It was a Monday; I buried dad in his light blue coffin – with full military honors – two weeks prior.
I thought I was ready to do life.
As I was driving my daughter to school, I pressed the gas pedal to go on a green light and the next thing I knew I was screaming, “What the fuuuuuuuuck?!” at the top of my lungs as my daughter and I spun in an intersection like we were on the Tilt-A-Whirl ride at the State Fair.
I officially became a person who was hit by another person running a red light.
(My daughter and I were pretty much ok – thank you, God, star particles and whatever holds this galaxy together!)
What started out as pure gratitude for being alive from that accident, turned to some sort of bitterness because I found my grieving process derailed.
The headache and poor communication from an insurance company.
The in-between of car repairs.
And don’t get me started on the rental car situation.
I wondered though – why was I bitter? Shouldn’t I be over-the-moon to be alive and not mangled or completely broken?
I was bitter as hell because I wasn’t in control.
I was ready to grieve, damnit, and then I get in an accident.
That wasn’t in my plans.
That. Wasn’t. In. MY. Plans.
Do you hear that?
I’ve been the controlling type my whole life.
Even as I say that about myself, I want to delete it.
As long as I can recall I tried to have a constant grip on anything I could regulate in life.
Don’t worry, though, I know it stems from my dysfunctional childhood where I had ZERO control (#WorkingThroughIt).
It’s an odd dichotomy though – the “big” stuff (death, marriage, kids, friendships, people stuff) I’m super hands-off and all, “I can’t control people!”.
The day-to-day stuff, whoa, mama can’t help herself! I try to be 10 steps ahead at all times when it comes to my house, car, cleaning, planning, travel, etc.
Details give me pleasure.
And that can actually be helpful in a lot of ways. Take my career and business in digital marketing – that’s literally my business: Digital Details. People pay me to figure out and execute their business’s digital details. And I love every second of it.
On the other hand, obsessing over how my husband doesn’t place the dish towel the proper way in the kitchen, or fold the towels a certain way or being thrown off by a last-minute schedule change – not helpful.
Not helpful at all.
I don’t know why it took my father’s death and a dude to slam my car in an intersection to wake me up to the fact that trying to figure out every detail in life blows.
It’s exhausting and when you’re in the throes of grief – controlling anything beyond your own mental health is utterly draining.
I’m not saying I’m “cured” from trying to control the details, but I’m more aware.
More aware that control is an illusion and I can spot a spin-out a mile ahead now.
More aware that it actually feels better – not worse – to loosen the grip in life.
More aware that kitchen towels don’t care how they’re folded, so neither should I.
And more aware that tending to my mental health and grief is the first and only step I need to be ahead of.
Love + Tilt-A-Whirl Lessons,
PS — No, I will not give up my obsession with packing light and rolling my clothes to save space. Take the oddly folded towels, Control — but you will not take my packing superpower!