“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


Never Getting Any Less

“When you’re trying hard to be your best, could you be a little less?” ~ Madonna

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Less (adj):a smaller amount or proportion of something


Do you live up to your full potential? Do you, and this is the deeper one, even want to?

I ask because being something, someone, can be scary. Trying, striving, maybe achieving but with no guarantees; does this make you want to hide your light under a bushel rather than blaze out in defiance of all detractors?

There’s a lot of people out there who like to keep people down. Witness the schadenfreude that comes out when someone perceived to have ‘made it’ topples from their successful perch. It’s less keeping up with the Joneses, more keeping the Joneses down.

I think there’s a meanness of spirit that comes out when we try to belittle others and hobble their talents. Is it because your life has not gone in ways you wanted that you feel the need to mock the achievements of others or to put down their dreams? It is neither pleasant nor acceptable. Your life is in your control; if you aren’t happy then change it, don’t take that frustration out on others.

However, our biggest detractor can be the one in our head. That little voice that says you don’t deserve that job, that you’d never be any good at it anyway, to flatten that secret hope in our heart. The three o’clock in the morning voice, insidious in its approach to tell us we can’t be or do what we want, that we will never be good enough. And we grow fearful, we lessen ourselves, we lose our bravery to try.

Yet we shouldn’t. Who are we to do that to ourselves? If there’s enough out there in the world trying to make us less then can’t we at least encourage ourselves to be more, to do more?

The following is a poem is by Marianne Williamson. If you’re not religious then please replace the mention of God with whatever your belief system is or just the universe in general if that works for you. But do take the time to read and think on the words.

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God.

Your playing small 
Does not serve the world. 
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking 
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, 
As children do. 
We were born to make manifest 
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; 
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, 
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. 
As we’re liberated from our own fear, 
Our presence automatically liberates others.

I think we should be a little less; a little less mean to and about others, a little less full of fear, a little less willing to be hobbled. But to be less ourselves? Never. You are you. Be you, to the best you can be, for as long as you can be.

Never getting any less.