Boundary, a line that marks a limit. Even though boundaries can keep us safe they sometimes can be hard to establish or maintain. The recourse of someone or something crossing that line is usually filled with lessons to be learned. I remember when I was a kid I had to sit in the front of the school bus for two reasons: I got into trouble a lot and the bus driver was trying to keep me safe from the older kids. He obviously hadn’t met a 5 year old like me before. I was forced to sit next to a highschooler named Andy. Andy knew I had a crush on him so he acted like every other childish boy and tortured me for it. He also knew I was always up for a challenge and won’t back down. To try and keep ourselves out of utter boredom during the hour long bus ride to school we would battle each other at bloody knuckles. We’d finally arrive, me with my swollen red knuckles and a smile of pride on my face for surviving and even holding my own. Andy with a devilish smirk plotting his next attempt to bring down the stubborn little blonde haired shit.
On days that smashing fleshed bone against bone seemed childish we’d bid our time with a more sophisticated game, which I hated. Andy would start by taking the eraser side of his pencil and he would draw an even vertical line on our vinyl bus seat. This would divide us into two separate spaces and set our boundaries. If I crossed the line into his space he was allowed to hit me as hard as he could and vice versa if he crossed my line. Of course I had to tempt fate over and over again. So that meant Andy was really good at this game and given that he was about 10 years older than me and I was a scrawny kindergartner, let’s just say he beat the shit out of me. In secret I liked this game because he never treated me like a weak little toothpick of a girl that would break with the slightest touch. He found that I was a tough kid and could take it. I knew he didn’t hit me as hard as he could but he made me think he did. I also knew Andy was a good guy. He sometimes had a look of shock or sympathy, thinking that I might actually be hurt but this vanished once he saw my almost embarrassed look for him taking pity on me. He’d then come back with an even harder blow. That’s when I knew he was indulging a little tomboy’s desires to be his equal and help prove to her that she was indeed tough.
This was my first instant action reaction to the crossing of boundaries and guarding them. I’m starting to learn that this never changes. Life is a constant of setting our own limits and testing each others boundaries. That means if someone crosses or even tip toes around them it’s up to ourselves to reset the boundary and if need be, punch back.
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