I cross boundaries all the time as I fly to and from the UK, I spend more hours at border control than I care to remember, but I've yet to have any problems, despite being singled out many times by airlines in regards to my chosen route, lateness of booking and general security issues. I've seen many changes over the years to border entries and visa requirements for countries I've visited frequently. We were questioned in detail leaving San Francisco on a one way ticket to Denver after 9/11. We've had visa's to live in South Africa and Dubai, needed permission for the youngest to travel in and out of SA despite having a residency visa, been questioned leaving France travelling alone with my eldest who had a different surname from me and I've been questioned many times about travelling alone on multi tickets, long stop overs and why my flights don't start and end in the country from where my passport is issued.
I do have a favourite boundary, seen below. Flying over Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa. The line you can see is where the physical boundary between the countries was removed to allow the free roaming of wild animals.
It's not just Country boundariess that I cross. I'm told I come straight to the point and many people tell me they like that about me, they know where they stand, but others can find it intimidating. I know that, but it also means I get taken advantage of, that I don't have feelings and many times over the years, I've listened to criticism of myself, my children, step children and my husband often without the right of reply.
I crossed a boundary recently by saying something about a friends child, I was upset. I actually gave it a lot of thought about whether I should say anything or not. But I'm glad I did. I’ll not go into details but a 15 year friendship came to an end. In all honestly, I’m not bothered. It can't have much of a friendship if no further discussion is to be had on the subject so hey ho.
This has got me thinking.
I probably overshare, in fact I know I overshare. If I’m proud of something my kids or I or my family have done then I’ll bloody well shout it from the roof tops. Sadly I’ve learnt that to a lot of people this is boasting and showing off. Blowing my own trumpet and leads people to think I have a long way to fall and many are standing there waiting for it to happen.
But I also balance that with the failures, the upsets, the stuff that went wrong. Now people love to hear that, offer their opinion, talk behind your back, tell you where you went wrong, point out how you could’ve done it differently, but actually offer little or no support at all in these matters.
So I’m changing tact, I’m not sharing anymore. I’ll just say when asked ‘how are things going?’ With ‘fine thanks and with you?’ And leave them to fill the silence. This also means I'm reducing my friendship circle. It's actually quite easy to do. Most people see on Facebook I'm in the UK then contact me and ask to meet up, which usually involves me driving to meet them fitting in with their childcare and work arrangements, but I'm redefining these friendships and if they don't occur throughout the year, regardless of which country I'm in, then I'm no longer going out my way to meet up and regale them with stories of life abroad.
I’ve tried that in the past but I’m often met with ‘but you’re life is so much more exciting than mine, living abroad’ well to me you’re the one who lives abroad so from now on if you don’t want to or can’t share back with me then I’m wasting my time visiting, because as far as I can see, you’re the one crossing the boundaries, using what’s going on in my life to to assume I’m either putting you down or to use to talk about me negatively with others.
Friendships are two way. They’re about support, sharing, doing things together. I’m not just your friend/family member in Dubai to showcase, to talk about. I’m also Suzanne who has feelings and if she is upset and hurt by something you’ve said about her, her husband or her children she has the right to say something, just like others have and do frequently.