Trinkets and Armor, 3: Boundaries Save Lives (and teeth)

 

If you’re visiting from Poets United and wish to delight only in the poetry, scroll down to the end of the post, to read “Sister to Storm to Dirt to Flame”.

 

In “Normal Is a Self-Defeating Trap”, we discussed flexibility, and suggested that to overcome some of life’s challenges, we must learn to twist and stretch, to push the boundaries of who we are, until we can grow… into who we need to be.

This week, I wish to play with Flexibility’s healthily-stuck-up cousin: Boundaries. When our energy is limited (something that comes with being alive. I mean, when was the last time you saw a zombie beaten by exhaustion? Exactly! The undead will continue to bite even when their guts are gone). Anyway, when our energy is significantly restricted by ailments (or whatever), we must become rather choosy.

I’m beyond possessive when it comes to my time, my wants, the needs of my spirit and flesh. This doesn’t always endear me to most people. But I’m not all that bothered by what most people think of me, since I’ve already learned that trying to be friends with most people is a grueling impossibility. I’m careful to be as selective with my friends as I am with what my mouth consumes, what I let my brain feast on, and with the sorts of activities that occupy my time.

I understand that setting boundaries isn’t easy. You see, I have a dear friend who is often made physically ill by inconsequential political debates, by things people do to each other, by things certain oxygen thieves pretending to be people have said to her… In the past, I used to ask her, “Why do you continue talking to that energy-vampire? Why do you let people, whose words and actions have proved they have neither heart nor brain, drag you into their nonsense?” The list goes on and on… After more than one panic attack, we figured out that my sweet, huge-hearted friend was terrified of what saying “Enough!” might’ve meant. Well, it has meant many moments of tranquility and a much shorter friend list. She still stumbles into random forums of doom, every now and again. But… she can get away before the rot oozed by someone else’s idiocy swallows her whole.

My friend has developed many tools to establish boundaries. Moi? I have a trunk full of them. Let me share 3 out of the bunch: 1. I’m extremely selective when it comes to close friends. 2. I don’t waste my time on activities (or people) that bring nothing but grief into my life. 3. I always, always prioritize.

For me, the last one is the most important. It can also be the hardest, particularly when it comes to the seemingly small things. I’ll use an example from blogging, since… well, we are here, aren’t we? I’ve lost more than a handful of blog friends since I figured out that my energy levels aren’t what they used to be. In the past, I had the time and endurance to read and comment on almost everything my friends posted. But… things change. These days, you might never see me on your blog, if I haven’t seen you on mine first—I always comment on the words of people who comment on my words. It’s an efficient way of prioritizing my blog reading time. If I see you here, I will visit your cyber-home. If I don’t see you, I might visit you (if time permits, but as you already read, time isn’t that great at permitting).

My behavior says nothing about the writing of the people whose work I might not read anymore, but… when it comes to some of them, you’d think that I’ve yelled that their words are fresh crap and their mother’s best brownies look like old crap.

They aren’t happy with me. One spoke of “abandonment”. Another said that I’ve gone “commercial and unartistic” (I don’t even know what that means). The most enraged of them all went as far as to suggest that I’m “comment-hungry”, and that people read and comment on my “over-simplistic poetry” just because they expect me to “fluff their substandard drivel” with “empty sugary”. I shall be as brave as Dumbledore, and “try not to sink beneath [my] anguish… but battle on” *cough*.

Hysterical, isn’t it? I agree. So much… that I postponed the Trinkets and Armor prompt I had readied for today (Stigma) and decided to go with boundaries. You see, it is very likely that I will never go back to most of their blogs. Not because they belittled my ink and my relationship with other writers and readers, but because my immune system and I don’t need their toxic nonsense. This does not mean that I won’t miss some of the writing—some of them are quite talented. But… sometimes, one must let go of certain pleasures, in order to keep one’s sanity (and to avoid skinning one’s knuckles on other people’s broken teeth).

So… my Luvs, how good are you at setting boundaries, at recognizing your limits, at remembering to say, “Enough!” (when you must) and moving on…?

 

My poetic contribution for this week is part of an oldie that’s still a goodie:

“Sister to Storm to Dirt to Flame”

I was Sister to Storm to Dirt to Flame
before she,
who claimed to have chosen me as her own,
fancied glitter could glamour
the broken spine of usurped energy.

Stagnant through time and Realms,
the twinkling twit
has met not the wisdom that feeds
the babes in evolution’s belly—

a witch in touch
with the Nature who made her
would never pretend…

or believe a rogue made of her magic
could shoot arrows through my blood.

 

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a wee note…
– Trinkets and Armor is moving to Sundays, starting
August 5th will be posted sometime between Thursday night and Sunday morning whenever *cough*.