Shieldmaiden

Posted on November 5, 2013

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Brunhilde-by-Willie-Baronet-cropped

Once, during a ‘DK drive-by’ (DK’s term for his unannounced visits to my home), I bemoaned my messy hair and lack of makeup. DK fiddled with my sloppy ponytail and grinned, “I like it. It makes you look vulnerable. You’re even more sexy when you’re vulnerable.”

It took six or seven years after my relationship with Tom for my psyche to callous over my soft spots. I grew a shellacked armor that protected my heart and me. It was invasion-proof. But in keeping myself safe, I also kept myself alone. It was like standing on a tiny island surrounded by the vast, endless ocean. I was safe, but only had myself for company.

It took another six or seven years for me to be brave enough to start shucking off my protective exoskeleton. It was frightening, but I had become damn tired of standing on that miniscule island on my own. I was willing to make myself vulnerable again, because that is a prerequisite for the kind of intimacy I once again longed for.

I try to stop myself from questioning what it was about me that the person I let into my heart after so many isolated years would be someone who would cup my heart in his hands, peer deeply into it and proclaim it beautiful and a match for his – and then proceed to batter it, over and over and over. But “Why?” is an ever-present question in my mind, even though I know that, for some why questions, there is no answer.

So now, almost two years since I last bared myself to DK and eighteen months since we last spoke, I am well into growing yet another defensive shell. This one feels harder, more permanent. I am a fortress and my heart is safe inside. Safe – and alone, again.

(Last Saturday I went to the Halloween party for Dallas creative types. I was Brünhilde, that fearless leader of the Valkyries. I realized later the irony of my costume choices in relation to DK. The first year I knew him – and the first year I attended Chuck and George’s Halloween blowout – I went as a mermaid, soft and vulnerable. This year I was a shieldmaiden, armored and ready to do battle.)

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For the playlist: Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner

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Posted in: 2008, 2013, heart, mind