Thursday, November 09, 2006

You say "control" like it's a good thing

I am really tired of being so controlled.

I learned early on, through a variety of environmental stimuli, that being in control is good. I grew up with a lot of guilt, shame, and stuff going on that no one really talked about nor talks about to this day. Apparently, it had something to do with a grandparent who had a problem with alcohol, but details are sketchy, and I don't want to condemn or falsify.

So, my life was about control. I learned early on that I was good at control. I could control anyone (being the oldest grandchild in an Italian Catholic family is a HUGE deal)and everyone. When people caught on and found that my control was a manipulative type of control and avoided me, I got friends I could control. Bring me your mousy, your shy, your nerdy, your weird. I could be friends with them. Or so many thought. I found out I had nothing in common with a lot of these people- I just liked being the alpha dog. I still like being the alpha dog. I like it when people can't fix their problems and they come to me for help, and I can "fix" them. I like it when someone's broken and I can "fix" them. I like it when caos and drama reign surpreme, so I can sit there like a brave little soldier, and when people see me, I want them to think, "wow. She is so strong. So in control. I want to be just like her!"

But, the control comes with a price. The inability to feel feelings. The inability to release control. The fear of appearing weak in the face of a huge enemy. My strategy to combat everything was with unflinching, stoic control. When my grandmother died from a cancer that rotted away her lungs, her brain, and her liver, I stayed in control. When a nursing classmate, a beautiful spirit with a young son passed away after a painful bout with sarcoid, I stayed in control and when another classmate lost her son and most of her home in a fire, I stayed in control (wasn't alone there- nursing students are notorious at keeping control this way too). When agitated psychiatric patients frightened me, when oncologists lost their temper (many doctors are good about control too- but they exude a kind of control that is perceived as powerful- they yell, scream, insult, and that's seen as okay. That's power, baby!), when unit crises occured, when dermatological crises occured, when I got fired, when my ex-fiancee decided to jump in the back of his truck with a 20-year-old tramp, when I lost patient after patient after patient, I stayed in control. When my childhood friend, Matt Fleck, sat down on his couch one night, went to sleep, and never woke up, I stayed in control. I feared even thinking about the severity of my job working hand in hand with death, and it's emotional toll- I was convinced my head would explode. My wedding became a controlling contest between various members of the family, who have passed on their skills to me. It became so much about control, I was blinded by the fact that I had no control until one day, reality swung a nerf bat at my stomach and knocked me for a loop. I wasn't in control anymore, and worse yet, I was never in control.

Wow. Oops.

A few weeks ago, a coworker learned her young husband had kidney cancer. They took the steps to seek aggressive treatment. But it was never a good prognosis. The doctors admitted him to the hospital last night in order to use a big needle and a big tube to take some of the fluid that the cancer caused to form and sit around his lungs away, to help him from suffocating.

About five hours ago, he died in his hospital bed. No one saw it coming.

For the first time in a very long time, this morning I let tears run down my face. I let my heart ache for her. I felt very sad for her, and I still feel very sad for her. It is all I can give to her, and it feels good to give her this part of myself, that so many others were deprived of. I used to think I gave to others via my control. But when I send this part of myself out to them, it feels so much better.

Life is too short to be this miserable.

I've found that, when I really sit down, and think about it (and lately, that seems to be a lot of the time), I realize, I don't like being in control. I don't like controlling, manipulating others. I don't like manipulating situations to my liking. I don't like and don't want to be around people who do that, nor do I want to be around people who encourage that behavior in me. I don't like telling people what to do. I don't like that I've confused the need to control with wisdom, responsibility, love, and self-love. I don't like to put parameters on my need to express, to think, to love, because I am afraid of being out of control. When I tell people this, it's amazing to see their reaction: I thought I'd be ridiculed, mocked, and proclaimed that I was weak. Instead, I am loved, and supported. I am so grateful for all of that, and for all of you sending me that love and support.

So, if you see me acting differently, know it's not about you. I want to be able to cry, to feel, to think, to go inward. In the past, this would have been my way of telling you something is wrong with you and something you've done to me. I would have used silence and guilt as a weapon. I'd like to stop that now. I'll tell you now that there really is nothing wrong with you. You are awesome.

It's just me, being here, again, and it feels good to be here again. :D

Anything you need hon, you know I'll be there for you. Much love
Thank you! You always make me smile!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?