For many of us, our armor is a big part of who we are. It’s been with us through the decades and at times feels like the only thing we can really trust. We spend years building it, carefully constructing the pieces, and we are meticulous in their placement, protecting areas that have ached before.
We are so accustomed to its presence that it becomes hard to know where it ends and we begin. It latches on as part of our identity and morphs us into who we think we are or who we think we need to be. We become tireless in our searches for any minor chinks, because the notion of reinforcement is imperative, and our perception becomes blurry and skewed as we easily dramatize its value.
However, it is there for a reason and definitely serves a purpose. It’s there as a buffer and our main line of defence. It’s there to protect our wounds and to silence the emotions we aren’t able or willing to express, and it’s there to keep vulnerability and sensitivity at bay, so we can experience the world in a somewhat smoother and more uncomplicated manner.
So yes, the idea of leaving it behind is a scary one, but it’s not nearly as frightening as the idea of keeping it on.
We shield ourselves from the world as a way to survive. If we hurt less, if we limit the pain we experience, and if we muffle the heart, we think that we can endure more, and maybe we can, but definitely at a great cost. Because when we cushion how we feel, yes, there may be less damage from the bad, but there is also less impact from the good.
We miss out on the richness and the depths. We miss out on the closeness and the warmth. We miss out on the effects and the connections, and most importantly, we miss out on each other.
Being able to relate to one another, to feel seen and understood, is at its very core a human need. When we expose ourselves to one another and we lift the bandage off the gashes, we create an opportunity to heal and grow. We create conversations and exchanges that have the strength to imprint, to influence and to make a permanent mark. We create real moments with real feelings that have the power to feed our souls until the end of time, and we create a way to truly live instead of just a way to survive.
There comes a time in everyone’s life when something starts to shift. Our old ways of doing things, how we cope and approach the world, become detrimental. Instead of a smoother and more uncomplicated experience, we are faced with a difficult and messy one. And although this transformation may be an uncomfortable one, it’s something we should truly be grateful for.
Our true selves are finally speaking to us, and if we are fortunate enough, we are finally listening. They have waited long enough, below the surface, underneath all the layers and coverings, and now, all we can do is hope that they come to our rescue. Hope that they come to release us and that they help us to finally let go of our armor and let down our guard.
And when we do, when the weight comes off our shoulders, we will take a deep breath. We will feel ourselves stretch and move without containment and restrictions. We will let our bodies relax as the grip is loosened, and we will dance ourselves into our newfound freedom with open arms and a smile, because we are one of the lucky ones who have found their way home.