One TikTok video explained things as simply as this to me. Prior to seeing the video, I’d been unable to properly piece the concept of putting up boundaries together, especially when it always looked like the process involved hurting other people.
“They probably didn’t mean any harm.” “It’s just something they do with other people, and if our other friends tolerate it, I can adjust.” “The discomfort this gives me is momentary, therefore inconsequential, compared to limiting someone I care about.” “What if that’s just the way they are? Wouldn’t I be forcing them to change?”
I still have these thoughts. That one video didn’t magically invalidate what I’d internalised all my life. What the video did, instead, was tell me I’m a bit of a coward.
I spent at least 10 extra minutes the bathroom. I don’t think I’ve ever used the highest volume of my speaker when I’m the only one listening. Until today, that is. I scrubbed really hard even. Like I thought all the dirt inside mewas somehow related to the one outside.
Stay with me.
I’m under the shower, rinsing now. This song is crawling my brain a little harder than usual, so I’m touching myself like I haven’t been touched in a while.
Today, I feel that I am.
The music. If I can feel it so intensely, it must be very loud. I reach toward the speaker; my finger hovers over the button. I don’t press, though. The speaker is vibrating, music blasting out of it. Through my finger, the pulse becomes mine — back to what I felt before I became concerned with the rest of the world.
I’m alive right now, because of this. So, until someone says that’s a problem, I will live. Or at least until I don’t want to anymore. Whichever comes first. I always die young, anyway. So, even if they have a problem, they won’t have to deal with it for too long.
Of course, this very elaborate claim sounds delicious to me until it’s time to do it some other day with some other thing. It, therefore, makes sense that I probably won’t remember it all the time.
But putting it out there as I have done is simply making a floating reminder that I am allowed to feel too, even if someone else feels some way about my feelings. Sometimes, the reminder will pop up; sometimes it won’t.
(After all, here I am editing this again so I can publish it…once again.)
I feel so bad about everything I do, about everything I am, because I’m so scared to be. To take up space. To live. When I should be doing things that make me feel good, I tell myself I have no right.
“What if someone is sleeping?” “What if they don’t like loud music?” “What if they don’t like this music?” “What if they’re in a meeting?” “I’m really that neighbour!”
I never want to be told to turn it down, so I never get loud — even if I know it’s just one song. I’m scared of the consequences of my actions (of the consequences of my entire being, to keep it a buck). And I have a nasty habit of misplaced empathy.
Learning to live is knowing that sometimes, the things that make you happy don’t align with someone else’s. And the things that make someone else happy don’t align with you. I’m not a dick for being on either end of this. The real dick is the person who can’t be civil when they find themselves in a situation like this.