No Choice

It’s really no secret that I like being in control. Yes, I am a control freak. I’m a control freak, and that’s why I’m so negative. Because I have this need to control the outcome of any situation. See, if I expect the worst to happen, then I’ll never be caught off guard. If something does go terribly wrong, I’m expecting it, so I’m ready for it and I know I can handle it.

I mean, let’s be honest. It’s never hard to handle something when it goes wonderfully. In the best-case scenario, no one’s really caught off guard in a bad way. I mean, yeah you may still be caught off guard, but you’re happy about it. Nobody ever likes being caught off guard in the worst possible way though. It’s that feeling that makes you feel like you’re out of control, and I can’t bear that. So I have to be always expecting that things are going to fall apart, because then I know I’ll be there, ready and in control, to put the pieces back together.

‘But Rebecca’, you may interject. ‘Why then are you always talking about how much you love chaos and change?’

Well yes, I do like change too. It’s true. Change can be such a great way of keeping things fresh and exciting. And I do like chaos and spontaneity. I like being wild and unpredictable. But the distinction is, I like choosing to do that, to be that. I need to be in control of the change. Every time I’ve changed in the past, it was because I chose to make that change. Each time, I’d have decided that was exactly what I wanted to do first. I wanted to rearrange all my bedroom furniture, again. I wanted to move apartments, again. I wanted to dye my hair, again. And however sudden or random that decision may have seemed, I was still perfectly in control of it. It was exciting, AND it was my choice!

But this time, this change, was not my choice. That’s what makes this so hard to accept. I didn’t choose to completely re-haul my life, and question everything I’d become, and reinvent my entire self. Well, it’s not really a reinvention of the self so much as a reconnection to the self. The self that I’d lost along the way somewhere. I can’t even really pinpoint where it was I got lost, but I did. Now I have to find my way back. And it’s hard. It’s hard to find your way back from lost.

But that’s how I feel all the time now. All day long, I feel lost. That’s why I panic, why I’m scared and stressed. That’s why I’m hesitant to do anything real, say anything real, feel anything real. That’s why I think everyone’s ashamed of me, and everything is going to go wrong. That’s why I’m so unsure of myself through this whole mucky thing.

I’m lost and I don’t know how to be found again.

I guess you could say that’s what my Spirit Journey was for, right? I mean, it was supposed to help guide me. My inner spirit, subconscious voice, connection to the divine, whatever it is that knows the Source of me and wants to help guide me back to it. That’s what my Spirit Journey was trying to access, what it tried to show me. My Spirit Journey tried to show me how to walk balanced among uneven tree limbs all interwoven together – the way everything in this world is woven together – that may range in size, shape, and even strength. So that I have to trust with each of them that they will still hold me, or at least that my body will take care of me and stay balanced despite the uncertain and rocky terrain. I need to learn to walk like the animals of this forest, for whom this balance comes so naturally. Or maybe like those other people around me who seem to handle the balancing act of life with so much more grace than I. Perhaps I once had it too, but I’ve forgotten how now. I’ve lost it, just as I’ve lost myself.

Now indulge me for a moment. I’m feeling the urge to reminisce about my past and how amazingly capable I used to be. You know, I used to be this incredible leader and stage manager and producer. I knew exactly how to manage every piece of the show and everyone in it. I could make sure things stayed right on budget and on time. And now look at me. I can’t handle the basic day-to-day juggling required of an admin. I failed completely as the piñata project manager. I can barely even hold my head together long enough to write a coherent blog post. I’ve lost that once incredibly competent person I used to be.

Where did I go? Where did I go? I didn’t choose this change.

My body made me. It just stopped and said:

‘I can’t keep wandering around blindly bumping into things and hoping that we get somewhere. I’m going in circles and it hurts. I don’t know where I’m going anymore. I don’t know what I’m getting out of bed for anymore. You don’t feed me well, I don’t sleep well, I’m unhealthy and weak and tired. So I’m not going to function for you anymore until you change this. Until you do, I’m going to give you sleepless nights with restless limbs and cold sweats and bad dreams. I’m going to make you hyperventilate and shake all over and throw up. I’m going to give you cough after cold after flu. I’m going to mess with your head so that you question the devotion of your friends and family, and fall into a deep depression. I have that power and I’m going to use it to make you listen.’

That’s what my body is saying to me. And I had no choice but to listen. I was forced into this change.

Now I’m not saying that this change isn’t in fact a good idea. To be honest, it’s probably the best thing my body ever did for me. It’s just devastating to think it had to force me. That I didn’t see it and think to change it on my own sooner. Oh no, instead I had to keep pushing forward, hoping that I was getting anywhere productive. Praying that I was doing the right thing. That I even knew what I was doing. Trying to believe my own words when I told people how much I love my job. I just wanted to believe that I was getting somewhere, that I could be something people could be proud of – something I could be proud of – some version of successful that I thought mattered to me.

I wanted to believe it so badly, that I didn’t see how I was slowly losing bits of myself at the same time. Lost a dream here, some of my signature energy there, my passion for life there. Bit by bit, I lost it all. And here I am, this empty, vulnerable, scared, lost thing. And I don’t know how to get it back.

Ok yeah sure, I could tell you I know how. I mean, if you asked me, I could give you the steps I’ve laid out: find a better job, start a regular sleep pattern, learn to cook and eat healthier, get back into shape, surround myself with a truly compassionate and understanding community, go to therapy, and so on. I’m going to do all that, yes. Those are the steps I’m going to take, and that’s exactly what I would tell you. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m still terrified. And I can still say I have no idea how I’m going to do this. How the hell I’m going to get myself back.

I had to catch myself there – I almost said ‘how the hell I’m going to get back to myself’. Because that implies that I want to go backwards, or get back to something I used to be. And as much as I miss that once amazingly strong, energetic, passionate and competent girl, I’m not that girl anymore. And I never again will be. There is a reason we grow up, grow older, and grow more into ourselves every year.

I don’t want to be anything that I once was. I just want that spirit of me back; that true spirit that’s still always in me, but whom I’ve stopped listening to and lost the connection with. I want to reconnect with that me. That’s why I say I want to get me back, not get back to me. I just want to get back who I am. Find that me again. And I really have no idea how I’m going to do it.

I mean, how do you really do that? How do you define the process to do something like that? It’s bigger than a new job, and regular sleep schedule, and healthy diet, and new home, and new haircut. It’s all those things at once and yet bigger.

That’s what N didn’t get on the phone today. That’s what I couldn’t explain to her. What I couldn’t make her understand. I guess that’s ok though, because she’s not me and she doesn’t think like me. And it’s actually quite refreshing to see such a big example of how we are different. But it’s frustrating because I want her, more than anyone, to understand what I’m going through and approve of my methods.

I guess I just have to accept that she’s not going to get this. As long as she knows I still see the value in all those steps, and recognize that is the way to do this, then I won’t bother her with the bigger concept – that despite those steps, I still have no idea how I’m going to do this. That’s going to have to be something I keep to myself, or only share with those who understand what I mean when I say that.

I have to be strong for myself. Because ultimately, it’s just me who’s in this. My body forced me into this and now I have to confront it. There is no other way out. This is the long hard road and I have to go down it. I have no other choice. And while I really hate that I have no control over that fact, it is a growing opportunity for me.

At the same time, I do have control over how I do it, and how I come out of it at the other end. And that’s what I’m going to focus on. That’s what I need me to focus on. As much as I am lost and terrified, I know that I’m going to need a hell of a lot of courage to get through this. And I’m going to have to dig deep into that inner self, my old forgotten self, to find that courage. It is seriously going to hurt. But I’m going to do everything I can to get it back.

That’s my choice.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Chaos is the Mother of Invention « The Writes of Passage
  2. Trackback: How Panic Attacks Saved My Life | The Writes of Passage

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