The Scent of Dying Fields
Alberta has a smell in the fall. Especially in the morning. The first month of frost begins to kill the grass and whatever else has been planted in the fields. This decay hits the air most potently in the morning. You can get this smell in Atlantic Canada too, but due to the fact that most of us are living within a few kilometres of the water, the salt air neutralizes the smell. So when I would walk to school in the morning in Valleyview Alberta, the smell of decay would be present as I walked through the doors of Hillside High.
Hillside is where I built my armour. It was the place where I started to realize the role that the world had for a person like me. So I had two options, I could accept it, become the character that the world seemed to want me to be. Or, I could fight it, take a role that was closer to what I had in mind for myself. I chose the latter.
Unfortunately, the world doesn’t necessarily abide those kinds of choices. The armour required to endure the pressure of growing up as a fat kid, quickly became a weapon. One that was used against friend and foe. Not wanting to be something, quickly turned me into something that I also didn’t want to be, an asshole. But I reconciled with myself that at least I was choosing that role. At least I could take that satisfaction.
When we put on the armour, when we refuse to take it off, we may be safe, but we are closed off from the world. We don’t grow, we don’t change, we miss out on the rare beauty that is being truly vulnerable to another person. In fact, our armour can become so air tight that nothing penetrates. Our soul, our spirit and ability to connect starts to rot. The result is that life can become a constant fight, a struggle without relief, and soon enough you realize that the best parts of yourself are experiencing the same fate as the grass lands of Alberta, a cold and lonely decay.
I have two missions for you, not including sharing this post with people you think could benefit from reading it:
Acknowledge what your armour is doing to the way you view the world and the people in it.
Acknowledge that humans adapt to survive, not to thrive. So this armour that we all wear, it keeps us safe, but it also keeps us from living the lives we truly want to live.
This was my life. Not everyone can develop the armour fast or strong enough to get through the tough times. Or sometimes they do such a good job that armour becomes a prison. I am still working to shake off the habits and automatic actions that my armour has instilled in my mind. The more I do, the more I can love completely, the more I can grow, the more I can truly be happy.
Support each other, the unguarded moments in our lives are so few and far between, that we usually need to polish off a bottle of whiskey to see them. It only takes one instance of vulnerability being punished for the armour to become permanent. And, vulnerability only needs to be rewarded once to create a new world for that person.