People take such pride in them, right? Mowing, watering, landscaping, gardening. Personally, I never got into it. However, I do remember how I enjoyed using my push lawn mower in my first rental house. **See photo below for proof** I was about 21 years old, renting a one bedroom, 500 square foot house on a dead end street in East Nashville. Mowing my lawn was my way of saying to the world, “Look at me, I’m grown up. I’m independent.” Never mind the fact that I was broke, watching the only 4 DVDs I owned on a little 15 inch TV (that had an attached VCR) from childhood. But hot damn, I mowed my lawn. That is…until my brand new lawn mower got stolen out of my backyard shed one weekend I was out of town. How East Nashville… I never loved mowing the lawn like that again.
It’s funny how seemingly insignificant little memories like that pop up and completely relate to your present-day life. How, you ask?
Because, in this exact moment, I am not taking ownership of my yard. Nope. I’m not tending to it, watching it, taking responsibility for it 90% of the time. You know what I AM doing? Obsessing about everyone else’s yard…who should be allowed on it and who shouldn’t be, where they need to water it, how to make it prettier. All the while, my yard goes to shit. But hey, at least I’m being a good neighbor, right?
Hopefully at this point, you’re getting my analogy. If you’re not, maybe you should stop smoking so much weed. Ha.
Boundaries are a real and essential thing. A thing that I’m forcing myself to acknowledge, understand, and set firmly for myself, regardless of my past. Because if we’re being honest here, my boundaries have been about as sturdy as a house burning to the ground. Oddly enough, I never knew the problem was as severe as it was until the last few months…
The moment I sat still long enough, I felt it. The weight. Like a 12 pound dumbbell, just hanging out on my chest. I can still breathe, I can still function, but fuck… it’s starting to irritate me and upset me in a way that I can no longer talk myself out of it. And anyone that knows me knows that I can definitely talk myself into or out of anything, ha. So now we have an issue that has to be addressed or else, I might end up on a episode of “Dateline”.
Factors into this new “boundary awareness”:
- Being only a 50 minute drive from your family instead of the 8 hours of distance you’ve had for the last 10 years
- Moving in with my boyfriend
- Constantly travelling back and forth between Nashville and Michigan every few weeks
- Trying to remain friends with people I was close to when I was a hot mess
- Having physical and emotional space to re-evaluate some of the people I surround myself with, and yet I still manage to get stressed out
- Adopting a puppy that has NO SENSE of personal space…nope, none.
If I could tell you the countless hours I’ve spent worrying/discussing/trying to find a solution for someone else’s health/finances/terrible exes they keep going back to/drug use/lack of sleep/car situation/relationship with their parents/retirement/toxic friends they hang around/Tinder hook ups and so on…you’d roll up a joint for me. And then hand me some Ambien.
I always justified it as one of the following, “But it’s family…She has nobody else to talk to…I’m the only positive influence he has…If I don’t help, no one else will…She looks up to me…He could have a heart attack if I don’t intervene…If it were me, I’d need someone to help me like this…Oh, she’d do the same for me…” and a million other reasons.
But the truth is…
I’m tired. People WILL live without me trying to solve their problems. People WILL figure it out one way or another. People WILL let me down and not come through for me like I have for them. I too will live. Friends/family should not expect me to carry their burdens nor should I so willingly volunteer to do so.
I’m literally reading a book right now called “Boundaries”. Real life. A therapist I went to see a few times, roughly 7 years ago, recommended it to me. I was grieving from a rather devastating break up (6 months later) so when he made this recommendation, I drove to Borders (yes, we still had one of those then) and purchased the book. I read the first chapter and then never thought about it again. Shortly after, I got back together with the ex that pummeled my heart, resulting in me ceasing my sessions with said therapist. If that isn’t a prime example of boundary misuse, I don’t know what is. The more I read, the more I talk about it, the more I realize that my boundaries have been blurred my entire life.
That stops. Effective immediately.
I have a yard. It has a wooden fence all around it, with a little front gate. The bad shit needs to be kicked out of my yard. The good stuff stays for me to tend to, inside my fence. The gate serves to close & lock on toxic people /situations/ways of thinking that don’t show respect to my yard and my fence. The gate will only open for love.
I need to own my yard again.
I need to learn to be the neighbor that smiles and waves and tries to keep her dogs from shitting in your yard. And even if/when they do, I will still not come over to your yard. Boundaries, y’all