I have a thought. I know that doesn’t sound as eloquent as Martin Luther King,,” I have a dream,” but I had to be honest about it. It is just a thought. I wasn’t asleep when I had it, so its not really a dream. It is fantasy like and might be considered a dream with the definition of it being a hope, a wish. But really, its just a thought. I have been thinking about boundaries and being able to state needs and wants directly. I work in addiction. I talk about boundaries and “staying on your side of the street” often. I have practiced the phrases. I have given talks to large groups of people. I have joked about it, cried about it, discussed it, and generally preached it ad nauseum. And yet, it is a fantasy, a dream, a curious thought.
I have a puppy at my house, Dexter G Smalls. “You are killing me Smalls,” is a phrase that I say often. Dexter is not known for his boundaries. He is the canine version of a close talker. He licks. He jumps, He hugs your arm with his paws until you rub his belly. His attention span is somewhat akin to the long abundant life of a fruit fly. However, as far as his side of the street is concerned, he states his needs and wants. The buckin bronco imitation style dance means I am hungry. The covering look and following you around the house means I am sorry that I got so excited I peed on the couch again. The arm hug means, “umm pet me dufus.” But boundaries by social norms are really not in his wheelhouse.
My thought is I wonder what it would be like if I was more like Dexter G. Smalls. Not the licking part. I mean, not specifically like Dexter, but more generally. I did try and dance when the waiter brought my food to the table yesterday. IT was largely misunderstood. I did make a few dollar bills. The people I was with really never got the hint to scratch my belly as I hugged their arms, but I think the certainly paid attention to me. Im reminded of a previous post where I talked about my youngest daughters giraffe like tongue. She is one of those people that can touch the tip of her nose with her tongue. I mentioned it because during communion she would tongue out every last drop of the grape juice. I mentioned how cool I found it that she was “slurping grace.” It seems like I should be able to embrace life and slurp it up like grape juice with a giraffe tongue. Imbibing every minute of the miracles life has to offer. Asking for connection and touch from those nearest to me. Celebrating the basic needs,: food, water, shelter. I think it would be wonderful to be able to play at life. To laugh and dance at the background music.
The boundaries I am learning over and over to set are both outside and inside. Outside, I am learning that nothing outside of me has anything to do with who I am. That is a bizarre thought process for me. Nothing outside of me defines me. Not my job, not my loves, not actions, not my impressions, nothing. I grew up with that external locus and so that is a very foreign thought process. ITs a work in process. Inside, I am learning that I am not my thoughts or emotions. My brain and heart (yes I know the heart doesn’t really house emotions, I am a doctor) are reflex organs. They are responding to the outside stimuli that are also not me. I am that Dexter within. I am my daughter slurping Grace. I am so much more and simply me. My needs and wants have value and can be expressed. I probably wont dance at that restaurant again, but I will on the inside.