When life is not going well, I tend to withdraw into myself and put up barriers that would make a certain wall in China look less than Great. I am a Cancer after all and we excel at the fine art of retreating into our shell in times of turmoil. We also tend to snap at those who would try to come near us during those times, often whether they deserve it or not. Cancers have been known to snap at their dearest friends when feeling vulnerable; never mind what we do to those who we hold less dear. It’s not right, but it is how we sometimes cope.
I have to admit that, in recent weeks (ok, since October) I’ve been playing the role of the crab a little too well. Those who know me well are aware of all things that conspired between Andy and myself, some of which I’m just not willing to share publicly. Sometimes I feel like I was handed a couple of very precious gifts only to have them taken back and smashed to bits in front of me. I miss him and I miss the life that I only had a mere moment of. Aside from love and loss, life in general just hasn’t been very kind lately. So I’ve been slowly building layers of brick and mortar, withdrawing from my own life.
Closing doors and shutting out people is a well-honed skill for me. I excel at it after a childhood of constantly moving and a lifetime of battling depression. It’s a good skill to have, unless of course, you close all the doors and shut everyone out. I’ve been edging closer and closer to doing just that.
Fortunately, I have a couple of friends and one guardian angel who will not stand for it. If the walls start getting too high, they start taking bricks down as fast as I can put them up. Between them, they always find some way to bring me out of myself. When simply saying “Stop behaving this way”, one of them always manages to come up with a more subtle way to bring me out of my shell. This time they did it by giving me several pokes to check in with an online group where I had previously been fairly active.
After much resistance, I finally took a quick peek at the group. Someone who reminds me too much of myself (a depressed hermit crab!) had posted that day for the first time in weeks, a post full of deep pain, sorrow, and hurt. It was what I needed to snap me out of my self-imposed isolation and into action. It is impossible to stay withdrawn when I know that someone else needs desperately words of encouragement and acceptance. The geas to comfort and aid those I can is too strong and ingrained in me to be ignored. So I put a window into the wall I was building. I’m not quite ready to completely emerge, but I am ready to let in some light and air. Thank you to the people who helped me do that; you cannot know how much it means to me. I thank my Lady every day for putting you all in my life.