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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the heart; my heart specifically. I used to put on this front that my heart was impenetrable.

Impenetrable: “Impossible to pass through or enter. Impossible to understand.”

I was desperate for love growing up. So much so, that I closed my heart off. I can see how that doesn’t make sense to some, however, to the others who grew up the way I did, it is how we survived. To give you a glimpse into why I say that, I’m going to tell you a story.

I was young, around 9, I think. My cousin was staying with us for the weekend. I was very protective of my her due to our growing up and hated when she was away from me. This particular weekend, I wish more than anything she hadn’t been there. It started with loud shouting from the hallway.  As my tiny body began to tremble, I reached out for my cousin and moved her behind me. In those same seconds, my mother came crashing through my door followed by my stepdad. I quickly pushed her under my bed and sat in front her. Shielding her from the unfolding nightmare in front of us. I covered my ears with shaking hands, but covering my ears did not help my eyes from seeing the mirror crash down over my mother’s head. I watched my mother’s body fall to the floor; I yelled stop before I had time to think, realizing what I had done, I pulled my cousin from underneath my bed as he turned his attention on me. I looked into his eyes and saw nothing. Not a glimmer of guilt, only rage. I shoved my now crying cousin out the door as she was screaming for my mother and pulled her to the front door. We ran barefoot through the rain to a broken panel under the trailer where we hid. In the mud we laid listening to my stepdad pace the floor. My cousin eventually fell asleep while I continued to anxiously wait to hear another set of footsteps. It was long into the night before I heard her and by that time, I was so deliriously tired, in my young mind, I thought I had made them up. Sleep finally came to me and I woke up to my mother, bruised and battered, shaking me awake.

That is where my walls came from. My childhood was a nightmare in that of itself, but that is where my walls became thick. Okay, back to what I started with. I was thinking about my heart. It has been broken many times and is often anxious when it comes to meeting new people or investing into a new friendship or relationship. I’m cautious because I know that my heart is easily hurt. I know myself well enough to know that when I get invested, it is never halfway. I don’t love in halves, it’s just not who I am. I think I need to remind myself to be thankful for the bad part of my history as well as the good, for that is where I truly found my hope, love, resilience…and myself.