Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!
Despite my amazing TEC weekend, the bunker is still a factor in my life (read that link if you don't know what I'm talking about).
Sure, it's sustained some damage, but it's remarkably resilient and is still standing. I still find myself retreating into it whenever my comfort zone is challenged.
I try to open up to people, but it's so hard for me. I've been hurt by most of my close friends in my life - not that it was always their fault.
In grades 1 & 2 my two best friends both moved away.
In grade 6 I made a new best friend, but was crushed when he moved away the same year. Obviously that was his parents' decision, not his, but pain knows no reason. I remember being at school shortly after he was gone and leaning on the wall by myself at recess. My homeroom teacher approached me and inquired how I was doing, and I told her my friend had moved away (he had gone to a different school). I was very even-toned and emotionless when I told her this, but she was keen enough to perceive the pain beneath and did show me some empathy.
Of all the lost friends, losing him was the hardest. His family had just moved into town, and our dads worked together. My dad told me and my brothers about his new boss' two boys and said that we should go over some day and visit them. They only lived 2 blocks away, so one day we did. It took me a few days to work up the courage to go to a complete stranger's house and introduce myself, but I did it. Big risk. I found out that we had a very important interest in common, and we hit it off. But his family moved away less than a year later.
The next two years, I was without a best friend. Then in grade 9 I switched schools and made another. We were the closest of chums, up until grade 12, when he rejected the faith and went down a road I refused to travel. I took that as another rejection.
My roommate in my bachelor years was a half-decent friend too, but he shunned me when I announced I was thinking of becoming Catholic.
Since then, I haven't really connected with anybody on that level. Really, who could blame me?
Please know that I'm not looking for pity by posting this. I'm trying to be real. I'm just writing as it comes to me.
Now my wife wants in. She wants to be my best friend. She can't figure out why it's hard for me to allow her to get that close to me. At one point, she was that close. But my coping mechanism has learned that in order to avoid being hurt, I must be the one that withdraws. And if you ever wanted a tip on how to make a woman feel rejected, let me tell you: that's a great way.
My bunker is safe, it is warm, it is secure. But by God, is it ever lonely.