Trigger warning: this piece discusses themes of trauma.
‘She’ll be right - right?’
I couldn’t tell you how many times a day I mumble that phrase to myself. From putting away a slightly damp dish, drinking milk that expired the day before and putting off studying for a test until the last minute, that little phrase will continuously leave my lips. I never saw an issue as it’s a harmless little phrase that doesn’t mean anything – right?
It didn’t take long before these tiny little issues began piling up. Handing in assignments late, failing to do homework, continuously calling in sick to work and so on all had the same reasoning - she’ll be right.
As a New Zealander, it felt like that saying was engraved in my bones and acting as a barrier to shield having to face any real problems until that barricade came crashing down. Then it felt like nothing was right.
I remember the moment that barricade broke. I was standing in front of my mirror trying on a new outfit and I pictured looking amazing. Instead, I was hit with a wave of trauma that brought me to the ground in a bundle of tears. For years I had pushed negative words said aloud and thoughts spun in my head outside the barricade because, “she’ll be right,” and they won’t affect me.
That day I learnt two crucial things. A. Having a barricade can do more harm than good, and B. the importance of boundaries. Understanding my personal limits gives me the courage to say either, “she’ll be right,” or actively resolve the issue then and there before it builds. Realising that waking up dreading each day was a warning sign I constantly ignored. Over time, with the help of friends and co-workers, it became clear that the barricade was breaking and something was slipping through which couldn’t be patched with a piece of ‘she’ll be right’ tape. Once I started recognising different boundaries and how to communicate my concerns, each day became much more bearable.
I wish I could say that it happens overnight and one day you suddenly wake up with the courage to cut ties and express your feelings to those causing a strain on you. Sadly, it takes work, practice and sometimes heartache. But practice makes perfect. It took me almost a decade to find my voice because I didn’t realise that I could use it. When you use your voice and stand up for yourself it becomes easier. Those that care will understand and respect your boundaries.
It takes time, but you’ve got it in you. Everyone does. Nothing is more important than you and your boundaries. Let them be heard. You deserve it because you matter.
Voices of Hope wants you to know that you do not have to do this alone. Click here to 'find help' - it's not weak to speak!