cw: I don’t usually use these because I think we are censored far too much, but just in case this post does mention sexual assault. It is not the *main* topic of this post and is not graphic at all, but it is included in my story.
Boundaries. I always thought I had a pretty good idea of what this word meant. The boundaries that define states in America, when you learn the concept of personal space in kindergarten (it could have been earlier I just don’t remember it)… that sort of thing. It is used in such a wide variety of ways, but I always thought I had a pretty good handle on this word.
As you may have guessed, not so much. I was doing an energy healing session with one of my favorite teachers, Amberleigh, and it was my very first one. She didn’t know anything about me, or so I thought, and I didn’t know anything about her or how the session would go. I had just heard that people loved working with her so I thought I would give it a try. I had never even had an energy healing session before but I was so curious to see what everyone was raving about.
She asked me some questions e.g. “what do you need?”, “what can I do for you?”, “do you have any questions?” etc. and one of the first things that she told me that my guides were trying to communicate to me was the word “boundaries“.
I wasn’t even sure how guides, spirits, etc. worked. I believe that this world is vastly more complicated than our minds could even comprehend. So why couldn’t all sorts of beings that we may not all be able to see exist? It also just didn’t seem like she could possibly know enough about me and the word just kinda popped out of nowhere. When I say nowhere, she just brought it up and it didn’t have to do much with our current conversation. Apparently I just needed to hear it. Either way, I kept running the word “boundaries” through my head. It didn’t have any sort of significance to me, I couldn’t think of where it applied at the moment.
I continued doing sessions with Amberleigh because she was very helpful. I learned so much from her as I became more comfortable sharing more of myself and learning more about myself so I could ask some more in depth questions. I believe it was the third or fourth session again where she brought up the word “boundaries”. I don’t believe in coincidences, I believe there is some sort of organized chaos (or chaotic organization, I don’t really know the Truth) that goes on in our Universe or that everything happens for a reason. Fast forward: there was a reason.
About five months ago, I was sort of seeing a guy (I say sort of because I don’t even know what to call it at this point, but it was not a relationship, and what a cliché, now that I’m thinking about it) on and off for awhile and to say we were not good for each other would be an understatement. I am a big believer that no matter who you are or what you have done, you are no more or less worthy of unconditional love and respect. I think we have a big problem with damning people (not quite sure what the right word is) who do something “wrong” or writing them off and essentially slapping a label on them saying, “you are bad, no one love this person ever again” for doing something not accepted by society. I am talking about everything from cheating to shoplifting when you were five to hitting someone with your car, whatever it is. We all do “bad” sh*t. We all do “dumb” sh*t. It’s just that people don’t admit it all the time or confront it because we don’t want that label on us that basically says we are evil and unworthy. For example, I have cheated on one of my past partners. I can say that without shame because I know how bad of a space I was in after my first sexual assault, how crazy my mind was and how my world had been turned upside down, inside out, sideways… everything. I didn’t know who I was anymore and felt like my life was falling apart. I have since done a lot of healing surrounding that experience with that partner. Even if none of that was the reason why, I know I am not less deserving of love because of my actions. Just like this man.
Anyway back to the story. We were not good for each other. He was using me for validation due to his own struggles and I was the kind of person that felt everyone deserves love no matter how badly they treated me or anyone else… I felt this “responsibility” (another word Amberleigh said my guides wanted me to hear) to be there for him, no matter what. So basically it was someone who was used to using people for their unseen emotional needs coupled with someone who would give themselves to the point where they were taken advantage of and they didn’t care. Until I did.
This weird dance went on until everything blew up. He raped me. This was my second sexual assault. I went through a lot of denial the first time and when it happened this time it was like a light switch went off. I just saw all the ways he had been taking advantage of me since day one. I had been partially denying it by telling myself, “he needs someone, I am here, I am strong enough to handle this, I’ll be okay, I want to help him”. I promise it made sense at the time, especially since I have always been in the role of taking care of the people in my life. My friends, sister, partners, etc. Whatever they need I am there without question. I have never minded being someone people can rely on because so many people feel as if they are alone and have no one to turn to. I have had depression, I know what it is like. I am so fortunate that I have learned how to work with it in a healthy and loving way. Some people are not at that stage, I haven’t always been. Without going into too much detail about him, he just seemed like he didn’t know people did care about him or thought that he wasn’t receiving enough love. I wanted him to know that of course he was loved! Everyone is! Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to handle sending that message in a way that would be healthy for the both of us.
Right after that happened, the word “boundaries” just started blaring in my head and it was like Amberleigh knew all along that I have been struggling with this for about twenty years (not sure what my boundaries were like for the first two years of my life so I’ll cut myself some slack). There were so many instances in my life that pointed to the fact that I needed to define some boundaries for myself. This situation was like my huge wake up call and was a long time coming. It was the perfect build up. When I was with this guy at first, it was small. I really didn’t notice it at first. Towards the middle there were signs but I wasn’t sure. The weeks leading up to this it was like the Universe was shouting to my face, “leave, this is a bad situation, you two are not a good energetic match, jump ship, save yourself…”. I just didn’t listen. At that point I knew it was a draining situation for me to being but I justified staying by thinking I would be abandoning someone when they clearly needed just a person that they knew cared about them. I had never just left someone like that.
There are so many conversations and interpretations of sexual assault so I can only speak for myself and while it is useful in articulating this lesson/experience of “boundaries”, it is not the main point. I have gone through a lot of healing for both instances where I can say now that I am so grateful for every experience in my life, including this, because it catalyzed a huge change. I cannot even explain with words what this exchange has done for me, but it has been profound. For me, rape was just something I could not ignore. It was such a huge, alarming violation of my body, boundaries and trust I had put into him. I had no choice but to show him the door and finally set some boundaries for myself.
My biggest fear with boundaries was that people would get the impression that I didn’t love or care for them. It is the opposite. Boundaries is one of the highest forms of love I can think of now. In my mind, boundaries means that I love that person, unconditionally, as in they cannot do anything to make me feel like they are undeserving of love. This is because they are a multidimensional being, child of God, Source, Love, whatever you want to call it. They are Love and they deserve love. However, on the other side of the same coin it means that I also love myself unconditionally and need to do what is best for me. In other words, I’ll love you from over here because as of right now we are just not good for each other. Like I said, it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve love and that I cannot give it to them, but I am not sacrificing myself to do it. It is the most beautiful, “win win” situation.
I heard this morning on a podcast that no one really knows what self love is. For someone who has been learning the “boundaries” lesson for about twenty years, this is one of the biggest forms of self love there is. It has been a long, wonderful learning about what loving and honoring myself really means to me. Boundaries can mean whatever you want them to. Like the rest of life, they are fluid. This is what they mean to me now, through this experience. Writing this post doesn’t mean that I have learned all there is to know about “boundaries”. For me, it means that this is probably the beginning of my exploration as I continue to interact with my own boundaries and other people. My boundaries are different than yours which are also different from my hair dresser’s. However, when anyone tells you verbally, energetically, etc. what there boundaries are, always respect them and know that they love you and themselves for putting them out there.
Through this I have learned how to love and respect people by loving and respecting myself. I have learned more about my intuition and to not ignore it. I have also learned that when Amberleigh tells me something, it probably has a place in my life.
By the way, I know people are skeptical of mystics, intuitive, energy healers, etc. because of the chicken and the egg problem. It could have been that I really did have a problem with boundaries and Amberleigh knew from the beginning. It could have also been that she had no clue, tossed the word out there, and since it was like a seed planted in my head all of the sudden I learned more about this whole “boundaries” thing. For me, it doesn’t even matter. I am in this wonderful place of self exploration and knowing because of it.
with love, katie