This is a post about boundaries.
Some of us are taught not to have them.
And we’re taught that asserting boundaries is mean, cruel, and horrible. And that if we do it, we’re being mean, cruel and horrible.
And then – at some point, we figure out that this is not ok. That we have to have and assert boundaries; that doing so is part of being a person and having a life and not getting dehumanized all the time.
And – then – the message that asserting boundaries is inherently mean and cruel hasn’t gone away, just (partly) the message that we’re not allowed to do it.
And sometimes that turns into thinking that it’s ok and necessary to be cruel to people, and that being cruel is an essential part of how we assert our humanity.
I’ve done this. A good percentage of posts on Tumblr are doing this.
And it’s hard to get past, because it’s damn hard to get good information about what is actually cruel, because people learning to assert boundaries for the first time will inevitably be accused of doing bad things to people whether or not it is true. Because that *works*, and you have to get past the point where that works…
…But it’s important to get past that point *and* still care about treating people well, *and* still care about not being cruel and sadistic.
Because it is possible to assert boundaries and resist dehumanization without dehumanizing or behaving in a cruel way towards other people. No one succeeds at this perfectly. But it should be the aim. It’s important.