Manning the Controls

View through the Glass Floor of the CN Tower i...

I have a confession to make.

But first, a little background.

Man, I love control.  I like to control situations, people, circumstances, the remote for the TV … anything.  Everything.  I love me some control, baby.  Whenever there’s a genuine, bona fide source of frustration in my life, I can probably trace it – if I put the effort into doing so – back to lack of control over something.  When I was younger, and in the middle of a separation from what would become my ex-wife, I went to pastoral counseling.  The man I counseled with told me that’s the primary reason people lose their temper, too – loss of control over something they want control over, be that a person, situation or object.  Car breaks down on the highway, makes you late for work, and what do you do?  Bang the steering wheel in frustration.  Doesn’t help the car, but makes you feel better, don’t it?  (Well, maybe not you, but certainly me.  Heh.)

I love control, yessirree.

But I have to confess something: I surrender a whole lot of control in my life.

Some things, I can’t control no matter how I try.  The weather.  Traffic.  Gas prices.  Rent.  The behavior and temperament of others … though sometimes I can have an influence on that.  Other things, I want to control, even if it’s not within my ability to at the moment.  When I have the chance, I’d like to take those bulls by the horns and steer ‘em.  My job situation, for one thing.  My income.  My living situation.   Those sorts of things I’m not able to change right now – haven’t been able to for years – but man, I’d really like to.

Still other things I can control, but don’t.  My weight.  Smoking.  My sleep patterns (especially now, when I’m out of work, and they’re completely wonky).  My language … I have a foul, foul mouth and despite being a writer, who should have a better arsenal of words to use, I just … don’t.

I surrender control in most of those areas because of laziness.  But sometimes, I surrender them because of fear.

I’m horribly acrophobic.  Can’t. Do. Heights.  Period.  I’ve tried to overcome it.  I’ve tried to confront it.  As I get older, it seems to be getting worse.  I surrender control there.  It stops me from going to amusement parks, hanging Christmas lights, taking a job as a painter, and tarring roofs.  I tried helping some friends paint their two-story farmhouse once years ago, and I couldn’t climb beyond the second scaffold platform.  I just couldn’t.  I’d lock up and not be able to move.  I couldn’t make myself climb.  I can’t be a line tech for the power company or do anything involving climbing to any significant height.  I just can’t do it.

But the control I surrender isn’t just limiting in some ways, it impacts my life in profound ways sometimes.  And it frustrates and angers me because I don’t like surrendering the control.

What about you?  What sorts of things are you frustrated by?  What things take control from you which you feel you should have?

-JDT-

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