Lovely Letters: You Can Draw Lines

Let’s do this! Round of 2 of Lovely Letters is here!

The balance between wanting to completely shut down and let it all in is really really hard. How do I “guard” my heart without shutting it off completely?

                                                                         -A

Dear A,

It’s funny, just the other day I was talking about the very same thing in a little diner near my hometown. My best friend and I were about three hours deep in a long conversation and were sipping our coffee, trying to answer that very question.

Somewhere in between sips and the last few bites of omelette, I just shrugged. “Draw a line, don’t build a wall.”

I saw something in her eyes light up and I immediately knew that she understood exactly what I meant.

Don’t let your life be something that others cannot see, don’t make yourself closed off and untouchable. Put away the bricks and mortar, take a breath.

Take a look down at your feet, all around them there is sand. The reality is, this life is sand. Our moments here in this beautiful, crazy, messy world are sitting on those shifting grains. The things you’re surrounded by now will eventually wash out to shore and you’ll have to re-evaluate the world all over again. Nothing on this earth is solid, stable, certain. It all shifts…over and over again. 

The reality is, you can’t build walls on sand. They won’t stand on that kind of foundation. And unfortunately, when you build walls around yourself on sand, they always coming crashing down and usually it’s on you, not whoever you’re trying to keep yourself safe from.

But you can draw lines. You can draw them as close or as far away from yourself as you need to. And the beautiful thing about lines in the sand is that they can be erased and redrawn. There’s room for growth, change, mistakes when you draw lines in the sand. You can decide that you need a little more space and draw it a little further out, you can decide that there’s someone you’re willing to let closer and you can bring them further in.

They’re yours to draw, A. You can draw them wherever your heart needs to. Don’t be the girl who uses her pain to lock herself away, don’t become cold and unapproachable. Don’t let love leave your limbs and ligaments, hold on to every bit of affection and enchantment you have inside of you. Don’t let anything or anybody steal that from you.

You let someone too close; trust me, I’ve been there. Forget lines or walls, I made everything in my life free admission for a select group of people, and they left some serious garbage and stains, they broke a lot of what they touched. But I learned to let go of the pain and anger because the fact was, I gave them access. 

And I chose not to regret it, not to call myself a fool; because the reality is that I did it because I knew love was worth the risk. Even in my deepest hurt, I still believe it was always worth it. But I’m not saying I would do it all over again, A.  I’m saying that now I know about lines in the sand, and I’ll know how to wait, watch, wage whether or not I really should move that line to let someone have full access.  I’ve learned to be careful with this fragile, but stunning thing that beats inside my chest.

You can’t hide behind lines. People will still see you, so there’s no opportunity for you to lie about who you are or what you’re going through. Lines aren’t for people who choose to be fake. But you, Sweet Thing, are not made for being fake and that is one of your greatest qualities. You wear your heart on your sleeve, your hurts on your face… you’ll be good at drawing lines. You can let them know you’re hurt, you can cry if you need to. A, if you need to sit down at their feet and sob on the floor; don’t you for one second be ashamed of that. You are human, imperfect, breakable… but you are also fierce and powerful. Tears and pain do not make you weak. 

But what makes you relentless, strong, and a force to be reckoned with is the fact that you’re able to get up, wipe your face and even in your pain, you can draw a line. They will see your struggles, your pain, your heartbreak; but what they have to say or think about it can’t cross your linesYour line is for you; not for them. Draw that line, but not to keep yourself from loving others, rather to guard what you let in.

Don’t shut yourself off from people, A. You’re far too exquisite to be locked away somewhere; the world needs to see all that you bring. The people that have tried to break you, they need to see you too. They need to see what it looks like for someone to draw their line on the opposite side of  what they threw their way.. Draw a line where their mistakes, jabs, lies, and problems no longer affect you. What they think about you, say to you, try to take from you can only go as far as you let it. 

You’re going to be okay, A. I don’t know if anyone has said that to you yet, but you’re going to be okay. You are going to be a pro at drawing lines and breaking down walls. Today might be difficult, you might draw a few lines in the wrong places, erase and start again. But as hard as this life surrounded by sand is, there’s always room for change.

If you’ll go back and read, you’ll see that I said you’re surrounded by sand. But you, darling, are made for standing on a rock. You can’t control the fact that everything around you is sand, but you can choose what you yourself stand on. The things around you are always going to be changing, you’re always going to have to draw lines and choose not to build walls. But who you are, what you know, what you believe… those things are made for standing on the rock. Don’t let them be something that moves and shifts with the sand.

Stand firm and steady, A. People that truly love you, they’ll wait patiently for you to erase the lines you draw. When you finally do let them come close, they’ll come stand on The Rock next to you, they’ll know about standing on things like love, honor, grace, humility. Keep holding on… and know that even though it feels like it sometimes, you’re not standing here on your own.

Standing with you,

Ashlin

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I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Lovely Letters is a new series I’m starting that will happen every Wednesday! I’ve gotten such an amazing e-mail response from many of my readers and I try to respond to as many as I can directly; and some of them have inspired me to share thoughts and ideas on my blog. You guys seriously inspire me and what you’re going through is universal and I think other people need to hear that they’re not alone.

So… if you’re interested in inspiring the next Lovely Letters post, send me an e-mail and let me know what’s going on in your life. I absolutely love hearing from all of you!

E-mail:  ashlinkayh@gmail.com

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It’s also okay to admit that they were wearing some hideous shoes….

You were always free to walk away.

From the person in the photographs in your drawer. The one you see in mirror made by their words. The person you were at your twentieth birthday. The person who became a doormat in the name of devotion. You were always free to walk away from being that person.

Shake off the dust from the muddy soles that have walked all over you. Over and over again, you let the dirt from those footprints seep into your skin. You kept telling yourself that they would eventually stop in the name of love. But they kept going and it broke your heart. You’ve been angry about that and it’s okay to admit that. It’s also okay to admit that they were wearing some hideous shoes. (I mean, no one faults you for thinking that cheap platforms or clunky diarrhea colored clogs are repulsive.)

You are required to be kind, but you’ve got no business being fake. Fake is the biggest possible betrayal to yourself. Be cordial and benevolent, but under no circumstance are you to passive, idle or sidelined when it comes to your heart.

Break silence with your liberated laughter and be unapologetic about it. It’s what makes you absolutely stunning.

You sit on countertops, have been fluent in sarcasm since elementary school, love birthdays an abnormal amount, and started rocking flannel before it was cool—back when everyone else was wearing tube tops. (Thank God you never wore those.)

That’s just who you are. Never mind that they made you a doormat in front of your own home. Peel yourself off of that concrete and walk in like you own the place… cause you do. You’ve let lies settle into your heart for far too long. Kick them out and clean it up. Scrub every crack and crevice until it becomes all your own again. 

Home is that place where you kick up your feet, tie up your hair and make no apologies for using the sleeve of your sweatshirt as a napkin.

Your heart is your home and you’ve got to stop being the doormat burglars stomp on when they come to steal your laughter. They’ll crack open your ribs and try to swipe everything that reminds you that you’re free. They come to make your safe haven feel like a den of depravity. 

Well you’re not a doormat and you’re not without means to keep the thieves at bay.

Throw a party. A party in the core of who you are. Laugh, eat cereal, paint, buy ugly sweaters, buy someone a coffee, and dance. Dance like Susan Sarandon in a department store. Forget that her hair looked unbecoming (because home is a place where you can dance with a man like Richard Gere and he will love you with or without your hair looking discombobulated).

Make the home of your heart a place where you remember that you’re always free to walk away. To walk away from the lies someone told you about not being compassionate enough, or steady enough. From the fear of fighting back. Or from thinking that it’s your loyal duty and the fate of your commitment to become a doormat…all in the name of honor.

Being the doormat of your own home is not a sign of humility and it does not make a place for you among the saints.

Don’t forget that the invitation into your heart is yours to give. Don’t lay down on that porch and let thieves take what is rightfully yours.

Lock the windows when they throw rocks of shame, disgrace and contempt. Don’t let their cheap shots even crack the smallest piece of glass.

Don’t keep everyone out, but don’t let just anybody in.

Guard the heart that is your home and let not it be damaged by the likes of those who destroyed their own. This home was built for you and is far too exquisite to be handled fearfully or without care.

You were always free. To walk away from the person you became when you laid down like a flimsy mat and let their feet leave an imprint. Oh, you are always free to walk away from that which seeks to make your home hollow.