I'm a planner, and I like to have complete control over everything around me. I have struggled a lot over the past three years or so because things in my life haven't gone how I expected or wanted them to. My divorce, of course, and taking a year off from school after I went into preterm labor while pregnant with Caroline. And I love my daughter more than life itself, but getting pregnant against your will while you are actively practicing birth control is (in my opinion) one of the biggest losses of control of all.
When I found out I was pregnant, one of the things that upset me the most was that I felt that I was stuck in my marriage now that we were going to have a child. I was already at the point when I knew I shouldn't have married him in the first place and that it wouldn't last forever.
I stayed in that place, numb, and sort of treading water, until I finally made the decision to file for divorce at the end of last summer. And it was such a relief, mostly because... I was taking back control over my life. Throughout our marriage, Tyler went wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted, regardless of my protests, and eventually I just watched him leave us without speaking up because I knew I had no say in any of it. Eventually I shook myself awake and said, No. This isn't what I want from my life. And it was such a thrill to have my control back.
He had had all the power during our marriage, and so when I took control of our divorce, I was sort of drunk on my power. I filed the papers. I kept our apartment. I refused him over and over when he asked if we could work it out, if he could have more chances. I did all the research and set up the court dates and figured everything out, and got the whole thing taken care of as efficiently as possible. Because that's just what I do, whether I'm scheduling patients, planning a wedding, getting ready for a baby, planning a vacation, or getting through a divorce.
Now that the dust has settled, I feel somewhat at a loss. I took control of my life again... but where am I? I'm 26, divorced, a single mother. And while I certainly prefer that to the situation I was in, it isn't how I wanted my life to go and it's not how I wanted to create my family. I doubt that many little girls dream of being single mothers when they grow up.
And now another control issue comes up, a big one-- this other woman in my daughter's life. I did some Facebook stalking and let's just say I'm not exactly thrilled at the person he's chosen. I'm not thrilled he's chosen to introduce anyone at all to her this soon after our divorce. But I have no control over any of that. I have to just breathe and let it go. And that's really, really tough.
So what have I learned?...
You cannot base your happiness in life on things you can't control. That's a recipe for being miserable. You have to find a way to anchor yourself with things you can change if you need to. I was talking to my shrink about my control freakness and my rage over everything that happened with Tyler, and she told me not to fight the anger, but to just experience it for what it is, acknowledge it and the reasons for it, and let it pass through me. That sounds like some pretty hippie shit, I'm sure, but it made a lot of sense to me and I have found it to be very useful advice.
So that's what I'm doing. Yes, it all makes me angry and frustrated and it feels unfair and I want to rage against it sometimes. But like the saying goes, I just hope for the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.