First I want to thank you guys for coming here. Most of you know that I started blogging to get into the habit of writing on a regular basis, an act of creative discipline. I used to write notebooks full of essays on my Summer vacations, during my down time during the school year and whenever there were not art supplies available. I wrote to gain peace of mind. I wrote out my anger. I wrote out the chronicle of my life so that I could see how I am growing. So why move to a public format?
One for accountability so that I would keep writing. And writing interesting things that would bring people back time and again. And two because it is easier to cart around a laptop than hundreds of notebooks; in the end it is cheaper too. :)
I did not expect to have regular readers. My friend Shayne worked his way up to 1000s of readers a day which sparked my competitive nature. And once I had one reader sign up I wanted more. Not to fuel my ego. But to feel less alone. Our good friend Uncle Wil has millions (one) of readers and we connected in a kind of community. I wanted to extend that community.
So here we are. A little band of people gathered together for a variety of reasons, learning, sharing, growing together and hopefully entertaining ourselves in the process. I know I said yesterday that I was feeling like I have to do things alone. Please do not think that means I do not know you guys exist. I do. And I am so thankful that each of you are here with me. I know that our energies connect even though none of us may meet in the real world. And for those that I have met in the real world, I am equally thankful because that means a physical hug and a voice at the end of the phone. So let me explain what alone means.
Alone, in this context means that I can gather all the advice I need or want but a choice that must be made is mine alone. In school we had lab partners. We were all responsible for our grades. When I did daycare there was a core set of House Rules. But as each child entered the house I worked with the parents to amend those rules to make the daycare feel more like home and less like school. It was collaborative. And it was necessary. The less disparity in rules from one place to another made it easier for the kid to follow the rules. Kids are adaptable. But when they occupy many environments per day their little brains gets their mental lists mixed up and made mistakes. We eliminated as much of that as possible. And peace was easier to obtain. When I was Up North I live communally with my friends. We each had our own place but we were banded together. And sometimes that meant I made choices with others in mind instead of solely for myself.
Here, in this time and place that has not served me well. I have a long history of that backfiring on me because those I considered were not considering me. So I am from the extreme of living in community to living singularly. And for only one reason: to relearn boundaries. Mine have always been very porous... like a screen door on a submarine. Even when I am in a community that functions like a healthy community I need to have good solid boundaries because it is easy for people to take advantage without meaning to. So I am in extreme boundary mode. That is how it must be right now. This is the homework that I have been given by my counselor.
And it is the advice that I give all of you who have felt taken advantage of. Having been in that spot, knowing that it was my fault I got taken advantage of, I can tell you that we are our own problem in cases like that. There are a million reasons that we let people walk on us. Mostly it is the passive quality that comes with being an introvert. Introversion comes with being a geek. We come by it naturally and we have to work really hard at being good to ourselves. And that means boundaries. That means that we value ourselves enough to use the word "no" and the concept of "rejuvenation" on ourselves. That means no more porous boundaries.
And that means no more people who get mad at us for taking care of ourselves.
It means no more people who tell us what to do. Listening to them and doing what they say weakens our faith in ourselves and subjugates us to another's will. And we fall for it because they tell us "I only want what is best for you." If Steve Jobs told me that I would believe him. But he is not an authority on anyone but Steve Jobs so I would have to say "Thanks. But I will take the book and be inspired by your life without living it." And I think that would match his expectations.
It means that we decide for ourselves what is best because we are the only ones who know what we really need: Time. Space. Quiet. Companionship or Solitude. Advice or Hand Holding. Escape.
And we are the only ones who know how much time we need to ourselves. No one gets to tell us when we have had enough alone time. And no one gets to be mad about it. Anger in this situation is inappropriate.
This is where I feel alone. I do have people who are angry that I am taking time to myself. Those who have said "OK, whenever you want to talk/hang out/chat." are the ones that I will gravitate toward when I do need to step outside that boundary. They know that I will come back to them. The angry ones I do not know about.
People who get angry about that raise a red flag. I see agendas behind anger. They may not be there. But my mom was that way. In fact everyone that I know who has anger issues is angry because they feel thwarted. And so when I meet angry emotions I go on automatic defense. Being angry with me is how I let down the boundary. I hate it when people are mad at me. I am a Peacekeeper. Anger is not peaceful. So I bend my own rules to keep the peace and then I am stuck living someone else's wish for me.
The other kind of person that I am wary of is the one who calmly says they will respect the boundary and then calls me all the time with a contrived reason to hang out. I like feeling useful. And if you tell me there is a need that only I can fulfill its like throwing up a Bat Signal. I'm in the Bat Mobile and off to the rescue before the phone hangs up only to find there is no emergency when I arrive. "Well since you're here... wanna hang out?"
Angry people do not have faith that I will return to them. And you can not say that you understand my reasons if you are angry. Anger negates understanding. Manipulative people haven't the faith either. And in a way it is also a passive way to control someone else. Just feeling the anger roll off of someone makes me not want to have anything to do with them. Especially when they say "I'm not angry." But their tone and manner of speaking resembles a machine gun.
So, my friends, I thank you for being here and sharing what I feel like sharing. I thank you for caring enough to stop by each day. And I encourage you as always, to know yourself and care for that self. Each of you is special and precious to someone who loves you and the God that you chose to worship if you chose to worship one. But firstly, you must be precious to yourself. Only by being a whole and fulfilled individual can you participate in another persons life in a positive way. It is the only way to combat the darkness that swirls around our planet these days. Encouragement rather than accusation is the only way that we make the Light grow. And friends, how you say that matters more than what you say.
Go and be good to yourself. Be good to others.