Does anyone else out there remember a movie called "She's Out of Control"? It was a totally awesome 80s movie, featuring a makeover that made a shy, bookish girl totally irresistible to the opposite sex. Her father, played by Tony Danza, freaks out about this, and tries to stop it by a tactic that he calls "Total Control".
Like most control freaks, he's doomed to failure. And I was thinking about poor old Tony Danza in this film, and how "Total Control" doesn't work. At all. In fact, it makes things a lot worse.
You know there's a metaphor coming, don't you? Yes, well...those who know me, will know that I am somewhat of a control freak. Not the control freak who has to have a clean house. That would be nice. Mess, I can live with, but when people start doing things in a way that I don't like, I'm not so cool.
And I have learned to evolve from this. Back 15 years ago, I was a very very judgemental 21 year old, who thought that most people were "sheep" and that "it would be so much easier to be stupid, as I wouldn't be troubled by all these agonising thoughts". I was also a grammar Nazi of the highest degree and judged books by their covers. Needless to say, life wasn't easy, as I catapulted into many other people living their lives and doing things that I didn't think were right. I judged, I judged hard. And the one I judged the hardest, was myself. I hated lots of people, places and things, but the one I reserved the most hatred for, was myself. I never knew why. But from the age of about 8, I can remember viciously hating myself and who I was. Wanting to be someone else. Watching other people and finding out the right and wrong ways to do things. Trying to imitate them. Not trusting myself, not knowing who I was, but knowing that whatever it was that lurked inside me, it was damaged and untrustworthy. Other people had the answers. But not the stupid people.
It wasn't much fun being trapped in judgement like that, and over the past 15 years, I have sought various therapies to combat these disordered ways of thinking. And I like to think that I'm fairly evolved...but do you know what? I'm still a victim of "Total Control". I don't like just going with the flow...unless I decide to. I hate surprises. It has been brought to my attention by my brilliant psychiatrist, Dr Chakrabarti, and my clever mama, that I still try too hard to manage the way that other people see me. I love myself these days, but I still want to control the way that you see me. I still want a barrier between us. I still hide. I still want people to behave the way that I want, but I reserve the right to change what that way is at any given moment. No wonder it is confusing to be in my head, let alone in my life.
My past is littered with friends who I have totally confused by my inability to be real with them. My insistence on managing how often we contact each other. My insistence on the interactions that we have. My anger when things don't go my way. My repeated attempts, when we grow apart, to bring us closer together, to prove that I am cool and funny and interesting....that end up looking needy and even frightening. I am scared of how much I want to be liked, how much I need social interaction and roles in society to prove my worth and my function. I must manage socialising or I fear I will cease to exist. I don't trust that at my essence, I will be satisfactory.
I realised yesterday that I think if I don't chase people and convince them to be my friend, that I won't have any friends. How screwed up is that? A friend of mine recently withdrew from friendships and obligations, and I didn't understand her thinking. How could she do that, how could she trust that people would still remember her. I remember her saying that it was a way of trusting God more. And I now totally and completely get that. God does not want me to live in isolation, he has made us for relationships with each other. But the thing is, that he wants to be first. He has amazing, wonderful, beautiful things in store for us that way outweigh the pitiful attempts that we make to manage and control our own lives. And I think I've reached that point. I keep ending up at the same spot..and saying "If I do the same thing, perhaps I'll get a different result"...which, as we know, is in-freakin-sanity!
I'm scared, but I'm ready to let go. I want God in control of my life and I want to stop being Tony Danza. No more "Total Control".
I want to give God all of me and see what he has in store when I stop orchestrating my life and the way people see me. I have been made this way and put in this place for a reason. Time to start living in the sun and stop hiding in the dark.