Boundaries

I’m a big fan of boundaries. Learning to say no, not right now, not that much, that’s not for me, that’s not right, that doesn’t work for me, is an ongoing struggle for me, but one that is so important. Hello, my name is Hillary, and I am a recovering people pleaser. 

Figuring out what your personal boundaries are, and then implementing them and sticking with them, is a form of radical self-care. Putting ourself over others isn’t something we’ve been raised to do. We’ve been taught to share and be polite and be kind, and those are extremely important skills to master. But somewhere along the way the lines got blurred and we started putting the comfort and happiness of others ahead of our own. 

So! Boundaries! Big fan. Love them. Nothing bad to say about boundaries.  

But it’s difficult to love boundaries when someone says no to you. When someone decides that you’re too much, not right for them, not right right now, too strong, too weak, too something , it stings. It really hurts when someone’s personal boundaries means limiting contact, unfollowing, unfriending, pulling away, ending communication, breaking up, shutting down, etc. It’s hard and it hurts. 

And there’s nothing to be done except sitting in the pain and acknowledging the hurt. Respecting boundaries the way you expect others to respect yours means you can’t try to change someone’s mind. You can’t convince someone to change how they feel. That’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to you. Because you deserve more than that. You deserve to be surrounded by people who choose to be in your life, not people you have to chase or manipulate.  

Sometimes respecting someone’s boundaries means saying goodbye. It’s painful and sometimes it doesn’t make any sense but in the end, walking away from a situation that no longer works can be the best way to take care of ourselves. It doesn’t feel good when people grow in different directions and we lose people we thought could never be consciously lost to us, but the end right now doesn’t have to mean it’s the end forever. 

I’m doing my best to respect my own boundaries and the boundaries of others, even when they’re confusing and uncomfortable for me. I don’t always succeed but I always try. 

 

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Nine

Nine years ago we stood in a sunbeam on the roof of an Irish pub and agreed to love and support each other through the good stuff, the rough stuff, and the in-between stuff. Nine years ago we had no idea the highs could be so high, or the lows could be so low, or the in-betweenies could be so perfectly mundane. 

There's no one I would rather sip icy gin and tonics with. There is no one I'd rather have backing me as we tackle Mount Laundry and negotiate with Tiny Dictators and dream big dreams and figure out thyroid bullshit and finally, for the love of tacos, clean the clutter off the mothercussin' kitchen counters once and for all. 

I love you but I also really like you. Thank you for nine beautiful years. Here's to many more.

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My Oldest Friend

I met my oldest friend when we were seven years old. Her family moved to BC from another province and as fate would have it, her house was just down the street from mine. She was in my second grade class and that, combined with the proximity of our homes, was enough to make us best friends. Life is so much easier when you're a kid.

We've been through a lot together. We lived in different cities. Different countries. On different continents. We've been through love and loss and tragic haircuts together. We've cursed idiot bosses and lamented oblivious crushes together. We've danced and sung "Sweet Caroline" and stumbled home from bars together. She was with me the night I met Shawn. She held my hand at our wedding. She is the person who, apart from my family, has known me the longest. She is my chosen family. She is one of my heart people.

My oldest friend recently had her life turned upside down. Her life's trajectory, her goals, her hopes and dreams all changed in one brutal instant. My oldest friend is an ass-kicker. She's a doer. She's efficient and methodical and one of the smartest people I know. But right now she's hurting. Watching her mourn and not be able to do anything but hold her hand and tell her I love her has been the hardest thing. I know that she's stronger than she knows. She's resilient. I know a little something about living life and all of a sudden having to do a Ross Geller "PIVOT!". I know that with time, she will build herself into an even tougher, even smarter, more tenacious lady. I know she's got this, even though it doesn't feel like it right now.

Today is my oldest friend's birthday. She should be celebrating. She should be on a patio somewhere, enjoying the sun and a glass of something bubbly. She shouldn't be hurting. So today, on my oldest friend's birthday, I want to ask the universe for a little magic. I wish for strength and peace and fortitude and a little sparkle for my oldest friend.

Lady, things have been terrible. Unimaginably so. But they won't be terrible forever. I promise. I love you and I wish you a happy birthday and a happier year to come, my oldest friend.

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The People Have Spoken

Before we talk about how the majority agrees with how right I am, can I just take a minute to clarify that yesterday's poll was just a bit of lighthearted fun? Shawn and I are not perfect people and we don't have a perfect marriage but yesterday's post was not an indicator of deep rooted armpit cloth problems. We cool? Cool.   

I have a confession to make. I am the dirty armpit cloth bandit. I use washcloths, I wring them out, and I leave them to dry on the towel rack. When they're dry, I throw them in the laundry hamper. I don't know what kind of voodoo witchcraft you're practicing that you can throw wet washcloths in the hamper and not have stinky, mouldy clothes but I cannot do it. I do a load of towels at least twice per week so even if I used a washcloth every day (I don't) and even if I left them to pile up on the towel rack (I don't) the most we'd have is three or four dirty washcloths. Not a huge deal. 

It had not even crossed my mind that Shawn would consider reusing someone else's dirty washcloth. It is so beyond my concept of normal behaviour (even if I only use a washcloth on my face, I'm still wiping sweat / makeup / grease / germs off my face and then you would be wiping my sweat / makeup / grease / germs onto your face) that I didn't even know it was an issue. Of course I can see why he would be upset. He's been wiping my armpits on his face for who knows how long. (Also? I did not mention this to him but my armpits are not the grossest thing that touch our washcloths. Sometimes Grady uses washcloths for cleaning his bits. This is why our towels are done separately from the rest of our laundry. I wash them in the hottest water with the strong soap.) 

Anyway. I understand why he's upset. And I think it's ridiculous that he reuses other people's dirty washcloths. Live a little, Shawn. Life is too short to use dirty washcloths.  

(From now on I'm going to hang my dirty washcloths over the shower to dry instead of the towel rack and Shawn is going to think of every dirty washcloth as an armpit cloth. Life goes on.)