No More Bullshit, Please
Building Boundaries Around Identity
I have a plan for my life. I wrote it down on the covers of a light pink photo album in the seventh grade. I set clear goals on the pages of that pink album, and when I look at it today, I am not too far from them. However, I have been in the past. I forgot about my little pink photo album in my early twenties when I started pursuing my degree. My goals were on my heart and I didn’t see the need to flip through the pages of a book to remind me who I was anymore. I set three important goals; support my family, secure a degree and stay away from getting pregnant before my career goals were accomplished. To my surprise, when I started writing in college I realized I wasn’t ready to share my voice yet. My niche needed to be fed by life experience.
So, I focused on supporting my academic career and helping my family grow. To survive, I learned to pretend that I understood less than I did so that credit remained with those whose minds I picked for wisdom that I transformed to use in my daily life. I made friends with bad intentions and ignored my own instincts. I worked a million jobs I didn’t like and dated boys who had no chance, to keep me from committing to anything other than my goals as I waited for a story to form.
I became weary waiting for it. I forgot I was waiting for it. Then, I acted accordingly -- I panicked. The photo album was buried somewhere I couldn’t find it, and I was lost because I had forgotten who I was, who I am: a leader. In my mid-twenties, I tore myself down trying to maintain an identity that led to another which had not yet formed. Thank goodness I did! I learned so much about the world and the people in it. I’m still learning how to protect my future by recognizing and eliminating jealousy, disorganization, and bad intentions. With a partial understanding of these things and some reading material, I was able to begin to validate my self-worth and begin to build boundaries that will lead the second chapter of my life.
There are three important challenges that negatively affected my integration into society from a disadvantaged community; regulating cultural assimilation in a way that does not stifle my cultural affiliation, categorizing useful peers in order to build mutually beneficial partnerships, and gracefully instituting harsh-ish punishment to protect my discipline under pressure. All of these abilities are formed through the institution of very strong boundaries. I am patient in the process of building adult boundaries. We all build up defense mechanisms as children that we have to shed or rethink as adults.
The journey to building strong boundaries might be met with resistance by those around you. I’m still navigating these waters and they’re not calm at all. Boundaries, When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life is a very good resource for guidance through boundary building. If you don’t end up anywhere near this book anytime soon then please consider the following passage carefully on your journey; “Running into resistance is a good sign that you are doing what you need to do. It will be worth it. When you encounter resistances, persevering until the end will bring great reward” (Cloud 1992).
Reading this book is definitely beneficial to those of us who lost ourselves for a while. It’s important that if you have a plan to accomplish your goals that you do not let others interfere or you will fail. Recognize jealousy, disorganization and bad intentions through building up strong boundaries that will help you organize and separate friends from enemies and then validate your knowledge safely. I personally think that it’s best to practice building boundaries with people who you do not love before beginning the journey with those who you do. It prepares you to suffer a loss though, you may not have to. Practicing strong boundaries isn’t easy and it’s not fun, sometimes you might get hurt. It’s okay to fall down or to be hurt. Make sure you let everyone know how much smarter you are when you rise up into a more tightly bound identity.