Crossing the Boundary

As many writers know, writing can be painful but also one of the greatest joys!

Recently I was presented with a challenge of someone responding with anger and rage to words that I had written in a blog. The email I received from that individual was laced with what seemed like venomous intention. This took me aback. I read and re-read my blog to see what I had said that would call for such a response and I was stumped. The blog obviously triggered something deep inside of that person that may or may not have had anything to do with me. But what was clear (after sharing the response with several people) was that the response was disproportionate to what I wrote and the words directed to me were totally out of line. This left me with some questions.

I have been writing on and off for years. I have worked as a reporter, an editor, a researcher and a writer. Since my college years I have dreamed of being a writer (a journalist moreso) and telling the stories of the world. This early writing dream eventually expanded into wanting to write my own novel, my own screenplay and my own songs. What held me back over and over from getting serious about this and taking my writing to the next level was the fear of writing from a personal place and others judging me. In other words – I had a fear of being exposed.

So here I am almost two decades later from the initial spark of the writing dream and I was being confronted with what I feared most – using my voice and in return getting a negative response. In one moment I felt on the edge of being set back 20 years. In the next moment, I saw that this was coming to me as a graceful challenge to see how much I was really ready to claim my voice.

As I move forward, I am contemplating these questions…“What do I do about people who respond negatively to what I write?…Do I simply not respond so as not to engage them? Or, as a blogger, is it my place to respond to them? And… is it really okay for someone to speak to me in a disrespectful and rage-filled manner and not address it? What will be my response when someone crosses my boundary?”

What is your response when someone crosses your boundary?


8 thoughts on “Crossing the Boundary

  1. I love this post, Tabby! I’m so glad you wrote it! I share exactly the same fear, which has held me back for my entire life. Like you, I’m learning how to overcome the fear of being exposed and possibly disliked, by choosing to stand up for what I believe in. I don’t find it easy, still, yet I know it’s necessary, and every time I do express myself authentically, I end up growing.

  2. Tammy,
    It takes great courage to write and express yourself in an authentic way and then make it public. It is the a great challenge to know how to respond when you are not received in the way you intended. But isn’t much of life like that? I think your job is to stay true to your calling, keep your vertical alignment strong and live with the fact that you are your not music to everyone’s ears and that’s ok. You are living and expressing who you are. And now you have a chance to grow (painful as it is) and realize you are a part of someone’s growth path – maybe for reasons you will never know about or understand.
    Keep writing and keep up the good work.
    Joanne Spence
    Yoga Ed Trainer, Pittsburgh, Pa.

  3. Dear Tabby,

    I really, really enjoy reading your blog every week and my heart sank this morning when I read “Crossing the Boundary.” No one has the right to respond with a venomous tone to a personal piece that was meant to inspire. When we are facing something difficult (and we all do), it is always helpful/comforting to read about and learn from others who have been through something similar. Especially when they share ideas what has helped them to improve their health/life.

    There will always be naysayers out there, but people must learn how to communicate with respect in their voice (conflict resolution 101). It’s fine to have an alternate opinion about something, but it’s not fine to share that alternate opinion with anger and venomous rage. I wish people would just agree to disagree sometimes- especially when they can’t find any other way to respectfully share an alternate view.

    Whomever it was, I think you should definitely respond. What I took away from it was an important message to us all to simply be open minded to the power of both eastern and western healing methods (the power of blending yoga, acupuncture WITH regular check-ups to take charge of your health).

    You do not need to defend anything you said (there was NOTHING that was inappropriate). Instead, I would let the person know that while you welcome all opinions, you do hold firm to a personal boundary for respectful communication.

    Don’t stop writing Tabby. You have such an interesting and unique voice/lens on life to share that inspires others.

    I’m sorry the wacky one percent reared his/her head on this piece- but I would respond with a short reply that reclaims your voice and respectfully disagrees, and then move on and stay the course!

    I look forward to the continuation of your blog!


  4. Sarah,

    This is so beautifully written and heartfelt. Thank you for your kind, inspiring and clear words. They meant a lot to me. I needed that extra ummphhh and clarity. I am gratetful for your response.


  5. Joanne,

    I love the vision of keeping our vertical alignment strong and what you said about not being music to everyone’s ears and that being okay. I also love the idea that our job is to stay true to our calling. That is put simply and clear. I think if we can constantly go back to that in our vertical alignment, then things are looking good.

    Thank you Joanne,

  6. Tabby,

    I feel like your anger was meant for me because talking about boundries I always cross them and in fact last time I saw you, I asked you many personal questions without any consideration of listening to you and controling the conversation not to mention giving you a headache and upsetting you as a result. You told me that you have to leave and left riding your bike gracefully. Now, I am thinking you should have tole me to shut up and left it at that. I am sorry that I have caused you so much grief. You should not change the course of your life just because of people like me.

  7. Bita!

    Oh my goodness. I was not talking about you!! Please relieve yourself of thinking that I was talking about you. I was perfectly fine with you asking me personal questions and would not have shared with you had I not wanted to. You are a beautiful individual and I enjoyed our time together. I knew your were very self-conscious about asking me personal questions and I thought it was lovely that you were interested. I enjoyed hearing all that you shared. You are right though that it is up to each one of us hold and maintain our boundaries. Thank you for that reminder.

    Enjoy your weekend,

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