“But then peace, peace! I am so mistrustful of it: so much afraid that it means a sort of weakness and giving in.”

17 Jun

I’m going to write an intentionally vague post here, something I’m not usually apt to do. But right now, it’s how I feel safe without passwording the post, which I really don’t want to do.

I’ve been dealing with some things in my head lately, and you know, it’s REALLY hard to NOT write it here when I’ve become used to this outlet over the last 3 years or so. But I’m still rather private in many ways, so there we are.

Nothing is wrong-there’s just stuff I don’t feel like getting into. So no freaking out.


I trusted my neighbour, he of the apple trees and ferns, he of the clenched fist and cherry. My wide eyes opened to his, and I found a hand removing my shirt and a flash in my face.

I trusted my mother to be there, and she’s not. Rotted away long ago, her voice a memory on a cold wind.

I trusted my father to protect me, and instead was greeted with sarcasm, drunken 2am sob sessions and a warm stream of urine down my bedroom door the night before an exam. My grief was lost to his.

I trusted my brother, and in return was given nothing, the past hidden under his downcast eyes and ruined life.

I trusted many other people, all of whom broke my trust, all of whom took that opportunity to stomp on me, to ridicule, to be amused at the idea that I could possibly feel deserving.

After awhile, I said no more, sealed up the walls and crossed my arms. Ain’t nuthin gettin in here.

I’m not alone in my distrust for everyone. Most people have a healthy caution around other people. But mine is different. I live with the expectation that everyone, given enough time, with screw me over in the worst possible way. I live wary, waiting for that pounce so I can move out of the way. I have no friends. It is safer that way. No one can hurt me.

I’ve spent a life running from harm, and when there’s no harm left, when all there might be is potential and newness, I become scared and witless, confused, my jester hat broken and lost. I don’t know how to trust.

How do you trust someone? How do you tell yourself that it’s safe to trust the people who say they love you? How do you let go enough to be free within that? I’m finding it very difficult to let go-it’s making me insecure and scared, and just plain old dizzy. The little part of me that’s been laughed at an abandoned time and time again, she can’t move past this.

It’s ridiculous, because I’m old enough to know that circumstances in the past do not dictate my future. But it’s a gutteral reaction, one borne of spending my life waiting for approval. My father used to joke when I was younger that it would be so much cheaper if I wasn’t around, and I’m pretty sure he meant it.

How are you sure? How are you confident that the person you trust won’t lash out at you, try and break you? How do you not end up feeling stuck like that little girl inside you?


12 Responses to ““But then peace, peace! I am so mistrustful of it: so much afraid that it means a sort of weakness and giving in.””

  1. Mad Hatter June 17, 2008 at 9:56 pm #

    Ah hon, you’re never confident and that’s why they call it trust. When you trust someone, you always keep something in reserve because only you can save you.

  2. Mad Hatter June 17, 2008 at 10:06 pm #

    Can I add that when it comes to my daughter’s vulnerability as a child and as a girl I trust no one? No one. I have experiential belief in certain people and their ability to care for her without harming her but I have no trust whatsoever. I know that you cannot trust even those closest to you. Experience bites but it makes us wiser.

  3. Caitlin June 17, 2008 at 10:24 pm #

    My mom used to always tell me that it can be nearly impossible to regain someone’s trust after breaking it, which is why you’re supposed to thinking about how your actions affect your relationship with the other person. And it sounds like the human race has given you quite a bit more reason to be wary of even not so blindingly trusting someone.

    I don’t really trust many people and I only trust one to always be there. Maybe it’s normal to only be able to trust one or two people in your life to that extent… I’m not sure. I’ve wondered if finding someone you can trust is like finding someone you love enough for a longterm relationship – there has to be that unquantifiable click of chemistry for it to even have a chance of happening.

    My best friend and I have been friends for 11 years now. Trusting each other to the extent that we do was something that happened gradually. We’d both had girl friends who barely waited before our back was turned before broadcasting what we thought were private comments, so we started small and moved on to bigger things as trust was established. Sometimes she doesn’t always do the best thing, but we have enough trust history built up that I know she didn’t make that choice out of malice. And I’m sure she’d say something similar about my missteps.

  4. sweetsalty kate June 17, 2008 at 11:35 pm #

    I wish so much you didn’t have that history that gave you those expectations, but you’re entitled to them because of it. How to overcome it and learn faith again, I’ve got no idea. Thanks to friends, I’d like to think. People you invite into your life and keep there of your own choosing.

    Bon and I and the girls at gitw have been talking about fear lately, and how our sense of it has changed. I think the same must be true for you of trust, having had it broken. But I’ll say the same thing that I say about fear – it’s the price of admission. In the case of fear you simply have to keep putting one foot in front of the other despite it, and in the case of trust, you have to extend it even when it’s against your nature (or, more aptly, against your nurture).

    Because you can’t begin to replace those expectations with something more faith-full until you risk being proven right yet again… until you extend that trust just because you can. Easier said than done, eh?

  5. Marcy June 18, 2008 at 8:36 am #

    You commented once on a similar post of mine about how you let in Mogo. Each case is different, but you have practiced learning to trust at least once.

    I think of one of my favorite book quotes, “To have no illusions and yet to love” — EM Forster, Howards End.

    Maybe the question isn’t so much about trusting others, as much as taking the risk of loving them.

    I don’t know — can we love without trust? It seems kind of lonely and half-hearted.

  6. radical mama June 18, 2008 at 9:06 am #

    I don’t know.

    I trust some people and not others, for no apparent reason. I wouldn’t trust any of my friends when it comes to my husband. No real reason, just possessiveness and fear on my part.

    I trust many people around my children, but if my kids ever mentioned something happening, I would take their word over the adults without hesitation.

    I guess I just don’t question or think about why I do or don’t trust. But it’s not an ever-present concern for me either, and I think it is for you. But I think if you want to learn to trust, you have to try. Think about the way you learned to trust Mogo and try it with another person. One person at a time.

  7. niobe June 18, 2008 at 9:22 am #

    Well, you probably know what I’m going to say before I even say it.

    Trust is, in my experience, anyway, a sucker’s game. Given the right circumstances, every single person you know and love will sell you out. And smile while they’re doing it.

  8. thordora June 18, 2008 at 9:42 am #

    and that Niobe is why you and I get along I think. 😛

    There’s just this part of me that waits for the claws. And it’s hard to look past. Incredibly hard.

  9. Bon June 18, 2008 at 1:49 pm #

    i think i parcel my trust. i make detailed judgements of people, and for the most part trust them to be themselves…i have one dear friend i’d confide in over a gin in my backyard, but would never EVER call if i needed something tangible. and her opposite, the friend i would call to feed my cat but know well not to unburden myself to. ultimately, neither have my absolute trust whatsoever. even Dave, whom i trust in ways i trust no one else, is still not absolutely safe, and still wounds me with little betrayals because i extend myself further to him than anyone else, and he is fallible. but i went in knowing that. 🙂

    so i DO trust and quite easily…but almost always partially.

  10. daureen June 19, 2008 at 3:55 pm #

    I tend to trust everyone, setting myself up for continual hurt and disappointment in my life.

  11. karriew June 21, 2008 at 6:36 am #

    Lack of trust, vague posts….I feel ya. And I’ve missed reading–need to be better about keeping up with blogland.

  12. Amie (emelia1502) June 23, 2008 at 2:10 pm #

    So many parts of this ring true for me too. I don’t know how it is possible to trust, i suppose it all takes time. A lot of time.

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