I can has boundaries?

I have been limiting some consumption lately and that brings up issues for me, and since I’ve got this Internet, I may as well share…

So, Internet I’ve been thinking about this stuff… boundaries.  I spoke to L, and she’s one of my dearest friends.  Because I have some issues around eating, drinking, talking, sex, smoking.  I enjoy a lot of the benefits and positive aspects of those things…  I think a good blog post would be to outline the pros and cons of each of these for me.  But not now, because that would be a distraction and this is my blog, not yours so quit being bossy.

OK, so right… L.  I was bemoaning something to her as I always do.  I think it was something about impulse control.  There are several ways that I drink.  Happy, light, social drinking and then there’s a glass of wine drinking, and then there’s woman on a mission I don’t want to feel what I am feeling any more drinking.  This last drinking concerns me and causes me pain.  So, I was hung over in Orangevale, and I looked at L and asked why I do this.  She gave me that, oh sweet baby look, that makes me want to curl up in her lap and have her pet my head.

“You have impulse control problems.  It’s because of your cult.  When you were raised, you had to fast once a week.  So, even if you were hungry as a little kid it didn’t matter.  You were told when to be hungry, and had to eat until you cleared your plate.  It makes sense that you have no sense of portion control and that you use food to comfort or punish yourself.  It makes sense that you developed sneaky behavior around food, since your food was so heavily moderated that you had to get what you could get when you could get it how you could get it.”

I said I guess that makes sense.  But that’s food, what about the crap that comes out of my mouth and the drinking and smoking and everything else.  I have a lot of fun, but there are certain parts of it that just aren’t healthy…

Then a pure light shone from L’s halo and she said unto me (maybe I’m getting a little dramatic here), “It’s the same thing.  A lot of times you say things to get a reaction, and sometimes you don’t stop until you do.  A lot of times, you drink a lot and don’t stop until someone notices and says something.  A lot of times, you smoke cigarettes and dare people (silently) to confront you. You weren’t allowed to think your own thoughts or make your own choices.  And even when you spoke up for what was right for you, you were frequently beaten down for it.  So to survive you made other people’s truths and stories about you, your truths and your stories about you.  I think a part of your path now is to win and fail and bruise your shins and totally fuck up, to find your own boundaries and your own comfort level.  I think that food, booze, smoking and all of that is just a symptom of your bigger task right now, which is to find where your emotional boundaries are.  What do you need to do to keep you safe, happy and healthy in the world?”

I love L.

And I’ve thought a lot about it.  Because in a lot of ways I have chosen people in my life who have really black and white thinking, and some with black and black thinking.  I have chosen the ass-kickers and the shit-talkers because they will say something to keep me in line.  Because as L says, I grew up inside out and wasn’t allowed mental or emotional boundaries.

And that in my life, I have made people near and dear to me into my parents again, into my pastor again.  People that should have been my lovers, my business partners, my friends have been cornered by my behavior until they have to speak up.  I am so tired of that, and my new relationship is pretty terrifying for me.  He’s compassionate, he knows I’m in flux and he gives me space to do what I have to do as I figure out where I stand.  Because a lot of times you figure out what a boundary is by stepping the hell over it and looking back and saying “ouch, maybe I should have stopped back there…”

My friend D told me that I was the most dynamic and competent fucked up person she’s ever met.  I responded back, I guess I am just the Strutting Wounded.  But I think that we all really are.  And this is what growing up and overcoming is really about.  I don’t want to blame, I just want to heal and also find others like me who know what I am talking about.

A Lesson in How to be Cool

Step 1: Go grocery shopping alone.

Step 2: When people engage you in conversation in line, respond back and try to be nice

Step 3: realize they aren’t crazy people, but genuinely rad people

Step 4: think about how open and wonderful you are for talking to strangers

Step 5: engage the shopping clerk and the nice line people in sparkling conversation

Step 6: think about how you are a fabulous social hub

Step 7: pick up the plastic shopping bag with the sparkling apple juice

Step 8: don’t notice the bag has a hole in the bottom of it

Step 9: Try not to wince as the carbonated apple juice explodes as it hits the floor

Step 10: put the empty bag down

Step 11: look proud as they announce on the speaker “Clean Up in checkout”

Step 12: look proud as all the people you were talking to ask if you are ok

Step 13: look proud as you realize you are sticky up to your knees and covered in glass shards

Step 14: wait when they tell you to wait for the mop guy

Step 15: feebly attempt to look proud as you realize the puddle at your feet is getting really dark because of the old sneakers you are wearing

Step 16: try not to bolt as two mop guys show up and another runner guy shows up to get you another sparkling apple juice

Step 17: try to crack a joke by telling all the nice people who are now waiting as you become “that girl” that you just wanted to make sure the floor was clean for them.

Step 18: try not to melt into the floor as you almost slip in the leftover juice

Step 19: leave the store as soon as you are able

Step 20: sigh with relief as you are finally in your car

Step 21: try to get over your stickiness using brain power

Step 22: Failing that, suck it up and drive to the next errand

Step 23: be grateful that nobody at the next place was at the grocery store

Step 24: as soon as you are inside, try to pretend that your sugar coated sneakers aren’t going SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK with every step causing everyone you walk by to look at you

Step 25: Hope that at least this will make a good blog entry as you drink away your shame

Step 26: mmmm rum