21 October 2013

Boundaries

I tend to think I'm Super Jacqueline. It's a "classic Jacqueline" scenario in which I find myself often: I volunteer to host a girls' night the same month I move in. I decide to throw Abigail a 50 person birthday party on a $150 budget (I'll just make everything from scratch - it'll be so cheap!) I agree to babysit when I'm so sick all I want to do is cry. I seem to think that by sheer will power and making everything from scratch, I'll be able to do what I want, how I want, in the time-frame I want, with whatever budget is available. It's complicated by my intense fear of confrontation. I want everyone to like me, so I never say no when people ask me to do something. It's really stupid.

A little over a week ago, I was editing the section of my memoirs where I explain how incredibly over-committed Matt and I were after Abigail was born / I had my c-section. We had just moved back (for the summer) to a state filled with family and friends we hadn't seen in two years. And we just had our first kid. Who had serious health issue. Everyone wanted to visit with us and we never said no. It was really, really bad and I was in a lot of physical pain from both needing to pump and the incision not being healed enough to be away from a bed that long. It took about a month before we finally wised up and started saying no, but even then we were still over-committing. Anyway, as I was editing, a loving friend of mine who has no qualms about telling me the truth texted me a tough-love text, yelling at me for over-committing myself again. I literally had to put down my pen on top of the passage in my memoir to check the text message. The coincidence of the message of the chapter in the book and my friend's identical text really hit home.

There are a bunch of things in my personal life right now that are getting in the way of me hitting all the goals I originally set. So I started turning down commitments, some of which were really hard for me to do, either because it hurt the person I had committed to or because I personally had been looking forward to the event.

Then I read the blog post of a friend who recently had to face the same dilemma.* She had to end her commitment to something really meaningful to her, all the while raging inside about giving up. But she recognizes that she needed to create some healthy boundaries in her life. And those boundaries are more important than the pride of staying committed. A younger Jacqueline would have scoffed at the silliness of the words "healthy boundaries" and insisted that I could do it all. But this Jacqueline is just a little bit less prideful, letting in more space for wisdom than that Jacqueline. This Jacqueline has seen the real and serious consequences of violating healthy boundaries. The one word that kept coming back to me as I read her post was "courage." She is so very courageous to be able to stand up and say, "I need to put me and my family first. This is too much." And I would be willing to bet that she doubts her decision over the next few days/weeks, wonders if she made the right call, wonder if she really is a quitter. And it will take even more courage to stick by her original principle. I am inspired.

So, because I learned my lesson after my c-section, because a friend warned me that I'm going down the wrong path, and because I just witnessed someone do the right thing, I'm making some changes in my own life. And one is that I'm ending my 31 Days commitment. I do still plan to pursue the book (and get it published before I'm 30!). I will revisit the memoirs after the holidays, in January, and determine if I'm ready to recommit at that time.

I'm contemplating a hiatus from my blog and Facebook as well, but I'll give my other changes time to take effect first.

In the meantime, no big changes coming, no exciting new projects. Just a re-arrangement of priorities, probably less blogging, and definitely more time doing the right thing for me and my family.

*I'm not going to link to her post because it's one of those honest-vulnerable posts that some people wouldn't appreciate having blasted everywhere, so I want to be respectful. I'll just reference sections that I found particularly touching to me.

2 comments:

Kate Sherwood said...

Good for you (both for respecting yourself and respecting the privacy and feelings of the other blogger).

Someday, I can't wait to read the memoirs. Someday when my life is not so crazy and someday when you have had time to enjoy the process.

I think you should be proud that you have them started and at a place where they can just rest a bit. Just seeing the button/badge/correct term(?) you created brightened many of my days.

Kate @ BJJ, Law, and Living

Liz E. said...

Good for you!!!