#reverb10 Day 1: One Word

2 12 2010


PROMPT:  One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

2010 word: Boundaries

About a month ago in my writing class, I wrote this in response to the prompt “What are you grateful for?”:

I am grateful for boundaries-those thick, black undrawn and intangible, but very real lines that keep me safe and protected when I choose to enforce them.
I am grateful for owning those lines, for being able to tell those crossing that “they’re very much mine, thank-you, and don’t make it about you.”
I am grateful when I remember that I don’t have to explain a boundary, but just enforce it.
I am grateful for the really painful boundaries that make you treat me with respect-or at least let you know when you are treating me with disrespect and I don’t like it.
I am grateful for the soft warm nest provided for my landing after you’ve stopped climbing the tree of neediness and discovered your boundaries in the branches of mine.
They can co-exist, you know, and it can be ok-for both of us.

I’ve been enforcing boundaries and speaking up for myself.  It has seemed critical and authentic and uncomfortable and brutal and vulnerable.  But there has been a liberation in the enclosure and honesty.  Sometimes I wonder if the boundary enforcement is a retreat behind a wall.  But I feel too exposed and raw for it to be a hiding.

At the beginning of the year, there was a lack of setting limits.  I threw my life completely into work at the exclusion of relationships, self care, creativity, silence.  When the project was complete, I retreated from my job to put it back in its proper place in my life.  I don’t regret it at all, in fact doing that helped get through the winter, but it clearly demonstrated how easily I could get swallowed and regurgitated.

It’s so easy to get sucked into things.  This year has been about identifying and putting into practice backing away, but not hiding.  I’m trying to stay active about not being fake nice to people I have to deal with, but also not being petty or trite about them behind their backs.  I’m experiencing being honest about “I’m your coworker, not your friend”, but, in addition, letting others know “I’m not going to talk shit about that person behind his back either”.

Boundaries this year have meant:

  • being brutally honest with my supervisor and having that honesty respected
  • evaluating CAREFULLY and over time whether a relationship with that cute, intense, immature guy would actually be good for me
  • letting my ex do something really nice (and unexpected) for me and just graciously saying “thank-you”
  • working at losing those 55 pounds over time, (sometimes too) slowly, but in a way that is actually somewhat healthy for my body and not just trading an obsession with consuming food with an obsession with NOT consuming it
  • letting my 17 yr old solve his own problems, but being there when he wants guidance and trying hard to let go enough to let him make his own mistakes
  • not solving anyone’s problems, but letting it be known that I’m here and will do what I can
  • putting a bit of distance between myself an my family and realizing, really realizing, that I deserve to be treated better than they have treated me
  • concluding that I am not who my family sees, but that I don’t have to change their perception
  • understanding that not many discussions will change viewpoints, but they do provide opportunity to learn another perspective and sometimes just need to be aborted.

2011 word: Love

I’m strong enough to be vulnerable again, and in fact, crave it.  I am a millionaire regarding my friendships and sometimes wonder how I have accrued such a collection.  There is still a slight surprise when I realize that they want to be with me, that I impact them, that they need me, when I see come back to me how I feel about and regard them.
But it’s time for a primary relationship.  I’ve dated, but it’s been years since I “Gave My Heart Away”, since I let myself be vulnerable, since I let anyone be in a position to reject me…or even have more of my intimacy than just my body.
I don’t know the line between allowing and being reckless or between working against and working in.  Those are the boundary lessons in 2011.

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5 responses

4 12 2010
Stephanie (dancingwaves)

This is beautiful! Thank you, so very much, for posting this.

Steph

4 12 2010
syene

This is powerful stuff. Thank you for your insight and for your ability to write about it with such clarity.

4 12 2010
janet

“I’m strong enough to be vulnerable again”. I love that. I think I am too! 🙂

4 12 2010
amanda

Really, really good. You are a gifted writer!

10 12 2010
Brooke Farmer

I am not who my family (father) sees but I do not have to change their (his) perception. Thank you for that.

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