I feel like an elephant sits on my chest.
While deep inside I believe we are all alone in this world, I am equally convinced that we cannot go through life entirely on our own. We need others. We need their love, and help, and encouragement. If people are indeed emotional onions then the core of the bulb is loneliness, but the scale leaves are the relationships with the others that provide us with the warmth and sense of being cared for that enables us to get out of bed every morning.
Every now and then one of the scale leaves turns rotten, and a painful decision must be made. Either you remove it at the cost of ripping yourself open, or you leave it and risk a fester.
In time I got really good at extracting bad leaves from my emotional bulb. No more bullies, no more life-sucking leaches allowed in my little garden. Yet a simple phone conversation with one who used to be so close to me still leaves short of breath.
Letting people in almost always ends in pain and disillusion. But there is no other way. We need people, and they need us. As Bono put it, we get to carry each other, well, I mean, you know, until we’re being dumped.