"I have sensitive skin," I say. "It itches."
The reason trips off my tongue so easily now. It's the reason I use. It's what I say. And it's true--partially.
But at the very depth of me, there is another reason, too. I've never liked wearing my wedding ring. Because at the very core of who I am: I hate the idea of being owned.
One of my friends got a tattoo. It was her husband's thumbprint--on her neck. I was happy for her. But I couldn't imagine a man's thumb on my neck. Even a man I loved.
"You push and pull," another friend says to me. "You open up but then you push me away."
This is true. I am push. I am pull.
I don't like this about myself. Or maybe I realize others don't like this about me and that makes me think it's a character defect?
"You're a difficult personality," my husband explains, gently. Yes. I've heard this all my life. I am difficult, unpredictable. I don't make it easy for anyone.
Thankfully, my husband enjoys a challenge. He always has.
All my closest friendships usually begin with fights. Either I question you or I fight a battle for you. Sometimes this ends disastrously. And I've had to learn from my mistakes, but it's also been deeply rewarding. I take big risks in relationships. I am not content with the surface. I always go deeper.
Sometimes I strike pure gold. Sometimes I land flat on my ass, broke.
But even when I find those cherished, rare relationships, I still keep a distance. I'm sorry for this. It's just. I've fought so ferociously for my freedom and I'll never let anyone own me again.
An employer had me fill out a personality quiz and I falsified the answers because I didn't want to give her insights into my personality. Somehow it felt like giving her ownership over me.
I'm always wary about getting too close. Sometimes I'm not sure if the battle is over or if I have to keep fighting for my freedom. Which is why, I guess, I sometimes act like a jumpy, spooked horse. I like being wild. I like being free.
This push/pull. It's an area where I need healing. It takes me a long time to trust others. Even though I open up, I often pull away.
I even do this with my husband. I don't wear his ring. He is incredibly patient and he could really care less if I wear the wedding ring. I love him for that, even as I push him away. He is my safe place but I still like the spaces between us. I like boundaries.
Because sometimes I need to hide.
There are two safe places. In these places, I feel perfectly held--but not squeezed. I find it in the love of my children. They've taught me so much about unconditional love and forgiveness. I am open to them, always. My heart walks out the door with them, everywhere they go. There is no push/pull, here. In the love of my children, it is always pull close, pull closer.
I also cease from push/pull in silence. I find it in meditation. I know how to burrow down into that place, to check into that place deep inside.
I think this place is God. God meets me in silence.
I want to go to this place more often and sit with this question: how do I cease the push/pull? How do I stay open? How do I trust others with my heart?