Physical Boundaries

Been thinking about what my counselor said this week, especially as I was out walking last night. (Yeah! I'm back to taking walks again! Not as intense as before, but about 45 minutes. I was feeling so... antsy? I realized that walking is a big stress reliever for me, even if I'm not feeling well. I have a hard time going without, and it's not 'cause I'm guilting myself with "shoulds". It's cause I genuinely feel better when I've had a good walk, and I don't like missing out on that feeling.)

I was thinking about my code, and about my best.

It's still nebulous right now, still in the throes of being formed, but...

My best looks like...

...setting appropriate boundaries (both emotional and physical), and then maintaining balance within those boundaries between obligations, recreation, relationships, etc. Maintaining homeostasis within the boundaries.

I got to thinking last night about my physical health, about how that tends to dictate so much of my days... about how I have to "cut back" on days that I'm not doing well, but I can flex and do more on days or stretches that I'm doing better. It occurred to me that it's not something to be resentful of or guilty over. I am simply setting physical boundaries, much the way I learned to set emotional boundaries. It was awkward and felt wrong at first, and yes, I felt guilty. But I say "I can go this far, and no further", and I stick with that, and I don't let anyone or anything pressure me into going further than I'm comfortable with.

Physical boundaries. "I can go this far today, but no further." A safeguard. A protector. I have days where I'm not doing well emotionally, and I pull my boundaries closer to me and set up camp a little nearer my epicenter than I would on a different day. Boundaries aren't permanent fixtures-- they are flexible. Organic. Made to move with us. Otherwise they'd just be prisons.

I'm going and going and now I feel myself coming to the edge of my strength and well-being, and I must say, "I will not go any further today."

Why should I feel guilty about that?

I'm trying to stop should-ing myself. I'm seriously trying to eliminate the word "should" from my everyday vocabulary.

I believe that part of what I must do to achieve balance and health is to be able to accept my physical limitations... to be able to accept myself as I am. To stop pretending that if I somehow manage to ignore the physical limitations, I'll be... better. Good. Okay. Acceptable.

I hate people that ignore other's boundaries, both emotional and physical. Why would I be that kind of person to myself?

I took a strong message away from my childhood, and from SOULS. If you're sick or hurt, it doesn't matter. Soldier on, suck it up. No one cares, and you're exaggerating. You've got more important things to do, like saving the world. You cannot pause for something so petty as illness. Only if you're in the hospital for something severe are you allowed to be weak, and then for as little time as possible. You will be respected and accepted for this... hopefully. Oh, and by the way? God doesn't care how crappy you feel. You just gotta keep working.

I hate that message. Yet I dislike the thought of swinging to the other side to justify laziness with illness... and I fear that's where I'll end up if I slow down at all. Lazy. Unmotivated. Write-off. Unacceptable. If she'd just tried harder, she would have been worth something.

That's the fear that rises up to meet me when I slow down to acknowledge a boundary. The refrain "I could be... I could be... I could be..." shoots through my consciousness like a de-railed train. I could be doing the dishes. I could be vacuuming. I could be studying. I could be doing something worthwhile.

And the underlying assumption, of course, is that taking care of myself is not worthwhile. I'm not worthwhile. Because if I was... I wouldn't have to slow down. Right?

Where do these messages come from? Where did this come from?

And how do I beat it?

I tell you one thing... I'm going to try, at least... try to set these physical boundaries, and stick to them. I know they'll vary, day by day.

I'm going to try... to simply say, "This is a part of who I am. Not a bad thing, not a good thing. Just simply a part of who I am. I accept this, I will work with it, and I will be okay."

I am ill. And it's okay.

Last night, while wracked with pain, I told C in a momentary fit of despair that he should find someone healthy. He didn't say anything... just paused for a moment, straightened my engagement ring on my finger, and kissed the top of my head. I smiled and murmured, "Okay."

If he doesn't hate me for being sick... why should I hate myself?

0 thoughts:

Post a Comment