These Walls

Romper: Summer Halves, Handbag: Coach, Shoes: Aldo Shoes

Photography by Scott Simon of iHeartNola (Ig: @iheartnola)

"If these walls could talk they'd tell me to go deep
Yelling at me continuously I can see
Your defense mechanism is my decision
Knock these walls down that's my religion
Walls feeling like they ready to close in
I suffocate then catch my second wind
I resonate in these walls
I don't know how long I can wait in these walls..."

-These Walls by Kendrick Lamar

Protective. Guarded. Private. Three sides of my personality that are easily misconstrued. Protective? Yes, because I've been through many battles with other people. Guarded? Yes, because I've been through enough battles with myself. Private? Absolutely, because my business is just that...MINE. These walls of mine have been in construction since before I could even grasp the concept that "not everyone is going to like you." 

I was that shy, awkward little girl in a predominantly black elementary school, that the kids would tease; because I dressed differently, spoke proper English, and was so sensitive that if you even looked at me funny, I'd burst into tears. The girls would exclude me because I was too different and the boys didn't look my way because I wasn't the shade they considered attractive . So I'd play by myself and sneak off to my favorite art teacher's T-building, to catch up on my latest creations.

*grabs brick and mortar* *starts building*  

I was STILL that shy and awkward girl in a predominantly black middle school, that the kids couldn't really figure out. There were kids I considered friends, but looking back, I don't know if the feeling was ever mutual on their end. I was a late bloomer, so the boys still didn't look my way and at this age the girls had become more blunt about their exclusion. So I would just keep myself involved in extracurricular activities (art, yearbook staff, piano, service cubs, etc.).

*Insecurities [Walls] gradually building*

I was that young girl in a culturally diverse, (and academically esteemed) high school, that felt like I finally had room to be who I always felt I was on the inside. I wasn't the smartest, but I was average. Most of my peers still didn't understand me but there were some (that still have a place in my life) that saw more in me; even more than I saw in myself. I started getting a little bit of attention from boys, but by that time I'd already convinced myself that I was unattractive and that their interest masked their ulterior motives. Still petite, small boobs, skinny legs, not at all what the boys wanted (or so I thought). I was friends with a variety of groups, but I don't think I was ever really a part of any of them. I liked many of my peers and actively sought approval/friendships from them. I can't say that the efforts were reciprocated, but at the time I didn't care because at least they liked me [from what I wanted to believe]. I kept myself involved in dance and visual arts, using them as my safeguard.

11 years later... *walls all the way up*

I'm a young adult now. Still awkward and shy, with a touch of extrovert. Still misunderstood, but no longer caring what people think. Still learning how to love and find myself, while accepting love from others. Still kind and open to making new friends and having more success with it. I'm connecting with like-minded individuals and disconnecting with bad habits and broken friendships. I've been gradually finding success in the dating department, though the lessons are ever overflowing. [Come through lessons!!] I've grown to be more comfortable in my skin; loving my body more and more [*checks ass and thighs in the mirror* Yep, I'm good!]. I've now accepted the fact that I am indeed VERY different [self-proclaimed wierdo], and have learned to embrace all that comes with it. I've been gravitating more toward sincere and positive relationships. The Universe seems to agree with me. I'm trusting myself more, and from that becoming more trusted by others.  

Balance is the key.

These Walls that appear to have barricaded my life, are not necessarily keeping people out. They're only creating a boundary; a hurdle for those who are brave enough to try crossing. It's perfectly healthy to have boundaries, but maybe not-so healthy to keep people out. So I guess I can say that I've started building bridges over those walls. So people can easily cross over and get to know the real Christine Marie Hamilton. The walls are certainly not  going anywhere. Tolls will be paid in understanding, openness, love, joy, and will be reciprocated to all those who are willing to share it. Welcome to my life!