Out of control


I am a control freak. I have spent the last 17 years trying to manage and orchestrate everything. The juggling act of being a mom. I had to control all that goes with a busy life. Doctor’s appointments, what to eat, when the children should sleep, where they and I would go to school. It’s a lot to think about and remember. I always felt certain that if I failed to maintain control over all these things all those plates I was juggling would come falling down all around me.

But the good control was often overshadowed by my desire to control people. I wanted or expected everyone around me to think and act a certain way. And when they inevitably failed I was often angry. I expected people to be as selfless as me. Or as kind or forgiving or whatever. When they did not let me control them I often grew resentful. How dare they disappoint me. Looking back its a miracle I have ANY friends at all.

I did not necessarily come to this realization on my own. No, my dear husband was the catalyst for this discovery. Not that I accepted it as truth the first dozen times he mentioned it. I am not that self aware. Or honest. When Kelly pointed these things out to me I often felt justified in expecting people to do as I wanted them to. But in reality I do not have that right to expect anything. I have wasted a lot of energy being hurt and resentful because I did not get what I wanted. I have ended a lot of relationships and never looked back. Many I do not regret. Some I do. Regardless, I am aware now more than ever that I have expended a lot of energy trying to control those around me.

And then there is my cancer. Something I have no control over. Not the illness. Nor how the chemo makes me feel. Not how friends and family have reacted to it. Not even what happens if I die. No control from the grave. No control over how long I live. Or anything. I am miserable. I do not get to orchestrate any of it. And on top of that Alys, Kelly, Rob, and a few of you have started to take over some of the things I did to feel in control of my life and my home. Now you take kid’s to the doctors, or food shop, or cook dinner, or decide where the children will spend there time, or get them into schools. I am defeated. I am losing my powers. I feel like Superman when Lex Luther put the kryptonite necklace on him. I am a mere human. How disappointing.

The plates are still spinning above my head and I am not even the one doing all the juggling.I try to micro manage from the bedroom. It does not usually work. Everyone does the smile and nod. Then they take care of it their own way. How dare they! My will be done goddammit. I am not really so much angry as amazed. Amazed that I have spent so much time trying to do everything perfect and wanting everyone else to as well. Amazed that everyone can get through the day without me telling them what color underwear to wear. Or what and when to eat, sleep, or breath. I am a mere human with faults. And so are all of you.

I am a control freak. But I am not God. Nor should I want to be. I am trying really hard to be thankful that my wonderful husband and friends have stepped up to the challenge of helping me juggle. And because you all are constantly surprising me with your love, support, and generosity I am glad that you behave like yourselves and not how I expect you to. I never could have expected all the good things that are happening either. The other day I heard Jay Bakker say something like, “How can God ever mold people into his image when you are so busy trying to mold them into yours?” And it really hit me hard. I have spent too much time trying to play God and be in control. And if being sick has taught me anything its that I am not.

6 Responses to “Out of control”

  1. leah says:

    no your not God, but you are still an amazing woman!

  2. d says:

    wow. as a fellow control freak- i totally hear you. i too have a chronic crappy disease that i have zero control over. i’ve been on lupron twice, and think it’s a really sucky drug for us control freaks. as far as trying to control others goes, give youself a break. you are loved. my therapist tells me that there are very few “shoulds” in real life…we want others to act the way we think they should, and the reason we think that way is cause it’s what we’d do. sometimes people totally blow it and then there are consequences- we feel differently, act accordingly, etc. and other times we just suck it up we deal. it’s hard to sit back and let others do things for us because i think that as control freaks, we don’t truly believe that there’s anyone who can match what we do and they way in which we do it. does that make sense? for example- i bathe the baby when he needs it because there’s just no way my husband can do it the way i do it….or…as a teacher, i hate having a sub, and always leave busywork for that sub because there’s no way s/he could duplicate my way of teaching a damn lesson. my therapist points out that even though i view myself as not very confident i seem to think i am pretty damn good at doing lots of things, so much so in fact, that i can’t be replaced. andrea, try to think of the absolute worst case scenario in letting your family and friends complete some tasks for you. they might buy the wrong cereal or clean the bathroom less thoroughly or annoy you in some way, but think of it like this, or should i say, i see it like this- if i ever get sick in a way that is life threatening and all of my friends and family go about their business, i’m going to kill them. seriously. when i see a friend hurting i need to just stop and focus on that a bit. i feel i owe friends that. friends just do that for one another. and i don’t know you one bit- i just read your blog- but you must be pretty damn special to have so many people wanting to juggle your plates! hang in there, and allow yourself to experience emotions without guilt. your honesty is pretty incredible. i sense that with you it’s more important to be andrea than to be liked, and i love that.

  3. Ann Hayes says:

    My Dearest Andrea,

    I read you everyday, not just to see how you are doing, but to learn from you.
    As mothers, I think we are all control freaks and it is the HARDEST thing in the world to realize that things happen and get done, with or without our control. Stay strong! I wish there were more people like YOU in this world!


  4. the other naomi says:

    I love that you’re journeying farther into yourself and your failth. As strong women (because we’ve had to be to survive) we naturally take on the running of the family, nurturing role, teacher and empath. And then somewhere it changes into having to be that person, play that role.
    One of our highest callings is to look into ourselves and allow for change.
    One of the hardest things to do as human beings is to change personally.
    What a wonderful and painful process this life is.
    I love you so much babe

  5. Suzanne says:

    Hey! Suzanne here from the good old Silk City late night days. You never cease to amaze me. Nothing could wipe that beautiful smile off you face. I am helping Amanda with the benefit on Saturday and I hope to see you. You are an inspiration!! KEEP ON TRUCKIN’!!!!! Love you lots!!!!XOXOXO

  6. Denise says:

    Hi Andrea,
    It’s Denise, Heidi’s friend from Seattle. Last time I saw you you had on a bunny ear hat.
    Those damn plates. Heres some ideas that might help from a woman whos been juggling or spinning plates for awhile:
    a) get a helmet (it will fit under bunny ear hats) for those that might hit you in the head when they fall
    b) get a broom
    c) love the beauty in every plate
    d) if the rare china ones fall or if any fall and break mourn them and be glad they were spinning at all
    e) love the corning wear ones because they may fall but won’t break (note to self: buy more corning ware plates for the new ones you’ll be spinning)
    f) don’t look up at them too much or you’ll get dizzy
    g) the most important part of the spinning plates is the spinner. That’s you. You are unbreakable.
    Best to you and your beautiful family and friends,