“Standing in the way of control” ~ The Gossip
Or, as defined by my dictionary
Control (vb): to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command; to hold in check; curb
Someone once asked me to let go of my self control. It was not a hooky chat up line, it was a genuine wish from a good friend that I would release all these prescriptive ideals that I cling to and live my life not bound by them.
The moment for me was a piece of pure cognitive dissonance; Krakatoa going off in my skull* as I struggled to comprehend these two incredibly uncomfortable ideas. One, that I was so rigidly self-controlled, and two, giving it up.
Of course, some self control is a good thing. It’s what stops us going back for fourths or fifths at Pizza Hut, or says no to just one more glass of wine. It stops us shouting “For the love of everything, SHUT UP” at the person who always has a further item of other business in a meeting when everyone else is desperate to leave (there’s always one).
It is also a form of self discipline. It is what people run marathons with, climb mountains with, get through all sorts of life situations that seems insurmountable by having that dogged control to go onto, that human essence of being indefatigable.
But rigid self control is different. It’s not allowing mistakes or expressing a different opinions, it’s not ever failing or falling. It is, as the definition states, holding the self in check. Rigid self control is never treading on the cracks, it’s not deviating from routine, it’s never going “oh fuck it” to life just because.
But life gives us many of those “oh fuck it” moments. Sometimes we need to say that we are as mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore, although writing this on a placard and marching through Cardiff is optional. Taking everything life throws at us without demur is doing life wrong.
Because what’s the very worst that could happen?
Letting go off the tight hold we keep on ourselves can be a scary prospect. Is it through fear of the outcome, of not wanting to be judged, a worry of not being liked if the true self makes an appearance?
It’s ok to say you don’t like something or that you don’t agree with someone. It’s ok to say I’m not coping and can you lend me a hand. It’s ok to weep on your kitchen floor and feel like you will never stop. It’s ok to throw your shoes at the wall and sweep everything to the floor and say I have had enough.All these things are ok. Clinging to the idea that expressing yourself isn’t ok isn’t, well, ok.
So what are you clinging to? What scares you to your marrow at the though of letting it go? What’s the very worst thing that could happen if you eased your grip ever so slightly?
Interested in your thoughts as always,
*adapted from a line in Angels and Men by Catherine Fox