Staying In My Lane

August 18, 2019

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.

2 comments on “Staying In My Lane”

  1. The image of your "bubble losing its boundaries and oozing all over other people" is a great mental image! I'll keep it in mind for when I need to remind myself.

    For those of us who feel others' feelings, it really is a necessary ongoing task to keep track of whose feelings are whose. A more solid sense of self-identity sure does make the task easier.

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