A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the song “Trouble Me” by the 10,000 Maniacs, in which I said that I thought it was one of the greatest songs ever written about relationships. One particular line in that post caught people’s attention, and I’ve had a number of conversations about it. I wrote, “Although our intentions may be good, keeping things that trouble us from the person we love will only end up building walls between us, rather than around us.” Since people reacted the way they did, it prompted me to think a bit more deeply about the idea of emotional walls and where they come from.
If you look it up online, there’s tons of information on the subject that runs the gamut from scientific research to self-help books to inspirational blogs. I could provide you with some of that but I think we can figure this out for ourselves. Let’s begin with what an emotional wall actually is. There are two types, right? The first is the one we have up before we get involved in any relationship, whether it’s romantic or platonic. It maintains distance between us and potential partners or friends by sending the message that we’re unavailable. It holds up a sign that reads “interested applicants need NOT apply.” Or, better yet, “NO VACANCY.” The second type of wall pertains to the emotional boundaries we put in place once we’re in a relationship. It’s the one that keeps our emotions in check, stops us from falling too quickly, and advises us against sharing our deepest worries or feelings. These can actually be helpful and positive things at the very beginning of a relationship, when we don’t want to reveal everything on the first date. Unless of course we’re on The Bachelor or Bachelorette when it’s advisable to divulge as much as you can with great haste. Otherwise, the love interest that you share with 20 other people will come on in that reflective voiceover that says, “Brittney is so closed off. I really need her to open up a bit more if our relationship is to continue. I’m hoping this helicopter date will help.” Uh-huh, sure it will. But I digress. The point is that some emotional safeguarding is prudent in the beginning, but as time goes on we have to begin to share and take the walls down or the relationship really won’t progress. The thing about both types of walls is that they’re living, breathing things that love to whisper in our ears. They tell us not to get too excited, they tell us not to answer that text too quickly, and they tell us that the other person will want us more if they have to chase us. They admonish us not to say “I love you” first. And here’s the really dangerous part: they tell us not to share our deepest worries and feelings because we’ll become open, we’ll become vulnerable, we’ll become a burden.
How do we demolish these walls and keep ourselves from rebuilding them later on? I think there are a million answers to that question, but it has to begin with allowing ourselves to realize that we truly aren’t better off being alone. We’re not wired for isolation. We’re not solitary creatures. We crave closeness, and companionship, and love. Of course, we’ve been hurt, sometimes badly, but not everyone is going to do that to us, so we have to let the hurt go and try again. It’s okay to proceed with caution, but we can’t walk around carrying an emotional STOP sign. We have to have faith in the process, and see the hurts as stepping stones, or landmarks on a journey that will take us exactly where we’re supposed to be going. In the end it all comes down to trust, in ourselves as wonderful and lovable, in our partners as compassionate and understanding, and in the universe as wise and omniscient. And what happens when you admit to your partner that you have no more walls, and he or she says neither do I? Ah well, that’s a pretty amazing feeling right? A little like you’re walking along a cliff, strong and wild and free, with the best view in the world right in front of you. This the feeling that we want to embrace, where there’s intensity, but no danger, where we feel liberated, but still safe, and where we feel loved, despite our darkest secrets and our weakest moments.
So where to begin with a cocktail? Well, tequila is such a demolition expert for so many people, that I felt it was the perfect base spirit for this drink. I had the great fortune of receiving a bottle of Jalapeño infused tequila from the folks at Tanteo that is truly fabulous. I loved its power and decided that intensity would become the theme for this drink, which is essentially a Margarita. I added Barrow’s Intense Ginger liqueur as a secondary spirit, along with Liber & Company’s Texas grapefruit shrub, both of which also pack quite the flavor punch. Lime juice and honey ginger syrup finished things off. This is a cocktail that is indeed strong, and wild, and free, carrying no STOP signs, and capable of taking down the highest walls. Proceed with caution, but only for a second. Cheers everyone. Happy Friday!
Salt the rim of a cocktail glass. Add all the ingredients with ice to a shaker tin and shake until very cold. Double strain into the prepared glass. No garnish. Enjoy!