I want to start this post off by talking about this poem I read a few months back, a poem about a woman’s clearly stated physical boundaries being violated, and how reading it made me feel. The poem is called “Sunrise Lessons,” and it talks not only about the act of the violation itself, but how confusing the situation can be for the person on the receiving end of the violation — and ultimately how flabbergasting it can be, when you finally FIND your voice and by some MIRACLE aren’t afraid to express yourself, how flabbergasting it can be that SOMEONE CAN JUST IGNORE YOUR “NO” and act like no words were ever spoken.
This poem makes me SO mad, and SO sad, and just breaks my f*cking heart, and makes me ache for anyone who has ever felt this way or had to experience anything like this and anyone who ever will. (And my sincere apologies for the many CAPS in this post, everyone, but I have the strong feels about this topic and really can’t help myself from jabbing the CAPSLOCK button over and over. )
But y’all. The part that stabs me in the heart right now, the part that pains me most in this moment, is that the writer of this poem is me. And the MAIN reason that I didn’t post this poem here before or share it publicly months earlier than this is not because the wound was too raw. (To be honest, sharing my writings with others actually helps, in a lot of ways, to purge toxic events from my emotional and mental spheres.)
The real reason (if I’m honest with myself) that I didn’t share this poem publicly before is PRIMARILY because I was afraid that the person I wrote about in the poem — the perpetrator, the VIOLATOR of my personal boundaries — would recognize themselves in the poem and be hurt by what I wrote (even though what I wrote was nothing more than the truth). And if that sad fact doesn’t stab you right in the gut, well… maybe no one has ever violated your boundaries before. Or you’re a way stronger person than I. And if either of those things are true, I’m very glad of that. Because I don’t wish these kinds of struggles on anyone.
Because look… if I really force myself to look at this situation, to examine and come to terms with the fact that I was, after this VIOLATING EVENT happened, STILL worried about the FEELINGS of the PERPETRATOR, someone who had demonstrated ZERO regard for my own feelings, wants, and clearly expressed needs during our interaction together — that is truly f*cking mind-blowing, y’all.
For one thing, it shows how little I valued my own feelings in comparison (heartbreaking self-love lesson there). For another, it shows that I *still* actually believed this person had enough value and regard for ME to even be casually browsing my website or social media pages. Which is so unlikely as to be laughable, when I really stop and think about it. And yet. And yet! Some part of me obviously DID believe that. Or I wouldn’t have worried about posting this poem.
But no more. F*ck no.
I’m a different person now, and I’m in a different place, and I’m not taking any &#@ from anyone anymore, people. At least, I’m doing my best not to… but okay, it’s a f*cking process, y’all. Bear with me.
Because look, I’ve had a LOT of intimate personal boundaries violated over the years. (Oooh. **internal wince** That hurts to say. But there it is.) And I’ll be the first to admit, I rarely ever realized what was going on, no matter whether I was right in the middle of it or reflecting on things afterward.
And yeah, if you’ve read some of my past writings, you’ll know that in the past, one feasible cause for that lack of realization would have probably been alcohol — blackouts, fuzzy brain, not being fully present in my body. Things happening to me without my express consent, simply because I was not 100% “there.” None of which makes any kind of violation event okay. But it does make for a much different kind of sunrise lesson than what I wrote about in my poem, “Sunrise Lessons.”
However. I’ve also felt that sense of violation relatively recently, and in the midst of stone-cold sober sex (in the midst of the experience that inspired this poem, actually… which is one of the few times — perhaps even the only time, though I will neither confirm nor deny it here — that I’ve even had sex in the past several years).
And the emotions that came up as a result of that experience sat like this massive, ugly rock in my chest for days afterward, until finally I was forced to get really curious about rolling that rock over and seeing what was underneath it.
And since writing often helps me to more fully process what’s going on inside me, I decided to give my feelings a voice on the page. And so. Ultimately, this is the creation that came pouring out of my heart as a result:
As women in today’s society, we have historically been socialized to feel certain ways and believe certain things about ourselves, about who we should be, about how we should behave and how we should react to certain things. And while there are strong elements continually rising in our culture that strive to pull us away from the sense of wrongness inherent in putting any group of people in a box — a box is still, often, hard to break out of once you’re there.
And the fact is, I’ve only recently let myself fully believe that I had the right to even have boundaries. And I’ve only recently started to exercise my voice, to let my “no” out — first in my head, and then slowly, tentatively, out loud.
And if sharing this piece of writing helps anyone out there to feel even just a little bit stronger, even just a little bit more supported to embrace their own voice and plant their own “no” boundary flag in the soil of their own body… then I am glad I shared it.
Love you all. You deserve only the best. You deserve to be respected and heard. You deserve to have your boundaries honored.