My friend and I are going thru similar rocky patches in our lives right now. We have an incredible ‘tribe’ of support who are GREAT about wiping away tears, cheering on the fleeting successful moments and talking us off the ledge…sometimes all in the same conversation. It’s an emotional roller coaster and we are both lucky to have friends willing to jump in the front seat when the view scares us and willing to grab the back seat for us when the ride gets vicious and jarring.
Recently during a frustrating bout one of the wise women in the group offered this suggestion, “Get a hula hoop. Put in in your living room on the floor. Stand in it,” short simple sentences like you would use on a spooked animal. “What’s in the circle-YOU control. What’s NOT in the circle-YOU DON’T CONTROL.” It’s great advice. Really it is. Not for ME mind you…she couldn’t possibly mean for moi to relinquish control. She had to be talking to my other friend. Satisfied that the GREAT advice wouldn’t work for me I found my drama-sister a hula hoop and urged her to use it.
20 minutes later I was ranting. My sage friend offered, “no-no-no—that ain’t in your hula hoop NO MORE.” Dang. I guess she was talking to me too. There isn’t a hula hoop big enough to contain the areas that I have to be in control of right now. The rings of Saturn couldn’t contain the drama that is making up my daily life.
Giving up control when you are the only one in control isn’t so easy. Negotiating decisions that are life changing aren’t so easy and certainly aren’t easy trying to do with-in the confines of a hula hoop. Dealing decisively with non-decisive adults will make you crazy. CRRRAAAAZZZZEEEEEE. The notion that not all of this is mine to solve is ludicrous. Who else will solve it? Who else will take care of it? Who…Who…Who? It doesn’t help that the one area…the single area…that I willing relinquish all attempts at control is the very area that the person trusted with the control totally and completely ruined everything. Obliterated. The one area. So I had to gather back every aspect of every portion of my life and re-do, re-create and re-build. And you want me to pretend all that I need to worry about controlling is contained in a hula-hoop. Okeey-Dookey.
Better find a MUCH bigger hula-hoop than the ones Wal-Mart carries.
I get her advice, I do. It’s sane. It’s logical. It’s healthy. I get it.
I can’t do it but I get it.
The sad part is that I never wanted to be the “woman who controlled it all”. That was never my intention. By default I had to take on the role. It’s absurd to me that part of me that gets the most complaints is that I have issues letting go but one of the strengths is that I will get things done. How do you get things done without seizing the moment and controlling the process? I really wish someone would tell me. I don’t seem to be figuring it out so well on my own.
When my life took this sudden, unexpected nose dive I was bawling to my friends. As I hiccupped and sobbed my way thru the story I was reminded about a commercial with 3 friends standing at a counter. 2 look on as a 3rd wails away with mascara running down her face. The tag line is something about a friend who attracts this much drama….insert slogan for the company I can’t remember. “I don’t want to be THAT friend. I don’t look for drama, I swear I don’t,” I stuttered thru snotty, unattractive tears.
The reply was sift and certain, “No honey, you don’t look for drama but you don’t back down from it either.” Ouch. That smarted a bit.
For a while I stewed on that thinking that it was negative and that I was a horrible, attention seeking drama queen who took everyone around her along for the ride. I fretted and worried and stressed and obsessed because, hey, that’s what I do. But then one day I stopped. The truth of that statement washed over me.
I don’t back down from things (unless it’s financial). That’s actually a part of me that I like. I am proud to not be a quitter. I’ll bow up and stand tall against anything headed toward me. Sometimes I’ll even charge situations like a Spanish bull trying to snag a conquistador’s red flag. Sometimes. I am not always gentle or wishy-washy either. I typically have a stand and take it with feet firmly and irrevocably cemented in the side I’ve elected. It doesn’t make me popular but it does make me…well…me.
So how does all this tie in with the hula hoop? I am not sure?
Maybe it means that I should stop striding toward drama and only tackle the drama that invades my hula hoop?
I am certain that it means that I can’t control what others do but I can control the way I react to it (awesome advice from the same wise friend). Uhhhhh…that might take a little more time. You don’t attract this much drama without learning how to respond in kind. I react. I react strongly. I excel in reactions. In other words I give as good as I get. Sometimes better. Typically I don’t start the fights but I don’t walk away once they’ve begun either. Can you pitch a hissy fit inside a hula hoop?
Maybe it means I should go with the flow and conform to others ideas of what I should be doing? Hope not, ‘cause that ain’t happening.
I’ll forge ahead thru the muck and the mire and pretend that I see light at the other end of the tunnel. I’ll clap my hands and pull a Fonzie move-a swift thumbs up and an index finger pointed straight ahead. “Let’s Go!” I’ll bulldoze my way thru the business of separating lives. And when I get weary I’ll step in my hula hoop and pretend that for a moment, just a moment that the space within the circle is all I have to worry about. She didn’t say I couldn’t drink in my hula hoop so maybe me and my friend ‘Rita will gather in the circle of calm. Enough ‘Rita’s and I might even attempt to do the hula hoop.