Boundaries have been coming up for me a lot lately, and it got me thinking...
Last summer in Colorado I was on a trail ride in the mountains with my mom and a few other travelers. My horse's name was Jesse, and Jesse was the sweetest creature full of sunshine and light, UNTIL you got behind her. And let me tell you- if any of the other horses started to lolligag and get close to her buttock region, she would lash out in the fiercest act of "Don't you mess with me, mother f---er!" that I have ever seen. It was not pretty. But it was effective. You did NOT mess with Jesse.
So, seeing as how I love horses and I delight in adventure, I was very intrigued by Jesse and her behavior. And, seeing as I am a fan of the notion of horse whispering and the idea that the horse is just a mirror for you and your hangups, I thought... wow. Is there something that sweet Jesse can tell me about my own behavior here?
Let's analyze a bit. My thought was that Jesse had originally been a very sweet horse with very lax boundaries– so maybe she was on the trail and one of the horses behind her gave her a little nibble right on her derriere, and she dismissed it- swished her tail, and kept on walking. "Oh it must have been my fault" she said to herself, "surely it was just a mistake." Then it happened again, and again she let it slide, and it kept on happening until sure enough, one day- sweet Jesse got bit on the ass and just f---ing lost it. She exploded with the heat of one billion suns and tore into everything and everyone that moved until the whole world knew that she would not tolerate any more of this ass-biting bullshit.
Jesse had gotten her ass chomped on so many times without stating her boundaries that she made the drastic decision to completely shut down and simply not trust anyone anymore, ever. "I'm through with the world, you all suck, and I don't want any part of it." Game over.
How in the world could this possibly relate to moi?
I say this sarcastically, because I know that I've totally been in Jesse's shoes, AND I know that you know that you've been there too. I see so many women out there going through this same struggle.
So– is this a call to toughen up, to draw clearer lines of where my own boundaries lie? Well, let's see. I do see how I am many times overly nice to a fault, giving away my place, allowing others' agendas to take precedence over mine. I also know that as soon as you serve me that last straw and cut into the quick, all bets are off and you'll be lucky to make it out with all your limbs intact. This all-or-nothing route proves a bit manic and disrespectful to myself and others. Surely there is a compromise.
Why do we even do this to begin with? Why do we tolerate ass-biting which robs us of our power/energy/freedom/time? For me, it's usually because I don't want people to think I'm mean. I've invested a lot of energy believing that being a good girl and being nice trumps being true to myself and showing my teeth. The problem is, I've been duped! Because, that good girl ideal is impossible, inauthentic, and completely boring.
Being nice and sweet and good and giving is so very lovely and important; But so is being courageous and wise and badass and standing up for yourself and getting what you need when you need it. Defining healthy boundaries is integral to our growth as powerful influential women in this world. And God knows we need more of us out there. If we can't respect ourselves, then how do we expect the rest of the world to?
The key lies in remembering and honoring our inherent validity, worth, and sacred sexy awesomeness. It's about knowing our personal power to be the great treasure that it truly is– worthy of being championed and defended, not given away nonchalantly to anyone who chances by.
Defining and defending your boundaries with clarity and compassion is sexy.
Learning to say NO gracefully to people who rob you of your time and energy is rad. And standing up to all the ass-biters out there is a powerful beautiful thing. It's funny how letting a little bit of your tough side through can make a world of difference by letting others know that you've got something to be seen, heard, and respected.
Uh huh. Yeah... you heard me. "I'm walkin' here!"
Okay, so maybe I won't go that far, but- you know what I mean. There's a fine line between Self Respect and Selfish Entitlement. But I trust you know the difference. One is the high road, the other is the low. It's important to know you can still be a lady AND a lioness all at the same time.
So from now on– next time you bump into me on the train, on the sidewalk, at the gym, in the coffeeshop– expect to see a subtle fortification. Should you choose to nudge my boundaries, I will straighten my spine, own up to my innerAwesome, and give you what for. And after I've had my way with you, you'll think "Wow, that's one classy chick." Mmmmm. Hmmm.