Monday, March 07, 2011
I had a really lovely weekend--the perfect blend of getting things done and relaxing. On Saturday I got in a great workout, finally made a decision about which road bike to buy and ordered it, then spent some time relaxed at home with Dan and the pets. On Sunday we woke up early, went for breakfast, drove around a local park, went grocery shopping, then came home and relaxed and did a little work. I cooked a lovely, delicious dinner with a few new recipes, then settled in on the couch for the evening. In hindsight, I should have stopped there.
Instead, I decided to take out the laptop and see what all was going on. I wound up in not one, not two, but three uncomfortable online interactions that entirely changed my mood, affected the way I slept last night, and gave me such gross feelings that I woke up today feeling sluggish and sad rather than fresh and recharged from the restorative weekend I'd had. One was with an acquaintance I've made through my gym who I've noticed has, um, VERY different political beliefs than I. She posted some things about how she's glad teachers in Wisconsin are getting what they're getting and is hopeful that unions will be banned in NJ too. My little disclaimer is that you, me, and this acquaintance are all, of course, entitled to our own beliefs and opinions. Making them public on facebook tends to invite some conversation and controversy around them (duh), and as an educator myself, you might imagine I had something to say in support of educators in NJ. Another disclaimer: normally, I avoid political conversations like this like the PLAGUE, but it struck a nerve given my past as a teacher and my present as a teacher of future teachers! Some of the things she--and her buddies--said were so off the mark and just plain hurtful! I quickly realized it wasn't worth it, but the aftermath involved her coming at me from all angles to assure me that it "wasn't personal," that she believes in me as a teacher, etc. It's a lovely sentiment, but after what she'd already said, it was completely ingenuine, and I'll confess that for better or worse, I was still hurt. I regretted it instantly--why did I even bite that hook?--and now dread running into her this morning at the gym.
Another was with a friend who justified his alcoholic behavior to me (not that I was criticizing this behavior or in any way suggesting he NEEDED to justify it) for twenty minutes. Another was with a friend who asked me for specific dates I'd be willing to get together and celebrate my birthday (March 19th), and when I didn't openly provide any (between my work schedule and training schedule, the coming two months are going to be pretty blown up!), he then told me I'd have to be free eventually, so why don't we just pick a date in May or June and go with that? When I laughed at this suggestion (I thought he meant it as a joke), he assured me he didn't mean it to be funny. When I suggested we might get to see him for a bday party his significant other is having in April, he asked then if we would mind bringing our karaoke set-up to provide entertainment for the party. It's a really different thing, me suggesting we'll be able to stop by for a party and us bringing the party's entertainment. But did I say no? Nah.
Anyway, here's the lesson I feel like I'm getting in all of this: As soon as I get a little recharge, a little balance, a little restoration, I immediately get flexible with my boundaries. I start doing things I don't actually want to do, say yes to things I really want to say no to, engage in toxic conversations or with toxic people. I do this pretty consistently. For me, it was a huge accomplishment to learn to set boundaries, and I struggled with this for a really long time. The next thing to work on is maintaining them. Why, when I give myself a little rest and space, do I run right into relationships and situations I don't actually want a part of? The effect of this is that I just feel almost instantly drained and drowned again, and all my rest and restoration goes right out the window, gone as quickly as it came.
So the next work involves allowing myself to just BE in that space where I feel rested, recharged, and filled up again. I want to think about WHY I feel so eager to let down my guard, to gush yesses, to fly into conversations that I KNOW will drain and/or upset me. Is it because I believe I'm suddenly strong enough to take it on? Is it that it's familiar? Is it because I feel guilty that I've gotten what I need and I temper that with trying to be available to others? A tentative yes to all of those things. But I want to think about it more. Knowing how to set boundaries is a really important thing! It allowed me the space and time for self-care that I needed to shed the weight I shed. But knowing how to maintain them, support them, and have compassion for yourself in the process is something else altogether. I'm ready for that piece.
I slept terribly last night--I had a lot on my mind and it was horribly windy (and we live in the woods). This morning I treated myself to a slow start. I considered avoiding a spin class I know my gym acquaintance will likely be attending, but getting to this spin class is important to MY training schedule, and so I'll be going. I'll also be allowing myself to head to work just a little later so that I have time to also get in my swim workout and a healthy lunch. I come first. Not my students, not my friends, not anyone else in the world. Now... to work on maintaining that....
And so that, my friends, is where I am today. :-)