Sometimes the lines are clearly marked to indicate which spaces are within a game to play and which are not. The rules of engagement are decided upon prior to the activity commencement. Everyone understands how to achieve the goal, in this case, be the last person standing that hasn’t been plowed by the ball.
I remember physEd and the eventual assembling of the teams to play. Back then we were less politically correct and called it “murder ball”. The object of the game was to hit your opponents as hard as you could to leave a welt on the side of their leg. Kids can be pretty mean when they are left without supervision to set their own boundaries. I digress with my childhood memories of trauma in the gym. The point is still relevant though. As kids we test boundaries. It’s part of a natural curiosity and establishes an understanding of how far we can go without crossing lines. As we get older, we take those lessons into our relationships, careers and expand our domains. If we have learned healthy ways to deal with the balance of give and take we thrive with hopefully fewer people who want to leave welts on our psyche. I am under the impression that there are quite a number of us who perhaps didn’t have the most positive examples to learn these valuable applications from. The world appears to be in a state of dodgeball.
The point I am trying to make is about boundaries, not necessarily the game of dodgeball. We do play quite a bit of dodgeball as adults. We test our level of mental toughness while we decide which lines we want to draw and which we want to cross or erase. Lots of opportunities to make ourselves vulnerable to potential hits if we don’t set clear expectations or learn to communicate our feelings and wishes in a way that lets others know what we are willing to risk in order to survive.
Like the game, the number of participants declines in our own personal spaces as we get older and more ingrained in our thinking and habits. Can you list your non-negotiable boundaries? For me, I can think of some that are easy to share: You can’t smoke in my house, I don’t tolerate physical violence. Those I can say with confidence to anyone.
Some get a bit trickier though. I don’t smoke but on occasion I have been known to smoke a cigar with a good glass of whisky. I don’t tolerate violence but I do believe in defending yourself and those you love. See what I mean? We are already blurring the lines of established markers.
I believe in freedom of speech and expression. Where do you draw this line though when these days everything you say and do is up for discussion and review? Can you safely have an opinion without feeling like you have to defend your constitutional right to choose what you put in your body and what you don’t? Oh, I am sure that hits a few nerves in this politically charged arena we now all live in as teams get selected and filtered.
I have been watching and reading about varied opinions of our current political and social consciousness. Where have our boundaries gone? I no longer have confidence that I understand the rules of the game. As I try to sort out my own personal feelings in how I conduct myself, communicate intimately and more universally I find that I am more inclined to self censor. When did that happen? I have never been that outspoken as to join protesters marching for a cause. I have participated in passive activities like running for cancer funds or canvasing for charities. I am a lover not a fighter…that folks is another boundary…lol.
I hope you get what I am trying to say here? It seems harder and harder to stand firm in beliefs that no longer seem to hold elements of truth and compassion for others. In this big “Dodgeball” game we find ourselves now embroiled in, I am looking to see which side I am on. Do I need to pick a side or can I just sit on the bleachers? Do I have a choice? I think I do and yet choices seem to be setting more and more lines around us. It’s a curious situation don’t you think?