Setting Limits

September 30, 2005

When I was younger, there were a few things of which I was absolutely certain: 1) My parents couldn’t possibly understand my angst, 2) my personal boundaries were firm and well defined, and 3) when I died, wherever I ended up, Jim Morrison would be waiting for me and I would finally get laid properly and often. Now I’m older and I can see that, while my parents probably never had the same angst that I had (have,) they had their own brand. Jim Morrison is probably not going to be waiting for me, but that’s cool ’cause I’m not waiting for my carnal rewards after death (somewhere along the way, someone in charge finally felt me deserving of a talented man and gave me the strength to say the magic words, “No, darling, a little to the left.”) But through the years, my boundaries had become fuzzy, less defined, and oh so easy to cross.

I can almost see when things started going bad. When I was 18, I fell in love with a guy of 21. I totally lost myself to him. I’m not sure why or how, but I’m certain that it was my own doing and I hold nothing against him. Yeah, he made some pretty heinous mistakes, but dear Elvis, he was 21! These days, I wouldn’t trust a 21 year old to tie my shoes much less protect my sense of self worth. Besides, that wasn’t his job. This guy and I endured a pretty rough experience or two and I came to find myself losing every bit of myself to him. I gave my power away – maybe because I felt like it wasn’t enough to protect me. Man, 21 and 18 = the blind leading the stupid.

Regardless, nothing with me was ever the same after that. What followed was about 5 years of self destructive stupidity. We all have those years, eh? I did a lot of things I shouldn’t have, said a lot of things I shouldn’t have, and certainly let a lot of folks get away with things they never should have gotten away with. I had no boundaries – well, none that couldn’t be persuaded. While I’m not proud of a lot of what I did and a lot of the choices I made (and I sure as hell wouldn’t repeat them,) I’m not sorry that I went through it all. It’s made me who I am. I am learning and getting stronger again. I’m connecting to that bad ass inside more and more often these days. I like who I have become, who I am. And who I am just keeps getting better.

So much better, in fact, that it is again becoming easy (and secretly fun) for me to say NO. No, I cannot come this minute, I have my own things going on. No, I cannot bring those samples because they currently don’t exist and I’m not going to kill myself creating them. No, I will not let you eat my last piece of chocolate – I’m bleeding and it’s essential to me as oxygen. If you want to keep that finger, you’ll get it out of my ice cream right now. Yes I can help you but no, not in that way. No, I will not support you when you continue to make asinine choices. NO, I will not say it’s okay when it’s not. NO, I will not agree with you when I think you’re being an idiot. No, I will not compliment you when you’re being an asshole. No, I will not add a zipper to that bag – I didn’t design it that way, thank you very much.

You know what? Saying NO works so well that no one argues with it. NO is a complete sentence. Anyone who doesn’t listen when you say NO is trying to control you. Heh Heh Heh. Go ahead, sucker, just TRY to control me. Hope you have insurance.

In the coming years, I’ll be the one who cannot possibly understand my kids’ angst. I’ll be the one who is so uncool that I’ve never possibly experienced anything as profound as their lives. My boundaries will, hopefully, continue to strengthen when they need to and flex when called for, but hopefully my resolve to respect them will grow until the very end. And, when I finally get to where I’m destined after this time on the planet, I just hope Mr. Morrison can handle it when I tell him NO.

One comment

  1. Yay!!!! Sarah! I love you!

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