By Christian Alexander
Photo: A wall covered in graffiti and a painted sign in Portugal. “Mais Amor Por Favor” means “More Love Please” in Portuguese.
Most of us awake to begin our day in our beds, safe under our sheets. Some start the day arising from the living room couch, remote control still in hand with an empty pizza box nearby. Others regain some sense of the new day’s dawning, lying on the kitchen floor, still wearing the carefully considered outfit from the night before, somewhere in the vicinity of an empty bottle of alcohol, or perhaps something else which I won’t mention, but you can guess. In all of these events, most of us wake up safe surrounded by walls. Walls made of brick or mortar, or concrete or wood, walls that protect us from the outside world and keep what goes on in our own little worlds from getting out.
Me? I arise to find myself restricted by walls of my own construction. Not just the walls that built some mansion, townhouse or crack-den. I am speaking of psychological walls that are more restrictive than those of the most secure prison in the country. Walls that took years, decades to build. Built with guilt, remorse, regret, shame, insecurity, fear, pain and a plethora of other emotions that have led my therapist to get therapy.
There came a point when I just stared straight at my neatly stacked pile of a concrete past, knowing what it was made of, and didn’t even make the attempt to penetrate it.
My pain, loss, sorrow etc. had become like an old partner. We don’t really talk much anymore, but we’ve been together so long we’re just used to each other. My walls were there to keep those pesky emotions out.
Then I began to think of all the other things that lay on the other side of my walls as well. My emotions were easily buried in large quantities of alcohol and drugs, which were used as material to make my emotional wall higher. All the meaningless encounters with dozens (a gross under-estimation, if ever there was one) of men to fill some hole in my soul that the death of my first love had left.
I could remember clearly, for the first time in years, the innocence I once had.
The child that got lost in all the bright lights and pretty faces and promises of a future that wouldn’t come. I was a person who cared about people and had people who cared about me.
I just got hurt maybe a few too many times, I think my heart just shut down.
Am I bitter? Damned right. Jaded? Most definitely. A Bitch? When the occasion calls for it.
I’ve lied, cheated, stolen and done things I don’t even want to contemplate to keep up appearances. I rationalized it was okay as long as everyone believed I was that “perfect” person I portrayed myself to be. I thought I could buy happiness or love or meaning by wearing designer jeans and tipping well. I was a fraud.
Would I change it all? At this particular moment in time, I honestly can not say. I know all too well who I was. I’m just now starting to figure out who I am or rather will be. Not to sound religious, but I’ve been through a re-birth of sorts. I had the chance to look at what my life revolved around for over 20 years, how others actually perceived me compared to how I thought they did.
Now, the only people’s opinion’s who matter are the rare few that are still around. I have a handful of true friends and family that never, ever gave up on me. For them, I am grateful more than words can express. I wish I could repair the damage I’ve caused, but what’s done is done and it’s now part of the rubble of a wall that once defined me.
To uncharted waters…