There’s all this talk about them as of late. For those of us acknowledging our internal work and process, a lot of us are learning what these are. I have been in boundary boot camp for the past couple of years, learning to have them because for all intents and purposes, I just didn’t. I was silent. A doormat. The empty well pulling buckets of water it didn’t have to give.
The past year has been what feels like a giant SAT test of what my limits are… except there are no multiple choice answers where you can just close your eyes, point and hope it’s right. When you have no hard lines, no borders, it is really easy to allow yourself to be pushed, prodded, manipulated and ultimately, violated. Repeatedly. And never is it more apparent than when you remove yourself from the front lines of toxic fire.
I have this air that I am a hard bitch. The “she’s so fucking strong” persona that a lot of people point out. Yes, I can be strong but those who have the privilege of knowing me and my inner workings, also know I’m a half frozen ice cube, hard on the outside but the center, still water. One right word or question and I am a flood. I have that dam. I need that wall. And when my limits are pushed and tested, that is when the need for it surfaces.
There is a fragility within me that came at the expense of some very hard lessons. Some of those lessons were classes I didn’t sign up for but in order to graduate to some other level, I went through that prerequisite. Some I entered willingly, realizing that the class and professor were not what I thought or hoped they would be. So you drop the course. I’m learning to accept my frailty, trust and vulnerability as bricks of strength instead of seeing them as a weakness. I am not ashamed to have or expose them. I just need to learn to practice hesitation on who I surrender that trust to, because as I have arduously learned, not everyone is worthy of it, or me.
I’ve had some boundaries tested recently. A former friend trying to re-open doors I closed for a reason, a violation of my personal space and then one I swore to myself that I would stick to and would never subject myself to, again: Emotional manipulation, finger pointing, blame and deflection ultimately ending in inability to accept choices and behavior. Add it being accompanied by a half-assed apology as if “I’m sorry” undoes the damage. Those two words, vacant as fuck, a reaction instead of a response that mean absolutely nothing to me anymore. A hard line I will not tolerate.
Oh. Hell. No.
And then I did something different: I pushed back. Honestly and brutally. I fought for my wall. It felt good to do but then, when all was said and done I felt absolutely sick to my stomach. I literally felt like throwing up. It was uncomfortable and adrenaline inducing. My body, feeling all kinds of inexplicable, heated and awful. If it was what I fought for and believed in, why did it feel so wrong?
“That feeling? That pain? That discomfort? That’s your body rewiring behavior it isn’t used to“
Pre-conditioning I had learned to normalize, now being broken down. I sat in it. I let it move around in my ribcage and then I found myself doing something constructive to release it.
Holy shit. Is this how it happens? Is THIS what it feels like? Fuck. Ok.
This is where the real work is: Implementation over theory.