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Control And The Lack Thereof

Today’s post is completely spontaneous. I have notebooks upon notebooks filled beyond their page margins with notes for posts I’ve been meaning to address, but for some reason or another have failed to conjure the motivation to tackle.

This being said, the following words may or may not be entirely coherent, purposefully eloquent, or well hashed out. I may or may not start off on the right track, only to suddenly veer off into the bushes of my own musings. It is also possible that I may end the post abruptly, having succumbed both to the medication I just took to ease my headache and its typical drunken drowsiness.

It is out of the norm for me to ever do such random, freeform posts as these. Posts with no particular direction or set subject matter.

Why? 

Because I like order. I prefer control. No “i” goes undotted, if this girl has anything to say about it. 

When it comes to the pieces I write, I expect and nearly bleed for it to be “perfect”. Of course, this is not to say that I crank out masterpieces that are on par with those of Shakespeare, Twain, or Poe; this is hardly the case. But then again, for me, perfection has never been based on the perceptions of others. Perfection, in and of itself, has always had one judge and jury: Me. Anything I’ve ever done, anything I have ever bothered to create has had to pass the searing scrutiny of my own critical eyes. I never speak out of turn and I never fall victim to wild whims– not in public, anyway.

Photo Credit: Mariamichelle/Pixabay

A well-practiced production. That’s my life. No, that has been my life. Watching each word, carefully coordinating each move. I have recently noticed that I don’t even flick a stray strand of hair from my brow without first contemplating its impact–however subtle–on those who may be watching. You see, the desire for complete, unfaltering control of my life and its multitude of circumstances reaches far beyond the poems I write or the work that I do. It’s so much more than that. 

In fact… it’s everything.

If I have learned nothing else over the course of the past few months, it is that my quest for perfect control is more futile than I ever previously imagined. At least I can rest assured that I wasn’t the only one who had to grapple with that realization. Much of the entire world has now come to experience just how undomesticated and unruly life can truly be– with or without our blessing.

No matter who you are, who you know, what you’ve done, what you believe, or what you possess, life has a way of winning every single time. Sure, it may occasionally grant you the bittersweet “gift” of delusion, allowing you to erroneously (albeit joyously) believe that you have the capacity to wrangle it into submission. However, just like some shifty-eyed loan shark in a damp back alley, life always has a way of catching us when we least expect it, demanding payment. And in the case of more recent events, so many of us have had to suddenly and forcibly hand over that which is most precious to us.

The lives of loved ones.

Long awaited graduations.

Peace of mind.

Financial security.

Perceived certainty of the future.

Employment opportunities.

Social interaction.

Our greatest hopes.

Our grandest dreams.

What did I lose, you may ask? 

Control. 

Through a combination of sheer will (or well-masked madness) and merciful providence, I’ve found myself hemorraging control left, right, and center lately. And in a sick and twisted kind of way, the process has been nothing short of exhilerating. All the same, these last few months have been… challenging in ways that I still lack the ability to properly articulate. Even so, I count myself endlessly blessed to have only lost such a trivial “treasure”. In fact, I have actually found it quite difficult to properly enjoy the positive things that have manifested themselves in my life during this time. 

Despite there having been a certain degree of distress associated with losing a sense of control over my life, I can confidently say that the process was made exponentially more difficult due to harboring such a heavy heart over the losses that other people have been experiencing.

Photo Credit: Photos_kast/Pixabay

As corny or silly as it may seem to some of you, I genuinely grieve with perfect strangers all the time. It’s always been so hard to hear of people suddenly losing their jobs or experiencing the premature death of a loved one because I know how it feels. Watching what seemed like the whole world collectively go through this wide range of pain, fear, confusion, frustration, and sadness without knowing what could be done to help was just… heartbreaking, really. 

It hasn’t been all gloom and doom though. Despite witnessing or hearing about occasional bouts of selfishness, fear mongering, or blatant ignorance, I had the chance to experience and learn of countless instances which inspired me to adopt a sort of pride in humanity and our ability to band together in times of need. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish that we would all strive to be more conscientous and kind towards each other all the time, instead of only thinking to do so when absolutely critical, but hey… it’s better than nothing, right?

Personally, I never felt fearful of the things I would hear on the news. This could be because I typically avoid watching the news as if it was a plague, but that is neither here nor there. Don’t get me wrong though, I wasted zero time yanking leftover bits of fabric from my sewing drawers to promptly design possibly crappy, but festive looking face masks for myself and my parents. Outside of tying on these debatedly crappy masks and risking third degree burns from washing my hands under what I now recognize was unreasonably hot water, I surprisingly never feared the same invisible threat that many others feared. In fact, the primary source of my fear in recent months hasn’t come from outside my home; I’ve actually been self-isolating right alongside it: Myself.

As someone who spends untold amounts of brain power and time thinking about everything under the sun, you would think that being “forced” to stay indoors with little else to do but think more would not only be largely welcomed, but customary. In truth, I have secretly enjoyed being able to analyze every fleeting thought and notion without worry that I’m squandering my life away. After all, when you’ve been sequestered in the house for weeks on end, there is only so much Tiger King and PS4 a girl can take before excessive thinking becomes an escape within an escape. 

Being the extremeist I am, I figured, “You aren’t in control of crap anymore, Nell. You can’t freely buy copious amounts of toilet paper. You can’t go get one of your frilly coffees. You can’t do anything but stay in the house as you normally would, only now you actually wish you could go out. Since you are already clearly out of your comfort zone, let’s just go full tilt with it. Let’s search out every single thing you’ve been too afraid to do this year and then… do it.” And so I did.

I’ve spent the last few months facing and getting more and more comfortable with fear. The fear of not being perfectly polished. The fear of not being totally in control of everything around me. Heck, I even found myself face to face with things I had no idea were going to be frightening, only to discover that I’m practically scared of my own shadow at times!

There hasn’t been a single day or night in weeks when I haven’t found myself grappling with growing anxiety over one thing or another, but I’ve loved every moment of it. The quickening of my pulse, my nervous laugh all serve as uncomfortable, but glaring indicators that despite the current circumstances going around all of us, I am growing, changing… thriving.

Photo Credit: Tuan86/Pixabay

I suppose I shared all of this with you guys to just encourage someone… anyone. 

It’s okay for things to not be perfect. It’s okay to step out of your usual line, do something unexpected, and even shock the living daylights out of some people. It’s okay to have your life disrupted. It’s okay to take a random chance on something and stop living your life like you’re a flipping robot. Life is not supposed to be choreographed. It’s supposed to be improvised. Blissfully, fearfully, and freely off the cuff. Are you truly living, or are you just blindly following some unspoken script? And if you are following a script, are you even the one who wrote it?

To end this, I just want to wish all of you well and send out tons of love and positivity. I know things haven’t been particularly easy for any of us, and I don’t know what you guys have been particularly going through, but keep your head up.

Together, we can all get through this time, and hopefully, go into the next chapter of life on this spinning planet with a new and better perspective of the inevitably of life’s changes. Things may not always go as smoothly as we would like and some days of our lives are going to be dark. However, I truly hope all of you can take some time out to really contemplate how you can re-enter the world with a bolder, freer heart. 

Photo Credit: Free-Photos/Pixabay

Much love to you all ❤

© C.M. 2020 All Rights Reserved


Please feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. 

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❤️

Ciao for now! 

x


Featured Photo Credit: geralt/Pixabay

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