bandages over broken bones.

New Zealand.

New Zealand.

I went through a very deep relationship trauma when I was 24. And maybe because it wasn't a more significant trauma or one easily deemed to be a trauma, I never gave it enough credit for how deep it went, what it had caused.
But, the gusts of pain retreated into my tissue, into my veins, into the very marrow of my bones.

In the resting dust of it, I heaved from off of the ground, taped bandaids over cuts, took scissors and crafted gauze over wounds, wound bandages over broken bones. I wiped away fresh, bulging tears and used my hands to scavenge for thick armour instead. I started to put it on - a bevor over my jugular, a plackart for my guts, gauntlets for my hands.

And I never healed. 
What aching ditches of anger and pain and hurt that were there, that were raw and throbbing, I stored. 
I buried. 
I hid, forcing them 1,000 leagues under.

If I felt any of it, it meant that I had loved as deeply as I did.
To go anywhere near what had just crushed me entirely was to feel it all over again.

So I refused to grieve. 
And I trudged on. 

My definition of strength shifted.
I dared to voyage out on my own and seeing that I could and was capable of conquering things, I slowly built a fortress. 

I did things on my own, another brick, protection.
I did things on my own, another brick, protection.
I did things on my own, another brick, protection.

Unknowingly, my definition of strength shifted from raw vulnerability to fierce independence.
I sharpened my sword and protected everything that was left out of pain, out of fear. My heart heaved under lacerated tissue. 

I stood on watch, blood slowly running down my leg, seeping gradually over my boot rooted in the dust. Minimal evidence that I had ever let anyone in, that I ever felt for another the way that I once did.
I thought I was strong for denying to feel, but I wasn't. 

I offered my vulnerability to closest friends, to dear family, to my creativity, my work, but not when it came to love. 

If a guy knocked at the iron gate, tried to frogger his way over the heads of around-the-clock crocodiles in the sludgy moat, or threw a rope at the nearest window, if I even noticed, I would bellow down, "We can crack beers and you can stay the afternoon, but remember that I do not need you.
Do not.
Got it?"

I thought it was a well played, standard, self-preservation tactic, but what was really happening was an immediate cower.

A deep, painful, innate flinch. 

I have spent years solidifying my stance, that I am completely capable on my own. Love is an extra, a silver lining, a side. I can take it or leave it. This is what strength has looked like to me, no dependancy whatsoever in the idea. 
My armour always intact. 

I showered in that steel.
I slept in my little, rusting hauberk.

Now,
I can't deny that my armour is completely soaked and just too heavy. 
That I am exhausted. 
That I can't keep watch anymore.

My God, my love, has taken my gauze-wrapped limbs, my broken bones and bandaids into His hands and is saying, "It's time."

My eyes naturally drum up with tears and I cower again, pulling back my wounds, deathly afraid. 

"But, Father, these bandages are my second skin.
What will I do without my over-sized shield?

What if I let someone in, how will I know I have any safety?"

The kindness rolls right off of His eyes as He unfurls the Word in front of me. His finger finding the place that my heart needs to read.

"The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." Exodus 14:14.