Control Freak

The beginning of Sza’s song Supermodel includes a clip about control.

That is my greatest fear. That if I lost control. Or did not have control. Things would just, you know. I. It would be fatal.

Sza, Supermodel

It resonated with me.

I admit it.

I’m a control freak.

I don’t even think I mean to be. 

My obsession with being in control is directly connected to my childhood.

The adults around me failed to take charge when and where (I thought) it was necessary. This resulted in me being forced to function normally in chaos and dysfunction all of the time. I felt helpless quite a lot. 

That fear of feeling helpless impacts almost all of the relationships in my life. I prefer to have control of most of my interactions with people. 

I’m not a bitch about it or anything like that (I don’t think) but I do prefer to be in charge when I can. I enjoy planning things and trying to account for any deviations from the plans. If I’m planning a road trip, I’m going to account for traffic, accidents, flat tires etc. If it’s a celebration, I can almost guarantee that I’ve accounted for the caterer to show up late or not at all. 

Being in control keeps my anxiety and panic at bay. 

But I learned a very valuable lesson recently.

Last week my car wouldn’t crank.

I just got the car at the end of May.

What the fuck could possibly be wrong now?

It was so random. I was stuck in a Ross parking lot on my lunch break. Midday. In hot ass Texas. 

There was no way I could have planned for this. However, I was somewhat prepared. I had jumper cables. I had access to roadside assistance. That’s as far as the preparation could go. I had to accept that head on. I simply had no control over the car not starting.

Instead of freaking out this time, I paused. It wasn’t the appropriate time to fall apart. It was time to strategize so that I can get back up and running until I could get to a mechanic to figure out what was wrong with it. I asked a stranger to jumpstart my car and then I drove it back to my apartment. I got another jump from a friend and was able to get it to the dealership. The dealership arranged my transport to and from the dealership. There was a screw missing on the battery and a clamp that was loose. Easy fix. I didn’t have to pay a dime for the “repair.” 

2 year plans are nice. Vision boards are smart. Following all of the directions serves its purpose most days. But they are simply preparation and the unexpected and unexplainable are simply bound to happen. Everything is temporary. Nothing is permanent. Shit happens. Things fall apart. Plans fail. People fall out of love. Friendships end. Loved ones die. 

As harsh as it sounds, it’s the reality of things. 

This isolated event served as a simple reminder that life is fluid and control is truly an illusion. 

JUST OUT OF CURIOSITY……

Do you consider yourself a control freak? Where does it stem from?

When do you feel most in control? When do you feel least in control?

How do you adjust when unexpected events happen in your life? Do you adjust in a healthy manner? If not, what could change?

And the award goes to…..

In spirit of one of the podcasts that’s kept me afloat this year, The Brilliant Idiots, I think that this quote is reasonable.

If you think 2020 was your best year ever, you’re absolutely right. If you think 2020 was your worst year ever, you’re right too.

Many of us don’t even have the words for what 2020 was. 

Nothing I did was on my vision board. 

My planner looked like a kindergartener had scribbled through it.

I started a new job as a middle school teacher. 

I quit that new job and moved to Texas. 

We got hit with the pandemic quarantine. 

I made $1000 Instacarting one week. 

I got fired from Instacart. 

I had to ask my friends to help me pay my bills.

I finally have a bed after sleeping on a blowup mattress for months. 

I worked at the IRS for 2 days and quit. 

I worked at a hospital for a month. 

I fell in love again. 

If that isn’t Oscar worthy, I don’t know what is. 

2020 showed its ass. 

I’m actually eager to see what 2021 has in store. I’m rather used to this Jordan Peele production we’ve been in for 90% of 2020. 

I’m looking forward to all of the creative ideas being birthed from this pandemic. All of the healthy conversations that are taking place. People are reading again. People are writing again. Strangers are networking. Folks are finally pursuing their passions. 

I love to see it. 

Please do set intentions. 

Please do the shadow work. 

Manifest that shit!

2020. Deuces!

Escaping Survival Mode

According to Psychology Today, “survival mode” is an adaptive response of the human body to help us survive danger and stress. 

From the outside looking in, many people would assume that I had an overall healthy childhood and adolescence. I was raised by my grandparents in the country. I got good grades. I never came off as disobedient. My yes mams and no sirs were always polished. Despite being a “good kid” raised in a super religious household, my life has never been exempt from trauma and dysfunction. I am almost certain that I’ve suffered from depression for years undiagnosed. 

I recently read and shared an article that discussed the immobilizing effects of depression. I recognized myself immediately. I wasn’t in a position to get out of the environment that I was in so I mentally became immobile. I don’t remember how I learned to control my rage. How to play along. How to seemingly “fit” into that world until I could get out of it.

Fast forward to now.

At 30. Far removed from the people, places and things that brought the trauma and dysfunction into my life, I still catch myself functioning in survival mode.

It is very difficult to escape this mindset.

I’m constantly reminding myself. I question my decisions alot. Why am I doing this? When it’s time for me to make important decisions I ask myself if I’m doing what I want to do or what needs to be done? Anything involving money and I’m asking if I’m buying an item from a headspace of lack.

Whatever helps right?

To the person that resonates with this blog:

  1. How are you or have you been working on escaping a mindself of survival mode?
  2. What has been your biggest challenge?

This is 30

Happy New Year to me!

30 is supposedly that pivotal age where you’re supposed to have it all figured out. I always thought that I’d be approaching 30 as a young woman thriving in the career of her dreams. With the love of my life. In a loving home. With a few rugrats running around said home.

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Man. Let me tell you about 30.

As 29 was coming to a close, I did a ton of soul searching and reflecting. I’d lived in NC my entire life. I had a few “almost” attempts to leave but never actually went through with the decision.

One day, I had a purely honest moment with myself.

Rock. This ain’t it! This isn’t the life intended for you boo.

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Here I was. 29. No husband. No boyfriend. No kids (well Milo). I felt STUCK. Stuck in a job that was surely leading me to an early grave. Gifts and talents that weren’t being put to good use. And degrees that were collecting dust. It was time for a change.

30 had to be different.

Today is my birthday. I gifted myself with an entire new life in Texas. I am happy. I am grateful. This is by far the most peace that I’ve had in a long time.

Everything I thought I wanted. Everything I thought I knew.

All out the window.

Despite the thought of living with my sister and brother-in-law at 30. Despite not knowing how long I’ll be here. Despite COVID-19. Despite not knowing what the future holds for myself. Or those that I love. Or you reading this blog.

30 is a reminder that at any moment, you can change the narrative of you life.

30 is a reminder that no matter how much you think you’re in control, you’re not.

30 is a reminder that 30 looks, sounds and feels different for everyone.

30 is a reminder that I’m stronger than I think and wiser than I give myself credit for.

30 is a reminder that it’s never too late for what you deserve.

This is 30. And it’s pretty fuckin lit.

Manuscript Found in Accra- Paulo Coelho

Warning. You may or may not interpret this book as I have. That’s okay. You may hate this book. That’s okay too. We simply have different perspectives that affect our understandings.

A love from my tribe told me that reading this book would change my life. She was right. The Alchemist is already my second favorite book after Their Eyes Were Watching God. Any chance I get to share my favorite quote, I’m taking it.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”

It just so happened that I was in the bookstore and I came across Manuscript Found in Accra. Talk about the Universe looking out! I was anxious to dig in.

The book isn’t broken into your typical chapters. Instead it focuses on the truths that a man named Copt shares with a group of townspeople. The truths he discusses are defeat, solitude, change, beauty, direction, love, living in the present, sex, community/friendship, elegance, work, success, miracles, anxiety, the future, loyalty, weapons and lastly enemies.

These are the truths that resonated with me.

Solitude

In solitude, they will discover the love that might otherwise have arrived unnoticed. In solitude, they will understand and respect the love that left them. In solitude, they will be able to decide whether it is worth asking that lost love to come back or if they should simply let it go and set off along a new path. In solitude, they will learn that saying no does not always show a lack of generosity, and that saying yes is not always a virtue.

This was a hard pill to swallow. Despite my social media presence, I’ve been spending quite a lot of time in solitude. Most days I come home just to spend time in silence with my own thoughts. I don’t turn the TV on. On occasion I may even play instrumental music. This minor routine has given me the most clarity and focus that I’ve never had in my life. My creativity has kicked into overdrive. I’ve taken all focus off of relationships to focus on my health and pursuing my passions whole-heartedly. I realized that solitude was actually the void that needed to be filled in my life before I can be open to receive anything else such as love or even success.

For me, these words don’t necessarily have to apply to romantic love. In solitude I was able to rediscover the love that I was neglecting to give myself. I found myself falling in love with me all over again. It’s also allowed me the opportunity to reflect, forgive myself and move forward from the moment and actions that proved that I wasn’t loving myself.

However, when applied to romantic love, I could also relate. I’ve been reflecting like hell. It’s amazing what we miss when we are caught up in the moment. I am able to see past relationships at face value. Strange right? It’s helped me realize that I’ve only ever loved one person unconditionally (or it could have been stupidity) and how dangerous of a state it is to be in so I need to treat unconditional love more delicately.

Change

Everything changes whether we accept and recognize it or not. The Universe has a funny way of telling you everything that you need to hear at the moment you need to hear it.

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And to those who believe that adventures are dangerous, I say, try routine; that kills you far more quickly.

As it stands I spend forty hours of my life ever week pursuing the passions of someone else when I could be working on my own. It was confirmation that the time has come for me to transition out of my current role.

Direction

Because ever since your goal found out that you were traveling toward it, it has been running to meet you.

I cried when I read this. I cried because I was overwhelmed and overjoyed. I kept rereading and crying even harder. I’ve been putting so much time into this blog, into my poetry, into my writing in general. I’ve also been laying the foundation for Pretty Dope Right? to expand to other areas of interest and the journey is becoming easier. More opportunities are presenting themselves for me to showcase my gift.

Love

Life is too short for us to keep important words like “I love you” locked in our hearts.

Maybe I just give love too freely. I’ve always wondered how and why other people don’t. Other people give up on it. I likely never will. I think what drives me is knowing that one day I’ll actually get it right and everything else in between was just a warmup.

Elegance

Elegance tends to be mistaken for superficiality and mere appearance.

I wonder why people get so caught up in physical attraction. I’ll be honest, even sometimes I get tired of hearing about it. I always ask, well how do you know that beautiful people are good people? People also assume that when you’re beautiful, you’re exempt from negativity, loneliness, pain etc. I assure you, that’s not the case.

Anxiety

As many of you may or may not know, I was diagnosed with anxiety in 2015. These past three years have been one hell of a fight trying to control it without medication. I’ve managed to keep the panic attacks at bay but the anxiety has never fully gone away. One of my minor indicators of me being anxious is biting pen tops. I have to remind myself that “I’m good” or that “regardless of what I’m anxious about, the sun and moon will still take their turns coming out so no worries.”

It will never disappear, but the great wisdom of life is to realize that we can be the masters of the things that try to enslave us.

Enemies

Therefore, your enemies are not the adversaries who were put there to test your courage. They are the cowards who were put there to test your weakness.

 

Have you read Manuscript Found in Accra? What were your interpretations of it?