Of homes, relationships and building walls

Home is where the heart is

We’ve all heard it before and for me at least, it’s true. I love our small terraced house, the bedroom I grew up in, the kitchen we spent so many countless family meals in but without them – without my family, this beautiful house, our house, is just four walls.

We build our homes whilst building our relationships – one Brick at a time. Our friends, our partners… each time we forge these relationships we lay another brick around us. Until slowly through the years – we build our home. These are the people who are my home. These are the people who I will make the time for – no matter how busy and crazy life gets. These are the ones I will visit because I want to not because I feel I have to.

As we get older the people who are allowed within these walls grow fewer. At 21 I’ve already begun to experience it.

“We should catch up sometimes” has become a staple phrase for some of my old friends. Inevitably, the catch-up never happens; either I or they have other things on:

“Oh, I can’t – I’m working then”

“Dammit – I have coursework due that week”

“Sorry, I already made plans a while ago”

Until we realise that it’s been one-year, two-years… three-years since we’ve made the time for each other….

But then on the other hand, there’s the other friends who somehow, although you are both busy with University and work and life in general, you always somehow, somehow make time for. And these are the people within your walls – who are a part of your ‘home’ – who you believe always will be.

We form these relationships – these tight nit ‘always there for you’ relationships – without realising it. You just click. And through shared experiences, laughter, warmth… you build a home without noticing.

It’s easy to build these homes.

But what’s also easy – stick with me here, please- is building high walls. Not the type to surround you and your loved ones but the type which are straight up barriers between you and someone else.

Maybe they hurt us. Maybe it was a misunderstanding. Maybe it was stupid, stupid fight.

But to protect ourselves we say – no, enough. We lay the bricks down, fast and hurried. We put all our strength into it, shout words we may not mean, solidify it.

And just like that a wall is built.

And these are damn strong walls.

Maybe we’ll be glad for a while admiring our work. Burn with self-righteous anger.

And then time passes. A week. A month. A year.

And suddenly, it’s hard to remember exactly what happened. You feel wronged. They feel wronged.

Perhaps, you’ll see each other in the street, a family gathering, a wedding and you’ll be polite enough but… that’s just about it.

And then maybe, maybe one day you’ll wish it could all change. That the walls could break down. That you could discuss it. Properly this time. Or perhaps, just leave it all in the past and move on..mend the relationship.

We see it all the time. Families forging walls over an inheritance or friends laying down the bricks between each other over miscommunication.

And sometimes – yes, walls need to be built to protect ourselves from those who will hurt us.

But sometimes…

Our anger is just to quick to flare…

Or there are misunderstandings after misunderstandings that we don’t take the time and effort to clear up…

Or ‘I’m sorry’s’ that we want to say go left unspoken because of pride or fear or embarrassment…

So the wall is built up and when we finally decide we want to see the other side, we find we can’t because from experience, tearing those bricks down is bloody hard.

Photo credit: krosseel




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