The Houston Hottie summarizes it best: 2020 is about living authentically, regardless of who may get upset about it. During these past few weeks of reflecting on my year, I realized that the second half of my 2019 was centered around learning my own boundaries. The combination of moving so far from home, going to graduate school full-time, running my own businesses, and trying to maintain mindfulness (a sense of peace) ended up forcing me to understanding my personal boundaries as well as start communicating my boundaries to those I love and have in my life. Like, when you move and now you have to set up phone or FaceTime schedules for everyone back home. Yeah seeing friends is great, and I love to catch up, but graduate school and running my life is so time consuming I learned to cherish my time alone. I needed some time to just sit and understand what my decision to move and pursue a degree meant for me and more specifically my future. My boundary for the latter half of 2019 was that I needed time to process whether or not I had the energy to really engage in a conversation - in other words: I no longer automatically picked up my phone. I needed a text before a call now. Of course, all of my friends (because my circle is loyal and strong as hell) respected the fucc out of this boundary. And now, we make more creative ways to keep in touch that don’t always involve speaking face to face! In 2020, everyone can expect more of the same as my schedule has only gotten more hectic and busy since last year, including having those critical conversations about respecting boundaries. I just reached a point where I had gotten so sick and tired of reminding people of who the fuck I am. Instead of going through the rest of my 2019 like a broken record I just decided that I, Taylor Waits, will not explain myself to people (unless they are paying and it’s in writing). Now I am no stranger to this idea, hell I’ve detailed before in #DeepThots that I don’t believe in New Year's Resolutions. And like I said before, stop wasting your life explaining yourself and stop trying to figure out every single one of these mothafuckas. Stop letting others take your life in their hands while you watch your life happening to you. In 2020, if I feel misunderstood, held back, or uncomfortable - someone is gonna hear about it. Nah, if you in the way of my future, you gone have to get up out the way or get left. 2019 proved to be one of the first years of my entire life where I feel like I lived authentically as myself. No one was going to stop be from going where I please, when I please, with whom I please. Setting boundaries and holding myself and others accountable to them became a lifestyle - my lifestyle.
Setting Boundaries as a Practice
A lifestyle becomes practice meaning it’s something you do everyday or at the very least routinely (typically). I won't explain myself, so I often stop others from explaining themselves to me - it’s practice. A quick “never apologize," telling my girlfriends to stop caring about what I think and just do what makes them comfortable, remaining silent when White people ask me ignorant questions, or explaining to people why I will never allow their energy to come in my home. Setting boundaries has many stages and forms but the two most vital are creating/setting boundaries and holding yourself and others accountable.
How Do I Set Boundaries?
What can you no longer allow in your day-to-day life? If you were to have a spring cleaning of all your habits, practices, and life choices,what would you throw out, donate or recycle? Citing Thee Stallion, who or what are the “bitches” you don’t like? For me, I start with removing the literal “bitches I don’t like” from my life. Now I may not ‘not like’ them, but for some reason or another they weren’t invited into my life for 2020. This means ex flames, ex shitty coworkers, ex bad bosses, and all other shitty relationships that need to END in 2020. Basically, if you could care less about their existence or they could care less about yours, move on. Now I know yall finna ask, “Taylor what about all the lame ass people that try to stop me in 2020?”
Well, random thought, I thought you’d never ask.
Continue to declutter your social circle to where it becomes practice. If I don’t want to see someone any longer (no matter the previous or current relationship) on my timeline I mute or unfollow, if I don’t want to respond to a message - I don’t (lmao I might just read it and then block), if I feel like I’m starting to harbor the feelings I get from social media in real life I take a break, so on and so forth. You need to know YOU in order to find your boundary. Make it a habit to ask yourself some personal questions.
Who/What will you not allow in your personal space?
What do you consider disrespectful or boundary crossing acts that others need to be aware of before, during or after they encounter you and your space?
What about in social settings? What are your boundaries there?
Hold Everybody (Including Yourself) Accountable
We need to protect our space and protect our peace in 2020, mark our territory.
Whether you like an early bedtime, or you need to take a spending break, recognize what you need and follow through. Communicate your boundaries to those you love and encounter on a day to day basis. Now this, can get complex. While communication does not always stem from or has the purpose of confrontation, most humans do all they can to avoid conflict. I am a jibberjabber, super-open, and a mega extrovert so conversation is one way I thrive. But I also have a childhood trauma of needing to be liked. And often to be liked, to seem conventionally attractive, to look or act heteronotmative, means your survival. Depending on where you live, your safety levels at work, school, or the power levels within your close relationships, marking your territory can prove deadly. If you are privileged enough to have a safe space to work through some critical conversations, anytime is the time. I.e. I don’t tolerate transphobia, racism, or positivity towards Cosmic Brownies on my TL so why would I allow it in my personal space? A great way to work through accountability conversations is to talk to yourself about your own boundaries. Do you know yourself? Are you taken care of? What is it that you need, from yourself and from others? Find the answers in ways that make you feel comfortable. Then do it everyday. All the dreams you have, the goals you envisioned, the future you manifested. Talk through it, everyday (im serious). Keep in mind that boundaries can always be amended, change is always. Once you feel solid on your own boundaries, now you can start to set some social and personal boundaries. I usually find these out while I’m out just living. Thought you wanted to go out but then your social meter tanks? Stay in sis, CANCEL! Running low on funds and everyone is nagging you to head to happy hour? Suggest a potluck at the house with some games or a movie night instead! Satisfy your heart, and if it can be avoided - don’t over complicate your life. But remember, communication is key.
Those friends and family will definitely feel some type of way about you choosing to set boundaries with them, but don’t fret. Think of establishing ways to interact with those people depending on your conversation. Accountability looks different depending on the situation and the people. Telling your religious family that you refuse to discuss your gender and sexual identity is a strong boundary and may or may not go over well. However, talking to your bestie about establishing a set FaceTime schedule may be equally or even more frightening for you. Fortunately/Unfortunately that’s the point. Establishing boundaries force you to work through any uncomfortabilities. These conversations arent meant to be easy, and you may end up losing a relationship over them. But also use your common sense. Somethings can be resolved by ignoring them while others deserve a face to face conversation. The conversation itself is usually the scariest part. Being vulnerable with people and asking the same of others is scary, but it’s 2020 - let’s get uncomfortable. Ain’t y’all tired of comfortability yet? It’s enough we live these routine lives let’s spice it tf up!
So authenticity is the new black. Doing things that challenge your thinking is the new best thing since sliced bread! You ready to start?
In 2020 Taylor needs to create and she needs to create often. I was frustrated and anxious most of 2019 which isn’t to say I won’t feel those feels again in this shit show of a year (Climate change is real and our planet is dying btw). But regardless of all of those obstacles I still, as always choose joy, and want to spread a piece of joy to you, to my students, my friends, and all those I work with in the community. This world is so depressing, I swear. If it’s not our immediate world crumbling, our literal world continues to. I have to create. It’s like breathing. I have to create the world that I need. And that’s exactly what Anderson Press will be.
Anderson Press, is now a multi-media lifestyle blog. Not only will I be writing, posting pictures, and videos, but everything else (haha)! My vision is to create something new and challenging, ONCE A WEEK, but that’s at a minimum. I want to start talking to yall more and hearing feedback on my stories and my page. I’ll be continuing my #DeepThots monthly blog posts (like this one), and bringing back my podcast, Sip N Spill. I’ll be interacting with my blog more, with my subscribers more, and with my passions. Stay tuned, subscribe to my site, and stick around (alliteration beast). It’s a new year, same shit.