Boundaries...boundaries everywhere...

If 2020 was a stick of rock, the word running through the middle of it would be Boundaries.

During full lockdown our own front door became the physical boundary we weren’t allowed to cross

At present, if we want to go into a shop, there must be a mask on our face. Another very clear boundary

And of course, anyone that has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, must self isolate in their home for two weeks

Now l, (Carrie on this occasion) am very comfortable with strict rules

l love a rule, me. Nothing makes me feel more secure than knowing l’m following strict protocol

It's when they go and relax a rule. That’s when my panic sets in

Every time there’s been something left to our personal discretion, I have floundered

Like when we could start meeting up with other households again

Or meeting up with other humans, socially

And the masks! When they told us it wasn’t safe to speak to anyone, without them spraying Covid-y saliva all over us

But then didn’t enforce the wearing of them

No such vagaries brought out the best in me, l tells ya

It took me weeks to figure out why I was suddenly anxious all the time

But eventually I realised: l really dislike having to explicitly state my own boundaries

l am afraid of offending other people

This isn’t even news to me. I made this discovery in therapy, two whole years ago

But it was an uncomfortable discovery, so I chose not to address it...instead I buried and told myself it would be fine

Spoiler Alert: It was not fine

And so I was a total nervous wreck. All the time

Because l would either:

A) Stand my ground and refuse to be around people who were being lax about social distancing/mask wearing/being reckless in general

Then worry endlessly that I had upset, offended or let other people down


B) Spend time with these people, and worry about exposing my small children to this virus, because I was too busy being a people-pleaser

Either way, A or B, I couldn’t win. Because my motivation wasn’t helpful, or kind to myself

So, I re-started the process of firming up my personal boundaries

I dug out my old therapy notes, and picked up where I left off

lt finally felt more uncomfortable to live with the insecurity of inconsistent boundaries, than it did to stop being a people pleaser

Now thats a totally unnecessary situation to have to get to, by the way

And from now on, I would much rather change because I can, rather than doing it from a place of unmanageable distress

Some situations are still far more difficult for me than others

But that’s okay

l have learned that practice makes permanent

And 2020 continues to provide me with a lot of uncomfortable situations to keep practising in

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