Contact us at: email@example.com
As a child growing up around alcoholism,
boundaries were self-made out of necessity.
Learning to walk in the shadows, to be as
invisible as possible, became the goal.
Instinctive actions merged with
navigating personal boundaries, often
woven into a tightrope bound with
naiveté, fear and mistakes.
Building friendships and relationships
bordered on the tenuous without the
clarity and direction one would expect
to receive from parents and elders. My Papaw was my go-to for counsel, but there was a limit to what I shared with him, especially as I moved into my teens. Navigating those tumultuous years
was enough of a mine field as it was. I was barely twenty-one when he made his way home to the stars.
He was my tether, always holding a safe space for me. Losing him shattered all illusions of safety, of connection and I drifted deeper into the shadows.
Boundaries are what we teach our children to protect them, guidance while allowing them to experience and make small mistakes, standing beside them when they need reassurance, and honoring their truths, and our own. Baggage is baggage, and not everyone is equipped or willing to unpack the anger, the
trauma or heal the scars. It’s important to set personal boundaries, defining what is acceptable, and clarifying what is not. At times, my attempts at chasing boundaries could be compared to chasing invisible butterflies at night, with an invisible net, while blindfolded. As I reached adulthood, another realization came to light. Many of the boundaries tucked away were not even mine.
I don’t know what pushed their buttons, despite being blamed most of the time. I never knew what their fears were, their shadows, or the escalation of minutia buried in their psyche that spilled out like lava. Reclaiming a sense of ownership in myself became a priority, one that often met with an onslaught of
narcissism, judgement, and lost opportunities.
Crows and hawks spoke among the Old Ones, and in the darker moments, I often came across a reminder, a message, a glimmer of hope. I embraced the early onset of silvery strands in my straight waist length hair, weaving in and out among the charcoal and dirt-colored tresses, yet the real me had not fully
emerged. More boundaries found their place within me, especially as my remaining parent began their transition. I remained firm, ignoring the judgement, stares and gossip that followed.
The act of chasing boundaries left me without a rudder in a sea of uncertainty. Walking in the shadows became a habit, a pattern, a way of moving among people without being fully seen or acknowledged. Never fully belonging, yet close enough it brushed against me like wandering into a spider’s web.
Reclamation is a process. I brewed tea, made from plants, and roots sent by an Elder. I watched in amazement as my board straight hair began to change, forming distinct waves, and a larger section of coarser hair. Having my hair trimmed a year or so back, the stylist mentioned my hair was returning to its
ethnic roots, and I realized it looked a lot like my grandmother’s hair.
It was time for me to step away from the imposed and controlled boundaries and find my own way. I needed to step out of the shadows and take ownership. My hair is still long, well below my waist, wavy, coarse in places and the mix of silver, dirt and charcoal has been replaced with colors that ignited the goals of the woman I always envisioned myself becoming.
I am a work in progress, as we all are. I’ve bitten my lip many times as my son was growing up, keeping the inane statements I heard from my parents from him. Granted, a few slipped by, and I had to recount immediately. Well-meaning or not, some of their words created a world filled with fear, anxiety, distrust, and anger. I recall saying something in front of the parents and family friends when I was in my early teens; only to hear one of them state “she literally has no filter.” And I countered back loudly, “I am not a cigarette!” My volume is usually at 11, and if you get that reference, I know you’re smiling.
Changing the color of my hair, learning what boundaries to chase or embrace has freed my inner child, the wild one who ran among the cows at our farm, swatting them on the butts, as if I were a warrior counting coup. The length of my hair, and the intense varying shades of purples and blues has forced me to be more open, to speak to strangers who approach me in public. It is invigorating, challenging, and pushing me to truly redefine boundaries and goals. I believe the Ancestors appreciate that, purple hair, and all.