When I looked up the definition of Boundaries, I got “something that indicates bounds or limits.” At first when I considered the theme, I, at first, thought about physical boundaries or dividing lines between spaces or land. After giving it more thought, I realized that boundaries could also be mental and emotional lines that “bound” you or restrain you. Boundaries don’t always have to be visible to everyone. They can also be in your head controlling you, keeping you from doing something.
The reason I chose the picture I did is not because the scars represent a boundary to me. I chose to take this picture because the scars remind me of an invisible boundary that affects me very much.
August 21st, 2003. I was leaving one of my best friend’s houses and as I walked down the 3 or 4 steps outside, I fell. It was the 3rd time in my life I had fallen down stairs but the worse I had gotten from the other falls was a torn ligament in 8th grade. This time, I attempted to get up, heard a crack, my right foot gave and down again I went. Turns out I ended up having a broken fibula and a detached deltoid ligament….from falling down a couple steps!
I had to have surgery and get a rod placed in my foot, otherwise, the tiniest fall and broken fibula again. I was in the hospital a couple days after the surgery and all I remember is waking up from nightmare after nightmare. I would sleep awhile and then dream of myself falling down all over again and then jump awake. The pain after my surgery was horrible. I tried to describe it to my mom as someone ripping off my skin around my ankle and nailing it back on, over and over and over. Probably why I had a button I could push every 15 minutes for morphine. Believe me, I tried to push that thing more than that but it wouldn’t go off until 15 minutes had passed. I never knew 15 minutes could be so long!
Anyways…back to what my accident has to do with boundaries. Since my accident, I have been deathly afraid of stairs without railings. At first, even stairs were hard but I got over that. I know it’s a mental thing because if there’s a rail, I can leave my hand to hover over it as I walk up the stairs and only grab if I feel it necessary. But even though it may be a mental thing, it still feels impossible for me to overcome.
I have had so many people act like I’m crazy when I get scared to go up stairs without railings. I try to explain but they just don’t get it. They think I’m ridiculous and should just get over it. What they don’t realize is nothing they can say to me is anything that I haven’t already told myself. I give myself a really hard time about it and I don’t even understand it myself. I’ll stand in front of the steps and think about stepping up and it’s like this force that I can’t understand stops me. It doesn’t help me at all when I consider that if I fell down stairs again, there’s a very good chance I would break something again.
I guess I could have taken pictures of stairs without railings but I don’t believe that the stairs are the boundaries I can’t cross. My real boundary is the mental aspect and I can’t exactly take a photo of that. I CAN take a photo of something I see and live with everyday of my life that reminds me of my boundaries though.
It’s not the greatest picture but I believe this theme, for me personally, has been about more than a picture. It’s been about talking about a very real fear I have and how I would like to be able to overcome it someday.