I think one of the struggles of those who identify as “control freaks” is fear. I don’t like to do anything without thinking of variables and outcomes, so sometimes I avoid being spontaneous or overthink things. Over the past few months, so much of my life has been out of control that I find myself embracing the unknown and embracing my fears.
I was a fearless kid, but around middle school something shifted. There was some bullying and I sank into the safety of my mind. I found myself diving into fictional worlds and with the internet, the worlds were expanded through chat groups. I emerged in high school and developed a solid group of friends and the same in college. I met my ex the beginning of my sophomore year and we were great friends and study mates for 6 months before we started dating. In hindsight, I now see some of the disfunction of our relationship. Rather than push me to be better, he fed off a lot of my insecurities. It was a lot of “don’t worry about it, I will take care of it” (even when he didn’t). When we would go to group functions, he was the social butterfly and I just tagged along, but he never tried to actively include me in things. I often felt like a third wheel when we went out, like I was holding him back. Over the past few years, I dreaded going places because it was like watching his performance while I sat in the back ignored. Again, this isn’t about bashing him, but rather seeing that this affair was the straw that broke us, but it was far from the only issue. These subtle things had created a deep fear that I didn’t live up to expectations or I wasn’t capable of doing things without him.
Fast-forward to May, when I woke up one day a realized that I had to do it all. I had to make those phone calls I hated making. I had to be more social and meet the other soccer parents, so I could ask for rides! I had to drive places when driving is not something I enjoy. So, I started doing those things and what has emerged in me is something interesting. No longer to I get anxious when I think about driving into New York. The phone calls are now part of my day (and now my job). I now socialize with the other soccer parents and don’t hesitate to ask for a ride (or give one). I also just dive in without overthinking things. I just managed to get my cat home from a shelter in Wyoming in a matter of weeks because I was willing to ask friends for help, make numerous phone calls, invite strangers into the story, and just trust that it would work out.
I also have been finding my sense of adventure returning. I walk every day at lunch and started looking around during my walks and, in the process, found a network of public trails in the woods behind my work, that I walk daily. Rather than sit home and sulk over Christmas, I texted a friend and am going to spend it with her family (can we say time for a tea party!). I just bought a ticket to go see P!nk by myself in Philly this spring! I have also started thinking about my future and the things I look forward to doing. Maybe a hiking trip in Africa or South America or whatever. And guess what, it doesn’t scare me to think of doing it alone!