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Some walls are built to keep people in; other walls are built to keep people out.

As a child you don’t have many boundaries. The world is endless and full of possibilities. As a child,  you make your own rules, and disregard those of others that might contradict your own. However as we grow older, we are taught that being civil means adopting the beliefs of others. You try not to offend family or friends by simply agreeing to whatever they say, because thinking any different would result in a fight. You begin to hide your personality behind “correct” thinking,  and built a facade around it. You are obedient,  honest and true…well at least according to their standards. You are everything they want you to be, but everything you despise.

I have observed how others have dictated my life. I listen as friends tell me “No Ros, it’s you that doesn’t understand.” or “Ag, that’s baby problems. Get over it!” I have listened as many tell me what they believe to be the motive behind my actions. It fascinates me how they often think they know me more than I know myself. They don’t offer, but give advice that is often impractical in my opinion. They think I’m overreacting when their words make me angry. They see no limits to how much say they have in my life. But one can’t blame them, for it is my fault. I have failed to create and reinforce boundaries. I have, out of fear, allowed people to do what they want when they want in respect to my life. I often thought if they loved me they wouldn’t place me in a compromising situation?

However people always act in the or own self interest. I remember how in my most serious relationship I felt pressured to lose weight all the time. I would spend every moment exercising in hopes that I would look better. I remember how he would tell me that I should be more like my cousin. See, I allowed him to taunt my body image. I gave him permission to tell me I wasn’t good enough because the label on my jeans didn’t say “size 28”. I watched as he tore down my self confidence, like many before him, and failed to stand up for myself. I am now left alone to face the looming danger of an eating disorder on top of everything else. Their words now echo in my mind every time I try and eat.

It’s easy for me to say he…they…her…you ruined my life. However it is difficult for me to acknowledge that I have for too long allowed you to do so. I have been afraid to stand up for what I believe is true and right for me. I have allowed the words of others to dictate my life, because then it’s easy to shift the blame. I agreed to lose control, knowing that remaining in control would require me to be a stronger. It would require me to challenge wrongs that I have tricked my mind into believing are right.

I am at a point in my life where I am beginning to take charge of my life. And that may mean being honest about issues that may make many uncomfortable.

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Ros Limbo
mulemwa.limbo@gmail.com