After a last minute decision to hit up a bar that was recommended by a local in Madison that’s known for it’s great vibe and even better drink concoctions, we decided to give it a try. As we were standing at the bar discussing what sounded good, a guy to my right said “Russian Roulette – let the bartender choose.” As much as I loved the idea and the random comment, I couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I mean I’d sure hate to waste money on a drink that I might not like! 😉 So, as I tend to do, I had to know what I’d be handed and ordered my go-to vodka water with a splash of cranberry – which just so happened to taste like shit! Ha But, my cousin, Liz, told the bartender “Russian roulette” and landed a killer drink that turned into our drink of the night.
This got me to thinking, how could I apply those 2 words to my life? Maybe they need to be a little more prevalent, maybe it’s something, in certain areas of my life I need to learn to gamble with. As with any of us, I think it’s fair to say, we are laid back in certain areas of our lives while uptight in others. Certain aspects are triggers for us, forcing us to feel as though we need to be either proactive &/or reactive/responsive, while other areas we are just fine ‘going with the flow’. While I’ve tried really hard to loosen up in all areas of my life, the more I start to let go in some, the more I find myself clinging to control in other areas. Whether it’s a certain circumstance playing out in my head, thinking it has to be a certain way in order for it to work or finding myself fighting certain things that are happening around or within me, not wanting to accept them as they are, it seems I still feel as if I have to have some power or control.
When I look back, I’m well aware of what a control freak I was and to some degree, still am. I was especially bad in my home life, even though to the outside eye I seemed fun and easy going. When I think back to my past relationships it’s been me having to be the caretaker or the one that ‘holds it together’, but I’ve also always had a hard time receiving or allowing myself to be open to good things or gestures. I wanted them to change and change in the way I thought was best. I think a majority of it stemmed back to not having control in major areas of the relationship, such as the need to compete with other things/people, so I took control in other aspects that I knew I had some say. I was wanting them to change for me, when really it’s just who they were and I needed to be OK with letting them go, instead of trying to force them to fit this mold that I had inside of my head. And there were also some that just plain treated me shitty and I needed to accept that as a good “no” as well! Instead of insisting on trying to force different pieces into fitting, I needed to see that they weren’t fitting for a reason and we’d both be happier being who we wanted to be instead of expecting each other to be something we weren’t.
When it came to friends and party planning – that was totally my gig! I planned everything and I loved it! Whether it was in high school – when people needed to know where the next party was, or how I was going to pull off hosting it if there wasn’t one lined up;) or who was driving (take a wild guess, yep – almost always ME, again, then I had control as to when we left, or what the outcome would be) or where we were staying. When we got older I hosted a majority of events from wedding and baby showers to grill outs or dates with my friends and their kids, and if I didn’t, I planned or helped planned them. The time, the place, the date (that almost always revolved when would work best for me), who was bringing what food or what booze, if kids were invited, if they weren’t – the whole 9 yards. Again, looking back, I’d say it was a control aspect, and also something I felt I could take pride in, one of the few things I thought I was good at, considering I didn’t have a college degree or a home that I owned or spouses like my friends did, it’s as if I needed to compensate in other ways.
Prior to Josie, finances were a big thing for me, I always had control because he was wreckless with money and I was fearful of getting behind. It’s not to say that wasn’t the case, he was a poor money manager, never looking to feel secure or really get ahead, but I’ve also always had a fear of not being able to pay my bills or provide. This is most likely due to the fact that I watched my parents and grandparents endure many struggles related to that same thing and something that was ingrained me to always be prepared.
My house always needed to be cleaned and in tip top shape and if that didn’t happen, I wasn’t a very nice person either! I was always fearful of people coming over and it being messy and even if it wasn’t really, truly a disaster, I felt obligated to apologize or comment on it!
I find it in my parenting – that I’m trying to control or avoid her being hurt or her allowing others to be. That I want her to eat well and be healthy inside and out so I’m pushing the importance of not eating processed, crap food or drinking sugary drinks because I don’t want her to have health issues or be made of fun because she’s overweight. I’m trying to “fix or control” her as well in certain areas because of my own fear, because of things I’ve had to endure and I’m so worried she may have to face similar struggles. When really, I need to accept that all I can do is try and guide her and allow her to make her own mistakes and fumble along the way, even if some of that does turn into heart break or poor decision making that she’ll learn from in her own way, without me just preaching about it.
But I’m realizing how many of those things are my insecurities, things that I have tried, or am trying, to control. I think a large reason of that ‘need’ comes from not having control in various aspects of my life through the years, that I focused on what I could control and took it to the extreme, many times driving people away or making them feel inferior. The need for control is just a lack in another area of our life that we don’t want to face or acknowledge, or perhaps are unsure how to gain any type of control of the reigns. Or, maybe it’s learning we don’t always need the control, it’s like attempting to swim against the current of life, thinking my way is the correct way, when really the current is trying to drag us down river, although perhaps through the ringer, to something better. The longer we spend our time and energy trying to force something or someone into fitting or changing, the more time we’ve wasted getting to where we really need to be.
I think the swimming against the current becomes a comfort after awhile, even though we’re so exhausted in many areas of our life, it’s become what we know and wouldn’t know what to do if we weren’t fighting it! As hard as I’ve tried loosening my grips on alot of these realms of my life, I find myself still expecting a certain outcome and sequence of events when it comes to my career, always wanting to jump and just BE THERE already! I’ve also noticed this with relationships, thinking meeting someone has to happen a certain way, or in a certain manner, like they need to be local, or it would never happen at a mundane place, like work or the grocery store, or I’ll have to loose the 20+ pounds I’ve put on since I quit smoking, or this, that or the other thing – when really if I’d just loosen the reigns and quit holding on so tight to this illusion or need for some control, if I’d start playing a little more Russian Roulette and just see where things take me, even if there are a few misfired bullets along the way, maybe I’d get where I want to be a little faster! The bullets are just another learning curve, nothing permanent, just a redirection – maybe those would be easier then this constant need to keep climbing up that damn down escalator all the time (have you tried that before – that shit is exhausting! 😉
So, as hard as it can be to put into play, maybe those 2 words need to enter my mind a little more often, take the gamble of moving with the flow, in a different and new direction and allowing it to unfold as it needs too. To quit relying or expecting others to fit into my puzzle and just keep on with the hope that it’ll eventually come together without so much resistance and effort and those things and people that were meant to be apart of it, will still be there, and those that weren’t, that’s OK too!
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