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Broken Windows, Crumbling Walls

Not long ago, someone smashed my windows and kicked down my door.

At first I was outraged. How dare she??? Who was this veritable stranger that thought it was her place to violate me that way?

It took a while — 6 months, to be almost exact — for me to understand that she had seen smoke coming out of me. In my stupor, I didn’t recognize it, didn’t even smell it as I watched the tree of my life begin to smolder and set the surroundings of my emotional world on fire.

Then, just as the whole thing was about to go up in red hot raging flames, she came bursting through and yanked me roughly out, leaving scrapes and broken limbs in my mind like pulling a blue spruce out the front door backwards. I clung to the door jambs of my castle and fought every word she said. I even managed to give her a few stings with my spiky needles in my desperation.

For months I just lay there watching my psyche go up in smoke. Those hot colors, that raging heat mesmerized me as I surrendered all that fury. I knew I could not go back inside that place. I had to let it burn.

Her parting words to me were, “We have many teachers in our lives, though sometimes we may not recognize them.”

I have thought about that in the ensuing months since my rescue. Always, I have resisted the teachers who pushed me the hardest. I have found ways to make my failure their fault. I have hardened myself to the guidance of some of the wisest minds and I have suffered for it. So have others who have been hit by the flak of my obstinacy.

Since then I have opened myself up to other teachers. I have begun to put myself in front of those who push me to fail, as my parents had done when I was younger. They knew there was more to me but my response was to snarl and snap and retreat to a defensive corner. I rejected their tough love.

Yet sometimes that’s the only love that works. I felt bullied when I was really being loved because I didn’t recognize the truth of their words. I know there’s a fine line and I don’t mean to minimize the experience of those who are truly bullied, but I think we have begun to lose sight of some of the wisdom that is being imparted to us by declaring that anything that makes us uncomfortable is inherently bad. In seeking to soothe myself from the pain I perceived to be inflicted by others, I was causing myself more damage than they ever could.

My walls are crumbling and my broken windows are releasing the caustic, pent up smoke of my rage. Soon all that will be left of me is wide open space where once stood a fortress against the world. Already I smell the sweet air as my spiritual lungs heal and I am able to breathe deeply again as I gaze up at the sky and see the world I had closed myself off from.

To my tough-love teachers, I can finally say thank you.

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