Volume 1, Issue 16: The Most Difficult Boundaries

Hi friends! I’m trying out a new time for sending the newsletter so thanks for bearing with me.

Today I wanted to write a bit more about boundaries because there is a wide swath of boundaries I didn’t talk about last time. In the last “meaty” issue, I talked about myths around boundaries and mostly about boundaries we draw with others in our lives. But I didn’t quite talk about some of the most difficult boundaries to draw and maintain, which are boundaries we draw with ourselves.

In the last non-resource issue, I also shared some affirmations I use to bolster my confidence. Coincidentally, they also align with buckets of boundaries that I’ve drawn for myself. Am I perfect at respecting my own boundaries? Absolutely not. But having these boundaries gives me a road map to follow when I make decisions as well as a place to return to when I don’t.

Mostly I end up like this, not gonna lie:

<image of a frowning bear and the words, “well well well, if it isn’t the consequences of my own actions>

Boundaries are how I show myself love and respect

Some of us are really fantastic at showing our friends and family love and respect and absolute shit at showing ourselves the same love and respect. How is anyone supposed to respect your time when you constantly show them that you don’t respect your own time? How is anyone supposed to respect your space and energy when you show them you don’t respect your own space and energy? I find that on days I’m bad at respecting the boundaries I put in place for myself, I also let my guard down on boundaries I set with others. You cannot be shitty at one and great at the other because they are so closely related.

I find the boundary that is toughest for me to keep with myself and I have to work at deliberately is when a loved one wants my emotional labor or needs support. If someone reaches out, I almost always say yes, I can listen/support/hear you. But, I hope my relationships are strong enough that if I say, “Hey, I don’t have the spell slots right now, can I check back in with you another time?” that my loved ones will respect that. In fact, my friends expect me to take care of myself and my own boundaries and no one who cares about you would ask you to put yourself in harm’s way emotionally to take care of them. I was raised Catholic and if there is anything I excel at, it’s martyrdom.

Let me say this another way: People who love you and respect you will not ask you to light yourself on fire to keep them warm.

Most of the time, I can bear witness to my loved ones emotions without holding their emotions in MY body. Even if you’re an empath (1 to 2 percent of the population are actually empaths), which can be a challenge, there are ways of managing emotions. Yes, it takes deliberate work but most things regarding emotions do.

I’m reminded of this tweet from Steven Bartlett that reads, “You don't lose real friends, real opportunities or real relationships when you start standing up for yourself and setting clear boundaries.

You lose abusers, manipulators, narcissists, control freaks, attention seekers and mental-health destroying leeches.

I am no longer available for things that make me feel like shit

This is a hard one because so many things make me feel like shit lately LOLSOB. But I find the way this is taking shape right now is not reading triggering or stressful things on the internet just because someone I love and care about posts it. Or sometimes reading it, but not immediately when I get a notification. Maintaining this boundary is a bit related to self-control. I know that if I go onto Facebook, it’s likely I’ll see something that makes me upset. So, I minimize the amount I’m on it and I also minimize my scrolling through the timeline. 

This boundary also means not volunteering for various committees or projects. Just because I *can* do something doesn’t mean I have to. Also, just because I may be the best person to do something doesn’t mean I have to. Being the best person at something doesn’t mean you are the only person who can do it at all. Sometimes it means turning down opportunities to preserve my own sanity.

This boundary sometimes means not responding to texts immediately. Or emails. Or DMs. It’s about respecting my own time and my own energy and doing things when I have the spell slots to do them.

I am not obligated to show up for my own abuse & I am not obligated to make space for other people’s ignorance

It takes at least two people to have an argument. I’ve stepped back from responding to people online who are committed to misunderstanding me and not being willing to learn, even if they are related to me. I was raised in a home where I didn’t really get any privacy. I was raised to be accommodating and courteous, sometimes to people who didn’t show me the same courtesy. But just because I was raised a certain way doesn’t mean I need to stay a certain way, ya dig? 

Speaking of privacy, Nedra Glover Tawwab posted this on Instagram:

Privacy is not secret-keeping.

Honor your boundaries.

September 2, 2020
<image is black text on a white background saying, “Let’s allow Chadwick Boseman to be a shining example of honoring our boundaries. He shared his health issues with the people he chose and continued to live his dream. We can keep things to ourselves. We can be private. Privacy is not secret-keeping; it’s sharing with trusted loved ones and sharing when you are ready. Privacy is a healthy boundary. You do not own anyone more than you are comfortable sharing. People are not entitled to know your personal business.”>

I am no longer being the “go to” person for people I can’t go to myself

This is a newer boundary for myself that I should have drawn a long, long time ago. I’ve poured myself into so many relationships where my willingness to show up has not been requited. So many people who I only hear from when they want something. I’m reclaiming my time and energy. Drawing this boundary for myself actually feels like a weight has been lifted.

It is important to remember that you are always building, maintaining, and evolving your boundaries. You are never done. This is great, because it means you can always learn and improve. It’s a lifelong process.

Boundaries are for when I am tired of my own bullshit

Sometimes there are things that I set as goals when really, they’re actually boundaries. For instance, I have been staying up way too late this week and then I feel like garbage the next morning. One way to look at it is “My goal is to be in bed by 10pm” but another way, which I find more convincing, is to say, “I need to respect my mind and body’s need for rest. I need to respect the Patricia of tomorrow, who has plenty of shit to do.”

I’ve also found myself scrolling through social media way too much, which is a blatant disrespect of my own time and well-being. It’s a place where I know I need better boundaries and if I find anything that sticks, I’ll let you know!

I wanted to end today’s issue with a couple little unrelated bits of joy.

First is this tweet from Alexis Diao that reads, “Zoom preschool is both hilarious and depressing. My 4 year old keeps unmuting himself and yelling 'I DON'T KNOW YOUR NAME! IS THIS MEETING OVER YET?'

It is important to click through to the tweet and read the replies. I cried actual tears from laughter. Children are amazing.

Second, one of my BFFs got me a ring light so I decided to try to make a video for Instagram. There has been a lot of Black death, pain, and suffering the past year (well, the past 400+ years, let’s be honest) and I wanted to share some Black joy. It is so important for us to protect and celebrate our joy where we can. The video is literally just me rambling about stuff I received in the mail, but I’m happy to share it.

September 1, 2020

That’s it for this week! If you enjoy this newsletter, feel free to subscribe, share it with a friend, and/or give me a tip!

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