7 days of analyzing your day-to-day life and suddenly you start to see the unhealthy patterns highlighted in not too pleasant ways. You’re welcome to read my lengthy journal entries below but here’s the summary of this week’s Project: Unleashed – Letting Go of Expectations and Control challenge:
Friday – Lady cut me off, had to choose not to smash into her rear bumper
Saturday – Major cooking fail, had to give up and go to the store.
Sunday – Chose to be lazy and give up control of planning every minute of my life
Monday – Dress that came in the mail was not meant to be my wedding dress, had to give up that expectation.
Tuesday – Raising the question of giving up control of my memoir and submitting it for a contest – still working on this one
Wednesday – I cannot make my dog poop on command. Yep, let’s leave it at that.
Thursday – I do not always get what I want, and it’s a good thing.
I’ve had to learn this week that I’m not always *gasp* right. That Kevin’s death was not the only disappointment in my life. That bad things are still going to happen. That life is uncontrollable. That no matter what I plan, things can, will, and do go in a different direction. Control is ellusive. I’m softening, or at least, acknowledging these issues is helping me to see how I need to soften. It’s either give this up, or people get hurt. It’s time. Control, our relationship is unhealthy. Bye bye.
Week 3 Should be Fear. This is so broad for me. SOOOO broad. I want to take this next week to dwell on the fear challenges I want to conquer in the next year. The one big one that I can think of is my motorcycle. I’m going to blog next week about my fears and what I can put in place to get over some of them, or accepting the valid ones but moving forward from them. Check back next week to see where I’m at.
Journal Entries from the past week:
On my drive home from work I realized I hadn’t yet given up control of really anything that Friday. Until she pulled out in front of me at a stop sign. I hit my horn and continued on it, furious, cursing. She knew I had the right away, but she didn’t care. And then I dawned on me – I cannot control someone else’s actions. So while it pained me to back off of her rear bumper, to not continue to curse, yell and honk my horn, I did. I drove like a “normal” person the entire distance that I followed her, letting it go.
Saturday, my strive to hold onto control tested me. We had a Christmas party to attend, and I had 2 recipes that I found on Pinterest in mind. As I prepped the one for baking, I substituted applesauce for oil in the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip recipe. But I didn’t read about it first. I baked it for 2 hours and the inside of the bread was still raw. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized the stove was not indeed broken, as Dave and I had thought, I had just screwed up the recipe. And the Avocado Cream Cheese and Salsa pastry puffs that were burnt on the bottom? Also my error. When it was time to walk out the door to the party, both recipes were ruined and we were off to Darrenkamps to pick up another treat to bring. I had to let it go. It was hard to admit defeat the next day, and admit that maybe, just maybe, the error had been my fault and we no longer had to go oven shopping.
Sunday I did nothing. Meaning, I didn’t walk the dog. I didn’t help with the laundry. Cooking consisted of Joe Corbi’s frozen pizza, a broccoli omelette, bologna sammies, and way too many pretzels and brie (reading this now, and I wonder why the scale was 5 pounds heftier today, ugh). I wanted to go shopping, pick up that gift card to cross another present off the list, go to look at ovens before I admitted we didn’t need one, take the dog to the dog park. The only productive thing I did all day was give Molly a bath; necessary for her mild skin infection. I gave up control of all the woulda, coulda, shouldas and I did nothing. It was blissful and wonderful to lounge around in my comfies all day long, and sit by my boy on the couch watching movies and countless episodes of ‘How I Met Your Mother’. So this is what laziness is like? I could get used to this!
Monday I went over to Dave’s after work and found 3 packages on the front step. A few of the things I do love about the materialist side of Christmas (I love all things religious Christmas; carols, Christ, historical significance) are 1) Having money to buy gifts for people, and 2) packages in the mail. What was even more exciting was that one of those packages was for me! It was what I hoped would be my wedding dress. It was packaged away in a lovely teal box and when I opened it, my heart sank a bit. The beaded detailing at the top was not gimmery as I had hoped, it was white and teal beading. The nude color was darker than it looked online. I tried it on, hoping it would spark. It fit decently, but not beautifully. I wanted to will it to work, to be “the dress” simply out of time, money, and not really wanting to try a million dresses on. But it just wasn’t. In the past, I would suck it up, use it, and make it work even if it didn’t. But this time, I knew I had to let it go. It was not going to be my wedding dress. It might work for another wedding I am going to attend this year, or even on our honeymoon, but not on the big day. I packed it back up and put it under the bed. I’d decide later if I want to return it.
This past week I have been researching some publishing contests to see what’s available for my genre – nonfiction/memoir. Most of the deadlines had expired and from the ones I did read, they weren’t quite what I was looking for. When I got home from work on Tuesday night, in my inbox was a first time publishing contract contest. For women. For nonfiction. For me. I believe in signs, in timing, and this screamed out to me. The first thing I did was shoot 2 emails out to friends who are familiar with book proposals. My friend Andi got back to me saying she would work with me on getting it up and ready to send out to them by the March deadline. There’s a cost involved, not for the contest, but for the book proposal. I love contests and I’m typically good at them. I don’t love anything involving my memoir. It terrifies me, the commitment, the uncertainty, my vulnerability.. But ever since I listened to Ira Wagler at a writer’s breakfast, I’ve known I need to do something with it. Maybe I just need to polish some chunks of it and see what some professional editors and bookhouses think of it from there. So, I’m thinking about it. This means giving up control of my baby, something I’ve worked on/off for, for 4 years, something I haven’t found the effort to return to after its first draft. This means exposing my vulnerability. This means investing a good chunk of money into my craft. This means investing most of my free/spare time into making it a good product to send forth. It means a lot. It means I give up control and give into this. I still need to think about it. I’m giving myself two weeks to think about it, and decide the feasibility of this investment at this time of my life (a hectic time), then I need to make a decision.
Wednesday morning my dog would not go poo. She’s a very regular dog. The boy takes her out first thing in the morning; she pees and poops. When I get up after she’s been fed, I walk her and she pees and poops. When I come home from work and walk her again she pees, then eats, and before bed when I let her out, she pees and poops. It’s a pretty simple routine schedule we have. But this morning the boy was off on a business trip and it was just me and her. We got started later than usual, she peed, pooped, ate. Then we went for our walk and she peed but didn’t poo, so I put her out back. She did nothing. I Waited. I took her back inside. I waited 10 minutes then I took her back out. She peed. Then stared. We went for a walk a second time. Nothing. Finally I just gave up. If she had to poo, she had her chance. But when I took her for the second walk of the morning, I had left her gentle leader inside, so we went for a walk with just her leash. Molly is no small dog. She’s about 80 pounds of solid pup and she’s stubborn. When she wants to go, she wants to go. The hound in her means her nose goes wherever, whenever. This has gotten her into trouble before (escape, skunk) so the gentle leader has been the best thing to keep her reigned in. But with just using the leash this morning, she stayed beside me the entire walk. She barely pulled and when she did and I tugged her, she settled back down. Normally this is the dog I find at night, when the sun is down and she feels more calm and less anxious about the world that could hurt her (we believe she was abused by her previous owners). But the sun was out, and there she was, strutting alongside of me with no assistance but the leash. Even though she didn’t poo like she does every morning walk, she walked like a brand new dog. I guess giving up control is worth it.
Thursday I wanted to talk about the wedding with the boy. About the cost. About the honeymoon. About the fact that I can only contribute a little here and there. He was willing to listen, but the problem was, I wasn’t. I had my mind set, no flexibility. I get that way about things. I decide what I want, and that’s just how it is. It comes from being the youngest of 3, getting my way a lot, and widowhood. I’ve done things MY way since Kevin died and it’s hard to make room for two again sometimes. So by the end of the night after some frustrating moments and walking away to give ourselves a break from the intensity, we came to a fun solution. And it felt ok to give up control. To be spontaneous together.