A Story About Maintaining My Boundaries

man walks past graffiti of the word courage

Photo by Oliver Cole on Unsplash

This week has been full of magic for me, but I’ll tell you more about that in a minute…

You know that whole to be the change thing? Yeah, well it’s not that easy. It is the easiest thing to say, and one of the hardest things I have ever decided to BE. I’ve had days where I question the value of this approach because sometimes it means that I am without my armour, in a place where I don’t feel safe.

It long ago transcended the simply actions & behaviours of DOING and has become woven into the fabric of the kind of human that I want to BECOME.

I decided a long time ago that BEING REAL is one of the things I value most highly. I guess you could call it authenticity, vulnerability, honesty, or whatever flavour of that resonates with you. I have been changing the way I interact with people to reflect that, in every context of my life.

So I recently gave someone in my world some quite robust feedback about the way their words were not okay with me, and some clear reasons for that. Let’s just say it went down like a sack of shit. *sigh*
As a direct result of that, I had to put on my big girl panties and go through a process with them to find some resolution (which we did not achieve).

HOWEVER, here is what I have achieved;
* I am clear on my boundaries.
* I can separate the emotion I feel as a result of someone else’s actions, from the way that I respond.
* I value my own judgment. That is, just because I am upset or pissed off, DOES NOT mean that my opinion is invalid. It matters. I MATTER.
* I value my own needs & strategies for processing a difficult situation, over the need to smooth things over.
* I own my mistakes and apologise unreservedly.
* I choose courage over discomfort

So I sat in a room for an hour with a spiky rubber ball in my hand to keep me in my body. I articulated my feels (“I am feeling anxious. My throat is tight. My heart rate is high. It’s hard for me to keep up with this conversation right now”). I HONOURED MY BODY, MY FEAR RESPONSE, AND MY TRUTH, OVER MY DESIRE TO BE LIKED, OR FOR RESOLUTION.

“Courage, the original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language — it’s from the Latin word cor, meaning heart — and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.”
~ Brené Brown.

I am learning so much right now about the way our bodies store trauma, and how the simplest movements can keep us present to our surroundings and release the sadness or anger or fear or whatever the fuck you feel. Even blinking. Even moving a finger or a toe. Whatever you can manage.

I cried for pretty much the full hour, where in times gone by I would have suppressed my tears or masked them with anger so that I wasn’t seen as being a “hysterical woman”. This is not my problem anymore, I feels what I feels and the way someone else perceives it is solely in their court. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

I had a clear outcome, which was to leave the meeting KNOWING I HAD OWNED ALL OF MY OWN SHIT, AND LEAVING THEIRS BEHIND. AND TO FEEL MY WAY THROUGH.

I was embarrassed and sad and anxious, for that hour. There was a total shame shit-storm. I cried freely all the way home. And in the aftermath, I was proud as fuck!

And you know what? When I reviewed how it went, I felt that I couldn’t possibly have managed myself better under the circumstances. I gave myself feedback on how I will do better next time. AND I WAS ABLE TO LET IT GO! For reals! For the first time in my life I have had this kind of VERY difficult conversation and not left feeling like I was compromised or depleted. And I recovered my resilience almost immediately. I don’t stew on it. It’s done.

I sucked at some parts of that. I will do better next time. I did my VERY BEST FOR ME.

*end confessional*


There are people in my world who are fast becoming dear friends, and each of you have responded to my openness and vulnerability by feeling like I trust you, and as a result like you can trust me. You can. I love you. All of you. I see your beauty, and your value, and I celebrate your intrinsic worth.

You have shared things with me this week, that are going on for you in your lives right now, and I feel such a depth of gratitude. I am so honoured that you choose to share your lives with me. I am so moved I am crying at my computer right now like a hysterical woman / deeply compassionate human.

I would trade in any larger circles of acquaintances in a heart beat, for just one of you dear souls who want to engage in relationships that are REAL.

Life is hard as fuck, the last thing that serves us is to pretend that everything is peachy when it just fucking isn’t. I’m walking this path BESIDE you, and whenever you need me you only need ask.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.