A boundary is a boundary, no matter how small.
Last night a friend drove me to a recovery meeting. Actually, I drove. They rode in the passenger seat. They weren’t attending the meeting with me; they were dropping me off. I drove because I thought we’d be faster.
I pulled into the lot in front of the venue. There were 3 spots, each with a sign that said “no parking anytime.”
My intention was to pull in, get out, and surrender the driver’s seat to my friend, who would then pull out and drive away. The exchange should have lasted one minute.
But it didn’t.
The man next door appeared in the window.
“Miss,” he said. “That is my spot!”
“I know,” I said. “She’s leaving.”
“Miss,” he continued. “You CANNOT PARK THERE!”
“She’s not,” I said. “She’s leaving –“
“She’s NOT?! She’s parking there right now and you’re going to look me in my face and tell me she’s not?! What kind of FUCKING ENGLISH is that!”
Then he looked beyond me to my friend and yelled.
“GET OUT! NOW! GET OUT OR I’M CALLING THE COPS! I’M SICK OF THESE FUCKING ABUSIVE PIGS!”
I looked him the eye.
“I’m sorry,” I said.
He continued to yell.
“I’m sorry,” I said again.
Then I walked inside, shaken.
The people gathered had heard the commotion.
“What’s going on out there?” They asked.
I told them, as I cried.
“Well, we’re all safe and loving in here,” one said.
The meeting began. The topic was gratitude. I missed the lead. I went to the bathroom to treat (with AIT – an energy healing technique) the following statement:
“My friend and I got attacked by the man next door for parking in his spot, and he used the words “fucking English” and “abusive pigs.”
I sobbed, choking up all kinds of tears and snot.
I tapped into feelings of “love-unreceived,” of being “misunderstood.” I wasn’t trying to hurt the man or argue with him and I felt hurt that he perceived me as so.
I also stopped to acknowledge my role in it. I stopped to let in the lesson.
There was a sign.
That sign was clear.
“No parking anytime.”
That was more than a sign.
That was a personal boundary.
I violated it. I crossed it.
Even though it was “just for a minute,” I disrespected someone’s boundary.
This reminded me to take boundaries seriously unconditionally. If I am to be truly loving, I cannot “pick and choose” which boundaries I respect and when. And while I didn’t have harmful intentions, I can see how I erred. I am grateful to learn this lesson.
At the same time, I felt attacked by the man. His words felt mean and violent. His own behavior was unacceptable. But I forgive him and feel so sad for him. I clearly tapped into years of disrespect. I was clearly the straw that broke his camel’s back.
In the meeting, I was validated. But while my feelings were right, my actions were wrong. They may have been innocent, but they were wrong.
I crossed his boundary and I was attacked. I should not have crossed the boundary but I didn’t deserve to be attacked. Fortunately, I’m able to identify that and identify what has nothing to do with me.
Hurt-people hurt people. The man next door yelled at me because repeatedly, people have hurt him.
I could call him a creep. I could call him a jerk. I could dismiss him as “drunk” or “mentally ill.”
But he’s my sibling and my equal and I hear his cry for love. I feel deeply both his pain and my own.
What we give out comes back to us. If I want my boundaries to be respected, I must respect the boundaries of others – that includes “no parking” signs.
I am human, and I make mistakes. Last night was a mistake. It was an honest mistake, so I forgive myself. Now that I’ve made the mistake, however, I must honor the lesson from here on out.
I am grateful for this experience, and grateful to have processed it in the moment.
I am grateful for the pain, for the catharsis, and the lesson.
I am grateful for the understanding that everything has a reason, even “no-parking” signs, and that while boundaries can be inconvenient, they are there for our highest good.
Here’s to years of legal parking.
In closing, I would like to say that the opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Take them, share them, or leave them behind. If something here resonated with you, I invite you to share it, as Recovery is for all.