When Things Feel Out Of Control
This week has been really fucking weird. And shitty.
And any and all synonyms for all the above.
Of course, it started late Tuesday night and has carried on over the last few days, only growing in strength and tenacity. The onslaught of upset, sadness, and warranted negativity on every orifice of my social media feeds has been overwhelming. It's been escapable and all-consuming these past two days and for a highly sensitive person like myself, it has affected me way more than I ever meant it to.
Being a highly sensitive individual isn't something I've ever talked about openly. Sure, I'm dramatic and emotional (duh). But being labeled as a highly sensitive person is a real thing. Basically, we're empaths, i.e. the polar opposite of a sociopath. Not only do we have feelings for days, but we feel EVE.RY.THING. Long ago, when I was a young girl in grade school, I remember a teacher telling me that, although my empathetic nature was admirable, it would get me in trouble later in life if I didn't learn to control it. And boy has it. Of course, at almost 30 years old, I have a much better handle on my empathetic tendencies, but they still get in my way daily by way of anxiety, paranoia, and sensitivity.
All that said, the unfolding of this week's events rocked me more than I ever imagined possible. I am not a political person; that is, I have never really cared all that much or been that involved. So me reacting as much as I did to this week's happenings was as shocking to me as anyone else. And, because I'm a highly sensitive person, my natural instinct was to take this upset and multiply it however I could (READ: emotionally cut).
I realized that, on top of this election, there is a lot going on in my life right now over which I have zero control. None. Nada. Nope. And — SURPRISE, SURPRISE! — on top of being a highly sensitive, empathetic, anxious person, I'm also (drum roll, please) a bit OCD. I like to be in control, to a certain extent (READ: MEN, MAKE A DATE. PLAN A DATE. COURT A WOMAN FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY OMG). When mama (that's me) doesn't have at least some idea of something going on in her life, she loses it a little. I like to know things, be able to predict stuff, have a plan. That's just who I am. But this week highlighted for me just how much I am not in control of in this very moment of my life, which only added fuel to this raging fire of upset and nerves.
I can't control that the guys I'm most interested in don't follow up their words with action.
I can't control that I don't feel romantically stronger toward the guys who are doing all the right things.
I can't control that my friends are moving up and out and leaving me.
I can't control how humans decide to behave.
I can't control anything but my reaction to all this.
And that's what I realized yesterday. After calling both my parents separately to cry and writing into work to let my boss know I needed to take the day to process, I had an overwhelming need to purge my closet and reorganize its contents, which took a lot of energy and concentration on my part. I then packed up those clothes and drove myself to a few secondhand clothing stores to see what I could sell off and donated the rest to women's shelters. After that, I went to the gym and, although no part of me really had the energy for it, pushed through a pretty solid workout. Once that was done, I realized my unfortunate upper lip hair inheritance had gotten out of hand and needed to be taken care of, so I did that. My last stop of the day was getting my car washed, inside and out. Finally, I returned home to my dog, took a shower, and decided the only dinner acceptable to eat was in the form of Panang curry, so that was ordered. That's when it hit me — without realizing it, I had spent the entire day doing things I could control. I dedicated the majority of my day to ensuring my personal surroundings were tended to and taken care of.
I've joked before on here and to family and friends about my OCD tendencies. How I love to clean, how disorganized life feels when my home is messy, how I truly enjoy doing laundry, how after an intense cleaning session I love to sit back and admire my work, how I often find myself mentally picturing my tidy home in times of turmoil at work or in the world. Yeah, it sounds crazy. I know. But it helps. And yesterday helped, too. Because when you have tendencies like I do, having at least your personal, immediate surroundings in order fills you with a sense of calm. When you're a list-loving, task-oriented, priority organizing fool like me, being able to check so much off a list is the ultimate sense of serenity.
This week has felt out of control. I can't change what happened Tuesday night or that I can't get a text back or that I don't want to jump someone's bones as much as I do someone else's or that my friends are making smart decisions for themselves career-wise but leaving me because of it. But I can change my sheets and my closet's composition and the fact that I have a 13-year-old boy's peach fuzz on my upper lip and all that makes me feel just a little better. I still look like all hell, am tired, have a tension headache, and cannot stop emotionally eating, but fuck if my surroundings aren't in tip-top shape (seriously, y'all. My closet looks so tight).
I'm giving you permission to do something today or this weekend that you are in full control of and that makes you happy. You deserve it. We all do.