Back to school is stressful. But it is joyous. There are tears, but there’s also celebration. But that’s kind of like life right?
We stood in the Carolina sun and discussed enlightenment, rebirth, and something that resembled saṃsāra.
In the last few years, I’ve learned about ad blockers for my internet browser. It’s not just been ad blockers, I’ve recently learned that you can add all sorts of add-ons to Chrome. Laugh if you want, it’s one of those things that’s keyed me in on the fact that I’m starting to move to the official “old lady” age of my internet experience.
So now that I have these wonderful little programs that counterbalance the ads, I keep getting these windows asking me to disable them to support the sites I visit. I understand (roughly) about ads and monetization. Money math is a tricky thing for me. While I do want to support the sites I visit the purpose of the ad blockers are to block the swarm of ads that are overtaking the spaces I’m trying to read on. Sometimes I don’t want to see commercials for shit, I just want to fucking read. I just want to get to the core of the issue without having all these things in the way.
There are some sites that guilt trip the user about having ad blockers in place. There are some that don’t allow the user to read any further until the site is placed on an exemption list. While this is just a necessary evil of playing the ad blocker game, it got me thinking. How much of this interaction would benefit real life? What if, and stick with me here this might get loopy, you could treat your emotional self like an internet browser? What if you could put ad-ons in place that blocked “ads” or “pop-ups” of people or ideas that were negative for you?
Normal people call these boundaries, but for those of us who either have emotional traumas, are Empaths, or are beset by damaged or toxic people we call those FANTASY THINGS THAT OMG I WISH EXISTED!
Emotional boundaries can be thought of as the property line that separates your thoughts and feelings from those of another person. Think of it like this:
You and I both have pasture land that’s side by side. On my side of the fence, I keep sheep. On your side of the fence, you keep lions. If the fence is strong and well taken care of, everything is fine. If the fence is weak and flimsy, if it battered by storms and not cared for, if it is often driven over by ATVs taking a short cut, it fails. And then the lions get out and devour the sheep.
Boundaries work the same way. When they fail, the person they fail for suffers the same fate as those proverbial sheep. It’s not bloody or gruesome in the physical sense, but it’s still tragic. And even worse, it becomes a habit. It becomes a learned mannerism. The sheep learn that they are lion food and just wait for the end.
I’ve done both. I’ve been the lion’s food and I’ve built walls out of Adamantium. Security feels much better than being fodder, but I promise you, it won’t make you popular. Those that depend on your allegiance and support will expect you to place them on a list when you roll our your rules of engagement. When you start exercising your “no more”s they will start expecting special passes. Their special treatment and VIP status to your new, often life-saving, rules will determine how much you are allowed from them. They’ll try to choke the stream of information, emotion, attention, and affection you get until they’re giving you what they think you’re worthy of. Be prepared, this revolution will rock your world and show you just who values you.
That’s why when you live without boundaries in place, it’s like browsing the internet (are kids still calling it “the net” these days?) without ad-blockers. Constantly you’re faced with calls for your attention, demands for your time, and things that want to suck your stream of thought right from your body. Every task you try to set out on is met with something begging for just a moment of your time. And after being the person that always answers, you become the one that can be counted on. You become old reliable who would never shut down the neon ads. No matter the hour, or the weight of your baggage, you are the one that will be there to mend wounds, open doors, and hold gates while they keep crossing over.
That’s because when you don’t live with boundaries, people expect you to stay that way.
So please, build your walls.
And re-enforce your fences.
And deadbolt all your gates.
Set your boundaries so hard and firm that no matter how much it causes rifts, and how hard it makes them revolt, you don’t waver. You deserve it. You are not just food for the lions. You are not just a target audience meant for the betterment of others. You are your own experience.
You are yours.
And for the love of the gods, install some damn ad blockers.
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Somewhere along the way my little book on Buddhism got lost and with it my little red Buddha.
But that little red Buddha didn’t stay lost.
In fact, he has a funny little way of popping up right when I need him.