Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I heard an odd comment recently, “You have a lot of walls up.” Are you talking to me? If you knew about my anonymous blog, you would know you’re wrong. And my friends of 20 years or so would tell you that you’re crazy. What I said out loud was . . . nothing. Not one word. OK, maybe a few walls. Still, I’ve worked hard to install windows and doors in those walls.

And walls aren’t all bad. They keep you warm and safe. Now that I’m the only adult in my household, I must be extra vigilant to keep the bad guys away from the nest. It’s not like I never go out of my comfort zone. I make myself uncomfortable all the time.

I’m not in the mood to embarrass myself at this moment, which brings to mind a story about my friend Quinn. Quinn is the only person I know who might embarrass herself more than I. Let’s just say people she cares about saw her do an embarrassing thing outside a Super Bowl party. When she tried to play it cool back in the main party area, she tripped and fell on a perfectly flat floor with no hazards, giving herself a black eye that lasted for weeks. Knowing Quinn is to marvel at her mishaps.

That was totally off topic but I’ve been meaning to get it in somewhere. Anyway, the thing is I speak up more than I ever have. In fact, I’m very pleased with my speaking up. I’m also cringing, because when you speak up more, you expose your faults as much as your strength. You can’t let a little cringing ruin your day though.

I opened a bottle of tea at work today, and on the inside of the cap was a quote by Rigoberta Menchu, “Peace is not a little white dove. It is you and me.” It’s a message drilled into my brain since birth; my mother always says, “If we can’t get along, how can we have peace in this world?”

Menchu embodies an interesting duality of fighting for what matters and making peace. And when it matters, it’s much better to have boundaries than walls. You have to speak up to establish a boundary; you’re visible. But that takes work. To reserve energy for the good fight, a nicely placed wall can do miracles to keep the peace. The trick is knowing when to take the wall down and when to put it up.


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