The truth hurts. Damn—it can really effing hurt sometimes. It also sets you free, yes, but the release sure stings.
You know those little (sometimes big) things that you don't particularly like about yourself? Like the things that you carry with you like little secrets that you hope you can keep to yourself forever? Maybe you don't. In fact, I hope you don't—you must be doing this "life" thing right! I, on the other hand, am still trying to figure that shit out.
Back to those unlikable little secrets: They suck. The BIG one.
They also hurt. Do you know when they hurt the most? When they are unveiled or pointed out—especially when it's by someone else. I know this because I recently had the joy of being the subject in this process. That's right—someone shined a big ol' light on the things I like to keep in the dark. And, let me tell you, it wasn't very much fun.
Since my dirty little secret has been discovered and noted by a loved one and an almost complete stranger, I might as well share it with you, too. My secret thing that I really do not love about myself is self-control—or lack there of in this case.
For me, self-control also pairs with fun words like ambition and determination. Too often I find myself needing more these things as well.
On nights when I really don't want to sleep, I go ahead and roll those three words up into one big fat mental joint and smoke 'em. (These are not my favorite nights. Luckily—thanks to this blog—they are more few and far between.) I then sit back and dwell on how much I need to improve in these areas of my life while the smoke rings of my personal poisons fade into the air.
I felt it coming, too.
You know when you have an extra shitty week and—just when you think it's over—a tornado of terrible with an extra side of shitty knocks you on your ass? Yep. That was last week. (I've never been so happy to see Monday!)
I was standing at the bar when I saw him (the practical stranger), and I figured I'd be polite and say "hello" while I waited for my cocktail. He looked at me a bit strange and then said, "You remember me?" I then told him that I, in fact, did. He was a friend of my friend and we met at her birthday party just two weeks before.
He interrupted my explanation with a laugh and said,"No, no—I remember. I am just surprised that you do. You know, because you were so sloppy."
He then turned around, leaving me with this fun thought to stir into my vodka soda.
That is not a word that is used to compliment a girl, much less make her feel the least bit classy
What's worse is that the word sent off an alarm in other areas of my life. I had become careless (that's the sugarcoated version of sloppy) in many ways as of late. My finances, my relationship and my health—physically and mentally—were all on the edge of a slippery slope that I was continuing to grease.
This realization hurt—badly.
So, what did I choose to do? Lose control. It's a nasty cycle I have found myself in. I wanted to lick my wounds with tequila on my tongue—just to see how much they could really sting.
This led to my second confrontation about self-control.
It took place the following morning (with a pounding headache as my witness) when the person I love the most took their turn in shining light on what I wanted to keep in the dark. This time it was from a place of compassion and concern. It was a conversation that was eventually welcomed.
So, when two people within 24 hours of each other decide to kindly (and not so kindly) point out that you might want to invest in some self-control, you listen.
I can't say I was shocked by these events, either. That's just how things go in crappy weeks of life. Bring on the rain—or in this case, tears. (Did I mention it is also that time of the month? Oh yeah. I am currently one big ball of fun.)
Once the hormonal storm passed, I decided it was time to sift through the debris.
Sure, I could have just tucked my shameful secret back where I hid it before, but I am doing this thing where I am trying to be a better version of myself—and that shit isn't going to do me any favors.
I needed to clean out my mental closet and figure out why in the hell I rebel relentlessly when it comes to self-control.
After taking the longest bath in the history of ever (I looked like a giant albino prune), I got a good idea of why I wasn't winning any blue ribbons in the self-control category—I don't like the word!
Seriously. The word alone pisses me off.
I despise the idea of being controlled—even by myself. (Especially by myself—I can be a real asshole.) To me, the word implies struggle. It is practically a guarantee for future failures. The idea that I will never lose control of myself again is just plain unrealistic.
I needed to redefine my version of self-control if I ever want to regain authority over my stubborn ass.
And then the new definition I needed fell into my lap—well, more like my laptop.
While checking my email, a subject line in my junk mail caught my eye. Self-care: You owe it to yourself! And, just like that, it clicked—now that's a word I can work with!
I needed to stop forcing control and start reinforcing care.
Self-care is like self-control's more gentle and friendly sibling. I want to be BFFs with self-care.
I had it all backwards. I was trying to control myself before I took the time to take care of myself. You can't discipline something that has no concept of rules—they have to be taught first.
So, that's where I am now. I am modifying the rules I have placed in my life. I am looking closely at what matters to me and taking note on where borders should be drawn, as well as which should not be crossed.I am also adjusting how I should handle the situation when they are crossed.
Accepting the fact that I WILL step over the line sometimes is a part of my self-care. It was setting unrealistic expectations of myself for the future that was my attempt at self-control.
And I rebel against that shit like a teenager with a ground-level window on the weekend.
The idea of being controlled disturbs me—it really does. But, as much as I detest the idea of force or restraint, I have equal (even an exceeded amount) of love for the idea of comfort and guidance. We deserve our own support, our own advice—our own love.
It is through these things that we will find the ways to care for ourselves.
You want to know the best part about self-care? Once we have made it a part of our own lives, we learn how to take better care of each other. We will no longer have to fight for control because we will be surrounded by those that take the time to care.
That promising seed of a more forgiving management in our lives can only be planted from within. We may not be able to control how quickly or slowly it grows all of the time, but it will need our continuous care if we ever plan on seeing it sprout.
We can finally let go of control if we just choose to take care—first of ourselves, then of each other.