A couple weeks ago I had a conversation with one of my best
friends about how much we share with each other. That morphed into me thinking
more broadly about what I share, with whom and why. So far, this is what I’ve
come up with…
I'm a person who is perceived as extremely open and public.
What most don’t guess is that I keep critical things incredibly close to the
vest. Part of the benefit I receive from writing poetry is that I can use my
writing as a vessel for processing important things about myself without
allowing others to approach my emotions directly.
For me, the public stance of openness is something of a
defense mechanism. Although it has
not been deliberately fashioned this way, being open about so many different
things encourages people to assume that I'm open about everything. That’s a
helpful kind of fiction even if it may be inaccurate.
I've determined that I'm a social extrovert and an emotional
introvert. Interestingly enough, that's the same pattern folks ascribe to
Abraham Lincoln and he suffered horribly from depression. Come on, future
issues! In part because of this pattern, the doors I keep open are different
than the ones others choose to leave open. It makes for an important
distinction. I think it’s also important that I open so few.
I am comfortable and confident in social situations and
enjoy them. I have typically had a large number of acquaintances and often have
been an important friend to many. Conversely, though, it’s always difficult for
me to allow others to be a friend to me, even when that’s desirable. One long
time friend has commented that she feels kept at a distance because I always
make certain that our conversations revolve around her, not me. It took too
long for me to acknowledge that she was correct.
I wonder why I work so hard to stay above the fray or, as
James Taylor sang, ‘keep my heart out of sight’. Regardless of the source, thinking about these issues makes
me particularly glad for those folks who have had the patience and love to find
my heart and hold it close to their own. I am lucky that there have been so