Landscapes - Zvonimir Fras

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The Walls We Build

... and the road they lead us to.

We build walls to keep others out. It started with bears (before Teddy Roosevelt made them cute), dragons, mammoths, witches, and magical creatures. Also weather, cold, burglars, ninjas, and other real threats. From there it continues to every other aspect of life.

We want to feel safe and not get hurt. We want to protect those we love and sometimes things we own.

So we lock ourselves from the world and create our own micro-cosmos between our walls, where we can choose who lives and dies, who's allowed in and who's left in the cold. We diligently look for holes in it and plug them with the best material we can find so nothing could slip through. And they get the job done!

Our walls protect our status quo. Well, they try really hard to, after all that's the reason we nurture them so thoughtfully.

Investing all that energy in them, and time we spend between them, it's really easy to miss everything that's wrong with the concept.
They also keep you in.

Even though that's kinda the point, they represent your comfort-zone. The box you're thinking in. That place you retreat to when you want to feel safe.

If you don't have something in it, meh, you'll get by just fine without it. You managed so far.

That said, world is a wonderful place and even if your walls do have windows, you can only explore so far from within their safety (also, those metal bars are kinda blocking the view). And world is a wonderful (maybe little terrifying) place, that constantly changes. So even if you think you saw everything, there is always that new thing out there that will positively surprise you when you stumble upon it, once you dare to step out of your walls.
They are fragile.

Giving their life for your protection from the outside, they take all the heavy hits from the environment. They break little by little and some rain pushes through from time to time. So you need to mend them all the time from the inside. That makes your personal space smaller.

It all works well until something too big lands on them, tears them apart, and leaves you open and vulnerable.

You're looking for holes and you're fixing them your whole life, and you always find more just when you thought you're done. They'll always be unfinished. There will always be some hole someone can use to dig an opening and slip through. And then, they are in for good.
Once you let someone in, they aren't getting out.

Take a look at 5 to 10 people you spent most time with, ones you confide in, ones you're there for when they need you. Those few made it through your wall. Maybe they sneaked in when your wall was weaker and easier to penetrate, and then you built a fortress around them. Maybe you let them in through the front door and now they keep you company and make your days more bearable.

You wanna care for them and won't let them go to the open where scary stuff happens. Did you know there was a dragon two blocks away that spits fire, eats people alive, and only a strong wall can stop him? Yeah, you better not leave here. He eats babies too, that's for desert. And he's always hungry!

You're also within their walls too. And those are not the same walls as yours!

What happens once either of you wants to get out and be more?
You guessed it! You can't go out, they'll tell you it's scary outside and bring you down with all they have to stop you from penetrating their wall back out. You can't blame them, you'd do the same for them.

Then what?

Make a tiny hole and sneak out when they aren't looking, find other explorers like you. Suddenly you're stronger! You have assistance on breaking out of other people's walls. Some will come with you, some won't. These are the wrong people for you, and you are wrong people for them. No hard feelings. Maybe it just wasn't the right time.

Without knowing it, you start rebuilding your walls slowly. In a better place, why wouldn't you. The thing is, if it's a perfect place you wouldn't need them. But things change. When you repeat this process enough, you realize that happy place is outside those walls, between those builds. Break often.

Yes, you can get hurt outside, you can even die. You can die from a backstabber inside, too, and you won't see it coming either. And those walls of yours will break at some point from the outside pressure, and you will be left in the open.

Now what?

Venture out of your walls often, get used to the open space, get more nimble, dodge a few, fight a few, get stronger, faster, happier. Maybe you decide you don't need your walls anymore, maybe you don't. At least you'll be ready when someone or something blows them to dust.

In the mean time, look around, get in touch!