I’m not bouncing back.
I can’t tell you how I have lost resilience but it is like that racquetball after being dipped in liquid nitrogen. It may look the same if you didn’t notice the wispy trails of condensation following it down to the floor. It still is round. It still is blue. But it will not bounce back like it used to.
When it hits the floor this time it will shatter.
So I don’t call you anymore. I don’t seek your company. I don’t look to be reconciled. I can’t handle the stress. I don’t think I can.
Because my resilience you see used to be a functioning part, not only of who I was, but of the relationships I had. I could endure people with hard edges, who said the wrong thing and rubbed people the wrong way.
I could be dropped and I would bounce back. I could serve you and accept your apology and retain my shape and color and the consistency of my being. I did not think of my own safety. I was resilient. I could bend. I could be flexible. And it wasn’t an act. Bouncing back. I would be there for you again and again and again. I could take a little rough handling and it was fine. And it was joy..
And then one day I realized that once hurt deeply, my heart froze solid like that ball. And I could no longer hit the floor without shattering. I could no longer endure your jokes without some ache, or your temper without damage. I could forgive, but the scars would serve to me as a warning… that next time I would shatter. I need to retreat to places that are more gentle. Where the expectations of interaction are dialed back.
I have already lost and I can lose no more. Even though I need you, I can’t take the risk of one more hurt.
And so you sense a distance. And it isn’t because I don’t love you as I once did or that I am not your friend. It is that I am not the same man. I don’t feel the joy that I once did. I don’t see the hope I once saw. I am colder. I am brittle. I can’t bend. I am not flexible and even though I may smile and nod and pretend that everything is alright.. I hurt. Everything hurts. All the time. And I might just shatter. And as much as you haven’t changed, your roughness is a threat to my heart now. And I have to think about that.