My mother is a blunt English former supermodel who has zero problem asking anyone deeply intimate questions about their lives.
No topic is safe when my mother is in the room. I can't tell you how many times I've clutched my wine glass for dear life when my mother asks a completely inappropriate question to strangers at a dinner party. Fear creeps up my spine as I feverishly pray to the God I don't believe in, that I could somehow melt into the walls and disappear.
If I so dare as to lightly tap her leg under the table to warn her that she's taking it too far this time, she'll make it even more awkward. "Zara! WHY are YOU KICKING ME! I'm just trying to clear the air!" she will scold, flipping back her cool blonde hair, taking a prim sip of her ice cold champagne. "They don't mind me asking about their sex life! It's a very important part of a relationship -- now sweeties, you don't mind that I'm asking you about your sex life, right!?"
She will lower her soul-penetrating eyes at the innocent conservative Republican couple sitting to the left in a state of both horror and awe, flummoxed by this glamazon English lady sitting before them asking them personal questions while slugging back the champagne like it's water. All they can do is nod like traumatized school children, as I slowly die inside. Imagine getting grilled by this fierce force of nature?
My mother inserts herself into couple's arguments regularly. She asks me about my sex life at least once a month. She thought it was totally normal to read my diary as a teenager. She has no issue discussing controversial subjects: cheating, politics, abortion rights, etc. She also really doesn't understand how a person could be shocked when she casually mentions how often her and my dad have sex. Anyone who expresses mild surprise is met with a sultry bat of a eyelash and a firm, "I believe in TALKING about things, darling!"
And to be honest, I'm in no place to judge anyone for having loose boundaries. It's only occurred to me recently that I have zero concept of boundaries myself.
And you know what? I'm cool with it. I mean, look, people like us might make you a little uncomfortable but mom is right: we do clear the air. I mean, we're the only ones bold enough to ask you if you're having regular sex with your partner, because we care about you and want to make sure you're sexually satisfied and babe, you need to talk about these things.
However, lines can get a little blurry and things can get a little complicated when your boundary lines are unclear. It becomes hard to differentiate what's normal and what's not normal when you've been playing the crazy game for a long time.
So I decided to make it a little easier on you. Here are signs that you, my darling dearest, have BOUNDARY ISSUES:
1. You're on texting terms with your therapist.
"Hold on, I have to text my therapist!" I haphazardly shouted to my friend across a quiet upper Manhattan bar. She looked at me with big eyes and blinked in utter amazement. She's from Connecticut and isn't used to shouting, let alone shouting about therapy.
"You text your therapist?" she whispered, her hushed tone incredulous. "Isn't that, like, a boundary issue?" she pressed, slugging back her martini like the sweet little WASP that mama raised her to be.
"Wait, that's not normal?" I asked, critiquing my manicure. "I also text my acupuncturist, my cardiologist and the guy who does my blowouts." I added for hoping it would make it seem more normal in comparison.
She shook her head, "Zara, that's definitely not normal. You're definitely not normal."
2. Your co-workers regularly private message you for your psychiatrist's number.
I recently realized that most people don't even tell their coworkers they see a psychiatrist, let alone whore out Dr. Feel Good to the whole staff.
3. You accidentally leave your bottle of Prozac on your desk.
Maybe everyone is always asking for my shrink's number because I used to do things like accidentally leave a bottle of Prozac on my desk and not notice until I clumsily knocked it over and the tile floor turned into a sea of pretty blue pills? Hmm.
4. Your tweets are more like emotional word vomits.
"Wow your tweets are, like, so personal! I admire how brave and open you are, Zara!" a sweet, honey blonde friend of a friend said to me just the other day. "What are you referring to?" I asked, shocked. I'm always shocked when people tell me I'm brave, since I'm usually filled with anxiety and fear.
"Didn't you tweet about how your outfit the other day was a waste of a fetish outfit and then post a picture of yourself in a pleated skirt and bow headband?" Welp. That was me, I guess.
5. You're the one everyone confides in.
Since I was a kid, everyone under the sun has confided in me. Teachers, parents of friends, lovers, friends of parents, hookups, friends of friends, family, street teens, street kids at the gay bar, everyone. Do you know how many times I've been pulled aside at a party by some crazy bitch that I hardly know, only for her to ask me to take a look at a weird growth on her upper thigh?
"WHY does everyone tell meeeee things?!" I've pondered over a joint after a long day of people opening up to me.
Finally I got stoned enough to break it down. When you ask everyone you know for intricate details about their lives and in turn incessantly share the gruesome details of your own, people think you're the perfect "non-judgmental" person to open up to.
It's a blessing and a curse. I get to hear all the salacious gossip my gossipy Jewish heart could ever desire. And a curse, because well, there are some things I will never, ever be able to unsee or unhear.
6. People ask you about your eating disorder, sexuality and love life like it ain't no thing.
A few years ago I was picking at my food on a date when the girl asked me "Are you not eating that because you still have issues about food?" WHAT? It was a blind date, so how the hell did this girl know that I used to have issues with food?
Because I wrote it about it on the internet, that's why. Which leads me seamlessly into my final point.
7. You write about personal things on the internet.
You have a job where you've written about going down on women, being over-medicated, being anxious, being a wreck and all sorts of other fun things on the internet for thousands upon thousands of people to see. That's the ultimate boundary issue, kittens.