The Emotional Labor and Delivery of Boundaries

I am wiped out. My heart is singing me lullabies, saying sleep, sweet girl. Lay you down with that heavy burden.

Boundaries are heavy. Boundaries are hard. Especially when their necessity is clearly not understood. My heart is singing I should set it all aside, girl. Lilting a siren song and I want to lay it all down, lay it all out, have it all out but the point of boundaries is to allow for compassion and prevent reactivity.

This line can mean severance or it can mean acceptance, release, forgiveness, recovery.

I draw emotional shields when I’m trying to extend compassion and receive reactivity. I demand them of myself when I’m at risk of being reactive. I set them for others to protect our shared love and my heart beats across the lines like they’re sheet music, sings me toward sleep.

I’ve done hours of emotional labor that took the place of other work I still have to complete today and my body is crying inside. Outside it is curling and winding and being rubber-banded under control so that I can make it one more hour before I hit restart. Before I cry or write or do something other than hide and take awkward selfies while prodding the rhythm of a heart with many breaks as it trips along each note confusion, pain, delight, wonder, hope, healing.

Can you hear it?

Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

2 Discussion to this post

  1. Lovely, poetic, yet cryptic. Hope you are well.

    View Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Stories

Search stories by typing keyword and hit enter to begin searching.

%d bloggers like this: