It's always struck me as cliche when people talk a lot of game about "having their walls up" or that they keep their hearts "guarded" when it comes to romantic involvement.
It's usually a main ingredient in most plots of B-rated romantic comedies. Guy is "scared" of getting hurt, so he acts like he's averse to being in love, only to have those walls broken down by a girl. Same formula goes for girls too.
I don't really believe anyone is ever freaked out enough to avoid a perfectly good relationship, as much as that is used as an excuse when someone is trying to avoid being with someone. Girls try to console their confused friends by suggesting that maybe their prospective boyfriend is interested but just "scared."
Sure, we all don't want to recklessly jump into a situation that could potentially end badly. But if we lived by that rule in every aspect of our lives, we'd never invest in Wall Street, drink alcohol, throw a $20 in a slot machine or eat at McDonald's. We do all kinds of things that entail some type of risk, mainly because the experience itself is worth it (even if the result includes ending up broke, being hungover or suffering from a major case of diarrhea).
In short, the juice is worth the squeeze.
I'm one of the most cautious people when it comes to completely ridiculous things, like washing my hands or riding roller coasters. I'm a quasi-germaphobe, but my anal retentiveness has waned these last couple years.
For as long as I can remember, I've hated rides. I believe it was the dreaded dragon ride at Funderland that started it. It's hindered recent experiences at Six Flags and state fairs, but when I went to Disneyland last fall, I decided to stop being a wanker and get on the damn Matterhorn. Sure it was a small step for most people who don't blink an eye at the thought of hitting up the Goliath or Superman, but to me, it was a breakthrough. My new-found bravery led to me riding Space Mountain for the first time ever, something I swore I would never do, considering how years ago the Thunder Mountain Railroad caused me to wet myself.
Despite my quirky fears involving the incessant use of hand sanitizer and avoiding amusement parks, I've never been scared when it comes to my emotions. I guess you can say I've always worn my heart on my sleeve, and I don't regret that one bit. Yes, I've made a fool of myself plenty of times. And yeah, my heart has been broken. But I'm more resilient every single time it happens, and I go into every new experience with optimism and hope. Because really, is there any better way to start something new?
I think that being open with feelings should be encouraged, rather than the instinct being to recoil from a wound, put up a fence and play the game of "I like you, but I'm going to not act like it because that would make me vulnerable." What a world it would be if we were all open with how we felt, instead of this constant guessing and miscommunication game.
There's a great song that describes exactly how I feel about wearing my heart on my sleeve. It's called "Fearless" by Colbie Caillat.
In it, she says:
And if I end up lonely
At least I will be there knowing
I believe in love
Hopefully this closed-off attitude toward relationships and love is isolated just to my age range. If so, it's not going to stop me from being fearless either way.