She is the type of woman who sweeps over you from the feet up, criticising everything from your shoes to your handbag. She makes your daughter uncomfortable with her relentless grilling, and you feel exhausted by her relentless whining. You are never asked about yourself; how you are and what is happening in your world. You aren’t asked because it doesn’t matter to her. On a gorgeous morning, there you are, minding your business at the bus stop, when she comes along, insisting on sitting near you the whole journey. By the end, you have lost all your energy, and feel discombobulated. Its probably not a good portent, when you spot a person and inwardly groan.
The other day, I was waiting for a bus home after seeing my doctor. My spine was excruciating; lifting my arm had encouraged metal shards in my spinal canal to give a sensation like being stabbed between my shoulder blades. It had taken five different medications to get a few hours sleep the night before. I just wanted to sit in silence, and get home.
Suddenly, she appeared, like a vulture. She immediately noticed that I had cut my hair. “What happened to you!” she demanded, pointing at my head. “I felt like a change,” I replied sharply. “Why would you do that? Why?” she hollered. And in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 the critique was coming. Bugger this! In desperation, I hopped on a bus that would take me several blocks from my place, rather than right outside my home. It was worth the extra walk, to get away from her. I am starting to understand that I have rights too. A right to peace of mind, quiet, and to be respected. I dont have to be polite and sit there and take such nonsense. All my energy has to be shared with my daughter and I will be damned if I will allow the likes of her to syphon it away with dribble. Not anymore. The look on her face when I suddenly hopped away and onto the bus was priceless.
When you wake up from a fitful sleep, you tend to have around half of the vigour needed to get through a busy day. If you subject yourself to miserable people, the tank gets drained further. Dont do it! Move or walk away from anyone who pulls this toxic stunt!
I love the above. For too long I tried to be everything to everyone. I tried to fit into spaces not meant for me. I lost my voice and my boundaries. My life was a free-for-all. I was exhausted. When the drainers were done, there was nothing left. I watched as they flitted from energy source to energy source, surviving quite nicely without me. The fact was, I wasn’t helping them anymore than they were capable of loving me. I have come to learn what love is by uncovering what it isn’t.
Friendship should feel good; you ought to feel assured of your place in their world. I have come to understand that it isn’t based on what you are able to do for that person, but rather who you are. Can you imagine being surrounded by friends who affirm that if you have nothing but yourself to give, that is more than enough? Friends who offer support and call in with food when you are sick? Friends who celebrate and commiserate with you? Friends who love you because you breathe? I am proud to say that I have these friends. I had to fight many a battle to get to them, and the path was fraught with detractors.
I have turned myself inside out for people I called friends. I was used, scoffed at, ignored and discarded. It hurt, but not knowing the light of my own being hurt much more. I had to determine that I deserved better in order to find true friends. I accept invitations when I can. I help whenever I possibly can. It feels as though no time has passed when we have the opportunity to spend time together. We have each other’s back. There is still a child inside my soul, alone and begging the world to love her. My job is to guide this enthusiastic character, so she is steered toward people who are open to loving her as she does them. Boundaries are a good thing. Not everyone is meant to hold the precious key to your heart. I find you aren’t hesitant in showing your vulnerability when it occurs in the presence of a true friend. That is worth holding on for. Stubbornly refuse to hand over the key until you have found your tribe. There will be exchanges of heart and mind, with an equal amount of energy flowing in an endless cycle. That is the safety which comes from having boundaries. Start with being a friend to yourself. Friends will come and they shall stay.