Such a simple word but one that I like a lot.
I used it twice today on people in my life who have really, really hurt me.
First, “Kirsty” is back in my life. When I say ‘back’, I actually mean “at the very edges” of it, but there nonetheless. This is a tricky one because it’s been such a rough history between us. I read a saying somewhere on facebook that really resounded with me “when you think about tearing a fence down – take time to remember why you put it up in the first place“.
That spoke to me because my memory is shocking.
Also, metaphorically speaking – I’m a fence tearer – not a fence builder – at heart. I love forgiveness. I love being friends. I love ‘starting over’ and I love knowing someone is back in my life rather than leaving…so remembering why I put the fence up in the first place starts to get a bit hazy.
But on the other hand…because putting fences up is so rare…it stays on my heart – the feeling of it. Of erecting the wooden poles and pushing them deep into the ground so that the fence will hold stable over time.
Why did I put the fence up between Kirsty and I?
To keep my heart safe.
That’s literally all there is to it.
My heart is a flighty thing. It believes the best, hopes for the most amazing things and takes a lot of really, really big risks.
When someone knows that about me but still goes ahead and breaks my heart, then yeah – I start to consider putting a fence up. When someone breaks my heart more than once, I start measuring up fence poles…and when I feel violently attacked, abused and frightened – then the fence gets hammered into place.
To be fair, I was wrong in many ways, too. I’m sure I hurt Kirsty and Ted.
But this is where it’s all hazy…because we each remember things differently. I remember being rude and saying rude things. I shouldn’t have done that and I was sorry and apologised. It was after that apology that Kirsty continued to be hurtful. That’s how I remember it and that’s why the fence went up – because I just kept getting hurt. We agreed to try to be friends once the dust had settled and oh my gosh, I was so excited…and then Kirsty emailed me that she had ‘changed her mind’ and didn’t want to be friends anymore. That crushed me because it cost me so much emotionally to agree to try. To be then pushed away before I’d even started to mend…was too much.
About a week ago…the words: “Truce? We miss you” appeared in my inbox and instantly – INSTANTLY – I wanted to start anew.
I love truces!
Let’s begin again!
But then it all got a bit wobbly because I was fighting a really bad chest infection and trying to move house as well as work long days. It was all too much. On my walk to the Doctor’s office/surgery my phone rang and I answered, thinking it was the Doctor confirming my appointment.
Hearing Kirsty’s shaky voice threw me off-guard and off balance.
I was struggling to breathe and felt so unwell that trying to make ammends with an old friend was just too overwhelming and I ended the call after only a few short moments.
Kirsty might see that as me being rude or me being disinterested. I was just so unwell.
Since then, I’ve sent her quite a few emails – just “hey” (again, that word) and just telling her a little bit about my day.
And once I’ve hit ‘send’ on the email to Kirsty…I refresh my email account hoping to get a “hey” in return.
Should I start putting the fence back up? Only this time with a signpost saying “LEAVE AS IS”?
I just don’t want to be messed around with, anymore. Not again. I couldn’t survive another heart break with this friend of mine.
The other “hey” I sent…was to my brother.
I deleted his number from my phone. Again – not to hurt him – but to protect my heart. It was killing me to keep messaging “Please forgive me, Jay – I’m sorry” and hearing nothing back. It was hurting me to call and hear it go to Jay’s voicemail when anyone that knows him knows he’s tethered to that thing. It was stressing me out to wonder what on earth more I could do to mend the bond between my brother and I when he clearly didn’t give a sh*t.
So months ago, I deleted it. I had to. Then, without access to Jay’s number, I wasn’t able to grovel anymore. I wasn’t able to make myself the baddie in all of this. I wasn’t able to keep asking and begging “please” when really, Jay had a lot to apologise for, too.
It was something I needed to do and I’ve been a million times better health-wise since I’ve done it.
But today, I was scrolling through my contacts list on my new (ish) phone for my friend Joe’s number. We were meeting for lunch and I wanted to text him that I would be a few minutes late…
…and there it was…as if I had never erased it at all.
Jay’s name and number on my phone’s contact list.
I held the phone in my hand for ages.
Staring at it.
Where did this appear from?
I chewed my bottom lip, the saying about fences circling in my mind “take time to remember why you put them up in the first place”
Because he hates me and has no problems showing it
Because he hurts me and has no problems doing it…I secretly think Jay enjoys it.
Because even though we are related, he is of the mind that he’s 1000 times better than me. Smarter than me. Better looking, wealthier, more popular…the whole thing…and he likes to remind me of this at every possible opportunity.
Someone who loves you just doesn’t do that.
But even so, my hands clicked on the screen’s keyboard…lighting up each letter and making it appear bigger than the others for the brief second my finger landed on it’s key:
And you know what?
It changed me.
It changed me into someone anxious. Someone upset. Someone fragile.
It changed me from happily humming Christmas carols at my work desk, to frowning and holding my breath – and constantly checking my phone for a reply.
For any reply at all.
Even an angry text in response.
Because if Jay replied – it would mean I meant something to him.
It would mean he got my message – DIDN’T IGNORE IT – and responded.
It would mean I reached out – and that he reached back.
And I’ve felt physically sick since hitting ‘send’.
I tore that fence down that I’d put up between Jay and I – and it cut my hands to shreds.
And my heart.