The Key

It’s easy to be silent. To not say anything. It’s easy to just keep it all inside. Sheltered away. 

Especially when you know no one is listening any way. 

When all the whispers, and all the talks and all the screams just go unheard, it’s easier to just be quiet. 

It’s easier to be quiet than it is to face the angry backlash that your opinion brings. Or worse yet, have it ignored or demeaned. 

It’s easier to just say nothing and just carry on. 

It’s easy to just steel myself up and feel nothing. To stand hard and strong against the world. Let it hit me with all it’s got, my face unchanging. Unemotional. It’s easy to cut myself off from emotion. It’s easy to be cold, and ridged. 

Perhaps that’s why I can never get warm. The ice in my veins has been there so long. Freezing me from the inside out. 

In a moment I can shut it all down. Seal it all off. I didn’t even realize how fast I can flip that switch. I suppose, truth be told, I didn’t know there was a switch.

 My defenses are down. These foreign, unfamiliar emotions welling in my chest. And they build up and then the screaming….the screaming in my head, it’s enough to scare me back into stone. To instantly refreeze that ice in my veins which had started to melt. 

When you’ve been so quiet for so long the silence is comforting. Like an old soothing friend. Easy to close my eyes and allow it to wrap around me like an icy blanket. I can fall into that hole, dark and non-judging. Silence doesn’t ask for complicated answers. Silence doesn’t ask for emotion. Silence doesn’t ask. 

And since it doesn’t ask, I never really know if it’s listening. And that’s ok. Because I can fool myself into believing what is easy. 

When you’ve been hard so long, hard and uncaring, walled off emotionally from the world, it’s easy to stay unattached. Safer. When all you’ve had for so long is you….When you’re the only one who has ever cared, the only one who tries, the only one who wipes your own tears away…in those fleeting rare moments when you allow them to fall…It’s so easy to learn how to take that deep breath…

That breath that rebuilds you. That hardening breath that resets any loose openings in your walls. That breath that dries your eyes and and converts them from windows to the soul to glassy reflecting pools. 

For so long I have been so stoic. Just going through the day to day motions. Cut off from affection, caring…love. 

Love. What is that? Those times I thought I knew love. 

I knew nothing. Looking back now on how flippantly I’ve uttered that phrase. How carelessly I let the words flow out of me. How MEANINGLESS they were. 

Love. 

Love, as I knew it was silence. My own silence. My own steady silence accepting ‘love’ as emptiness. Empty silence. There were no warm, welcoming arms. So soft touches, no gentle whispers that ‘it’ll all be ok’. 

Love was a steam roller. Crushing. Soul crushing and bone breaking. Sometimes, figuratively, some times literally. Some times love was a kick to the stomach, to the knee, a twisted arm, my head against a wall. A hand around my throat and bitter threats spit into my ear. 

Love was assaulting. Brutal. Using. A tool to satisfy the other person. I, myself, got no satisfaction out of ‘love’. There was no climax for me. I’d cringe, and wait for it to just.be.over. Then I could roll over, and maybe allow that one tear to slip out before I took that steadying breath again. 

I didn’t think love was supposed to be like this. I had different visions of what Love was supposed to be. But, obviously, I was wrong. I was deluded. THIS is Love. THis is what I’ve got. This is all I’ve ever had, and all I’ll ever have and all I’ll ever be worthy of. 

There is no goodness in love. There is only silence, and stone and ice and cold. 

And then…there was this hand…This hand that touched me and….it was warm. And shocked, I wanted to pull away. I look at him, really looked at him, look him in the eye, and I could feel his heat momentarily look deeper into my glassy eyes. A burning, I had to look away..I wanted to pull away. I smiled uneasily and folded myself back into my darkness. 

But his warmth was there. A spark had somehow traveled from my hand and found a place to rest in my heart. And all those years of icy defenses began to slowly melt. His voice broke the silence. 

And I wanted so badly to fall into that song. It made me smile. A genuine smile. Laugh. I didn’t even recognize the sound…The sound of my own laughter startled me. So foreign. 

And I realized…hesitantly…that love wasn’t silence or stone. It was laughter and the warmth of a caress. 

But old habits die hard as they say. And when the silence and stone has been your only friend for so long, and all you know about love has been flipped inside out, and all that ice that’s kept you safe so long starts to melt–all of these things bring the screams. 

Imagine, being fed with a knife you’re whole life. The food is stabbed and then fed to you from the sharpest knife. And you’re hungry, so you eat it, but every time it stabs you and slices you and you are bleeding and scared. But you keep allowing it to feed you, as cautiously as possible. You know it’s going to hurt, but you keep hoping for the best. 

Then, one day some one comes along and says “This is a spoon”. It’s round, and smooth. No sharp edges. No threat. But still, you’re scared. It’s a trick, right? It may not cut me, but there must be a catch? Perhaps the food is poisoned? Maybe now the danger just isn’t as obvious? 

Because that’s how I’ve protected myself. All these years in silence and stone, expecting the worse. Because, even when it’s good, it’s corrupted. It’s tainted. Hidden agendas.  Always prepared for the knife to strike my back. Always waiting for that sucker punch to the face. 

So now I’ve got this changing definition of love. This thing I’ve grown to know will hurt me. This knife that has been slowly trying to kill me while cruely keeping me alive. But now you’re telling me the knife isn’t love. 

Love is a spoon. 

Love should nurish you without bringing you pain. Love should comfort you without scarring you. Love should make you grow, not make you bleed. 

I know the spoon won’t hurt me. 

But I’m still afraid of it, non the less. And I am SO hungry. I want so much to eat what you are feeding me, but I am so scared….And so I push it away. 

Prepared to allow myself to simply starve than to allow myself to be hurt by something else. I’ve played the fool so long…

And you’ve got my defenses down. My stone is weak. You’ve broken through the silence. Hypnotizing me with your words. And the tears come far too easy for my comfort. 

I’m not crying because I’m sad. I’m not even crying because I’m happy. I’m crying because I just don’t know what else to do. 

I don’t know what to do. 

And that brings chaos to my soul. Because silence and stone is easy. And THIS. This is not easy. It’s complicated and it’s frightening. And I get the impression that maybe it shouldn’t be…it shouldn’t be so hard. And I recognize that it’s my own demons that push you away. 

Although i don’t want you to go. More than anything, I just want you to hold me tighter. Pull me closer. Make me stop.fighting.you. Kiss me until I am breathless and the only think I can gasp is your name. 

I tell you to leave because that’s what’s easy. It’s easy to slam those walls back up and be cold and uncaring and silent. It’s hard to think that Love could be anything other than what I’ve always know it to be. And so I look for every excuse there is. Every hint that could suggest it’s all a mirage. And I try to get away before it can all come crashing down around me. I try to run, and hide and protect myself. Because I’m the only one whose ever put me back together. And it’s tedious. And draining. And crushing. 

I’m scared I’ll eventually succeed. That’ll you’ll tire of battling my demons. I know 1st hand how exhausting it is. I can see your weary. I know you don’t understand. I know you can’t possibly comprehend this war that goes on inside my mind. And when you finally wave the white flag and walk off, I’ll let the tears come one final time. I’ll let them flow back through my veins and as they freeze my soul back over i’ll look at my empty eyes in the mirror. I’ll reset those stones back in place and put that mask of strength back on my face. And I’ll look myself in the eye and lie to myself. I’ll tell myself it’s for the best. And It’s the right thing. And I’ll probably even convince myself. 

Because the silence doesn’t argue. 

2 thoughts on “The Key”

  1. This is amazing. I’m not kidding. Beautifully written. I felt every single line in my soul. I even cried because I can relate to many of these lines. Wow. I can’t even say anything more than I truly enjoyed what you wrote.
    Blessings to you

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