It begins at a young age.
"You can't play with us anymore." orders the pigtailed leader of the third grade clique, the very girls that you have shared sleepovers and Barbies with since kindergarten. In one fell swoop, you are no longer part of the group. You don't even know why but suddenly you're alone at recess.
Because people eventually leave.
The friend that you spent every waking minute with for the past two years, the girl that everyone considered your twin because you were inseparable, suddenly decides that you are no longer popular enough for her. She refuses to be seen with you and convinces others to do the same. In private, she still is the same friend you had and you long to salvage something, so for years you put up with the never-in-public but maybe in private pseudo-friend. It doesn't last.
Because people, even when you can convince them to stay for awhile, eventually leave.
The boyfriend that you allowed to control you because you so feared being alone suddenly decides that after three years and a near marriage proposal, he needs time to choose between you and another girl. You wait, because you're not sure you can do better.
Because after all, even when you have allowed someone to control you, they still eventually leave.
The people in your life who should never leave-the ones that you think will be there in any crisis, disagree with your life choices and think they are doing you a favor by leaving. They are teaching you tough love and you'll eventually come around. What they don't realize is that this is who you are, and by rejecting your choices, they are rejecting you as a person.
Because even if you make yourself into something that you aren't just to please them, people leave.
As life goes on the cycle continues. The neighbor that you had coffee with up the street quits returning your phone calls and avoids you. The friend that you had a misunderstanding with doesn't talk about it, and instead just up and walks away. No explanation, no good-bye. They just leave.
You begin to think that it's easier to just not let people see the real you. Walls go up and people only see what you allow them to, because it's easier that way when they leave. It's just too damn hard to let them see the real you, because every time a person has left, a piece of your heart has gone with them. Sometimes it's so hard and you're so scared that you do the leaving first. You begin to expect people to leave with every conflict, because, after all, isn't that what everyone else has done?
Until you find someone who stays. Someone who loves all of you-right down to the nasty prickly parts and the large, hard walls that you shove up around everyone else. Even when you poke and prod at them, half expecting them to leave anyway. Instead they sit and look at you with amusement, and you eventually learn that by being yourself, it makes it okay when people leave.
Because even though people leave, the only person you need to please is you. And eventually, you learn to love you too.