If you ask me a personal question around 90% of the time I’ll answer it, and 100% of the time if I chose to respond it’ll be the truth. Generally speaking I don’t have much to hide. Still I think I have a bit of a reputation as being closed off or emotionless because I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve or voluntarily offer up details of my life regularly. I value my personal space both mentally and physically. Even on this blog or my social media accounts you get what I give you (as is true for anyone). For some people in my past what I give is a comparatively small amount of information when put next to theirs. My response to that is the shrug emoji.
Now, this might sound kind of sad, but in college some my favorite peaceful moments were when I had my dorm room all to myself. I’ve shared a room since I was 4 and as an older sister I’m quite used to compromising when it comes to food, toys, and attention. Some of my relatives (not putting anyone on blast here [my grandma]) have a habit of taking my food and then not liking it which is such a waste. As a result current me probably has a sharing problem. By acknowledging that I do put it on myself to open up a bit more. As cynical as I am some people have surprised me in a good way.
Some people however take for granted the ability to walk into a room and feel instantly comfortable, or at the very least welcome. I consider myself to be open minded, but trying new things on a personal level is a process. I don’t even listen to new music unless I’m in the right headspace. Things like hugging and casual touching are also something I’m slow with (hence the physical aspect of this conversation). I didn’t really express this well enough to her at the time, but I truly appreciated when this girl I knew asked first before hugging me. As a woman especially I’ve gone through life well aware of my personal space and every guy whose spread his legs wide on a bus or train, and every time I’ve had to move out the way when walking down the street, and even those self conscious moments alone were I shrink myself when I don’t have to. To be asked if I’m okay with this space invasion puts the power back in my court so to speak. It allows me to say ‘no’ rather than feel uncomfortable and just to go with social convention.
You can’t force someone to be comfortable with you. You have to allow people to move and bend at their own pace, and don’t get it twisted I too get frustrated at times when I want to be friends with someone, but I realize I’ve got to take the baby steps first. Respect has to be earned and given equally, and for many people that starts when you make the conscious choice to understand and honor other peoples boundaries.
*Picture: Courtesy of my phone and my sister. Sometimes you just wanna be alone (with a photographer on a beach).