I am a control freak. I wish I wasn't, but I think it's an unfortunate by-product of anxiety, specifically OCD, as it tends to wreak havoc on those of us who become obsessed with order. (Hi, my name is Melissa and I am a recovering control freak/perfectionist/order whore/germaphobe...) However, this control-freakness is in direct contrast to my core, which is dying to be artistic and uninhibited and "whatever". Literally dying.
I've allowed my control-freakness to dictate most, if not all, my life choices. Where I went to school, what I studied, what jobs I took, where I lived. Ironically, my control-freakness does not have much effect on my dating relationships until approximately three months in, then it becomes fun for everyone! Perhaps I try to channel my inner self by getting wrapped up in the romance and the "falling" part of love-ships, when eventually my control-freakness rears it's ugly head, shining an unbearable light on reality.
Currently, the crux of my control-freakness is my job. Being a nanny to an infant laughs in the face of any sense of control or wanting to maintain it. Especially when you are "the help" and not the parents, meaning you only have "control" over the parts of the day you are present. For example, if the parents choose to nix nap all weekend long, you have no control over that decision and even less control over the ramifications. This sense of "out of control" can lead to anger and rage. At least, it does for me.
I end up channeling that anger and rage into a myriad of unhealthy habits on my days off, then, two days later, I emerge and get to start the whole process all over again. I have tried reminding myself that this job is not permanent (helps, but temporarily). I have tried reminding myself that my time not at work should be spent doing things to motivate and nurture myself (I try, but I am so mentally drained from feeling out of control that sleeping and eating (and okay drinking) are the only appealing options). I have tried not caring, but that is immensely difficult as caring too much is another burden I carry. (Some people carry their burdens in a purse or a tote bag, mine are distributed between 18 pieces of luggage, all varying sizes, but in order from smallest to largest.)
Then one of my favorite shows, "Portlandia", released season four on Netflix. I devoured it in days, but instead of feeling atrophied with an undertone of a tv-binge hangover afterwards-I felt alive. I feel alive! The writing, the direction, the humor, the satire; it's brilliant. There is nothing I don't love about this show and everyone involved is clearly in love with what they do. I began to watch with a curious mind, instead of subdued interest in escape (which, mind you, still happens occasionally).
Soon, it was like a light bulb illuminated above my head. And then began the Wikipedia spiral...but this time with a purpose! I looked up Portlandia. Then Carrie Brownstein. Then her band, Sleater-Kinney, which reminded me of other Riot Grrrl bands I have loved since high school, when I first saw "10 Things I Hate About You" and completely fell in love (literally and symbolically) with Julia Stiles' character, Kat Stratford. So I started searching for Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. Which led me, inevitably, to other bands that touted radical feminist ideals. Bands I hadn't even thought of in years.
After that, I remembered how much I wanted to pursue a degree in Women's Studies, but didn't for fear of the job market and that "what would I do with that degree?" attitude. Then, I thought about how my first dream, ever, was to be a writer. To do that, for a living. Make a living out of writing. It certainly hadn't been a long time since I thought about that dream; I think about it multiple times a day. I also think about the crippling fear and consequences of leaving a "comfortable lifestyle" to potentially become a "starving artist" (something a family member told me I would become when I shared my dream of being an author at the age of 10).
And then I thought: If this is a "comfortable lifestyle" then I'm fucked.
Because I'm not comfortable. Not in the inner-peace, personal wellness, existential way I always thought leading a comfortable lifestyle would be. I am financially comfortable and by that I mean; I can pay all of my bills with just enough leftover to treat myself to an $11 movie every other week. Maybe. So if I am not personally-comfortable or well-being-comfortable or spiritually-comfortable, what is the point? So I'm working myself to an anxiety attack everyday to make enough money to squeak by on my bills? For what?
This is when my little inner punk who says "Fuck that" came out and says exactly that: FUCK THIS.
I'm done. I am done feeling sorry for my situation that I chose. I am done feeling trapped by a job and all the responsibilities that come with having one. I am done ignoring the self inside me that is screaming to be heard, shrieking because she has something to say and share with this world but is too clouded by exhaustion and mental illness to even make a peep. I am done caring about situations I have zero control over. I am done trying to be perfect in a world that is beautiful because it is imperfect. I am done being fake, smiling through my pain, lying to protect people's feelings, using my high-pitched "no really it's ok that happened, I don't mind at all that you insulted me" voice when I am confronted.
I. Am. Done.
To be continued...
*Title credit: Song "Suck My Left One" released by Bikini Kill in 1991