In the Moat. Part 1.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the invisible moat I’ve been building around me for the past 15 years.  By moat, I mean this safe distance I keep with most people.   I’m realizing, though, it’s often very noticeable in the way I treat people.  Sometimes I’m nice and immediately warm to strangers (rare), most of the time I “nothing” them, and sometimes I’m quite sour (usually after provocation).  I try to refrain from being sour because my Mom always told me to be the bigger person; my sour words can really cut like a knife.  My apologies to those who have felt my word stabs, but at the time, I felt you deserved it.  And I probably deserved your retort.  Hopefully we made it out mostly unscathed and are still speaking.

What I mean to say is this invisible moat is very real for me.  It’s guarded with years of pent-up disappointment, anger, distrust, and a fairly bruised chip on my uneven shoulders.  It takes some real effort to paddle through, get me to open up and let you truly learn about the stuff I don’t care to share with most people.

And while we’re on that note, I’d just like to say I’m not totally ice cold.  I do have feelings.   Just because I put on a rather inpenetrable forcefield of emotion (at work, for example), I’m probably one of the most empathetic and caring girls you will meet.  I would walk over hot coals to make sure you were safe and loved.  But only if you’re in the moat.

As I’m cultivating relationships for myself and for Brian and I as a married couple, I think about our friends and treasure how close we really are, or can be when we pick up where we left off.  I have no bones about calling a spade a spade – you are either an equal recipient and giver in a friendship with me, or you didn’t care as much as I did and we inevitably parted ways.  On some rather limited occassions, the other person really wanted nothing to do with me and I can respect that too.  No need to waste anyone’s valuable time on pretending to tolerate someone when it just wasn’t meant to be.  It’s just hard to let people go if those are the consequences.

I want to impress upon my endearing and loving friends that I value our relationships so very much.   It physically and mentally pains me to see a friendship end.  I’ve been seeing it happen like a train wreck in the past few weeks, and it’s sad.  Perhaps more sad because it bruises me in the “distrustful” section of my emotions, which only makes me feel stupid and naive.  To get my guard down is quite a feat.  Over several months I laid my anxieties and worries on the table thinking it would help someone else get through some rougher times.  As it turns out, I just made myself look crazy and it was easy to misunderstand my issues as weakness.  As for the other person?  Best of luck, buddy.  I’ll be here, trying to pull my shit back together and hopefully you figure yours out.

So…back to this moat problem.  I’m realizing that I have a LOT of layers.  Through therapy, I’m realizing it takes quite a bit of moxy to open up and talk about the deep stuff.  I’ve been trying to make my experience more available to those who may be feeling some of those things by way of this blog.  (This blog has been quite therapeutic in itself for the past seven years.)  Perhaps I share too much, but it’s meant in the best way possible.  I hope it reaches someone who can relate or cares about me.

With that in mind, I’m going to use this blog to start talking about good things about myself, things you may or may not know about me.  I’m calling it “In the Moat“.  This will feature a few thought-provoking questions (feel free to comment and ask me something you want to know about!) and you’ll see In the Moat every so often.  Perhaps this little exercise will strengthen my real relationships and is a good precursor to the 30-year-old meltdown that could surface in 2013.  The clock is ticking, so I’m going to start with an easy one first:

Q:  If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?

A:  Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis – we would eat somewhere fabulous on the east coast in Hyannisport or the south of France, as she had impeccable taste. I would wear cropped pants, a pair of Jack Rogers sandals, and a headscarf.  We’d talk about the roles of women as wives and also as businesswomen and I would want to know the top five things you should do to succeed in life.  And then we’d go for a horseback ride on one of her properties.

Q:  What do you think people misundertand most about you?.

A:  I think people misunderstand my humor.  It’s very dry, and very truthful, and can be rather intimidating to those just learning about me.  I remember in high school the underclassmen were always scared of me….turns out I was just messing with them.  Humor sometimes has to mature.

Q:  What are the five things that make you most happy right now?

1.  Having my fireplace burning very night if I want to.
2.  Fresh flowers on my dining and kitchen tables.
3.  I really love beating my pal Rachel in Scrabble.  We are competitive.
4.  My husband, friends and my loving family are truly behind me as I work through this anxiety and worry that sometimes overtakes me for no good reason.  I can have a good cry if I want to.
5.  Online shopping and pinning for upcoming birthdays and Christmas.  I am quite the super sleuth when it comes to thinking of good gifts.  Maybe I’ll even do a gift guide this year.

Q:  If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?

A:  I’d have the power to be invisible, or would own an invisibility cloak.  And you wouldn’t need to know what I’d do first because if you didn’t see me, it didn’t happen.  But I’d probably sit in on important meetings at companies just to hear what happens.  Maybe sneak into some movie theatres.  But mainly I’d use my invisibility powers for good. Never fear.

More In the Moat to come…