“Open Heart. Big F*cking Fence.”

This is the title of one of the posts from one of my heroes Danielle LaPorte. She wrote about what it was like to be someone whose job and platform is to be open, vulnerable, available, honest.  She was feeling drained because she felt she had to be everything to everyone, feeling everything and everyone’s everything. She felt that if she had to put up boundaries she was closing everything off. She found she can have boundaries while remaining open.

I am going to do my best to describe it because I am still trying to properly process it myself. She teaches this to everyone, and shared how this is the one thing she wants her kid to embrace over everything else. Keep your heart open, soft. Protect it with a big, strong fence.

Feel everything. Let you heart be your guide. But just because you allow feelings does not mean that everyone is allowed access to your heart. She tells her son to only allow access to the very kind people, the people that earn that privilege.

I get the idea that people have to earn the privilege. I know that people have to earn the right to have a place in my heart, and to have a part of my heart. I guess I still give my heart too freely. When I actually meet a guy that I feel like I click with and I like, I fall hard. I fall so hard I leave Sarah-shaped holes in the floor.

And I am sure the guy can sense this and it sends him running in the other direction.

AndI go the complete other end of the spectrum, too. For the ones that like me and I haven’t made up my mind about I keep the fence and keep my heart closed. This can go on for months before we realize I am never going to open my heart and this won’t go anywhere.

So I am hopeless. The guys I like I fall too hard for and I scare them away and the guys that like me I keep out. I don’t quite have the balance.

I do the same with everyone in my life, too. I feel like it takes me a long time to make good friends and I still keep my family at arms length. And when I really connect with someone like a friend or romantic interest, I want to rush it. I want to jump ahead to where we’re already besties. If I see the potential, I want to jump to recognizing that potential ASAP. I don’t want to patiently wait for it to evolve over time. I have almost no patience.

I’ve scared off potential friends as well as men this way. And I don’t know when I will learn my lesson to just be patient and let it evolve naturally. When I know, I want to jump in with both feet.

And I have had plenty of experiences where timing and the natural order of occurrences have forced things to evolve slowly. And I have had guys that I have treated as friends for years and then suddenly we act on that tension that has been between us. In those cases, there is a reason why we were friends for so long without acting on a romantic relationship- usually I knew I would rebel against their expectations and ruin both the romance and the friendship.

So I get each sentence separately. Open heart. Or big f*cking fence. I’m not sure how to do both.

I’ve been reading Amanda Palmer’s new book The Art of Asking and it’s the same concept. But I get the impression that for the most part she’s very open. She opens  her arms and embraces everything from her audiences. As she hugs them and greets them, she hears their stories and secrets. She witnesses their pain and takes it in.

I envy that and am glad it’s not me. I absorb everything from the people around me. So I worry that I wouldn’t have a strong enough fence. Or that I would have no fence at all,and eventually I would have an emotional break down.

So how do other people do this?


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