Wanna play?

I went out last night and I currently have the alcohol shakes, but I’ve been excited about writing this blog post for the last four hours. During which time I’ve also been hiding in bed, mostly in the fetal position, listening to Brené Brown and Dax Shepard talk to people, with my eyes closed and three water vessels within arms reach, waiting for the world to stop swaying quite so much. And also very glad that I didn’t accidentally go out-out any time close to when I need to be a parent. My fingers can just about hit the right keys now, so I’ll press on.

There’s a certain threshold of alcohol beyond which I am simply not able to control my actions. Once I’ve crossed that threshold I’m basically just a product of my inputs up to that point. It’s like the human checks out and just leaves the program to do whatever it’s going to do. I’ve always felt like other people seem to more gradually progress toward incapacitation, while my brain seem to drop off a cliff quite a bit before my body stops being able to do stuff, but that could just be a disparity of perception.

I generally try to give the cliff a wide margin, because I’m always a bit scared what the human will find in the memory banks when it finally comes back online. And I know if I get anywhere close to the cliff, I’ll probably think it’s a good idea to down my drink and see if I can fly. So I try to keep my distance, but sometimes it sort of sneaks up on me.

Cliff-diving wasn’t on my agenda for last night, but there were at least a couple of drinks put in front of me that I wasn’t expecting and certainly hadn’t accounted for, so…wheeeeeee!

Now, I’ve been various shades of offputting drunk person over the years, and it’s often quite instructive as to where I most need to do my work at that time. A latent and unacknowledged rage toward men…my self-worth being tied to my perceived value as a sexual object…feeling trapped in a relationship because of what I’d been conditioned to believe love was supposed to be… You know, all the usual stuff. But this time, rather than pointing out my most tender emotional wounds, I was gifted a moment of delightful searing clarity for a completely different reason. Because last night, when I jumped off the cliff, I became my four year old son.

Seriously; I was just running around, having a nice time, getting up in everybody’s business, touching everyone, talking to random strangers trying to get them to play with me, missing all the social cues when people weren’t really interested in playing with me, not really understanding what was going on around me but using my four-year-old logic to come up with my own explanations, and then using those explanations to come up with ways to try to get people to play with me.

And, I don’t know, I mean, yeah, an adult acting like a very extravagant four year old is annoying and certainly not acceptable in polite society, but, like, I feel like I can’t be mad at myself for just wanting to play, you know? Like, yeah, you definitely need to get a bit better with boundaries and consent, Yve, but your heart was in the right place.

Coincidentally, when I was writing a description of my son a few weeks ago, after going through all the unequivocally glorious things about him, I added “his excitement can lead him to get disruptive sometimes – respecting other people’s boundaries and personal space is a big lesson for him at the moment”.

So, basically, I’ve come to the understanding that, if I’m ever going to go out-out again, I’m going to require adult supervision.

Drama

Once Upon A Time, I had a boyfriend. He wasn’t a particularly good one, I wasn’t particularly into him, but other people seemed to think he was hot and I was really bad at breaking up with people, or just saying no thanks in the first place. So he was my boyfriend.

One night, we were going to a party. I was wearing a crop top. Now, I am, and always have been, a kind of hairy girl. So there was a small patch of dark hair beneath my belly button. Upon seeing this, my boyfriend informed me its presence was unacceptable.

Before we were able to go to the party, my boyfriend insisted on taking me to get a razor, and then shaving my belly for me. I should have dusted out of there at the first mention of this plan but, instead, I allowed it to happen, slipping into a sort of dissociated state. And then we went to the party.

We walked there. I simmered.

We arrived at the party. I simmered some more.

While everyone else presumably enjoyed the party, I stood on the periphery, not quite fully in my body, not quite sure what I was doing there, waiting until I got drunk enough to pretend I was relating to these people.

I got drunk.

I spoke to my boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend, who coincidentally was the ex-girlfriend of a person I had very poorly concealed romantic feelings for. She told me she had broken up with my not-so-secret love because he didn’t like tattoos on girls and she wanted a tattoo. I would argue with him about this later.

In the meantime, I got drunker.

During a discussion with a group of male friends, something my boyfriend said sparked my repressed drunken outrage, and I argued with him publicly. This escalated and, in front of his friends, I slapped him and stormed out. As I departed, I heard my boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend say “I thought I was bad!”

I wonder, if she’d known the whole story, would her response have been the same? Maybe not. But maybe. Like, even if she hadn’t said it out loud, might the voice in her head have actually said exactly the same thing? She thought she was bad for breaking up with someone who wanted to control her body, but there I was clumsily and publicly shaming someone on the way out for trying to control mine? What a relief that at least she caused less of a scene with it than me? I fucking wonder.

Get off my lawn

I have a bad habit of seeking validation for my point of view.

I used to be offputtingly defensive, which I have come to understand was a necessary way of protecting myself from harmful and erosive influences. It allowed me to uphold boundaries, albeit it in an overly rigid, dysfunctional way. I used to keep a clear space around me at all times and if someone intruded on the lawn I’d shoot them down without thinking twice. Stay. The fuck. Away.

One day, I guess out of exhaustion or loneliness, I decided to lock up the weapons. When people turned up on the lawn, I just let them stay there. If they asked to come in, I’d reply “if you want”. And so people started indiscriminately trampling all over my space, according to their own desires rather than mine. They stole stuff, they flytipped, they made a fucking terrible mess in the bathroom. And the whole time I was thinking just don’t shoot them, just don’t shoot them, at least I haven’t shot them. Although I’ll admit I pulled out the sawed-off shotgun on a few occasions.

Eventually, when it seemed I had nothing left to lose, I shooed everyone out and started the clean-up. And then I went through the whole cycle a few more times because I still hadn’t learned what boundaries are meant to be.

I have built a lot of skills, and fences, and gates, over the past decade. But I still have much more to do.

Right now, I am noticing a problem when people come onto my lawn, or even just within earshot, and start shouting that I’m wrong, or that something similar to something I have said is wrong. My initial response, without any further qualification, is “oh shit, am I? “and I worry about it until I have the time to go away and reearch the same things that I already researched to come up with my original opinion. Because, yes, I did research it already.

The process of recovery has begun, with a few good stern talkings to when I’ve caught myself doing this inappropriately over the past few weeks, but, damn, do I look forward to a day when living isn’t quite such unnecessary emotional labour for me.

Straight lines

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.

I’m bad at boundaries.

Most people I know are bad at boundaries.

Is that because most people are bad at boundaries? Or because only people who are bad at boundaries can tolerate people who are bad at boundaries?

I notice, when I try to instate or uphold healthy boundaries, that a lot of people don’t like it. My first thought, of course, is that I’m doing it wrong. Which may be true. But I suspect it’s probably more to do with violated expectations.

I also notice, when I try to instate or uphold healthy boundaries, that I often don’t really like it either. It’s hard work. It’s effort to maintain the balance of empathy and kindness with drawing lines. I fuck it up a lot.

I also notice, though, that when other people set clear boundaries, I love it. It doesn’t happen that often, but I feel so free when it does.

So I know what I am chasing: People to draw adjoining shapes with.