weak boundaries

Building boundaries only works if they’re maintained. I learned some great things before I stopped seeing my therapist in the middle of 2018. That’s when I wanted to start guiding my own course. Not purposefully, of course.

But I vividly remember feeling the awkward tension in my chest as I painted a rosier picture of my new relationship during our last session though I did have some concerns and felt the weight of red flags. I didn’t want to admit or face any mistake I was making to avoid dealing with immediate pain.

We all know what they say about hindsight.

I can see more clearly every day how I got to where I am right now. I take full responsibility for my poor choices. No one forced a day’s actions upon me. As a sensitive person and an only child, I become grossly codependent at low points. I have weak boundaries. I take medicine everyday to help me feel better. I need to talk to my therapist. I’m going tomorrow, as I have been avoiding for a year a half. It’s going to be good for me.

All in all, my worst fear is being alone. Yet I’ve alienated most every friend and family member I have besides my parents over the past two years and isolated myself, turned down invitations, quit responsibilities, almost sabotaged some of the best opportunities I’ve got. I have tremendous anxiety about my parents dying. I don’t have siblings, and with few who truly know my whole life – I am paralyzed by the idea of a world without them. This isn’t continuous, simply latent.

When I distract myself, it’s usually a relationship. Because I made horrible choices in my marriage, I thought I could use someone “highly attentive” in this new love interest. So I jumped right into that seven months later. It was nice until I felt suffocated. It was on and off continuously. The snooping and demands for information when I actually was being trustworthy became exhausting and demeaning. I didn’t leave because of my codependency, for one. Two, I think I believed deep down I deserved someone controlling because of my previous actions in life. And three, just generally not wanting to do the whole breakup thing. The worst angry version of myself was the norm as it got worse and worse and we broke it off over and over. I hate who I became. I wish I hadn’t allowed myself to continue forward, but forgiveness is important.

Finally last summer it was really over. And I started building boundaries again.

Started to.

we’ll carry on.

sometimes, i’ll forego the couch and just lay in the middle of the floor while staring at the ceiling. my job gets more incredible with time. the herald has invested a lot of training in me by letting me learn the ropes of multiple departments before throwing me into the mix. i’ve been trying to express gratitude for this as best i can, but ultimately it’s created a determination in me to invest back into the company. i’ve always had a great deal of loyalty to the constants in my world, but this is a little different. i was left to sink in my last job, and i barely treaded water long enough to grasp what i was doing. having been given the opportunity to absorb so much at the front end has been an experience i won’t forget.

having my weekends and afternoons back has also been a treat. a friend asked me last night if i could go to this awesome festival with him and his friends. immediately, i searched my mind. “what event is this weekend?” “do i have to go in to the office to catch up?” and no. no, i don’t have to do either of those things. because though the newspaper still works after i’m done, my part is essentially over once i pack up at the end of the day. this simple pleasure exhilarates me daily when the clock hits five.

i’ve come to terms with what happened at my last job. things will happen in life that don’t seem right, but ultimately someone feels justified in the decisions that may cause others heartache. i can’t live in fear of loss. i can’t worry to death that something might happen to one of my parents while i’m not around. i can’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy a date with you because i’ve liked people before whom i have misjudged. i can’t tape down the receiver of the phone at work because i don’t want to do telemarketing.

my mind would convince me it’s easier to sit still in sheer terror of all of these situations rather that just swallowing those natural inclinations to enjoy the ideas and people and things that come before fear. the ideas and people and things that i love. sometimes my dad gives me hard advice and it annoys me. i often want to walk out and pout about it until i’ve forgotten about it at my next visit, and sometimes i do. but often, i will just roll my eyes and sigh and make sure that i kiss him good night. because ultimately, i’m never promised another minute. and the time i spend feeding my ego being offended or being scared of hurting over losing things that were never mine–well, that time is ultimately wasted time.

i think so much about time, i write so much about time, i love so much about time. it’s such a paradox and a gift and an endless, unmeasurable tool by which we operate. i gave a lot of time to my previous job that i can never exchange. i missed a lot of bible studies and moments with my family. i lost love. i strained friendships. i pushed on and worked harder than i thought capable of me. it wasn’t an unbearable situation, but it was difficult and complex–and now i can appreciate things in a job that i once would have taken forgranted. i spent all of that remarkable amount of time in a constant state of learning, to learn many lessons early on in my career. so, i can’t say that i regret it.

i’m always overeager to find some meaning in how i’ve spent my time. sometimes, it’s a stretch. however, in this chapter i am satisfied with the conclusions i can draw thus far. i know i will draw on the experiences from the past sixteen months for the rest of my life. looking forward to using the knowledge i gained from any investment of time makes me feel much more accomplished than regretting in that time investment. so, we’ll forgive and we’ll carry on. because that truly is the easiest (and best) way i know how.

losing friends

i was looking back in my e-mail for an old logo, and i found pictures of cole. i had searched for them for months on my phone and computer files when he passed away in 2008, and i couldn’t find them. i beat myself up for so long thinking i had deleted them. i nearly passed out upon seeing them today. i will treasure them as long as i can keep them.

it’s funny how things become like little idols once someone is no longer present. how words become vow. how we squint to keep fuzzy memories. a note, a photo, a present, a movie ticket becomes a treasure. when cole died, when wesley died, when my grandparents died–when i broke up with K & J years ago, i realized the fragility of relationships. the linear nature of time made me grow to expect you and maybe even resent you each day, but the separation of time from your presence made me appreciate and possibly even idolize you.

right before hospice came into their house, meme told me to watch cartoons, because it would keep my heart feeling light when things were dark. i’ll catch myself whistling like my papa or getting a little excited when i see a gray headed man riding a wal-mart cart. it makes me smile to see mcdonald’s stickers for all the times dada wanted to but never got to take me on saturday mornings when i was a kid. when i see boys riding on lawn mowers like the last time i saw cole riding one against the sun a few days before the accident. when i see a scary movie or a brown haired boy picking on a girl as they walk down the neighborhood street, i think of wesley and me.

and when i look out at the water, a little to the right, i see that dock. i’ve only sat on it once. as ridiculous as it truly is, it’s one of the reasons i moved here. it wasn’t that it was you, though you are still the most significant relationship i’ve ever had. it was the hope in that moment that we looked at the stars subsequent to that eloquently-prosed, misspelled letter you gave me. one of the most romantic moments of my life. i was so young at heart, and you were not–and that is why we said goodbye. we were friends for years prior to being a we and an us, and i remember our hesitation to make a romance out of such a great thing. you made me feel beautiful and worthy and secure and understood. it took time that you were willing to take. but i often wonder if i would give back everything that you gave me, all of the hopes and expectations for someone similar to you but one who led in Christ and supported my need to be a dreamer. if i would give it all up and reverse it all just to have the friendship back. just because the chemistry is there, should you pursue it? i can count on one hand the number of romantic relationships i’ve had. one of them was a bad idea. one of them was a not-so-serious rebound, two of them changed me for good though they were hard to lose, and one i’m not certain of the effect/outcome yet.

i don’t want fleeting relationships and friendships. i don’t want bitterness and loss. i don’t make friends or start relationships because i need someone. i’m used to being alone. losing my family, cole and wesley through death were hard things to conquer in my soul. losing friends through arguments and “endings” is so tiringly pointless having experienced such close irreversible loss in life. having lost a few significant relationships and friendships both irreversible and not so irreversible, i’ve found solace in discovering that they’re never really lost. the material things like photos and the sweet little words are precious reminders, but as long as i’m alive–“there is no was,” as i have said before.

the people i have carefully chosen to pursue good relationships/friendships with, i will carry them with me throughout my life with confidence. how they treated me in bright times and how they treated me in dark times will affect me as i walk through my life. it’s never over until i’m over. i allowed you into my life and my heart, and pieces of you will stay–it’s inevitable.

broken hopes and reels of memories are impossible to pack into a suitcase and carry around as baggage, so i learned early in friendship to accept and appreciate the impact of people on my life no matter their coming or going. it made it easier to forgive. it makes it easier to love someone now not making an enemy of my past. it makes it easier to appreciate the past relationships of people in my life, because i know even if they try to hide and avoid it–they have ultimately been affected by their past.

the hardest part about all of it is that i hate that your presence is not present. if i thought enough of you to choose you, then your friendship was ultra-valuable. i want it in my life. though my non-linear concept of time is unconventional, i wish others were spontaneous enough to see the value of it. can we not forget the ending and remember what we appreciated about each other? can a friend forgive a friend for an offense and remember why they bonded to begin with? what good comes of the timebetween after clarity and healing? awkwardness and loss? the unnecessary duo that preceeds pride and stubborness in the issues of people ’round the globe.

when i leave the world, i hope everyone i’ve known well enough will well-enough know that i had the humility to right a wrong with them and the honesty to let them know how i truly cared about them. i can’t force anyone to be my friend, but if i think you’re worth it i will at least try to convince you.

“what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

(edit)“what you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

i brought my blue pillow in from the car.
i put my car key back on the key ring with the rest of the keys.
i washed my hair for the first time since before taco dinner with you.
i put the blue-rimmed plate in the cabinet and the gray jacket in the closet.
i’ve decided to sleep in my bed tonight for the first time since two saturdays ago.

a dance routine in the shower
blonde child says i love you
shadow of sweet disposition from behind as fingers paint
hero sails lake to back door
telling secrets on the living room floor
henry from under the bed into the lap
a blown up glove create a smile
adventure upstairs in old buildings
a crappy sandwich, bad pizza, delicious pots and pans made with care
living room better than bar
careful to speak except once mistake
prise revoked for bad behavior
a hand-written note on calendar seen
toothbrush in the holder
perdy girl phadooklet
playground fights not new mom fatherinlaw
dirt bikes couch crashes
sleep on made bed so funny like
movies didn’t see, swamp gravy vacations planned already
almost elton john kiss in car savannah
you can’t stop the hairspray in my ice cream sunday afternoon lunch (sun pouring in three windows, can on my dresser, wrapped up in a blanket and mixed up.dontleave)
the runaway dance
salmon shorts
zombies just to sit on the couch with
clumsy kiss at the door
hot when sleeping
squeeze my hand to death
goodbye for work think of all day
half smile pretty mouth
giggle at work storararies
look with eyes taller sparkle care remember feel like good keep
hide excitement when i see
please don’t let the forget of time steal little feels as these appreciated. hold these long as the mind will keep. please. happy was here for em ee. wont forget. wont. don’t want to won’t. silence change not memory.

[i wrote brian’s brutal analysis of the situation here, but i just don’t think it’s true so i erased it earlier.
i would still like to think the best of you. i appreciate all of the wonderful ways you were treating me
and i hope it was genuine and not all for play like he said.
even though your reaction is mean and unforgiving and silent. like a dang taylor swift song.
i will keep it for myself and mull over it instead of posting it here.
just doesn’t seem right.]