05/12/2015 02:54 pm ET Updated May 12, 2016

Breaking Down the Walls

When you think of the word boundary, what do you envision?

For some, the concept of limitation comes to mind. For others, it suggests protection. I would accept both as true.

As I look at my own life, I understand the identity I embody. I came here contemplative with a touch of shyness. I didn't mind being alone and to this day I say I enjoy the hell out of my own company.

Perhaps my solitary nature was to protect a rather soft-shelled soul.

But somewhere along the path, I started to reinforce that shell by building a wall to shield me from the things that hurt. They may seem trivial in the big scheme of things, but let's suspend the notion of a hierarchy of pain for a few moments.

Much of the reason our issues remain unresolved is that we refuse to acknowledge the cumulative impact of isolated stings. Unchecked hurts haunt us subconsciously.

With each slight (or perceived slight), a brick was laid to build a very sturdy wall.

Maybe it was the obvious disgust of the boys who didn't want to touch me in swimming class when we had to learn CPR.


Maybe it was the two men who had to carry me down from a ski trail when I fractured my ankle. "Damn, how heavy are you, kid," they laughed as I cried from pain and embarrassment. I was 10. I was approximately five feet tall and all of 100 pounds.


Perhaps it was the dude who sat behind me in junior high and whispered crude, sexual remarks that no one else could hear.


It could have been the university academic advisor who made it very clear that she did not see or believe in my potential despite my honor student status.


Or the guy who long ago said to me words that my inner critic would continue to echo, "Who would want you?"

Brick. Brick. Brick.

Before I knew it, a wall was built. Not aggressive or angry, but rather one that just rendered me invisible. If I could just remain unnoticed, then maybe these hurts would pass me by. I would remain in my fortress dodging any stray offences that may have come my way.

For the last 10 years of my life, my soul calls for me to come out from behind my barricade. The pen and stage demand that the wall be dismantled if I'm ever to have a lasting sense of peace.

As I surrender to my personal evolution, I understand that what I once considered protective has become a hindrance. And though I've come incredibly far these past few years, there are times when I feel like getting my construction tools back out.

But I won't.

Enough of the wall has come down to where I can stand on top of it and look out. I see the infinite possibilities waiting on the other side. Despite the occasional strike, my progression requires my vulnerability. I'm never going back.

One has to be aware of the duality of boundaries. Built out of necessity, they often serve as protection, but the same boundary can become an impediment over time. Where in your life have your once needed boundaries turned into barriers? What walls have you built that now need to come down?