How many people do you know who try to control everything? Who have meltdowns when things don’t go according to plan? Who micromanager their lives and the lives of others?
How many meltdowns have you had this week because you couldn’t orchestrate things the way you wanted?
I’ve had a couple.
Yesterday, I mentioned how Mom let me put her calendar away. Relinquished a little control.
Today it was the bathroom scale.
For as long as I can remember, Mom has been obsessed with her weight. The issue was never the size of her clothing, it was how much she weighed. Her second husband was just as obsessed, and I saw him shame her for eating too much or not being active like he was.
I bit my tongue on more than one occasion and sat on my hands (a technique I learned in school to keep from talking, because everyone knows I can’t talk without using my hands…but I digress.)
Mom had to move the bathroom scales to accommodate her new shower bench. She wasn’t happy with what felt like crowding. I asked her if she really needed to keep the scales in the bathroom. She stopped talking, and became pensive. I could tell there was an inner dialog raging inside. I waited.
Then she looked at me and instructed me to take them out of the bathroom. They have disappeared into the bottom of her closet.
Letting go of habits is hard. Especially if they have been life-long. When Mom came home from the hospital last January after a very serious bout with pneumonia, she had lost some weight. She was weighing about 92 pounds. She was ecstatic. It was like she had finally reached her life goal. Over the year she put on eight pounds. Somehow, in her mind, it was too much.
Giving up the scale was huge. For her.
I wish I could find that kind of freedom.
While I was still in high school, Mom wrote in the baby book she kept our milestones in a prediction that impacted my thinking in the most damaging way. She declared that I would weigh 140 pounds when I turned 18. I remember hearing the statement as a negative pronouncement regarding the horrendous direction my weight was trending. I fought against her vision. I fought and I fought and I lost and I lost.
I want to be healthy. I want to feel better in my body. I don’t want to constantly be battling to achieve a number.
But like Mom…I’m not sure I know how to be another way. Maybe control comes more by not trying so hard to control.