During a camping trip this last summer, a series of epiphanies swarmed me like wasps over the course of one small evening. I had only just admitted my bisexuality to myself a few months prior, and had very recently become single. I had not even thought of flirting up until this very moment; it just sprung upon me accidentally! The most beautiful blonde girl sat at a picnic table at the campsite next to my friend’s. They invited us to play some games and drink with them that evening, and my friend made the executive decision that we were attending.
This is not a story about a sexual assault. Quite the opposite! This is about a realization of the atrocity that crossing the line of someone else’s comfort truly is.
As we hung out with the campsite beside us that night – including the beautiful blonde girl – It began to seem like she was flirting with me. I was certainly infatuated but also shy as I had never flirted with a girl before and had not flirted at all in years! I flirted with my eyes, made cute teasing remarks and when we played a game, I sat beside her just slightly closer than I would to anyone else. She again seemed to reciprocate so I kept it up, not edging farther as it was the first day I had met her and I was so worried I’d cross a line.
Sure enough, one person asked the question to the group: “what is everyone’s sexuality?”. The beautiful blonde girl said she was straight. I was a little disappointed but not hurt, and not confused about her behaviour either. I also like receiving attention from those who are infatuated with me, as long as they aren’t creepy about it! I eased off the gas with my flirtation, and remained kind and genuine and just a tad smitten, but considerately cautious.
An hour or so later, she accidentally bumped her leg into mine and I had a thought about moving my leg to lean on hers. Immediately I felt my stomach drop. I felt so sick! This girl is not interested in me – why would I intentionally do something I have no reason to do? What if it made her uncomfortable? Even a little bit uncomfortable.. There was absolutely no way I was going to be willing to compromise her emotional, spiritual or physical wellbeing.
Then, at the end of the night as I was laying in my tent, semi-wishing she had been interested and invited me into her tent to cuddle her, the epiphanies came to sting me.
The sickness I felt… the fear and dread of making this girl uncomfortable…
How many times had other people done that to me over the course of my life? At school, at music festivals, at church, at parties, on dates. How many times had I expressed a boundary to have it pushed? Even when it wasn’t forceful.. The amount of times that the boundary was tested? Stretched? And I didn’t ever consider it to be THAT bad.
When it was being done to me, I brushed it off as it was nothing, or as if the other person must have been too stupid to catch on, even if my body language or words had been explicitly clear.
In this moment I realized that either all those (mostly boys) who had crossed the line with me before either didn’t experience this fear of making me feel unsafe, or they ignored it and pressed on anyways.
Both are concerning.
You couldn’t have paid me any amount of money that night to even POSSIBLY knowingly make this girl uncomfortable. I respected her desires as much as my own! The thought of disrespecting her line made me feel full-on nauseous. What the heck are all those people who have intentionally crossed lines thinking and feeling? Do they feel it or do they feel nothing?
I just had never understood the depths of how disgusting crossing someone’s boundaries on purpose is. Why do we cut these people so much slack? Why do we brush off their behaviour?
Why are we even sometimes flattered by their lack of self control?
I don’t know why I am sharing this really. . . It was my own little swarm of epiphanies that stung and then ached for a period of time. Even now, looking back on this idea makes me squirm. I know so many of you have had people push your boundaries before. I hope if anything, this post helps you to realize how actually super NOT okay that is. You deserve to feel safe. Imagine yourself doing that to someone else and let it sink in, how unacceptable it all is. It’s seriously concerning. And way too many people think it’s okay when they do that. So here I am – calling out that HELLO IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT FINE. Let us, as a community, decide to call that out when we feel bold and courageous enough to do so. In pop culture, in class, in conversations with family or friends or wherever else the topic may arise.
AND TO THOSE WHO CROSS OTHER PEOPLE’S BOUNDARIES – What you are doing is NOT excusable. It burdens others for years, sometimes their whole lives. Even if you aren’t full-out hurting someone super obviously – pushing their comfort zone sexually when they are not wanting their comfort zone pushed is still traumatizing, and effects people deeply. Your behaviour is absolutely not normal and you should probably see a therapist about that.
Thank you for reading ❤
-Anonymous, Fraser Valley BC