and enforce them.
it has only to do with me, and not with anyone else.
As I near 100 days of being intentional about healing, the thing that is most evident is that I still have a long way to go. Nothing has become easy, none of my challenges have miraculously disappeared, I’m not some enlightened being, I don’t have my shit together, I still have trouble setting and maintaining boundaries, I didn’t achieve my fitness or weight loss goals, I don’t have better friendships or the relationship of my dreams, I don’t have a flush bank account or a wildly successful business or anything spectacular.
I have the ability acknowledge the small things that quickly build to big things when live with severe anxiety. I have the belief that I can change and grow, that my spiritually holds a critical place in all of this, that I can hold two opposing things to be true at once, that discipline and hard work are available to me, that I’m not trapped by my circumstances or by what life hands me, that I can have a life I deeply enjoy and that the magic is not in achieving the things on the horizon but in appreciating today for what it is and what it teaches. I can be and have been present, and I can be increasingly present in my life, which is what I have not been able to be for years. And that alone is worth the effort.
For the decade or so of my career before I started a company, I worked for companies that had abusive work cultures. I didn’t know it could be different, and I had been raised to not be a problem and not think my needs were important. I had a boss that would goof off all day, then make my work partner and I stay 2-3 hours late so that he felt like he was getting something done. We had already been working all day and had gotten our work done, so we were pretty resentful, and him taking us out to lunch once or twice a month did nothing to make up for his horrible management style and how hard I had to work to cover his mistakes.
I worked for two generations of ownership who all thought that as long as you were on salary you had to work as much as they wanted doing whatever they wanted. It was not out of the norm for me to miss lunch or to do something completely outside my job description, or to work 80-90 hours a week, once for three months straight. I missed holidays that I was owed per my position and HR refused to comp them when I could finally take the time off. My bosses were verbally abusive, more especially when I was trying to keep up out of legal trouble, and I was frequently given 4 hours to do a project that needed (and that most people would take) 2 weeks to do. The day I walked out of there on my own choice was one of the best moments of my life.
When I started a company, I brought all of the bad habits with me. I ignored my needs and a work style that fit me best and accommodated my business partner and my clients, not taking time to manage myself, my company and my work in a healthy and productive way. I felt like I was never doing enough, so I worked on projects and took very little time to work on the company.
That all stopped when I announced I was divorcing my business partner. That all stopped when I finally started doing what is best for me and the work that I love. I started taking more time to work on the company, getting template documents set up, getting my accounts the way they need to be set up and getting all of my files organized and cleaned up. I started putting down work when I was done for the day and not pushing myself to work more because I thought it (and I) wasn’t good enough or hadn’t done enough. I stopped answering my phone on weekends. I stopped saying I could do anything or that my clients could skirt all of the rules they didn’t like. I started building boundaries for the pro bono work I take on. I started setting boundaries for my schedule. I started acknowledging I have needs as a person that need to be met. I started investing in software training so that I can be better at my job.
I started doing my thing for me with my rules and my boundaries. And I’m so proud of myself when I look back at what I’ve overcome.
I have had a lot of boomerangs in my life – people who just won’t stay gone. Mostly guys I’ve dated come back around for another chance, but sometimes it’s former friends who can’t help reminding me why I stopped talking to them in the first place.
Boundaries, right? I’m learning to do that.
I had a pretty long Monday, and my workday ended when my internet cut off mid-email to a client. It eventually came back, but I was dead in the water as far as what I was trying to get done, I couldn’t do a yoga video, and I decided to go for a walk.
Something was really bothering me though, and I was pissed.
When I finally sorted it out, it was over a shitty comment on social media.
I had been transcribing an ordinance that had been so badly scanned that my software couldn’t convert it. It was badly written to begin with, and full of Oxford commas, which I don’t use so they are not in my typing pattern. I kept having to stop and insert them back into the transcribed text, and I found it annoying. I shared my annoyance on social media, posting, “My workday is plagued by Oxford commas.”
My brother commented that he likes them. My friend’s wife asked her who she is associating with. A girl I went to college with replied, “Well, if you really want to risk losing millions in a lawsuit, you just go right ahead and leave out those lovely, clarifying Oxford commas “
And no, she didn’t punctuate her sentence.
This is a person I finally stopped talking to several months after we graduated because she was so negative all the time. She drained me, and I couldn’t take it anymore. We’re still friends on social media, and have had very little interaction over the years. I did congratulate her recently when she earned a significant professional achievement – and this is how she repaid me.
I’m not going to lose millions over it. The ordinance, which I did not write, might generate some lawsuits if not fixed, and it has nothing to do with the commas – any of them. And she had no idea what I was working on or why, because we didn’t talk about it. So I find her comment unnecessary and, like so many comments of hers before, negative without real basis. And negative about something I’m doing that has nothing to do with her.
Which got me thinking about two other people who sometimes reply to my posts and always with completely unnecessary and unwelcome comments.
I don’t talk to any of these three people in real life, and with the exception of my congratulatory note, I don’t comment on their posts.
So why am I so hesitant to unfriend them? I don’t have any real consequences from cutting them off, and doing so will remove a negative aspect of my life that I genuinely don’t enjoy or appreciate. Do I wait for another annoying response to one of my posts to pop up? Do I let them know I don’t appreciate their comments? Do I unfriend them in the dead of night?
I very rarely cut people off, even people who have done me a lot of harm. Maybe it’s time I stop allowing that kind of behavior?
I finally did it. I said no.
My struggle with PTSD has included real challenges with boundaries. I’ve barely been able to set them, much less keep them, and saying “no” when people ask me to do something is really hard for me, no matter how inconvenient.
I’m taking notes at a presentation tomorrow. I was happy to say yes to this request, even though it’s in another city, because the topic interests me and I am working on a project with some of the people who will be there.
I got an email from someone I know who is also going, who asked if I wanted to carpool. It’s almost two hours from my house, and she lives sort of on the way.
I hate carpooling. I don’t like being tied to someone else’s schedule and habits, I don’t like to let other people drive, my week has been really hard and I may want to sit in silence the whole way, and since boyfriend and I have talked things out thoroughly, it looks like we might be willing to make some adjustments and keep trying. In which case I’ll be picking up bagels and meeting up with him on my way to this presentation.
Old me would have changed my plans and ignored my needs to say yes and agree to carpool. That’s just how I did things. Now I know better, and I let her know I’ll be at a wedding this evening and won’t be able to carpool.