Posts Tagged ‘control


I’ve got you in my pocket!

i've got you in my pocketCan the pockets of our clothes reveal our self-perception and society?

Sitting in a movie theater watching the pre-show reel, my husband voiced his concerns for my cell phone.  All possible pockets on my person were bulging because I did not want to bring a purse for this event.  As a result, the only optional home for my cell phone was my back pocket.  This was quite worrisome for my husband who keeps his phone in his front pocket.  When he suggested that as an alternative in order to avoid crushing or breaking the phone (of course he assured me that this was in no way a reflection on the weight or size of my buttocks), I told him that it was impossible.

How is it possible that it should be impossible?  After all, he was able to put his phone in his front pocket.  When I revealed that the front pockets of my jeans were not equipped with large pockets like those on the back, he appeared shocked and confused.   In fact, he stuck his hand in my front pocket to see/feel for himself.  Scandalous, I know.  However, we were not thrown out of the movie theater and continued our discussion.

“Sexist pockets,” I said jokingly.  Can such a ridiculous thing exist?  But it got us thinking about why clothing is made the way it is made.  Everyone’s body is different; shape, size, age, function, etc.  However, designers have discovered a way to classify and label clothing according to a specific standard. The questions that follow are:  who chose the standard, how was it determined and why?  Throughout time the ideal form for the human body has changed.  Has the human body changed drastically over time?  If so, have bodies changed due to some form of adaptation to the environment or in order to accommodate or mimic the trends imposed by society?

Whatever the answers may be, the clothing of our present society reflects certain expectations of different kinds of bodies.  Why do some bodies need or deserve large front pockets and others do not?  Or one can take the opposing perspective and ask why are some bodies are burdened with large front pockets and others are not?  Why are some fabrics used for one body and not another?

Perhaps the most important question to ask is this:  are we allowing society to fit us into their predetermined pockets or are we choosing to fill whatever size pocket we want with who we are?


joy ride

joy rideHow do you live your life?  Do you allow your goals to determine your efforts or your efforts to lead you to a goal?

I’ve always been a planner.  I like to have everything organized and all the details in place.  There’s something satisfying about finding freedom in structure as well as anticipating something certain.  Most would say this makes me a bit of a control freak which is probably partly true, but the rest is probably a combination of a being overly responsible and needing stability.

However, I’ve recently discovered that when I set a plan, it tends to make me feel boxed in.  Instead of feeling secure and comfortable, I see the jail bars surrounding me.  So my goals in a sense close doors to other possibilities; ones that may be even better than my original plans.  Setting goals is healthy, but sometimes if we don’t allow anything to veer us off our course we miss out on the beautiful detours of life that can cause one to discover a new and perhaps more exciting path.

So what I’m learning about myself is that I would rather live my life allowing my efforts to lead me to a goal.  Perhaps that sounds a bit like letting life happen to me and not being proactive, but from my perspective it is quite the opposite.  I find that when I love making the effort, the goals or end point of those efforts become less important; the goal is more like a sign in the distance that is just out of sight that you can’t read what it says, but you know you’re headed in the right direction.  Then as you travel you’re not so focus on taking one course to get to your destination; instead the road becomes wider and full of amazing side streets full of possibilities along the way.

There’s something scary and liberating about not knowing the next step in the journey.  For me, I have found that it enables me to take more joy in the ride.


feeling too much

feeling too muchCan you feel too much?

Is there a point where you can feel so much that you just have to shut it off or down?  You’re so overwhelmed by an emotion that it defies all logic and even blocks out the truth sometimes.  But sometimes it’s the truth of a reality that we want to block out, so perhaps feeling is a defense mechanism.

I’ve been taught that we should always be in control of our feelings.  That it isn’t healthy to allow emotion to lead or sway us; one must come back to “reason.”  However, there are so many people who also say to follow your heart.  What does that really mean?  Is following the heart really a sentimental say to trust your feelings?  And if so, isn’t that contrary to being in control?

There are times where I know the truth and my brain is shouting it out but my heart refuses to hear it.  Instead, I start feeling a heaviness and longing which fills my body with a white noise, preventing me from hearing anything the rest of my body has to say.  At times I can choose not to act on the emotion or release it, but others times I open my mouth and a bunch of stuff spills out in a way which usually has no previous thought behind it.

So where’s the balance?  How do we follow our hearts logically?  Is that even possible?  Will we forever face the battle of logic vs. emotion within ourselves and society?  Neither way is wrong or better; they both live inside each one of us, some just sway to one side more than another.  But how can we value that in each other and ourselves whatever way we swing; letting ourselves feel too much if we need to?


whatever power

whatever powerWhatever.  We hear that one word thrown around quite a bit these days in a careless manner.  But what if it could be used as something to empower us?

Recently I’ve been using that word quite a bit in order to deal with stress.  When I’m overwhelmed and don’t know how I’m going to get to the next week or even the next day, I’ll throw my hands up and say, “whatever.”  However, the meaning of this word changed for me during a feedback session at one of my theatre classes.  One of the characters was extremely powerful and displayed it with their forceful interaction with the other characters.  I was advised to show that character’s power by having them behave in a more aloof and unaffected way;  the logic behind it was explained like this- because the character was powerful, they could have a “whatever” attitude towards things.

This seemed contradictory to me.  “People who say ‘whatever’ don’t care.  Where’s the power in that?” I thought.  But that’s how “whatever power” was born.  My husband coined the phrase, so I give him all the credit.  Suddenly, the whole meaning of “whatever” was transformed, becoming a word of power.  No longer did “whatever” mean whatever; instead it meant that I have the power to choose to let go of something and not let it worry or drag me down.

I shared this recently with a friend who had a lot of pressure at work.  She struggled with delegating things because she cared so much about the results.  However, her health was suffering for it and she started adopting the “whatever” attitude in order to deal with the necessary changes she had to make in order to relieve some of her stress.  Unfortunately, she still felt badly because the “whatever” attitude made it seem as if she didn’t care which couldn’t be further from the truth.  Once she realized that using “whatever” could be viewed as powerful, she felt so much more empowered about her choices and no longer felt guilty.

For me, this “whatever power” has enabled me to let go of things I couldn’t release in the past, especially those things I don’t have power to change.  Ironically, as I just shared with a friend today, it’s made me feel more in control over things I can’t control.  The power comes with acknowledging that though I care, I am intentionally choosing to let go, thereby liberating myself of the responsibility and any regrets that might come based on how things turn out after I’ve let go.

Does that sound like power to you?



power of choice

power of choiceWe always have a choice.

This truth is a difficult idea to grasp at times.  Especially when one feels cornered.  Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by uncontrollable events in your life that intersect all at once?  That’s how I felt today.  And I couldn’t see a way out.

On one side I had the pressures of school, wanting to finish well while struggling with the dreaded group project; adjacent lay the last minute preparations of a trip back to where I grew up after having been gone for four years; starting to box me in on the other side were pangs of grief as I continue to miss Sam; and finally, the last and most difficult thing overwhelming is the reality of my friend’s stage four cancer diagnosis.

As I shared all of my anxieties with my friend, I stopped myself.  After hearing all that I just spewed on her, I realized what I had done.  I totally broke down and told her to forget everything I just said; telling her that in the big scheme of things, none of these things will keep me from being there for her because she is the priority in my life.  I didn’t want her to hesitate or think that I was too busy for her to reach out to me if she needs me.  If anyone in the relationship was feeling like she had no choice, it was her, not me as she faces the greatest battle of her life.

Later, another friend reminded me that despite all of these seemingly uncontrollable and huge events coming to a head in my life, that I still had control.  That I made the decision to work hard in school; I made the decision to visit the area of my youth; I made the decision to grant myself permission to grieve as long as I need over Sam’s loss; and I made the decision to love my friend no matter what happens.  These are active choices that I have made-not random circumstances which are now threatening my freedom.

This is my life.  These are my choices.  And nothing and no one can corner or box me in unless I choose.


Control freak

control freakDo you believe that there is only so much you can do sometimes?

Currently, I have been preparing for an event for the past two months which occurs this coming weekend.  Because of my planning and confidence in my group, I am not concerned about the results or outcome.  I can go into the event free of worry and just have fun.  However, my greatest fear is getting to the event on time.  Why?  Traffic.

For the past week I have been obsessing about traffic: imagining myself getting caught behind an accident and stuck for hours or the traffic simply being that bad that I sit there watching the time go by as I miss the event.  I’m leaving extra, extra early; giving myself ample time to get there, but there is still that possibility of being late which for me is unacceptable.

Today I finally let it go.  I’m not sure what happened, other than talking to enough people about it who assured me that it will all work out fine. Or that I had enough talk therapy that I can now imagine and accept safely arriving at early at the location.  Whatever it was, I now recognize that this is something of which I have no control.  Sure, I could stay in a hotel next to the location, but then I wouldn’t be able to transport the people in my group who would not be making those arrangements.  I could find a train to take me in, but I’m unfamiliar with that and would still have to drive to a station.  Driving it my only real option.

With that, I recognize there are dangers, but I also finally realized that I cannot control them.  I’ve done everything in my power to assure my safe and timely arrival.  So now it’s up to the other thousands of people on the road to do the same.  Now you know why I was freaking outJ  This also relates to the situation with my dog Sam.

At the end of last week she began showing signs of pain and discomfort.  We took her to the vet and he said it was most likely arthritis or joint pain due to the strain on her remaining three limbs (making up for the one that was removed due to cancer this past summer).  He prescribed some pain pills and we were relieved.  However, Sam was not completely relieved.  Though it’s obvious the pain pills are working because she seems mostly immobile and not engaged during the day, she still has times when she wakes up and seems to be in a lot of pain.

Being a very energetic, friendly dog all of her life, it is very difficult seeing her this way.  However, my husband reminded me to have patience and give her time to heal.  She may not be able to be herself right now on the medication, but we can still love her.  This was a hard pill for me to swallow and I couldn’t get past the idea of watching her suffer and not be able to be herself.  But finally the same thing clicked today and I realized that I needed to let go because it was out of my control.  I have done all I can and now need to give her time – which may be for the rest of her life.

Two situations of letting go:  one short term and the other long term.  Neither were easy.  In the end though, there is a satisfaction in knowing that one has done all they can do and can now allow life to play out.  It is a good reminder of the many things which we have no control over.  We can either use our energy fretting about it, or make our peace with it.  So in the end, we do have a little controlJ


policing ourselves

policing ourselvesDo we police ourselves?  Has the government become a power so strong that we enforce its control on ourselves?

Today as I drove to school I noticed a motorcycle cop at an upcoming intersection.  The light turned red as I approached and I came to a stop.  It seemed strange that when the light turn green for the opposite traffic, that the police officer did not go.  Instead, he waited until I got the green light and proceed to merge into our traffic using his light.  He came up behind me and I started to feel a nervous pit in my stomach form.  What had I done?  Did I do something wrong?  I must have or be doing it if he’s stopping me.

Thankfully, he was flagging the vehicle just behind me to pull over.  I’m not sure what for as it occurred behind me, but I was glad I was not in that driver’s seat.  The incident made me wonder though, why I immediately felt guilty despite my innocence?  I was readily and willing to believe a complete stranger’s judgment of my actions and behavior before my own!  What is the source of this mistrust in ourselves and our innocence?

Have we given so much power to the government that they have become not only our law keepers and enforcers, but our very conscious?  How have they infiltrated our minds in a land of “freedom” and “innocent until proven guilty” to believe that we are wrong and they are right because they wear a different uniform?  Perhaps this is my own paranoia, but I believe that we should not fear those who should be serving us.

I hope that next time if I see a police officer my instincts won’t cause me to question myself, but to view them as my ally to whom I can take my questions.