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Guest Post — With/out borders: the shape of your world

Zuzu Kahlo with Dragonfly, self-portrait

This piece originally appeared in the expat+HAREM, September 2010.

Border disputes never made sense to me. Living all over the world, first due to my mother’s job and then by choice as an adult, gave me a free floating perception of the world.

I’ve watched how arbitrary lines — drawn on maps by retreating colonial powers — lead to war, civil strife, and genocide. They’re theoretical yet defended violently. As a child I lived in India and Pakistan, both nations still fighting today over the ownership of Kashmir. The 32-year-old civil war in Sri Lanka for a separatist Tamil state came to a bloody end only last year.

Perhaps a lack of physical boundaries contributes to porous personal boundaries.

I speak my mind without hesitation, fling myself into new friendships with the enthusiasm of a child. Openness has allowed me to connect deeply but I’ve also shed many a tear assuming the best when the person was far from it.

Now I’m confined by the borders of the Czech Republic, a place that doesn’t agree with me, and I have no option to move in the near future. Is it a coincidence I’m learning how to set personal boundaries? Not so quick with new friendships. Learning to wear a smile even if I don’t feel it. Saving my commentary for people I trust.

I’ve also begun adapting my natal chart readings to include Astrocartography, location-based astrology to understand how mapped spaces reflect the planets and their rotations. Meanwhile, Frida Kahlo and Lady Gaga inspire me to explore the various facets of my visual identity as I map my own physical borders through the hybrid/MONSTER sideshow.

How have physical borders, or the lack of them, shaped your personal ones?

©2010 Sezin Koehler