Staying In My Lane
Stay in your lane. If you're good enough, people will move to you. ~ Russell Simmons
I've always hated the phrase, "stay in your lane;" it always seemed condescending to me. A few times someone has said it to me when I was asking a question and I felt very offended. However, recently I realized that it is the perfect phrase for me to use to reframe my sometimes too nosy thoughts.
I went to the Alternatives conference a few weeks ago and had a great time...until I sensed that there was some tension in the air and then I became triggered and teary. Fortunately, I was able to get the support I needed and ended up having a good enough time to want to return.
I attended a function by the anti-defamation league until I realized that the leader was triggered and her slightly raised voice made me also triggered and teary. I ended up leaving this event early, even though I did get the support I needed-I just couldn't stop crying until I arrived home.
I started to feel very frustrated and annoyed with myself. I realized that I was getting triggered when other people were getting triggered and that seemed very codependent. I knew I needed to stop but how? And then I remembered the lesson I learned from the trauma therapist last year-all of these things are not my job! It is not any of my business if another person is triggered. It is not my job to take care of a stranger's feelings. I realized that with my new job at drug court, I had gotten back into a co-dependent spirit and was trying to take care of everyone's feelings...And that's NOT MY JOB!!
We each have a personal space bubble and my bubble was losing its boundaries and oozing all over other people.
I laughed as I realized: "I need to stay in my lane!" Now I understand what this phrase means - it doesn't mean you can't empathize or be curious about other people, but it does mean that I don't have to let every one else's shit affect my spirit.
What a big sigh of relief!
Now I go to work and church and other functions and I don't feel so afraid. I can be secure in myself enough to know that I am my own person. If someone else gets triggered, I may care, but I don't have to feel the same exact way they do. I'm so glad I caught this before my co-dependency became worse. Years ago I once went to a mental hospital because my best friend at the time was in a mental hospital.
Not the best reason.
It's frustrating that I have to learn this lesson over and over again, but I think the idea that we should get big concepts all in one go is a damaging myth. At least this time I can learn my lessons without going to a hospital. That's progress. Part of the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder is having an unstable identity. I used to hang onto other people way past healthy because I did not know how to define myself. A few weeks ago my therapist commented that my sense of identity has gotten a lot stronger and I agree. I could sense when I was beginning to go too far and catch myself. Now I do not feel so frustrated but proud.
My identity is that I am a passionate person in long term mental health recovery. I am a person who never gives up and who works hard. Over everything else, this is me. I may play with my sexuality and spirituality and style but I am riding in my own recovery lane always. No longer am I Frogger trying not to get squashed.
I am myself.