Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fortifying the Fortress

Sometimes the words won't come. Sometimes they only come after excrutiation agony. Sometimes you sit and stare at the blank page, whithering beneath the accusing cursor.

This can happen because you listened just a little too hard to the critic living inside your skull. The doubt gremlin scribbled self-deprication across the walls of your mind. You hear the voice of your inner naysayer ringing hollow inside your imagination jar.

But sometimes the toxic bullshit has an external source. That's where boundaries come least when they're working.

Mine seem to have gone AWOL.

Normally, I have an excellent bullshit filter. So and so thinks race/gender/sexuality/religion is a good reason to treat another human being like a sack of garbage? So what? He/she is just some ignorant asshat.

Lately, I've been reading a progressive blog whose goal is to create a safe space. In the interest of participating in this space, I've become my own slur police. By doing so, I've also become accutely aware of the toxicity around me.

The naysayer isn't just inside me. It's on the lips of my closest friends. It lives in the minds of my loved ones. It exists as an armored cloak around my coworkers. I see it painted across the aisles of every store I visit. It's carved into the spaces I live and work.

I feel each instance like a visceral attack.

How's a empath supposed to thrive?

The only answer I've been able to find is to build stronger boundaries. I need to fortify the walls of my being, and that means creating my own version of safe space. It means not suffering in silence. It means demanding respect from myself and from those who want the privilege of being in my life.

I'll let you know how that pans out. X-S