Sunday, January 15, 2012


In ancient times, cities often protected their residents by building walls, like this one around York, England. These walls served to protect those living inside by keeping the enemy, or even undesirable characters, out.

In modern times, we sometimes build walls to protect ourselves.

Only we build them around our heart.

We build them to keep out the undesirable character of pain. We build them for a number of reasons, mostly stemming from relationships that went wrong.

We might build a wall around ourselves when we lose a beloved pet, so we distance ourselves from animals by not getting another one. Therefore, we can't get hurt again when it dies, runs away or your parents give it away because you are moving again.

We also might build a wall around ourselves when we move frequently, by preventing ourselves from making friends or refusing to assimilate into a new area. Therefore, we don't hurt any more when we leave, yet again.

We also might build a wall around ourselves when we get a divorce. After all, we pledged to love each other until 'death separates us.' Then we find out our partner had other ideas somewhere along the way. So, we pull back from the idea of getting married again, to avoid the emotional, legal and financial pains of divorce.

We also might build a wall around ourselves because of an abusive relationship and therefore, close ourselves off to the idea of any kind of relationship in the future because of the association we have with our former partner; and therefore, we won't be hurt anymore, ever again.

We also might build a wall around ourselves because of an unrequited love. We take the time to invest a lot of ourselves into a possible relationship and it just doesn't work out the way we hoped. So, we pull back from the idea of a relationship to avoid repeating the pain of this never-meant-to-be relationship.

We also might build a wall around ourselves because we may have misread some signals and believe we made a fool of ourselves. So, we don't don't allow ourselves to get close to anyone because of the pain, and for fear of making the same mistake again; therefore, further damaging our pride.
The ancient city walls were also built to keep the residents inside the city. But, those who did venture outside the city gates didn't often return, or if they were fortunate enough to return, they frequently told tales of strange, dangerous creatures. Walls ensured safety. We feel safe and comfortable inside our walls.

But, walls prevent us from seeing outside, from seeing the beauty of the world, from seeing the truth. The residents could only see what was within the walls, they did not see the real outside world. Our own walls can limit our vision. As we hide behind our walls, we might not be seeing a situation for what it really is. We might romanticize the situation for something that is not there, i.e., a long-term relationship. Or, we might be prejudiced by the very reasons we built the wall in the first place, and then project our fears into the situation when they don't even exist. I am partial to Great Danes, and my fear of coming home to find my Dane dead from bloat might prevent me from owning one. (A highly exaggerated example, as there are ways to prevent it, but I make my point. I hope.)

Sometimes we may not even realize we have built walls. We may move from relationship to relationship, leaving at a point in the relationship many experts call a 'marker'; e.g. the 2-, or 7- year itch. We may just go on accepting that relationships come to an end; 'one of us will leave.' So, we simply move on, often striking the first blow, using vague excuses to avoid the truth. "Her head is too big," "He isn't handsome enough for me," "What would my friends think of us?" all might suggest we could be hiding behind a wall.

And I confess, I have some up right now. I'm hurt. I'm guarded. I think of the idea of a relationship and I know I'm not ready. The idea of dating frightens me, mostly for fear of repeating the same mistakes I recently made. But, am I hiding behind a wall? Or am I allowing myself time to grieve and heal? Or am I analyzing myself and learning from my recent past? Time will tell.

In modern times, we find remnants of these ancient walls. Time has taken them down. Or, they were destroyed by some major attack on the city. Unless some big, handsome, muscly, intelligent, sensitive teddy bear of a man is going to come knocking on my door to woo and romance me, my walls will not be under 'attack' anytime soon. But, in time mine will come down as have many of these ancient city walls. I will venture forth, continuing on my path, content in letting someone in, though slowly.

I may even open the gate for him.


  1. We have been talking about walls a lot in group lately, I loved this one a lot!

  2. Laura,

    Thank you for reading this one as well. I hope this one gave you some insight and that your group is helping.

    Thank you for taking the time for your comment,

  3. Walls those that are ordered to be built and those that just manifest...defining them is the journey...thanks for sharing your journey.

    1. You're welcome. I hope it has helped you. Thank you for reading and also taking the time to comment. I appreciate it.


  4. Thanks 4 sharing this. I identify w/many of these walls & as I said before, I am working 2 tear them down. It's difficult but necessary. Much luck to you in your demolition!

    1. Thank you for your comment, and YES! it is so necessary in spite of the difficulties. Best of luck to you in your demo!