in particular. I was always a little weird, but it was many times amplified by being rejected from what I perceived to be the world. I went deep within myself in order to survive that time, and it took great honesty, great courage and a great friend to crawl back out of that abyss within my soul. I’ve had friends, and lovers, and people who have been close to me, but they are few and far between. The consequences of what happened to me are proving most perennial- it is hard, so many years down the track, to unlearn what I was taught to protect myself.
But I don’t want to be alone anymore.
I don’t know how, but I want to let people in. I want to be able to peel back that barrier, even for a little while, and honestly be with people. I’m not sure many people would want to be with the real me, but I still believe that it’s worth the pain and risk of searching for them. God once told me that a true friend is someone who will let you be yourself. And I know I have true friends. Now I just have to be myself. To be Xin, that combination of all my personalities- the gentle helper, the immovable warrior, the keen scholar, all of it. And of course, to find the right people, not just strangers or acquaintances that I pour my heart out to only to be rebuffed. It’s a hard balance to strike, but I really want to strike it.
This is a post I made on MySpace on 24th June 2008.
I think that friends are the greatest part about living. Companionship, true connection to other human beings. Sharing experiences, good and bad. All that jazz. And without friends, life is a solo journey. True, all your accomplishments are your own, but then, there’s no one to tell you that your accomplishments are of the wrong kind. You might go blazing along the wrong path in the belief that you’re going to find happiness at the end of the rainbow, when really, every accomplishment along that path doesn’t get you anywhere you want to go. Friends stop that from happening. Friends are the ones who tell you to get out of the house and see them already. They’re the ones that get you to get out there and see the world, to live in the world, to love the world. And they’re there to see, live and love it with you.
Everyone goes on about how no man is an island by himself. I don’t know what the hell that’s supposed to mean, but I can tell you this. If we’re all little boats in a big river, pushing away the other boats is not going to get you anywhere faster. The more boats that band together, the more they can accomplish, the more likely it is they’ll find their goal, and the more fun they’ll have.
Today I spent the day in my little solo canoe having the time of my life. And gee willy whiz, I hope I never do it again.
I think it holds much more wisdom than most of the crap I’ve been spouting of late. It makes me wonder what happened to me. Well, there’s no use looking backwards as I’m walking forwards. Not for long, anyway- might walk into something. Reminisce has its place, but it’s easy to get sucked into a spiral of past mistakes and experiences. The present is much kinder than the history of the worlds, and the uncertain events of the future. Nothing to do but trek on forwards.