Patterns shift and change, shifts in the atmosphere, in communication, in the pulse beneath my skin, in the way I am seeing the world. I have spent so much of my life tied to ritual, obsessively needing routine and order, desperately chasing after any kind of control I could get my hands on, only to realize I have no control at all. I set up rules for myself, guidelines, goals, and a kind of inflexible structure that has been so rigid that it was always bound to fail. I’d claw at it, at the chaos of living, kicking and screaming, and inevitably harming myself, because nothing turns out the way we plan, everything changes, and life can be as dizzying as a carousal ride most of the time.
My control issues turned ugly as soon as the dizzy set in. I would create impossible traps for myself, mine fields just waiting to blow, and then punish myself for failing. Most of these punishments were invisible to the world, hidden, secret. They were mine and mine alone, and sometimes they were a comfort, for a little while. Mostly though, they became a monster I invited in, a lodger that tore up the room like a rock star, turning my life into a catastrophe, leaving messes for me to clean up. But, by then I was always too exhausted to fix anything. There is no maid service to call, no cleaners to come to the crime scene, when my kind of coping had its way.
So, how do I stop the cycle? How do I get off that spinning horse with the gold bar impaling its head, and in ways, impaling me? If I jump will my chute open up? If I fall, will I be able to get back up? Is it cowardice to want off the ride at all? I don’t know any of the answers, but I know that I have to get out, get off, escape the never ending circle of false control.
Habits are hard to break though, especially when I’ve been cuddling up to them all my life. Anxiety tricks me though, whispering in the sweetest of voices that I need all the lists, the odd order of things, the structure and control. But it’s a trap, and it’s a lie. The order doesn’t help anything. As soon as I falter, even a little bit, all my fears of failing, of faltering, of losing control start yelling and tearing me apart and then I go, I give up, I throw it all away. I have so much proof of this. All the unfinished novels, the failed marriages, jobs left for another, and all the moving. I can pretty it up and say I’m a gypsy, that I thrive on change, that I’m a wandering soul, and yes, all of those things have some truth to them, but they are not the real reasons or why’s.
I try to breathe through it. I switch things around to free my mind some, to surprise myself, to shock the controlling beast inside in a way that might catch her off-guard. I force disorder on myself and try not to fall apart from it. I try not to break. But, some days it is so hard not to. There is a solace in breaking, an ease to giving up, and a self-fulfilling satisfaction when that voice inside me says “see, I told you, you can’t do this. You can’t do anything.” But who the fuck needs that kind of peace? What kind of peace is that at all?
All I can do is get up, brush myself off, put on my favorite boots, play the songs I love, and live. I open my eyes wide and try to take in the world, counting the good things, noticing the tiny things in a day that get my pulse going, make me smile, fill me with desire, with wanting, with dreams, and love. I let myself have crushes (oh my stars, aren’t crushes just the best?). I let myself play music loud. I let myself cry and scream and laugh. I let myself fall in love, and fall out of it. I let myself fail and succeed. I let myself fuck up a lot. I let myself win, too. And I write, and write, and write, and write, because it saves me, it fills me, it makes me feel sane.
And, I try not to be so hard on myself. That part is not so easy though. I see all the chips in the paint, the things imperfect, unfinished, half-unraveled, and it sets off a panic, like a switch has been hit, I hear the alarm bells ringing and I want to run. I want to fix everything, make it all perfect, fit into some unrealistic self-proclaimed expectation that will not fix anything at all. I guess I have to try to not hear the sounds, or turn up other sounds and out sing the alarms. I have to be okay with the imperfections, because sometimes flaws are the most beautiful things of all. Sometimes flaws are art.
Lost Cause :: Beck
Come Undone :: Duran Duran
Wise Up :: Aimee Mann
I Will Follow You Into the Dark :: Death Cab For Cutie
Wild Horses (live) :: Adam Levine & Alicia Keys
Warwick Avenue :: Duffy