I let you in.
Not at first, however. At first, you remained on the outskirts of my existence, an extra in my life. I did not notice you then, and you did not need me.
You were suddenly there. My eyes were open and I saw you, and all that you were. I rarely allow visitors into my inner sanctum, but I let you in, and handed over my one and only key.
Oh, I didn’t relinquish it easily. I had guarded it so closely for many years, waiting for the one who deserved it. But then I saw you, and I heard you knock, I heard you sing out to me with a siren call I had waited so long to hear. I had been so lonely for so long, and you felt familiar.
It felt like you belonged. I handed you the key and allowed you to unlock those shutters, to shake out those dust sheets, to sneak inside. You bowled in with such interest in me, a passion that I recognised but had never encountered in another. You felt like home. Your words filled the empty corners of my heart, they disturbed the dust until it swirled around us, they actually matched your actions, and my heart began to beat so hopefully. I was bemused – were you heaven-sent?
I opened up to you in ways I hadn’t opened up to anyone, ever. I showed you my soul, my deepest thoughts. You touched my heart, and you set up camp in my soul. I offered you the pieces of me that nobody had ever seen before, and you took them gratefully, and held them so gently. You treated me like a treasure you felt lucky to have found. We were soulmates.
It was too good to be true; I should have known from the start. Things like this did not happen to people like me; I was not destined for a happy-ever-after.
I let you in fully, and I felt things change. I felt you draw away from me. And, fearing the sting of rejection, I pushed you out and locked the door. But I couldn’t cope; I didn’t want a life without you. Changing my mind, I flung the door open wide, but I was too late. I saw you with her, I saw you holding her hand. You embraced, and our eyes met over her shoulder. I felt the bottom fall out of my world. All of my hopes, all of our dreams; I saw them disappear in a blink of your eye. You turned away and you were gone, and I lost myself, falling and falling into a deep and bottomless black abyss.
The words you spoke lingered still, fluttering around me in the darkness like butterflies. I tried to catch them, to hold them close to my heart, but they eluded me and spiralled away. I was left in the dark, alone, with my dreams in tatters.
Who am I? I’m not sure I even know. And if I did, I don’t think I could put it into words. I am a mass of contradictions. A jumble of myths and metaphors, hidden behind a mask of indifference. A storm rages within, one I struggle to contain. Still waters run deep, but mine are only still on the surface. Underneath, they churn and swirl in an endless eddy of emotions. There have been times when I have lost control and been swept away by the raging waves of myself, drowning in the thrashing depths. But eventually I always make my way back to dry land, albeit a little more subdued, a little more broken than before.
I was born broken, so it is nothing I am not familiar with. I have always been the black sheep, the odd sister, the quiet, sullen soul hiding behind her books, attempting to disappear completely. I was too sensitive for this world, my mother used to say. “You belong in another time,” she would often declare. A time when things were easier, less complicated. When neighbours could leave their doors safely unlocked when they went out. When people were more trustworthy. Was there ever a time?
I was aware I was different, but it wasn’t something I could change if I wanted to. It is just Me. I am a changeling, a lost soul left far from home, abandoned to a life I have no real place in. I just don’t fit in. I am awkward and gauche, far too self-conscious in company. But then again, I am strong and outspoken, willful and independent. I am a storm, a whirlwind of activity, screaming my opinion from the top of the tallest building. Then, in the blink of an eye, I withdraw into my shell, taking my thoughts and my emotions with me, curling around them protectively and turning my back on normal life. I live in my head more than reality, scaling my castle walls with a flaming sword in hand, keeping everyone at bay with my blank exterior and Fuck Off attitude.
I am Cancer the Crab, with my hard shell and swirl of emotions. I am Fire Dragon, self-sufficient, strong-willed, and tempestuous. I am INFJ, creative, idealistic, yet reserved. I am a combination of them all, and more. I am Woman. I am Diana, the Huntress. One minute, I am a gentle moon maiden, the next I am a crazy loony-bird, my laughter ringing out loud and proud. Don’t ever try to pigeon-hole me, for I will escape the confines of your cage with little trouble. I will shock you with my impulsiveness, I will bewilder you with my withdrawal, I will forever be the puzzle that you are unable to solve.
In love, I am all or nothing. I cannot exist in the greyish hues of in-between. If I don’t offer you my heart and soul, then you won’t get my body. This is how it will always be. If only I was able to celebrate free love. If only I had the ability to lower my intensity levels, and throw myself into a more casual way of living. But to achieve this, I would lose my passion, and without my passion, there would only be apathy.
But know this: if I have chosen you, then you are indeed lucky. I can show you a love that few are capable of. But if you betray me, then I can become your worst nightmare. Either that, or I become indifferent, cold as ice, and you no longer exist to me. I can doorslam like a bitch, and in that moment when you realise that I have moved on, you will wonder if you ever really knew me at all. The answer is quite simple. You didn’t.
Lesser mortals are easily swayed by my silence, put off by the Do Not Approach sign I display above my head in neon bright lights. Not many can see past this, either through ignorance or cowardice.
It hasn’t always been this way. Oh, I have learnt my lessons on many occasions. I have been used, I have been abused, I have been burnt so many times that it eventually became the norm. I was always the unattainable, the exhibit locked away behind glass, and this is forever the way I have been treated. Men have always wanted me. They crave to have me, to possess me, to solve the puzzle that I am, to tame the wild creature I appear to be. I am a novelty, one that catches their attention easily, yet is too complicated to commit to. Once they’ve got me, and they’ve opened me up to discover the soft heart within, they flounder, unsure of what to do next. They can’t meet my expectations; few can. I give so much, yet hold so much back at the same time. I am too much of an enigma for an ordinary soul. On the one hand, I am aloof, unattainable, like an exhibit locked away behind glass. And on the other hand, I am marshmallow; loving and soft and sweet, with an intensity not many can withstand. I can change within a minute, withdrawing into my shell and shutting people out. There is too much confusion, too much uncertainty, and my wall is too high for a lesser mortal to scale.
Nowadays, I guard my heart with dragons of fire, steel shutters, and a moat, and my knights in shining armour forever fall at the first hurdle. I am not made for shallow living, or half-hearted desires.