On Control

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One relationship you become keenly aware of when you have a disability is your relationship with control. I have zero to little control over my body. Yes, my brain can tell my legs to move, my body to get out of bed. I’m very thankful for those things. I can control what I put into my body. But when it comes to pain, when it comes to aging, when it comes to muscles and strength, I have no control. I can’t control how little or much strength I’m going to have from day-to-day. I can’t control whether or not I’m going to fall this week or not. I can’t control how strong or weak I might be when I get older. I can’t control the fact I can’t get up curbs or go up stairs.

As a result, I’ve tried to control everything else possible in my life: circumstances, the cleanliness of my room, outcomes of just about everything, how I look. When I start to feel like I have no control…I clean. I get rid of clothes. I clean the kitchen. I organize my closet. I do a task that I can actually do something about and that has a tangible outcome in the end.

I’m keenly aware the older I get of the super tight grip I sometimes try to have on life. I think I’m such a creature of routine in so many ways because I’m trying to control my day as much as I can. I realize I need to get out of that and so I welcome changes to the routine sometimes, but generally speaking, routine for me is familiar. It’s comfortable. It means I don’t have to deal with the unknown.

People deal with their disabilities in different ways. I know people who go the complete opposite way (a way I envy) and just say “well, I can’t control my disability so why waste energy trying to control everything else?” I think that’s certainly a much healthier perspective to have.

I know I’m never going to be able to control my body or what happens to it, so I try to control everything else I can. I’m working on letting go little by little because I do expel a lot of energy trying to control what I can. There’s times when I can literally almost feel my grip squeezing around everything. Some things in life just aren’t meant to be controlled. Life isn’t always a bull that you have to grab by the horns. Sometimes you just have to step away from the bull and let it do what it’s going to do.

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