Life Altering Moment

Wow. I just had the most amazing experience and I really wanted to share.

For the first time ever in my life I was able to express my boundary with my parents showing up fully vulnerably, open and being _exactly_ who I want to be. And while it took a few minutes, they actually, in my experience, for the first time ever, got it.

I was on the phone with my parents. We were talking about Prop 8 and I began feeling sensations in my body that I would describe as micro-convulsions — contraction and release at rapid rate — spams — all seem applicable. But not full body in a way that was disabling… Rather in a small way that just hurt. (Were I in my vipassana practice, perhaps I could have been with them as “sensation” alone rather than pain… So I guess that’s somewhere to go from here…)

I had said what I wanted to say and my mother started speaking. She was saying things I simply didn’t agree with. At first I tried to rebut, and then I noticed I was getting agitated. So I requested that we stop talking about it. She continued to talk and at I tried to interject and then she said, “you had your turn to speak and now I’d like mine.” Which was great. So I shut up and I let her speak. When she finished — without me interrupting, the whole time remaining as present as I could and just being with my sensations — I hadn’t said anything. She asked if I was still there and I said I was. Then she started to ask me a question and I said, “I asked to not talk about this.” 

She kept trying to talk about it. I kept saying, “I don’t know how to not talk about this with you if you keep asking me questions. I’ve asked to not talk about it and I’ve drawn a boundary. I’m making a request.” 

She wanted to understand why and said, “So you’re saying…” and repeated it back in a way that really just took me back to all those times in my past when I haven’t felt heard or seen or understood by my parents and I finally just said, “I feel oppressed when you communicate with me that way.” I kept making the same request — again and again — each time she’d attempt to engage again. This went on for a few minutes of attempts at engaging again from her and me attempting to state the request, saying things like, “I don’t know what to do because I’m trying to ask you to honor my boundary and you’re not. And I want to stay in conversation with you and be fully open and not hang up on your or yell at you which is what I did in the past.” At this point I was just crying while I was communicating … AND I was open and vulnerable, genuinely trusting that I would be able to assert my boundary. 

My father finally stopped my mother. Then he said, “I don’t understand how someone as intelligent as you can’t compartmentalize this.” I realize that I felt that was some sort of judgment about my lack of abilities. Perhaps it wasn’t, and I realize it was statements like this that in the past really impacted my sense of self deeply. 

Staying with my sensations though, I was able to say, “Because I feel it in my body.” My father didn’t seem to understand and brought it back to me saying I felt “oppressed.” 

At this point a floodgate of emotion ran through me and I was able to really authentically share — perhaps for the first time from a truly vulnerable space with my parents, and I said something like, “This is why I fought with you for so long. I don’t feel oppressed so much as I feel pain. And this is how I have felt most of my life. Having spent the better part of the last 10 years getting in touch with my feelings, I am much more sensitive to it than I was in the past. And I refuse to go back to the way I was because that’s how I ended up being 300 pounds and I refuse to do that again. I’m sorry that I have this limitation and I can’t be perfect for you which is all I’ve ever wanted to be because believe me, if I could, I’d do whatever it took to never have to hear you say, ‘what happened to the other three points?’ again in any context.”

This was a joke they used with me as a child – I’d get a 97 and they’d say, “what happened to the other 3 points?” I, unfortunately, didn’t get that it was a joke. So my mom says something like it would be great if I could just get that it was a joke. To which I said, “I do get that it is a joke now, and I still have these tapes from when I was 5 and 7 and 11 and 13 and 15 and the rest of my youth running through my head.” 

We exchanged some more words. They seemed to not understand why I’m the way I am and they still honored my request and they really seemed to try to get it. That felt like a first for me.

As we were getting off the phone my mom said, “Try not to cry for an hour after we hang up.” I have to laugh at that to some degree. I think for my mom crying isn’t a good thing. Me, on the other hand — I feel better afterward. Put differently, I can’t even recall my mom crying 5 times in the whole of my life that I’ve witnessed whereas any given week, I’m likely to cry a minimum of 5 times. 

I left the conversation really loving my parents more than ever. And feeling more love from them than I have ever felt. Such a beautiful gift. All in all, it was an amazing experience.

Though I have to wonder, how is it I’m so different from them?

About PoiPriestess

Isa “GlitterGirl” Isaacs has been a professional fire dancer and instructor since 2002 when she established her first flow arts education company, Temple of Poi, the premier poi school in the world. Since then, she has been working as a Priestess of Poi, teaching the ways of flow as a lifestyle choice. More details can be found on the about page on this site.