Why There Are Walls

I wrote this poem over a period of a few months and I wasn’t sure if it would ever see the light of day. It highlights where some of my anxiety comes from and is as real as it gets for me. Sharing this is terrifying if I’m being honest. But for whatever reason, I’ve decided now is the time to do it. It is an amalgamation of my innermost thoughts. I hope you like it and I hope that it gives a better picture of who I am. Feel free to share your own poetry or thoughts in the comments below!

Why There Are Walls

by Rachel Hutchings

In my mind, I’m an open book
No emotion left unexplored
No words left unspoken
No hope or fear left unexplained
Every thought and feeling being spoken so loud that sometimes I can’t hear the world around me
 
But the outside world does not see me this way
Often they can barely see me over the walls I’ve built 
Sheltered and protected from the judgments and the pain caused by others
Underneath armor and ready for battle
 
No one act or word spoken has made me this way
Years of little moments and of big moves have shaped the way I am
I don’t mean to be unappreciative of the opportunities I’ve had
Of the places I’ve seen
But for every hello came another goodbye
 
My walls would begin to crack and crumble not long before I had to move on
The real feelings and thoughts hiding behind my unaffected facade came into view
Friends began to see exactly who I was and I began to let them in
For a month or two I would be fully myself
No longer afraid to let the world hear what was really in my mind
 
I had selective amnesia
I conveniently forgot that soon I would hear the words that instructed my mind to start building the walls again
We have to move 
It’s time to start saying goodbye
 
Then came the empty promises of talking on the phone and visiting when possible
People checking in consistently for my first month away 
Eventually, my phone becoming silent
Occasional texts to wish me a happy birthday or a happy holiday
The phrase out of sight, out of mind becoming reality


 
I’m not saying that they are the only ones to blame
I stopped dialing their number too 
I let them go when they began to slip away
Neither of us fought for friendship
We faded into the back of each other’s mind 
Our now permanent home
 
Friendships aren’t meant to be fleeting 
Ideally, they are for a lifetime
An endless string of inside jokes and uninhibited expression of yourselves
A world free of judgment but full of caring concern
A bond created to stay firm
 
There have been moments where I believed that I was forming those friendships
I’d like to think that they thought so as well
But little things would creep up on us revealing the hidden truth
Distance doesn’t really make the heart grow fonder
Often it lets the heart slowly start to forget until those moments become memories
 
It isn’t like I think that I will never form these friendships
I truly think I am in the midst of creating them now
I feel my vulnerability starting to overtake the part of my mind that likes to hide
This time I’m letting it
 
But the anxiety I feel when I start to become close with someone is puzzling
Why does it make me uncomfortable
Why can’t I just let it happen
Maybe it is because of the looming goodbye that seems imminent
Maybe it is the knowledge that they can actually see me 
 
The feeling is constant lately
The tension in my chest and the feeling in the pit of my stomach won’t go away
It’s terrible and wonderful
It means that I’m finally letting my true self be known
It also means I am more exposed than I have ever been

There is always the lingering thought in my mind that they don’t really like me
At times, I wonder if they really want me around or if they like it better when I’m not 
My need to be seen as normal suppresses my need of reassurance
But I constantly catch myself analyzing the reactions of those around me
It can be exhausting
 
Writing out these feelings is the closest I have gotten to sharing them
One day I may say it out loud or let them read my inner monologue
However, even writing that sentence made my stomach drop
Their perception of who I am would be shaped by the words on this page
My secrets becoming known and my anxious thoughts being revealed
 
I don’t want to be pitied
I don’t want sympathy or constant affirmation of our friendship
That would make me feel weaker than I already do
I want normalcy 
I want to be understood without being treated differently
 
I would love to know what the world looks like without my own anxious lens
I wonder if my life would have turned out differently if I could use a different filter
People often talk about looking at the glass as half full 
But I don’t think we necessarily get the choice in how we see it 
Some of us see it half empty while desperately trying to see it the way people think we’re meant to
 
I have my own moments of optimism
However most of the time I keep my expectations low enough that I can hop right over them
That isn’t necessarily the healthiest outlook on life, I’m aware
Most of the ways I cope wouldn’t be considered beneficial to my emotional well-being 
But I’ve got too much bottled up to let it all spill out now, so silence remains my closest friend 

It’s funny to me that I tend to speak quietly when the voices in my head are so loud
An irony only I can truly appreciate
Others often have no idea what really lies beneath the surface
My existence embodying the cliché idea of not being able to judge a book by its cover
You don’t really know who I am without reading every chapter, line, and word
A privilege that I have trouble granting to anyone
 
It’s disheartening to realize that a piece of my writing may never be read
Myself acting as my only roadblock
The act of handing over a piece of paper or a laptop is so simple in theory
However, in practice, it is one of the hardest things I will ever do
 
Looking at old friends celebrate the holidays together hit me harder than I thought it would
But as much as it seems I want to be as close as we once were 
I feel a pressure in my chest thinking about a future with the friends around me
Sustained friendships are uncharted territory for me 
I’m walking blindly on a path that seems well-lit for everyone else
 
Even though I’m unsure of my footing, I’m sure that I don’t want to turn around
I’m becoming more confident in myself and in my friendships with each step I take  
The future, a concept that once seemed destined for farewells
Has become something to look forward to
 
 

Rachel (:

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