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Thursday, 16 November 2017

Do you have healthy boundaries?

The other day I sent a friend a screenshot of a Tinder convo. This friend responded saying they didn't think it was appropriate for me to send something that personal to them, and that it wasn't something they wanted to see. Because I'm over-sensitive and at times irrational, I freaked out and cried after, then calmed down and read an article called '12 Signs You Lack Healthy Boundaries'. However, it got me thinking. In life, what defines healthy boundaries? How much is too much?

In this day and age of sharing everything online, it feels like boundaries are disappearing. Social media has made our world so inter-connected that it feels like nothing is private anymore. Privacy boundaries are disappearing. You can go on someone's Facebook profile and see their religious views, political views, where they work, where they went to school, the town they grew up in, who they are or aren't dating, etc. It's the norm now to have pictures and words involving personal stuff about your life on the internet.

I've always been shaky with boundaries. Growing up I was always trying to please and impress others and go along with what they wanted. Often I felt like I could lose myself through friends/boyfriends. I would be with them and 'I' would disappear; I existed through what I felt they wanted. It left me feeling resentful of nearly everyone, because I always felt like I was being who they thought I was or doing what I thought they wanted. When with friends I've always been the person who goes 'I don't care what we do, I'll go with anything.' It comes from this desperate need to be liked, and to be on everyone's side.

Sometimes I wonder if I over-step my boundaries online. Part of me thinks it's safer for me to be open, because then I have nothing to hide so no one can hold anything against me. I do have some boundaries; no one wants or needs to know the exact details of my sex life, or what colour underwear I wear, or what I like having for breakfast, or how many times a day I take a shit. But in some cases have I said too much? The topics I write about are not 'soft' topics, they're hardcore stuff like religion, sexuality, mental health and politics. Contrarily, lots of people write about this stuff online, and I've seen some pretty graphic articles. I never write something for the 'sake' of being controversial, there's always an underlining question or viewpoint.

For example, my post 'Straight Pride' isn't really about me expressing my love for penises, it's posing the question that if LGBT people really want to be fully integrated and accepted as normal, why do they need a special 'Pride' week to point out pride in something they didn't choose? Why don't straight people go around saying we're straight and proud? Additionally, my posts about religion aren't an attack, they're challenging something that has been held up as influencial and 'holy' yet has caused and is causing lots of damage to the world. My post about my ex-boyfriend is a way of telling women it's ok to be open about these things, and that these things do happen but it doesn't mean you can never enjoy sex or feel comfortable around it. It's also my way of helping myself heal. In a way, being open about things helps me to better myself as a person and understand others. My openness and honesty on my blog makes me feel less alone, because I (hopefully) write about topics others can relate to and are thinking of but aren't necessarily saying.

I guess all we can do in life is say as much as we feel comfortable with. There is a sense of pressure to tell-all now thanks to the online world, but not everyone feels comfortable with that. How many of us got Facebook or Twitter or Instagram just because our friends did? The best thing is to say or do what makes you feel comfortable and try not to make others uncomfortable. It really is a case of thinking before you act, speak, or type.

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I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
I've also published three YA fiction books and two poetry volumes. To check em out, copy and paste this link into your browser: