If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I recently watched Matilda the Musical on Netflix.
Y’all, I have not been the same since.
I don't know why it resonated so much for me, but I walked away with lessons that I am sure the musical writers, or Roald Dahl, never intended.
Watching Matilda, Ms. Honey, and all the other students stand up against Trunchbull and Matilda's parents felt…empowering.
It was a reminder of how important it is to say enough is enough.
A person can only take so much abuse, whether it's as obvious as Trunchbull or not.
One of the songs, "Revolting Children," has been on repeat for the last two days.
I straight up walk around listening to it, and by the way I stomp around, you'd think I am heading off to war.
But, as you watch these children sing and dance, rejoicing over their triumph over Trunchbull, you can feel the sheer joy and freedom they feel.
In the first few seconds, when Bruce opens the song, singing the lines, "Never again will she get the best of me! Never again will she take away my freedom," it's as if he has gone THROUGH it (which he had), and you could feel that he meant every word.
He had had enough.
They all had enough.
Because it doesn't matter how old you are — being made to feel less than what you are worth is never okay, and a person can only take so much.
Something’s gotta give, right?
Although 2022 did not have epic experiences for me, like traveling (my gawd, I haven't taken a trip in three freakin years!!) or daily adventures, and my everyday life was pretty predictable and boring, it did teach me some tough lessons.
I was pushed passed my comfort zones.
I was stretched.
I was challenged.
And I had to face a lot of my inner demons.
All those experiences may not have been Instagram-worthy, but they taught me incredibly valuable lessons about myself that have changed how I see and treat myself.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned this year is about boundaries.
Boundaries with family.
Boundaries with friendships and relationships.
Boundaries at work.
Boundaries with what I will allow into my life.
Some were easy to put up.
Others, not so much.
And let me tell you….
I LOOOOOOVE ME SOME BOUNDARIES.
"No" has quickly become one of my favorite words this year.
I used to be concerned about what people would think of me if and when I said "no," but I am more tired of how I feel when I don’t say no.
Boundaries are not selfish.
They are necessary.
It's just as valuable as my asthma inhaler — I need that to survive.
I need boundaries to thrive.
So I am going to say "no," more often.
Regardless of how people feel or what they think of me when I do.
Boundaries make other people uncomfortable, and they are often left feeling some kind of way.
I read this quote that the people who get upset about boundaries are the ones who benefit from you not having them the most.
That is 100% true — I am a witness to this….
…but I think I will take it even a step further.
People who don't notice that you are putting up boundaries with them — were never invested in you in the first place.
Let me explain:
No matter how deeply or minimally I am invested in someone, I notice when their behavior and interaction change around or toward me.
This could be a mere coworker to my closest friends.
I notice because I am invested in the slightest possible way.
So when they change, or the vibes in our interactions change, I will ask myself, "What's changed?" I think about previous interactions that may have been interpreted differently.
Sometimes I’ll remember it’s a conversation that could have been misinterpreted, or it could be nothing, and I respect their choice and keep it moving.
Regardless of the WHY it has changed, I notice.
If someone does change around me and I don't notice, it's because I never really cared about them and was never invested. So it doesn't bother me here or there.
Does that make sense?
What I am trying to say is:
If people get upset by your boundaries — that's a sign that they are necessary.
If there are people you've set boundaries with that don't have any reaction at all — they were never in this with you as much as you were, and you need to let them go and walk away.
And that's where 2023 me is headed.
Just like Matilda, Ms. Honey, and Bruce — I, too, have had enough.
I have tried to rationalize and make excuses for people, but my girl Eleanor Roosevelt said no one can make you feel inferior without your permission.
I've been giving permission and making allowances far, far too long.
I always worried about not having friends or relationships if I protected myself.
I would think, how sad and pathetic that my one friend is my sister?!
So instead, I desperately clung to people and allowed them to make me feel like a burden, an obligation, or an afterthought.
If I attempted to set boundaries, people would start saying I was selfish, angry, overdramatic, and antisocial and that my expectations were too high.
And I believed them!
They gaslit me into thinking that all the hurt I was feeling was all in my head.
So then I questioned and second-guessed myself thinking they were right and that I was the problem.
But why am I a drama queen just for wanting to be loved, appreciated, and needed?
Doesn't every human being want and deserve that?
Who WANTS to feel like a loser or an afterthought?
And why are having high expectations such a bad thing??
If you love and appreciate me enough and want me in your life, shouldn't you try to RISE to those expectations?
My sister is a very guarded, private person, and it has taken me many years to earn the place I have in her life.
I didn't get there just because I was her sister or because we live together.
I had to meet the expectations she set for herself — who she was willing to trust, lean on, etc.
I had to earn my place.
So should you!
Why should I water down my expectations so you can be comfortable giving me half-assed love?
I ain’t got time for all that.
If I spend the rest of my life a spinster, with only my sister to check in on me, then so be it….
I have allowed too much half-assedness in my life in the last 39 years.
I may not be cool enough, cute enough, light-skinned enough, quiet enough, or live an exciting, wealthy life that is appealing enough for you.
But, to quote a song from Matilda the Musical,
So, in 2023, I sincerely hope you all empower yourselves in whatever way and set up boundaries where you need them the most.
That you will love yourselves enough to say "no" and protect yourselves at all costs, regardless of their responses.
Because we all deserve exactly what we want for ourselves.
As Matilda sang in the musical,