Here at my castle there's a guard at the gate. In my castle I hold the keys to all my past, and to my present, and wonder about the future. Given the Internet, and my computer, and social media, I can see or look up and find the 'friends' and family of days gone by. They do not see me in my dressing gown, my coffee beside me getting cold, nor do they feel the tears I at times have at the fond memory of this one or that. I am preserved, digitally, as are they. And each to each we no longer are actual realities, shaking hands, seeing into each other's eyes. We can but assume tone from text. We can but hope that the love and hugs and kisses are meant with sincerity. We can but harp on old feelings, old memories, and recall the details or feed the need to add yet more. Yet who really cares how many laundry-loads I do today? Perhaps the devil is in the details. Almost every phrase can appear narcissistic, self-reflective though it (and this) may be.
Thing is, the guard at the gate needs a password, needs assurance that your missive to me is well-intended, is authorized. (It can be daunting to find, or to reach the other.) When last did we communicate? What are the details we recall, that we ought better to recall? Should someone have lost a mother or father, and I've forgotten about it, I may well be remiss in asking after their health! Then too, there are too many of our friends who face death and dying, it seems, far too early. And what of those far older than us? There are the effects of stroke, the results of which are the heart-stopping attacks that we fear. There are the aches and pains of a thousand natural circumstances. In sharing, some persons are happy to spare no details; others are most circumspect. A modicum of happy mediums, usually, is in the modifier. (Must one always be on guard?) But at least, when asked, and ensconced within the purview of my own castle, I am at liberty to choose just how much to reveal of my otherwise private ails.
Long-distance relationships tend to do that to us; they divorce us from intimacy, real intimacy, in which one can see, hear, touch, and smell the other. (Writing that much helps us to stay in touch, ha!) "Familiarity breeds discontent," goes the saying. And being with and around anyone too long can indeed strain at whatever romance, adulation, favour, and even respect one may harbour for the other. "Beware disliking the faults in others," the adage goes, "they are in you." (It often takes me by surprise just how comprehensive that ‘they’ is!) And in exercising compassion, in being aware of the need to be yet more integrative, one can grow and grow. “Don’t hide your light,” says Professor Morrie Schwartz. Yet still, there is the guardian at the gate. We choose our words carefully, or not. We consider and then act with care, or not. We try to assume nothing 'wrong' with another, yet we hold the other in abeyance with our judgement or appraisal, or not. And we certainly don't always do our best with whatever we've got at the given moment, for we are innately lazy. "Laziness is the original sin," says Scott Peck. So... I do not communicate with you as often as I 'should'.
Guarded, and careful, I allow you the news I think you'd like to hear; or worse, I take in and recall only the news from you of interest to me. (One does not necessarily listen to the other.) We are creatures unto ourselves, each moving about with our own interests. Birds do that. Utterly focused on what each hopes to find in someone else's turf; only at the provocation of alarm do they flock off. "Birds of a feather flock together," is Holland's Theory. It is the guard at my gate that disallows the looky-loos. That guard has me kept safe. And when you attempt to visit, or to come find me, or to drop in (unexpectedly), that guard can find curt phrases and intellectual sophisms with which to dissuade you, waylay you, and even discard you. Sorry!
"Every man is his own castle," someone wrote; meaning 'hu-man'. Thing is, the mote around us does have crocodiles or orcas or bug-catchers or biting dogs, and we do have a drawbridge. And unless really, truly, all alone, we do not even have to answer to anyone saying, "who was that knocking at the door?" Yes, truly, one is never really very much alone to do exactly as one wishes at all. The guard at the gate knows that; one is watched over. Always.