A few months back while sitting out on the balcony of my new apartment, staring into space, (inadvertently facing my neighbour’s window where the window blind was half way down), and across my view ran a waste high view of a bare chested guy! You know that moment when all in a split second you think “Whoa! Look away! Don’t get sprung staring!!!” at what was a very nice side view of a muscle bound chest and upper arm. OBVIOUSLY ! ! ! He works out!!! I don’t even know how I managed to think all those thoughts in such a short amount of time . . . BUT it was all over in a flash!
So as to prevent potential for any further visual images, this ‘naked run’ incident prompted me to put up a screen between us . In any case our balconies are so close that there is no privacy if we are both wanting to enjoy the sunshine. It’s kind of awkward, and so I find myself checking if he’s out on his, before I go out on mine.
My screen is a work in progress . . . some bamboo wrapped around two metal mesh screens . . . secured together with cable ties. Then on my side I am decorating it with quotes and pictures, and soon some hanging plants.
Then this morning while folding some washing, I noticed out my kitchen window . . . my neighbour has stood up a screen of bamboo on his balcony. I had to laugh . . . but wondering at the unlikely possibility if he is offended by my putting up a screen . . . probably not! But it was funny to consider that he might be an eye for an eye, cheek for a cheek, screen for a screen kind of man? Or has he also realised the close proximity of our balconies and views into each other’s apartments via our kitchen windows, and decided to follow my lead?
As I thought more about it . . . (not seriously, but as a notion) I considered the potential for offence. What if? Because, I never actually mentioned to him why I put up the screen (and I’m not likely to tell him the original cause) . . . but he would have seen the wire mesh stands just appear, then later the bamboo wrapping. But the fact that seemingly, his response was not to raise the topic with me, but to put up his own screen (albeit somewhat sparse) did strike a thought . . . and so this parallel . . .
How often in life does an incident happen (like a nudey run),
that causes a reaction (screen),
rather than a response (discussion) albeit an awkward one.
While I was putting up a screen for both our sakes, to establish a boundary line of my privacy space on my balcony (and so I cant see into his apartment), his perception of it might be that I’m putting up a wall? Or not? He might just really like my idea, and has implemented it for himself. But we’ll never know if one of us doesn’t raise the topic.
On the other hand, while my screen blocks my view into his kitchen, and our view into each other’s balcony, he had nothing to block his view into my kitchen. Now to some degree, his screen does provide that, in case I was to make the same kind of run. Not likely! And given my own experience, my blinds are ALWAYS down until I’m ready to face the day. But I guess he might be exposed to me washing dishes at the sink? But that’s a clothed activity!
Life is full of incidents and mishaps, where we are vulnerable and exposed, maybe more than we wanted or expected to be. Instead of confronting the situation with a frank, open, honest discussion about it (albeit awkward), we react by pulling away. But nothing is resolved or clarified in the reaction of pulling away!
As with my neighbour, I don’t know his perception of the screen. He doesn’t know my reason for the screen. And there is a whole lot of potential for misinterpretation of and/or misunderstanding, all because an incident happened that I reacted to, which he then in turn also possibly reacted to.
Boundaries and Walls!
While boundaries are good, healthy and necessary, providing a safety net.
Walls are for hiding behind and cause isolation.
Don’t allow the boundaries you establish for your safety
to become walls that you hide behind while still holding on to your insecurities.
Or is it:
Don’t allow yourself with your insecurities to hide behind walls
masquerading them as boundaries for your safety.
In both cases, you are being ripped off!
My screen boundary has potential to become a wall, and my own insecurity and lack of self confidence in talking to someone I don’t know, will only succeed in building that wall higher. So I’m now going to talk to my neighbour . . . .
And I did!
It was awkward, starting with introductions . . . as we’ve never actually met and introduced ourselves. Then I just straight up asked him if my screen was okay from his side, giving both of us privacy on our balconies, and that I noticed he had done a similar thing. His resposnse “Yeah, I saw what you did, really liked the idea, and figured I’d do the same.”
Awkward discussion not as awkward as anticipated. Possible thoughts, concerns and perceptions not even an issue. It was ALL good, we just hadn’t communicated on it. And now I know my neighbour . . . Win! Win!