Someone asked me a question the other day, and I found myself unable to give them an answer. This doesn’t happen very often, as even though I’m shy and introverted most of the time I can usually come up with something to say, even in a difficult situation. But this was different. The question they asked me was one that I had never stopped to think about. Believe me, more often than not I’m over-thinking a situation, considering all the aspects, analysing it by nature and finally, coming to a conclusion or answer. But not this time…not about this.
Have you ever been talking to someone, and they ask you something really unexpected, and you’re just lost for words as you find yourself struggling to give them an answer? Maybe it’s something you’ve never even considered before, maybe you just never thought they would ask you so directly, maybe it’s a question you’ve never been asked before or a conversation you’ve never had with anyone. For me, it was all of the above.
I completely shut down. Trust me, I’m the sort of person who always wants to find a solution to a problem, I’m not one to run away in troubling or less-than-ideal times. I stay. I fight. I’m a committed and an extremely passionate person. But something about that question made me shut down, possibly not by choice but as an automatic response. I felt scared. I felt vulnerable. And I didn’t have an answer for the question. I didn’t have an answer for them, although I wish I did and I wish I could.
I never expected it to happen so soon. I never thought I would be getting to that stage with someone, a stage that I’ve never been before in my entire life. The question caught me off guard, and since I regard it as a sensitive topic anyway, I couldn’t help but start crying right there and then. I don’t know what happened, but I just felt so overwhelmed and before I could stop it I was crying into my hands and I felt myself shutting off from the person who was kneeling in front of me, trying to understand why I was crying and why I was so upset. I couldn’t tell them. The answer to their question was very big, very messy and very complicated, so much so that I couldn’t even begin to explain it to them.
It comes from memories that I have, feelings that I have felt in times when I was terrified and in danger. I know this might sound like I’m being dramatic or exaggerating, but at the time I didn’t understand or realise how dangerous the situation was that I was putting myself in. I was too young to see what was going on. I was too naïve to see it for what it truly was, or how it could end up hurting me and damaging me in a way for the next seven years of my life, at least.
The memories that I have are what stops me from trusting people and getting too close to them. They’re the reason why I’m so scared of being vulnerable. I don’t want to get hurt. I don’t want to feel the pain that lasted as a result of the circumstances, all of physically, emotionally and mentally. Of course I don’t, when I’m still finding it difficult to not let that interfere with my life now, with things like intimacy and close relationships with people.
It was only then, when they were asking me this question, that I realised how scared I was. How truly scared I was of getting hurt. How can I trust someone, when all of those in the past have let me down, betrayed me and my trust, and ultimately proved that they can’t be trusted? I know that everyone is different, and that one day there will be a person who won’t do those things and will prove otherwise. Are they this person? Is that a risk that I should take? What should I be willing to do to find out?
Lucy Rebecca x