It takes a crisis to affect real behavioral change in us stubborn, pattern-prone humans. You’ve heard the stories countless times. Disease, death, near-death, divorce (I bet a guy named David came up with all the words that begin with D, and he was a tad distressed.) – these situations cause people to reevaluate their lives, to rethink how they want to be spending their time here on the blue marble. And to be better people. They more often than not accomplish their goals. I aim to be one of those people.
There’s lots about me I want to change. Take my size 11 flipper feet, for instance. Ever go to DSW and try to find size 11 shoes that aren’t made for men who like to dress a certain way? Any shoe that is girly, but comes in a size 11, looks absurd on my human snow shoes. And then there’s the toe nail fungus on my left big toe. The big toe that’s really big for a girl. Gosh, that is just so hot.
Stretch marks? Got ’em. That little pouch that once held a 23 inch boy and a 22.5 inch boy is holding steady. Obviously very content to perch at my center, like a little cushion for my tender core. It’s heinous. It laughs in the face of 3 sets of planks held for 3 minutes, 3 times a week. (You know how I feel about 3s.) Pilates? Whatever. I could probably lop it off and it would come running right back yelling, Mommy!
I’m not even going to get into the state of my breasts. It’s a state I haven’t yet identified.
There’s not much I can do about that stuff without 50 grand and a desire to go under general anesthesia for kicks, giggles and vanity. But for free, I can change a whole bunch of ‘stuff’ that would really improve my quality of life. (Which is not to say that kicks, giggles and vanity won’t win out at some point down the road.) The trick is, I have to identify what it is I want to change. I have to go back in time, back into my marriage, back into the decades that preceded it and identify situations that upended me, understand my role in creating the situation and how I reacted. And then I have to go deeper. I have to look at why I reacted a certain way. When I get the answers to the whys I can look for patterns. Patterns solve cases. Need for change identified.
And that’s exactly what happened when I took 10 minutes outside, under the clouds tonight. (Thanks, clouds, for blowing my opportunity to see the Lyrids meteor shower which was epic, according to what I READ. Err.) 10 minutes. Bam. I was immediately flooded with images of me hovering over The Genius while he was preparing a meal, or hanging a painting, or researching for a big meeting. I was always offering my
direct orders guidance on issues ranging from home maintenance to The Family Genius. I was always around to say “you should”.
So, I’m just a big helper, right?
Nope. I looked deeper.
I didn’t trust The Genius. I expect you’re all chuckling now. With good reason, right? Maybe there’s an argument to be had there. I didn’t trust him because he was untrustworthy. But what if it’s because I didn’t trust him on any level that a fatal division was created in our relationship?
I bet it was before we were even engaged that The Genius stopped offering to drive. I didn’t trust him behind the wheel of a car. He never had an accident while we were together, but all it took was a blown stop sign and a tendency to hang in the left lane of a highway to have me become a brake-pumping and gasping passenger from hell, which does not bring a couple closer. No.
I didn’t trust him in the kitchen, and The Genius can cook. I still found myself hovering, asking him not to cook the garlic too long or to put the fresh herbs in last. I’m a rules follower. You don’t drive in the left lane unless you’re passing, and you put the fresh herbs in toward the end of cooking. Any other way meant certain death. Or at least I acted as if that were the case.
When it comes to his job, nobody does it better than The Genius. I knew that, but when I look back I can see how he would interpret my questions about certain business matters as being driven by my lack of trust that he could handle them on his own. Because that’s exactly how I felt. I just didn’t know it at the time.
Yes, I had reasons to not trust The Genius from early on. Like his dalliance with The Shamrock in year one. But I took those reasons and spread them around like jam to the rest of our relationship. From present-buying to gardening to vacation planning, I made our world a trust-free zone. That’s really tragic.
I can’t do that again. Not with my children (No more assistance on that 2000 piece puzzle, kid! Get that blindfold back on and trust yourself!), my family and friends, or anyone for that matter. Except if someone is coming at me in the dark with what appears to be a sledgehammer. I am not going to trust that. Or the random stalker. I can smell them.
I have to let go. Let people BE. Let them screw up, let me screw up and trust that it’s not going to be a death sentence. All the planets will still stay exactly where they are because…well, I don’t really know why they stay where they are except to say that I think gravity is involved. But I do know that me screwing up is not going to dislodge them.
I have to let go of outcomes. I have to stop trying to control everything. If the garlic burns and turns bitter, so freaking what. Who cares. If the rose bush isn’t trimmed in exactly the way my horticulturist instructs (What? You don’t have a horticulturist?) it will still live to bloom another day.
I have to lighten up. Not take everything so seriously. (You didn’t know I had it in me, did you?) Trust that the little things will take care of themselves. Trust that the dust bunnies under the hall table will not conspire to smother my children in the dark of night. Trust that even if I am alone for the rest of my days I will live a full, fun, fantastic life.
I have to trust that all of this optimism I feel in my soul is for real. I have to trust that I am in the best place for me at the best possible time, on a path that fits like a glove. (For the record, my hands are of average size. There’s no Sissy Hanshaw stuff going on here.) I have to trust in me that I am able to realize my true purpose and nail it. That I can achieve my goals on my own.
I’m going to practice trusting and let go of the need to control because I don’t trust. Wait. Let me rephrase that…
I’m going to trust and let go of the need to control because I don’t trust. There. That’s better.