I'm Not Angry, I Just Have Boundaries (Part 2)
Last updated: May 2023
In case you missed it, check out Part 1 of this series!
When it comes to my family, I’ve found that setting boundaries can mean different things. Sure, there have been times when certain questions made me feel uncomfortable (like explaining why there was yet another blood/pus stain in a shirt I borrowed). But other times, I learned that setting boundaries can also mean opening up discussions about HS and being present enough to answer questions.
It’s hard for people to be there for you if you never open up to them. My HS only seemed like a taboo subject around my family because of how I felt about my HS, not because they weren’t willing to understand it. I’m happy to say that things have changed a ton simply because I’ve been more vulnerable with the people in my family. Recently, my older cousin asked me about the scars on my legs and I didn't even flinch when I explained to her that they were from boils I got a few years ago. It was the first time I talked to her about my past boils without feeling ashamed.
Setting boundaries with my partner
I’m happy to say that this process has actually been pretty easy when it comes to my partner because he was so receptive to my HS from the very beginning. He even did his own research and talked to me about what he found to see if there were more ways he could help.
But there was still a lot to talk about, especially when it came to intimacy. HS and intimacy can be a scary, touchy subject and can heavily affect that aspect of a relationship, especially if you get boils in the groin area. We try to be open about those things and keep the line of communication open so no one gets hurt during those times. And I’ll admit - it was terrifying at first. But it got easier with time.
Aside from physical boundaries, there are still plenty of times when I just need to spend time alone. Sometimes, it’s not even because of the pain. I'm not ashamed of my HS and I love that my body has been able to overcome so much, but HS is still taxing. It still makes me feel some type of way about my body from time to time, so having time alone to process those feelings can be necessary for me.
Setting boundaries with co-workers, strangers, etc.
To be honest, I don't worry about this one too much. There are plenty of co-workers that still don't know about my HS even though I've been open about it to a good few of them. While I feel much more comfortable with my HS and speaking about it, I don't need to feel pushed to be open about my condition if I don’t want to or don't feel safe doing so.
I don’t stress too much about this when it comes to strangers either. I’ve found that if I treat my HS like something to be ashamed of, it’s a lot easier for me to feel ashamed. If people have questions, I answer them and take it from there.
A few years ago, I went to get a pedicure. The woman doing the pedicure was prepping to massage my legs when she noticed the scars on my legs and stopped what she was doing. I calmly assured her that they were old scars and that they weren’t painful and that it was safe for her to continue. If this had been when I was in high school or even in college, I probably would’ve felt more insecure and wouldn’t have known what to say. But for the most part, people who have given me looks in the past when they’ve seen my legs or my arms seem to be more concerned than judgmental.
And if they are judgmental, I’ve found that someone else’s perception of me is absolutely none of my business.
When you need to vent about HS, who do you turn to first?
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