The more time I spend on this introspection thing the more I realize about myself. I know, I know that’s how it works. I’ve come to the conclusion that I have control issues. I hate to feel out of control. I’ve come to expect certain things in my life and when things don’t go the way I expect them to go I become uncomfortable. I’ve gotten better about this in almost all aspects of my life. For instance, I didn’t used to drink at all because I feared becoming an alcoholic, I was afraid of becoming to comfortable, too relaxed with drinking because I was afraid of losing control. I don’t have that problem with alcohol though, I’ve learned that just because alcoholism runs in my family doesn’t mean I am automatically an alcoholic. I had to learn to let go of some of that control.
As I said, I’ve learned how to let go of control in almost all areas of my life. The only place I’ve yet to relinquish control is when it comes to another person. I do not like to feel vulnerable, I don’t relying on another person. I hate to feel like I am surrendering any part of myself to another person, yet it is the one thing I so desperately want. I know this comes out of fear, an intense fear of being hurt and being used.
I’m solitary by nature, I’m perfectly happy to spend time alone and if I am with other people it’s usually a very small group. It’s taken me a long time to admit that I one thing I really want is a partner. I’m learning how to let people in, learning how to trust that not everyone is going to hurt me and even if I do get hurt it’s not the end of the world, just a part of life.
Fear has been an underlying motivation (or lack of motivation) in my life for as long as I can remember. It’s manifested in one way or another and every time I’ve made myself learn how to deal with it and get over it. Even things I thought I’d never be able to confront, like my fear of driving, but I did it and now I really love to drive. Even after I learned to drive there were still things I was afraid to do, like drive on the freeway. I used to think I’d never be able to do it, it was just too scary, too out of control. I remember talking about it with a friend of mine and he looked at me and told me, “Renee, accidents are inevitable, if you spend your life trying to avoid the inevitable you’re never going to live.” A few days later I drove on the freeway for the first time, it was not even close to as scary as I thought it was going to be. In fact, when I got to Albuquerque I parked somewhere and just laughed, I couldn’t believe how long I’d let that fear control me.
And Ben was right, accidents are inevitable, in fact a few weeks after he said those words to me I got t-boned in a busy intersection. It was scary, the car spun around and I didn’t know what to do. After the car stopped and I got my door open I started to shake and cry, I was hurt and I was afraid. I had to go to the hospital and my car was totaled. The one thing I didn’t do was regress back to that fear, once I was able to get another car I got back out and kept driving. It’s something so simple but it’s something I am proud of, it would have been too easy for me to just go back to that fear. I’d been proven right, my worst fear had come true. However, unlike in all my nightmares I didn’t die, my passenger didn’t die and neither did the other driver. I survived, got another car and kept driving.
So, what does that have to do with relationships? Well, I’ve been hurt, repeatedly and I’ve hurt people. My worst relationship fears have come to pass and I’m still here. Sometimes I think I need to hit rock bottom for me to realize that I can do what I thought I couldn’t. I’m still healing, but I’m not afraid anymore, ok so maybe I am still afraid but it’s not paralyzing me anymore. A healthy dose of fear is ok as long as I can keep moving and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
I’m learning to let go of some of that control, to let people in and learn to trust people. It’s a frightening prospect to relinquish some of the control I’ve built up, but at the same time it’s freeing.