Unfollowed in Real Life: Setting Boundaries for Your Own Well-Being
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I had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend with some of my favorite people and got to go to a barbecue that was also a double show with the Kyle Sowashes and Positive No. Check out their albums below,
These bands, who I now know personally, are really talented, kind, and lovely. Highly suggested.
On May 31st, I was staying up too late (my M.O. I need better sleep hygiene) and saw one of my friends who lives in Western Ohio post “this weather is no joke get to a shelter now.” This person is normally sarcastic and chill so I checked the weather and it was a mess. My work called and we had tornado warnings for literally an hour and a half. Meanwhile, my husband and I were riveted to our phones watching the Doppler Radar. We knew it was bad when the weather people were discussing “notches” and talking about supercells. I gasped when they mentioned my hometown was hit by a tornado. I grew up in Beavercreek and have worked in Dayton. It’s a mess right now. Like 7 different tornadoes ripped through different parts of the city (not an exaggeration). If you can, donate to the Foodbank. It was an intense scary night and my heart goes out to the city. So I started out at an energy deficit and then energy vampire after energy vampire came out for me personally.
Trying to Be Positive
So in lieu of watching so many of my friends and loved ones in Dayton go through a rough week, my week doesn’t even come close. So I debated writing about setting boundaries because so many of my readers know me in real life and if you are reading this rest assured this is not about you. Also, I have clean water and a house in the scheme of things life is really good and I acknowledge that. By the way, the word resilient is really thrown around a lot but the people of Dayton are resilient. I am so proud of the way they came together to help each other and the momentum keeps on going. But this past week took a weird toll on me and I felt like writing about it. I wanted to acknowledge these feelings while working through them. I felt really vulnerable and then things just happened to exacerbate it.I’m not going to write about the specifics of these things because why would you want to read about that? Also, I have a burn book for that. But I thought, hey, why not write about times where feelings have been hurt and how to deal with them. I’m a super sensitive person who also is extroverted. It’s a great combo! Especially when you have had years upon years to learn how to handle hurt feelings, and as much as I feel like I’ve gotten better about it, I struggle. It’s ok to acknowledge that you didn’t like how you were treated. I generally just stop talking to people when I get really mad. If I like you, I’ll say “hey this hurts and I like you enough that I want you to know you are still in my life” but if I am done I can’t spend my energy that way. As someone who watched Heathers and was like “oh I can relate to this more than I like.” I often say that I can handle some mad Heather energy. There are people you meet that you knew when you were younger and sometimes you have to go to a bathroom and cry after interactions with them. I will always struggle with being the awkward girl. It’s in me. Literally, 95% of people I have met have been bullied. Being bullied is part of life, but you can learn tips for handling it. Also, I will say my biggest bully is myself. So I get really upset when I feel like someone has tipped me into that “why are you like this, Ali?” to myself territory. I’m just extra sensitive about it. Know thyself right? It’s just been a while since I’ve been like “what on earth did I do wrong?” Oh, by the way, don’t date people who know this about you and exploit it so you are basically in thrall to them.
Knowing that I obsess about things, I have made a point to have boundaries with people. It’s hard and it’s something I’m still learning. But boundaries have kept me sane and have helped me focus on important work to be done as opposed to dwelling on the negative. It focuses on exploring my own potential as I see it as opposed to viewing myself in someone else’s lens. As as a woman in my thirties who decided to be a working mom and start a blog, I have had to set up boundaries to keep me conserving my energy. The other thing people don’t talk about with boundaries is that it allows you to focus on the people you let in your circle. After my father passed, which I mention all the time because again- I’m a sensitive person, I had to do this because I knew what it was like to be sad. I had to literally learn how to be happy again. I cry all the time during movies and TV shows. Part of the reason I hate seeing movies in theaters because I always cry and I feel like I can’t leave the space. I’m an emotional person and I worry that bothers people. In true Midwest fashion, I try to not be in anyone’s way. Does having boundaries mean you can’t be civil and kind to people? Absolutely not. It just means you get to focus on what makes you happy, know your triggers, and be with people who help you grow. I have wonderful friends who call me out when I need calling out. This is knowing what upsets you and knowing who you need in your life. Also, there are people who are way more sensitive than me and if they need more boundaries and you can’t get in and they need a break from you- I respect that. You have to accept people for who they are. That’s the best gift you can give someone. Sometimes people are really good at hiding who they really are but you have to accept what you see right? Even if someone has the potential to grow, that’s on them to decide. You can’t force someone to be a better person. They have to choose it. Also, they might be a better fit in someone else’s life. I was telling my husband I struggle with George Costanza (which really is Larry David) syndrome of “do I like everybody? No. Does everybody like me? Why not?”
Which leads me to another point, this quote by Roxane Gay:
Like pronouns, or language, or how safe they feel in a space, listen to them. Don’t test it. This quote just put into words the tipping point for when I cut people out. I think a lot of problems today are because people are like “people get offended at everything.” Well, maybe that’s their boundary and we should respect that. To me, even though I run my mouth and am blunt, respect is everything. I scare my husband sometimes because I go, full Godfather, when I talk about respect. Do I tease my loved ones? Yes. Do I ever want to make them cry or hurt? No. Also, you have to really know someone and love them to be that way. Sometimes you do cross lines but loved ones will tell you and you get to back off if you want that relationship to continue.
How I dealt with it this week
I started unfollowing things that upset me. I really tried, with some success, to get out of my head and in a better place. I called the people I needed to and vented. I cried a lot. I took a break from the news. I’m trying to focus on positive climate news and signal boost incredible people on social media. I then shook myself out of the overthinking and did stuff I liked like read this book about General Grant.
I also watched Deadwood which I’m only beginning the second season but what a lovely escape that’s been. Also, the acting! I mean the acting is so good it’s mesmerizing. Not going to lie, it’s the best ensemble of actors I have seen outside of British TV. Like people who study at the Shakespeare Academy good, in which they take a text and make it a billion times better using physicality and pathos. True life: a lot of what people call good acting is just mimicry. What I love about this show is every single person in it is a character actor who just crushes it. Even people at the very beginning of their careers like Kristen Bell and Nick Offerman show up and break your heart. It just takes your breath away. Super violent and lots of foul language but so enjoyable. There are things I’m like, really? Really was that necessary? But I am loving it. Here’s something I’ve been thinking about-also Milch throws in 19th century literary things that I friggin’ love. This was was part of a monologue and so…Raskalnikov. “Past hope. Past kindness or consideration. Past justice. Past satisfaction. Past warmth or cold or comfort. Past love. But past surprise? What an endlessly unfolding tedium life would then become!” I’m ten years late to this party but I’m enjoying it so much.
I spent time with my son and my husband. I worked out. I talked with my favorite people and laughed out loud. I ate good food. I cooked and made a sauce. For some reason making sauces is like my favorite thing. I tried to get out of my own head. Sometimes it’s easier than others. This week was hard but I got through it. I think there is this thing with people where a. No one wants to talk about their feelings getting hurt. When I do that I get really really sarcastic and mean (remember when I said Heathers hit a little close to home?) and that’s when I know I need to take a step back from a situation. It’s better to acknowledge I’m hurt than hurt someone else. B. You feel guilty for feeling upset because other people have it worse. True. But that doesn’t solve your problem. You get to feel things the way you do. Remember how boundaries are for you? You get to set up boundaries to deal with life so you can focus on you. So many people deal with nightmare scenarios because it could be worse. Figure out what works for you and get yourself in a situation where you can flourish. I’ve included quotes from people that helped me see where I wanted to be in this situation. I hope you all have a week free of hurt feelings and full of love.
Oh, I went on Instagram and asked people if they had ever unfollowed someone on social media and the answers were really interesting. Mostly really bad political opinions, oversharing on social media, finding out someone was benefiting from housing discrimination, watching people make them feel bad about themselves, and just needing a simple break from someone. I think we get bombarded with different things and while it’s great we are in constant contact with people so we can reach out-sometimes you need to just cut people off. Also, when you learn disappointing things about people you can cut them out too. We’re all learning. I personally feel I express myself better in writing than by talking. I feel like an imposter all the time. But I generally love myself and I appreciate all support you all have given me for my writing.
I kept on thinking about this song while I wrote this. Ha! Laughing at myself is how I deal with pain. C’est la vie.
I love the Flight of the Conchords.