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Not sure how deep I’m going to go with this one..Its a topic in the forefront of my mind, on the tip of my tongue, and hoping my fingers can keep up with the flow of thoughts. Its  personal. So hang on tight & enjoy the ride… >

“Berna, you MUST learn the art of self-preservation!”…Those      were   the   words    that   my    only   sibling    said     to    me   some     17 .5  years      ago    as   I       was    going    through-IT ;    a   divorce     that    I    surely    thought     going       forward      with    was    like     cutting    off   a    part    of   my    body( I was so IN love with him!)     and    honestly   figured     it    was      going    to    kill     my    inner         Spirit..>

I told a very good friend of mine just yesterday that I cherish! being “different”..I’ve no issue with standing alone(as I have before) for what I feel in my heart of hearts is right. I’ve no issue with being the 1st one to ask the question that everyone else wants to ask; but doesn’t . (which is why I always sit in the FRONT of any, and I mean any, class room) I’ve no issue with being the ONE in the group; that looks for a rung ladder before leaping off a cliff with everyone else. I am truly not a follower…All those things I’ve mastered. What I haven’t mastered is self-preservation. I give of myself and I give freely…just flows freely from my being. For a split second today I had a fleeting thought that mayhaps I give too much . Too  much of me.  And after that split second passed…>

…thoughts came hurdling, tumbling back into my mind of what my brother said almost 18  yrs prior. @One must know/learn! self -preservation or they just might give UP the very parts of self; that make them who they are. And that is something I refuse to do. I digressed…badly..but as I was saying earlier just yesterday I was expressing to a close friend of mine that I do not want to be like anyone else nor everyone else. I am different. And I like being ME. It took me a very long time to get here . I need no permission to be me. I  make NO apologies for being me..What is clear , crystal clear, is that I, WE, have to set boundaries in any/all of our relationships. Whether its of an intimate nature or friendship(which truth be told the best intimate relationships start off as friends first..don’t y’all agree? Thats another topic for another time. Excellent blog idea! ) Today I had to draw the line with someone I care about. Someone I call/consider my friend…Perhaps I should’ve made the invisible boundary lines known from the onset. For often my kindness/my sensitive nature/my compassion; is mistaken for weakness. I may be many things but weak I am not. Not even on a bad day…>

I’ve come to believe in any relationship..intimate or friendship..we can quickly get locked down into patterns. Those patterns get habitual & routine. It becomes what defines the relationship..UNLESS a person draws a line or boundaries from the onset those patterns won’t/can’t ever be broken. As long as that relationship exists..think about that for a minute..I was sharing with someone today I feel as IF they’re taking my kindness for granted. My perception is pretty much grounded in reality of the way it actually IS. Is it cool when one is being themselves to collide with someone else being themselves in a bonded friendship..only to find out one of the pair feels taken for granted? Naw, thats not cool..which is why today I said out loud what had been building UP . Which means I should’ve already said it before..today. Why is it human nature not to want to hurt another with the blatant truth? Or is that just part of my nature? IF anyone out there can relate this is the part where you should contribute your 2 cents…>

I try to see the good in everyone. Yet I don’t choose to spend time with everyone…and when I do? I expect, unspoken demand, to get back at least an ounce of what I’m giving in return. Some of us are just natural givers..Givers of themselves. Their essence. Their love. Their friendship. It just flows naturally. I’ve got my hand held UP high on each/every one of those counts. But what I refuse to do, as anyone should, is let anyone suck me dry of those resources..Not speaking in a physical sense; but literally. Is it moreso human nature to be a giver or a taker? Are these things learned or uttered naturally from the heart. To give or to take. I’ve no clue how I got to be the way I am in that sense..It is just the way I am. And I’ve no plans to change in that aspect. Ever. For I enjoy being around folks who give freely of themselves..Have no issue letting their hair down to just; Be. I had to learn , after many moons, the art of self preservation..it doesn’t come naturally . I think it is possible to give much of oneself; yet keep some of self for self to remain self. What a silly sounding riddle, right? Makes perfect sense to me though. And I sure as heck hope its making sense to someone else out there reading this also..if so this is yet another part where your 2 cents could be interjected..>

The closer I get to 50 yrs of age; the less & less I mince words. Time is precious and its moving with more haste daily..I look UP and an entire week has passed by in a blur. Some weeks I just want to yell, STOP, as the clock seems to spin in a frantic pace. Especially during minutes of my free time after my 8 -5 weekday..Although truth be told my work days fly by as well. Without mincing words & yet not speaking harshly; I think we all owe it to ourselves to lay down those invisible/unspoken/spoken boundaries in our relationships. Agreed? For what is a friendship worth if one of the pair isn’t feeling appreciated?  I usually bail pretty quickly from such situations…I’ve learned to do so to maintain self. Just don’t see the sense in continuing to give to something that isn’t fulfilling. Anyone out there have a different take on this? Or related? Well I’ve said my piece. Now its your turn. What do you think? Do you have self-preservation skills you’d like to share?