When we lived together as a family, we never locked the house or the car. It started out as a social justice statement. We trust our neighbors, and we trust the community. We were willing to risk being hurt rather than deny the neighbors something they might need from the house. Besides, there are no more ditz-brained people when it comes to keys than Dave and I are. So, leaving the house and the car unlocked was just plain easier.
But lately I've been locking the door. In fact, I changed the locks, and I lock the door. I've even been locking the car, and I assure you no one wants to steal my car. I still trust my neighbors. I'm still, on some level, willing to make the social justice statement of leaving my house open.
Nonetheless, it seems to me that my project these days is to learn to protect myself. I don't want to lock my heart as well as my house; that way lies bitterness and a different kind of pain. Yet, part of being the grown-up in my own story is to ensure my own safety. Locking the door is really only a symbol. Every time I leave the house, I have to think to flip the lock and grab my keys -reminding myself that it's my job to keep me safe. Every time I arrive back home and have to fish my keys out of my pocket, it's the same reminder in reverse.
This could absolutely go too far. Some vulnerability is probably a good idea, although that's really a little hard to imagine these days. But, a mistake I without question made was to trust that the people who (used to) love me wouldn't hurt me, at least not on purpose. I settled back and let Dave take care of me way more than was appropriate. When he decided to stop doing that, I lost everything. I haven't lost sight of the fact that I took care of him in some ways, too. (He has lost sight of that, but that's another story.) But I'm trying not to care how he's doing. My job right now is to take care of myself.
Why is there so little joy in discovering that the joking statement I've so often made, "It's all about ME!", is for right now true? Oh well. Be careful what you wish for, I suppose