The Frontiers

Blogging has been a step out of my comfort zone for me. Not all the time, I hasten to add; but sometimes, when I’ve hit on something critical, or written a piece that’s a bit more open to contention, I can feel myself pushing a little – and then waiting for the backlash. It is something like putting your finger near an electric fence and seeing how close you get before the shock burns.

I was describing this to a friend last week, when she was trying to help me make sense of how I move forwards now, and she had a slightly different take on the experience. For her, the shock was electrifying, not an electrocution. It was about energy and finding my frontiers and sparky positive things.

This is the second time in a month that someone has told me to go towards the edge of my possibilities rather than tentatively prod – rapidly retreat – and then cower, for days, in fearful anticipation of the repercussions. The first related to taking risks; the second, to working with my reactions. This has been a bit unexpected. I am used to people advising me to “keep safe.” Interestingly, in both instances, the interface was seen as the edge of possibility, rather than the boundary; and the discomfort an opportunity – rather than an obvious threat.

There’s something in there, I think, that I hadn’t considered. I’m not sure quite what to make of it yet, nor how best to use the insight; but, it’s a way of looking at life that years of hiding behind an eating disorder – followed by months of creating a safety-proofed existence – had not really factored in. It suggests that limits – and sensations – and shock connections might be conceived of a bit differently, and they aren’t just a mechanism to keep me in my place.

Not, of course, that I’m suggesting I should leap right into the danger, nor disregard the importance of keeping myself sane –

Only, perhaps the electric fence illusion might be a tad constraining; and, this arms length living might be stopping me from finding out what’s possible, if I just stepped beyond.

Because, if I think about it logically, the friction between one way of being – and another – is bound to cause a little fizzing; but, it’s at the fringes – and around the tingling of nerve endings– that things often start moving on.

So, I haven’t settled on my exact approach yet – although that may be part of the adventure; and, I’m not sure what I’m hoping to find on the other side – but now that I’ve started poking at the edges, I can either harness the electricity and work with the shocks –

Or turn my back and stay where I know that it’s safe.

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2 Responses to “The Frontiers”

  1. Melisa,
    You write beautifully.
    I love the imagery that you use here with the electric fence.. I live on a ranch in Southern Alberta, and I have a healthy fear of electric fence! I can relate to the fear of moving forward and how some days it caused me to freeze and many days caused me to run to the bedroom and pull the covers up over my head. I wanted the world to just stop so that I could get the heck off! I thought the recovery process went to fast, and too slow and it was too hard, too new, too much!

    When I look back over my own process of taking my life back and learning to live, I realize that living in my comfort zone was just the illusion of feeling safe. What I was really feeling was familiar. But even abuse was familiar, and sometimes even comfortable. If I was going to live, really live a healthy and whole life, then I had to take some of those risks and face some of those fears.. and I can tell you this, it is SO worth it! Yes it takes time, and yes it might be the hardest thing you ever do, but for me it was also the most worthwhile thing I have ever done. I am free now and I have found myself.

    Love this post!
    Darlene Ouimet

  2. Melissa says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this and I’m glad that people can relate to this post. It was quite hard to get the feeling onto paper – but it’s definitely making me realise that ’safety’ can sometimes resemble feeling trapped, and that a few risks and some exploring can be exciting, and not just something to be feared.

    Although I would avoid a real electric fence! ;)