Letting Go of Control

I make no secret that control has always been important to me. I like to plan out how and when things happen, to know what to expect, to obey and enforce rules. To be perfectly honest, it’s my primary kink. When things in my life start to fall out of my control, I panic or go into a depression. I start feeling helpless, and start scrambling to regain control in any form that I can. It led me to the final straw of destroying my marriage, in a time when I felt like I was completely powerless to do anything. Control is important to me.

In life, though, there’s plenty of chaos to go around. Some of that chaos is bad, for sure, but some of it isn’t. The serenity prayer asks for the wisdom to know the difference between the things one can control and the things they can’t, but it doesn’t ask for the things beyond their control to be brought to heel. I think there’s a reason for that. Sometimes, and I’m not going to go all mystical on you here but, sometimes, it feels like some chaotic things happen for a reason. And if they happen for a reason, then perhaps they’re not chaotic at all, but instead following some unseen plan, some hidden Order, that we’re simply not aware of.

I think that my marriage failing, that my destruction of it, needed to happen. I hate to say it. I hate that I hurt her, that I pulled her out of her home and moved her 900 miles away to waste so many years of her life with me. I hate that I broke a part of her that may never fully heal. I hate that I betrayed such a powerful trust in such a thoughtless way. But if it didn’t happen, I probably never would have gone to therapy. I doubt I’d have ever examined the choices I’ve made throughout my life with such a critical eye. It’s unlikely that I would have ever improved my thought patterns. And I know for a fact that I would have never tried being my authentic self with anyone.

I’ve talked about my authentic self a few times in password protected posts, because I wasn’t ready to tell the entire fucking world about being authentic, but here’s a brief summary of what you missed if you don’t have those passwords: I have spent my entire life showing only a part of myself to everyone in my life, a version that I felt was the version they needed to see, and nothing more than that. It’s not that I was lying, but just holding some things back because I felt like those things might affect their opinion of me. My mother, for example, didn’t need to know about my sex life. She didn’t need to know that I’m dominant in bed. My friends, in my mind, didn’t need to know how often I’d considered suicide because it would only make them worry and I didn’t think them offering to help would actually provide any help. I wasn’t as rude in my jokes with some people. I wasn’t as ‘intellectual’ with some. It was like I was playing at some version of code-switching, changing my mannerisms depending on who I was in the company of.

In late August of last year, after talking with my counselor about that previous paragraph, I decided to be open and honest, brutally myself, with strangers on the Internet. I held nothing back, because if they judged me, they weren’t doing it to my face and I could just move on to another stranger. I wasn’t looking for anything but practice, test-driving this authentic person and seeing what happened. There were several who judged me, several who saw a recently single man as a potential partner, several who gossiped about me to other people… I wanted no part of them. But there was also a small handful of people who listened without judgement, some of them even offered some comfort while agreeing that I fucked up pretty bad, some of them understanding that it was a series of mistakes that led me down that path, and didn’t hesitate to say so, but said so with kindness and compassion. One of those people, whom I’ve been calling Sunshine, shared her authentic self with me in return, and we became very close friends in a very short amount of time.

The entire process showed me several things. It showed me that being my authentic self, not having walls up to shield off the parts I didn’t feel like sharing, offered greater rewards than I’d known in any friendship before. It showed me that I’m still capable of love, and being loved, and that it was okay to express that to a friend without making it weird. That lesson led to me having a couple of emotional, sobbing conversations with my father that were long overdue, and it still warms my heart that he told me he wanted to make a habit of it. It also showed me that, while I’m in control of my actions, the uncontrollable actions of other people, of the Universe in general, aren’t always bad.

So I’m moving forward in my life as the authentic me that I should have been all along. I’m sorry to everyone who has ever known only bits of pieces of me, because you were missing out, and I pledge to remedy that by being real with you from now on, for better or for worse. I’m also moving forward with the mindset that the chaotic things that happen around me may actually turn out to be just what I need in that moment. I’m letting go (to a point) of the desire to control everything and everyone around me. There’s good Chaos out there, too. It’s called Serendipity.

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