Something kind of wonderful has been happening to my brain recently; most noticeably amplified in the past week. It is as if all the gears and mechanisms of my mind have come together, everything is finally in sync, and I am afflicted with a clarity of thought and vision that I was previously incapable of.
Like a child learning a new word, the abstract idea of boundaries has become internalized to me, and I now recognize its application everywhere. Empathy! Respect! Consent! My ability to see people as their own, separate entities has a strange and fascinating newness about it. This has come alongside my own development as an individual. Mastering my anxiety and insecurities frees me from my obsessive tendencies, and allows me to share my needs confidently, as well as honour those of others. Another roadblock removed to intimacy.
Before deleting my dating profiles, I texted someone my phone number. Last week, I had dinner with him. That turned out to be one of the most enjoyable dates I have had, and I fancy him a lot. I made clear that I would like to meet again, and then left the ball in his court. The amazing thing is not my lack of fretting over this, but that I do not have any urge to fret. It feels incredible.
I am reposting this from the ephemeral hole of Facebook:
Forcing yourself on someone, in the form of contact or communication; unwanted and unwelcome gifts, favours, or charity; and violation of body or personal space; are all wrong. I am guilty of all these things, and no matter how good or pure the intention, doing them without consent is wrong.
Over the past few months, I have been on the receiving end of all of these, and learned firsthand how shitty it feels. I wish I could time travel and change the past, but all I can do is learn my lessons and be respectful going forward. Someday I might get to be a real girl! Also: Don’t touch my stuff.
Obvious? Yes, but really understanding this has been an epiphany for me.
Imagine this hypothetical scenario: Your car is dirty, and needs to be washed. You are busy, tired, and complain to a friend that you do not have the time or energy to wash your car. Your friend repeatedly offers assistance. Finally, you ask them if they could pick up a coupon for the local car wash. Days later, you discover they have driven and washed your car, far beyond what you asked. Your friend has spare keys for emergencies, and because you travel together often. Your friend is also aware that you are uncomfortable with other people driving your car, and have general issues regarding trust and personal space. But they drove your car without explicit consent, and furthermore, reset your programming on the stereo, disordered the documents in your glovebox, and added an air freshener and other accessories you do not want. They cleaned out your trunk, rifling through luggage and other intensely personal items.
This is a breakdown in communication and lack of healthy boundaries.
Your friend had good intentions and wanted to be helpful, but in the process, violated your trust and feelings of autonomy and independence. You may feel betrayed, guilty, indebted, ungrateful, and embarrassed. Your friend may feel ashamed, unappreciated, taken advantage of, rejected, and unwanted.
Both parties in this situation have legitimate grievances, and that pain could have been avoided with better communication and clearer expectations. Both parties have the right to feel hurt. I have experienced both perspectives.
No matter how badly you want to help, only the recipient gets to decide what you may and may not do. I have not respected that. And I was wrong.
No matter how much you care or love them. Still not your decision.
I will be the first in line to admit that I am not the best artist, comic creator, or creative writer. I am not the most beautiful woman. I love to dance and sing, and I am unashamedly not very good at either of those. Though I always try my best. In my opinion, where does my greatest strength lie? In my ability to adapt, change, and grow: my willingness to admit when I am wrong.