So...all those lovely defenses I spent my whole mission building up, all those walls of self-assurance, all those hard barriers that held fear and self-consciousness and insecurity at bay--in short--all the things I did to make me almost impervious to the opinions and judgments of others...failing. It was easy to come home quietly and see the same people all the time for four and half months. But it is an entirely different thing to be confronted by hundreds of strangers every day. I'm starting to get dents in all of my defenses and i'm afraid that there is going to be a serious breach soon.
I ran into one my former companions today and told her--amidst other more light-hearted conversation--that I was beginning to feel so vulnerable when just days ago I had felt totally unafraid of anything. She wisely told me that it was normal and that it was, in fact, necessary, because the kind of barriers we put up around us on our missions didn't really have their place in the normal world. It is, of course, okay to be confidant, but not to place yourself out of range of other people, emotionally. Does this make sense? Mostly likely not. But the point is that I was reminded today that a little vulnerability is necessary to connect with people. To really connect, I mean. A lot of people probably feel as small as I do this time of year.