Friday, December 31, 2010

Walls people build

Some chick once said we don’t build walls to keep people away, but to see who are the ones brave enough to climb them. I believe it’s the other way around. The simple logic and basic functionality of fences and walls is their ability to separate. Man from the cold, garden from annoying neighbors, town from invaders. To keep away. Now, the only place where trespassing is portrayed as acceptable and even desirable are fairy tales. Like when Sleeping Beauty’s prince goes through all that trouble to get inside the castle to wake her up. Or when some Prince Charming fights the monster to save his princess. (I may have a thing for underdogs, but I sometimes cheered for the monster. Nobody asks them why they steal beautiful girls. Maybe they’re lonely, maybe the chicks dig their bad boy attitude. I see the symbolism, but in real life there are more than monsters and princes. Sometimes you even get both in the same package. But next time on fairy tales.)
The thing is, we need these walls. They are a natural protection against all evil. The more trauma, the more walls. Some people are so damaged, they have multiple-layered walls. Out of steel. Some have pretty walls and towers and all, in order to be inviting to passer-bys. But always being advised to tear them down is just stupid. In order to let people in, humans have invented these interesting things called doors. There is a name for climbing up the walls in order to get in, and that is invasion. You want in, stand there, in front of the door, let yourself be seen, knock and wait. Social protocol was designed for a reason, it’s supposed to make our interactions easier and decrease the risks of conflict. So the way I see it, walls should be cherished and boundaries respected. To those who have built them, they bring warmth and safety.
And when you are allowed in, there’s so much to discover that was not visible from outside. Sometimes we like what we find and we move in if invited. Sometimes we even make alliances and exchange keys. Sometimes we walk around for a while but get bored and on to another adventure. Sometimes we are terrified by what we see inside, run outside and never come back. We may come visit from time to time, we may be there just once. We are individuals, and individuality comes with boundaries. Getting to know somebody will always happen on their territory and the other way around. Being too invasive might make them feel threatened and show you out. Being stubborn about meeting them on neutral grounds will only allow you a short glimpse of what’s actually there.
So when you are invited in, take the chance. Even if only out of curiosity. And when you want in, do it the right way. Knock. Wait. And when the doors have shut behind you or might never open, let it go, move on, the adventure is probably elsewhere.
I’ve tried for years to bring my walls down and I’ve been pushed to do it so many times but now I believe those people were just lazy. Or had no understanding of what walls are made of and why. Stone after stone makes us who we are. From an early age we learn to see ourselves as distinct individuals. The songs we sang, the little pleasures and scars, the people who’ve stopped by to help us put on another stone, that’s how we build. We don’t just build to keep away. We build to stay inside. A place from where we can observe the world and try to make sense of it. Of course we go visit others as well, we travel, we explore. But we always need a place to call home. And I believe we like to have friends over. And lovers too. So trust me, people who want you over will keep the doors open for you. It happens sometimes that they’re taking a bath or singing (more like shouting) to the Rolling Stones in their pajamas and can’t hear the door bell ring. But check your pockets, you might have the key.

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