Most people will only show their true thoughts and past to the people who matter to them and whom they trust. To the rest of the world they show those things which do not affect them too deeply, and keep everything else locked tightly inside.
I’m the opposite. I’m backwards. My walls and my armor aren’t built around my thoughts and past, but around my heart. I try to show myself exactly as I am, because most people can’t hurt me if I don’t let them. Not really. If someone dislikes me, even if they sneer and snarl at me, I just close the gates and decide not to care. It’s not foolproof – I can be taken by surprise – but it’s effective enough even then that I don’t particularly worry. Usually when I don’t tell people about myself it’s either because I want to protect their feelings (“the truth is, you’re just not nearly as important to me as these other people” is not a nice thing to say to someone who hasn’t asked for it) or simply because it doesn’t come up in conversation. I don’t usually mind otherwise.
Then there are the people who matter to me. The people who could actually hurt me if they tried, or even if they just thought ill of me, or sometimes even if they simply didn’t bother trying to understand me – if they decided it wasn’t worth it, for whatever reason. It is much, much harder to show myself to them. I try my hardest to keep on being myself and I think I succeed, but when my inner thoughts and secrets come up I have trouble telling them. When I think I owe them an explanation for the way I’ve been acting, it’s hard to give. Even when I just want them to understand me better, I have difficulty getting myself to actually tell them. I’m scared that they’ll think I’m strange, that they’ll think I’m whiney, that they’ll think I’m petulant and self-pitying and that I should stop trying to hide my short-comings behind flimsy excuses.
I don’t trust easily. Once I do, it takes even longer for me to believe that my trust was wisely given. Until then – and sometimes even after – I can’t stop worrying about these things.
Most people will only show their true thoughts and past to the people who matter to them and whom they trust. To show these things is a sign of the strength of their friendship – an offering they give to the other person, saying “Here is my true self and my weakness. I offer it to you so that you may understand me better and so that we may grow closer, and I trust that you will keep it safe and never use it to tear my heart out. I offer it as proof of how important you are to me.”
But I’m backwards. My willingness to share my self isn’t a sign of how close we are, but of how close we aren’t. The more I care for you, the more I fear sharing my self, because the more I know you can hurt me with it. I’ll still do it because of the first part – the strengthening of a friendship, the growing closer and the greater understanding – but I’ll be afraid to. It won’t be as easy to share with you as it would be with some person I happened to fall into conversation with while waiting for the bus.
I worry sometimes that my friends might see that I am more willing to share things with others than with them, and that they might take it to mean the opposite of what it does. It’s hard, but I try to share with them as much as I can – I try to be myself around them, after all, and that is part of who I am around others. I try. I hope it works. I hope they understand.