A man I was involved with, who later stayed a friend, once told me that it is impossible to have a superficial relationship of any sort with me. It is, he said, my blessing and my curse. At the time, I was flattered and only heard the blessing part of that statement. The curse component has become more apparent with time.
I have realized that the reason for this blessing/curse is that I find banality intolerable. And by banality, I do not mean fun or humor or light-heartedness — surely only a true fool doesn’t see the immense value in those things. I just cannot maintain more than temporary contact with people with whom I must be guarded or to whom I must play a role or feel that the topics of conversation are limited to “safe subjects.”
Being open to the world has granted me some amazing opportunities to know people who astound me and inspire me and create a richness and texture to my life that would not exist without them. I have been places and had experiences that would never have been available had I been more timid or closed off or fearful. But my heart also bears the scars and bruises that come from taking the kinds of emotional chances that I do. I am the first to admit that sometimes it is unwise to allow people in as easily or as quickly as I do. I sometimes envy my friends who are more judicious in allowing people in, more reserved in revealing themselves. I envy their sense of self-preservation. It seems so natural and so smart.
Last week, I visited my bank and had a short interaction with my bank manager. As I was leaving, he stopped me and told me that it was always nice to see me because he considers me a friend. Then he seemed surprised at himself for his own candor and blushed. There was nothing untoward in his words, no sexual advance or innuendo in how or what he said. I think he just let his guard down for a moment, for reasons I’ll never know and he didn’t expect.
My blessing and my curse.