My armor is pretty strong. I've been told that, in many cases, it's too strong.
Not only does it keep me insulated from the harsh outside world, it protects me from feeling, expressing and hurting too much.
In essence, it keeps everything in and everyone out.
"There's no time for that right now". "No one wants to hear me crying or whining". "It's not about me and my stupid feelings". "Nobody gives shit, nobody cares, so why should I bother?".
Solid. Those are some pretty solid excuses to not open up. The one that I didn't mention was "Look, I have a lot of emotions about this and, if I open up just a little bit, they'll all come rushing out".
I have said every single one of those excuses and, for the most part, believe them wholeheartedly.
Doesn't make me right. Certainly not healthy.
About three years ago, I was driving home and a song came on the radio. It was called 'Hurt'. I hadn't heard it before although it was apparently a fairly popular song.
About three minutes into it, I was crying so hard I had to pull over. I couldn't stop crying...it was like a dam burst and all of the bottled up emotion rushed out.
When I was done, I laughed for a while. Not at having to cry, or the song or how ridiculous I felt. No, I was laughing because my wife was right. Again. She told me I would either have a heart attack or burst into tears at a moment's notice.
She was right. Dammit.
That day marked the first real break in my armor. Honestly, I wouldn't have done it voluntarily, but it was eye opening. I started allowing emotions other than anger and fear (safe emotions) to live on the surface.
My wife noticed, my friends noticed and, most importantly, my kids noticed. It was like they had a new Dad. One that experiences with them. One that is reachable, open and unguarded.
They felt, rather than heard, that I loved them.
Open up. Let the armor fall a little. You will be better for it. I know I am.