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Tag Archives: boundaries

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

I felt bad for Heru-Wer as I went into the epagomenal days. I knew that his day would be chalk full of tasks and errands that needed to get done, and so I knew he wouldn’t get the same level of time or dedication as everyone else, and I felt bad about it. I wanted to try and get a head start on things by working on his stuff yesterday, but O was very big in the “live in the moment, quit trying to work ahead” shtick, and so I waited.

And cue this morning where I’ve been running non-stop and still have barely done anything for Heru-Wer’s birthday.

But sometimes things come in mysterious ways, and here is how today’s arrived: I was sitting in a restaurant and doodling in blank spaces in my bujo. I was working on something that I had placed on July 3, the day grandpa had his stroke. While I had originally considered the text “You can’t stop what’s coming” as being purely related to grandpa because I couldn’t stop the stroke or the incoming downhill slide that occurred, I noticed partway through inking it that it took on a very Setian tone. I joked that perhaps they had swapped days so that Set could minimize any interaction we might have because I’d be too busy to spend time with him. Even though I couldn’t place if it was from a NTR, something about it stuck in my mind. Conveniently, Sat had started to respond to my questions about Heru-Wer around the same time, and the more I mulled about what I associate with Heru-Wer, the more I began to believe that perhaps it was from him.

The best part being that when it was finally all colored in, you get a secret message:

I don’t really work with any of the Herus (Horii?, so my perceptions of him and his associations are pretty limited. The only real things I associate him with are losing an eye, kingship, and protecting the Two Lands. Boundaries and defense are the two words I would use to sum up my knowledge of Heru-Wer specifically, and that is exactly what I wanted to originally talk about today regarding him. But after having drawn this, I want to hone in on what it’s like to be in a position of defense, and knowing you’ll need to defend in the near future.

While I know that most of us are not in any sort of military position that would often be labeled as “defense,” I think that all of us come to points in our lives where we have to defend ourself or others. Ultimately, part of being a healthy and balanced person is knowing when you defend your boundaries and when to draw a line in the sand. If you never defend yourself, you will ultimately end up in unhealthy and abusive relationships. It’s mandatory to know how to defend yourself (and others, in my opinion) properly.

That being said, I think that the worst thing about being in an actively defensive position, or being someone who knows they must defend someone or something else, is that you fully realize that something is coming for you. Even though you know it’s coming, you can’t leave your position, you can’t necessarily avoid it outright. No, instead you must stay the course and wait for the impact that inevitably will occur.

I admit that I hate waiting for the impact. I hate knowing that an impact is coming because my anxiety ramps up in an attempt to prepare for it. I begin to try to think of ways to out maneuver whatever might happen. Ways I can protect myself or others against some semi-unknown future foe. I catastrophize and lowkey panic about what might happen. I waste precious precious energy embracing the idea of the impact instead of just waiting for the impact to arrive and embracing that.

The idea of “you can’t stop what’s coming” was ultimately kind of freeing to me. I found myself in a similar place as when I read the Litany Against Fear: “I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” In a way, it forces me to not only reckon with the fact that something is coming, but it also reminds me of the fact that there’s nothing you can do about it. It reminds me that there is a limit to what I can do, and that there is nothing wrong with accepting that limitation.

In a way, this is a similar conversation to something me and Set used to talk about. He always framed it as “there will always be wolves”, which is to say, there will always be things that seek to hurt you (and so you must always be prepared.) But its rooted in fear and an expectation that there will always be things that are actively coming after you. For me, it makes me feel I need to prepare for everyone to be a wolf. It constantly puts you in a state of hyper-vigilance.

This reframing shifts that perspective for me, though. It puts me back in my body, back in the place where I always live. Back in my skin where I am reminded that limitations are a thing, that we can still have our pleasures (the highlighted text of “can’t stop coming”) despite the fact that we can’t always prevent bad stuff from showing up at our door.

Ironically, its a different aspect of yesterday’s conversation about being inert. Except this time, you’re simultaneously inert and moving. You’re inert because you’re always stuck in your body or stuck in whatever position of defense you need to maintain. And yet, while still being inert in that position of defense, you’re also being moved — usually by whatever you’re defending against. To bring it back more to what I expect would be historically Heru-Wer’s territory, you may need to move around a lot to chase down an infiltrator, to help stop incoming armies or enemies. You have to be agile and quick to get where you need to be to defend whatever needs defending.

But at the same time, everywhere you go, there you are. To some extent, there is a portion of us that is unchanging since our birth. A part of us that is static or inert if you will, and that part will always be carried with us wherever we go. Regardless of what fray we get thrown into, we’re all stuck in our bodies, stuck in the thick of this thing called life. The things around us may change, but we are always stuck where we are — in these really fancy meatsuits.

Ultimately, the thing we (probably should) defend the most in our life is ourselves, the most static and inert thing we own. We can’t stop what’s coming, we can only do our best to prepare for it and have some pleasure in between the waves of life. And there’s probably nothing wrong with that.

I have no clue if that’s what he had in mind when he sent me the doodle, but that’s what I got out of it.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2019 in Kemeticism, Rambles

 

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In a World Full of Yes

Deciding to finally live for myself couldn’t have been more timely. I knew within a matter of days that the situation I found myself in earlier this year would have done 2016-era me in completely. This is largely because I was suddenly finding myself dealing with my family on a daily basis in ways that I hadn’t had to in the past. I never had to get into it with an aunt about finances or with an uncle about caring for their elderly father.

As the weeks dragged on, I found that most of my family hadn’t changed much from my youth, and that most of them were just as shifty in their behavior as they had always been. With each new round of drama that would crop up, I found myself having to choose between keeping the peace and actually protecting myself. In my youth all I had ever done was work to keep the peace. I chose to make myself smaller so that I might not get ousted from the group, and what I didn’t realize when I decided I was going to go “all in” with life is that you can’t really take the path of least resistance when you’re actually trying to take care of yourself.

With each new experience where I felt like someone was taking advantage of me or trying to hurt me, I could suddenly see my younger self looking back at me, asking me why I was allowing this person to hurt us, to hurt them. I noticed that I was always more willing to put myself in the line of fire for others, but not for myself; a well-known trait for those of us with anxiety. Which meant that if I wanted to walk the walk and not just talk the talk, I’d have to start sticking up for myself in the same way that I would for others, and drawing boundaries in the sand as to how I would allow people to treat me.

For someone like me, this is actually quite terrifying.

Of course, when I talked with my therapist about boundaries, some part of me knew that this was going to happen eventually. She told me that I wasn’t very good at drawing boundaries to keep myself safe. She said that this was partially what caused the violent emotional responses that I was prone to. Because I couldn’t separate myself from everyone around me, I couldn’t help but feel their feelings as though they were mine. I almost felt like I wasn’t being a good person if I wasn’t flinging myself headlong into everyone else’s issues so that I’d know what it felt like to be them in that moment.

And in those moments, I seemed to imagine that drawing boundaries would be empowering. That I’d basically be learning how to cordon myself off from things that would hurt me. That I’d make sure I was safe. I think that my initial concepts of drawing boundaries banked on the notion that I’d be able to actually disengage with anything I didn’t want near me. Which, in its own way, means I was planning on drawing my boundaries by running away.

But what if running away isn’t possible? As is the case when you’re being a caretaker for someone who still has living family that they want in their life. I hadn’t thought about this until I was already in it. You see, for all of the years of being labeled as being aggressive, mean, bitchy, overbearing, etc. I actually do not get off on telling people what to do. I feel uncomfortable asking for simple, basic things, and when I have to do so regularly, it can cause me to have anxiety attacks. But in order to actually protect what I had managed to cultivate, I had to find a way to tell people — family — no.

And so I tried. At first I often would try to soften anything I said. “Could you maybe, possibly think about how that might have come across. It was kind of mean.” or “I’m not really comfortable with that, would it be possible to maybe do something else?” And you know what happened?

People got mad anyways.

[[image of quote that says “If I say no to someone and they get angry, it does NOT mean I should’ve said yes”]]

If there is anything that 2018 has taught me, it’s that you can be as accommodating as humanly possible. As nice as humanly possible. As non-intrusive as you can possibly be. And people who are committed to not meeting you halfway will still call you Too Much, Extra, and my personal favorite, Bitchy. People who are not interested in developing healthy relationships with you will never acknowledge or respect your boundaries without a fight, and that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have set those boundaries.

Above all, I’ve learned that setting boundaries feels less like taking care of yourself and more like fighting a war against people who won’t take no for an answer. The problem being that as awful as fighting a war everyday is, fighting this war is necessary, if not mandatory in order to be healthy. The more I found myself not defining what was okay in terms of how people treated me, the more I found myself not saying no, not standing up and speaking my needs, the more miserable I became.

So it begs to ask — which is worse? A slow death by suffocation via those around me because I was too scared to stand up and say no? Or a slowly-fought battle where I potentially lose people, but can ultimately breathe?

[[image of a quote “It is crucial for deeper level recovery that we learn that feelings of fear, shame and guilt are sometimes signs that we have said or done the right thing.They are emotional flashbacks to how we were traumatized for trying to claim normal human privileges.”Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, Pete walker, pg 78”]]

In Kemeticism, we talk about how isfet has to be battled back every day. The gods have no choice but to engage in this daily battle, or be destroyed by the thing they fight. Every time I’ve talked to the NTRW about fighting back isfet, they don’t seem to be too distraught over it. It’s just a thing that they Have To Do if they want to live a certain quality of life, and there is very little baggage tied to it at this point.

As I continue to work on drawing boundaries for myself, I begin to think more about this comparison, and how if I allow other people to constantly take advantage of me, how my life will be overrun with isfet. How I can’t, in good conscience, tell myself that I’m trying to live in ma’at while not actively trying to dispel the isfet I’ve inadvertently let in my life. I remind myself that anything worth having is worth fighting for, and if I’m not worth fighting for, then what is?

And so the battle continues. May it get easier to do, and feel less like a battle in time. For all of us.

How do boundaries play a role in your life? How do you create boundaries in your life?

Resources for developing boundaries:

 

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