This past week was difficult, to say the least.
Lately, I have been struggling more and more with my sexuality and identity, but I’ll get to that in a moment – especially, because those seem to be aspects of who I am that I can’t really ever change, but I need to learn to accept them. Rather, I had two events this week that existed outside of myself, but I internalized them on a massive level. And by massive, I mean, I was full blown alcoholic thinking without the alcohol in my system. And it was almost scary.
One of these events, occurred Monday and I had discussed it. I take on so much of what my spouse feels that it can easily set my mind buzzing, trying to fix or control a situation that, quite clearly, that is beyond my control. The idea, that I can somehow control someone else’s emotions and feelings doesn’t seem like it’s that far out of reach. In fact, growing up, I was always told how conscientious I am of other people. Truthfully, it’s a quality of who I am that I have always grown to appreciate – I care about the impact I have on other people. The problem is that I also tend to take on responsibility for things I can’t control about another person. And, as you can see in the link above, I cannot control how another person views me – especially, if the accusations being made are not based on something real. People are entitled to their emotions and feelings, but I do not have to dip into the cesspool with them. That is so hard for me to not do. In fact, I have sunken so low in other people’s negative opinions of me, that there have been times I had a “Fuck it, I might as well do it!” attitude when it came to some things (I’ll discuss that some other time, because there are a lot of nuances to that). I truly care about people’s emotional states, but I also know that I can’t choose for them how to be or how to believe. Even in situations, where my history of behavior has led them, rightfully, to a judgment of me, I can’t control what has already occurred. The only thing I can do is, make decision right now. I can’t even make those decisions in the future. So, I have to choose to live in the present and I have to choose to live in a principled manner. I didn’t have that level of thinking this week and it could have turned terribly wrong.
The other thing that set me off this week is the election in the United States. I know it sounds stupid and ridiculous, but literally every single candidate I voted for, and almost every single ballot measure I voted for went down in flames. I don’t know why I had such a negative reaction to it. I should look at it like I do sports – you win some and you lose some, right? But I guess in some way, I feel like the world is telling me I’m wrong for my beliefs. I suppose I feel like because I don’t see things the same way as the majority of my countrymen/women, then it somehow says something negative about me. On some level, I think it instills a sense of fear in me too. I started doing a lot of future thinking and believing that everything is going to go wrong just because I didn’t get my way. I feel like even admitting this, some people will judge me for not seeing things the way they see it. And my feelings and emotions spiraled into self-doubt, self-deprecation, etc. The emotional feelings sucked in a big way. The bottom line is that I was out of control emotionally and the perception I had on “why” isn’t as relevant as the real reason – it was fear.
Now, onto the next topic that always perplexes me: Sexuality and gender identity.
I believe I am bisexual. I can see that I was born a male. I don’t like either. I’ve often complained about my sexuality – in spite of all of the self-empowering things I try and say about myself. The reality is that being bisexual is not something I’ve never really accepted about myself. I try and try and try and try to deny it. I’ve tried to convince myself that the only sex I need to have is heterosexual sex. But that doesn’t fully reconcile with me. I can tell you, there have been times that I have truly enjoyed some same-sex interactions, but have always seemed scared about it. But I have come to terms with this more in the past couple of years than I ever have before.
The other aspect of all of this is how I view my own gender. I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that I can’t bring myself to deny a scientific reality – I was born male. But, I have often times expressed that I wish I were born female. And this last week, I have had these thoughts running through my head more often than I normally do. I’m not sure why that is. I think the whole concept of acceptance is what is bothering me about this. On some level, I truly appreciate an idea of me being more feminine than masculine. I really enjoy and feel comfortable with people referring to me in the feminine. But I simply cannot deny that I have a penis between my legs. That’s real – it’s there and it’s not going away (yeah, I’m not going to physically alter myself, but that’s a whole other topic all together). And this week, I was feeling a little apprehensive about it and it played into how I was feeling about everything else. I simply didn’t want to be who I am. And that is FAR from acceptance. This has given me some pause to ponder myself too. Am I supposed to be a man? Am I supposed to exhibit a certain personal masculinity? I mean, if I’m not actually a woman, should I even bother embracing that part of myself? Or is the real acceptance in accepting myself as I am? Of course, when I really stop and think about it, the real problem is that I spend way too much time contemplating it. I spend a lot of time thinking about being the woman I am not. Maybe, I just live the way I live and learn to appreciate those aspects of myself that are more feminine – even if they are simply internalized and emotional ways I deal with the world. Maybe it’s all okay, just the way it is. I’m a man, that feels feminine, even if I don’t look it.
Interestingly enough, most of my emotional breakdowns are fear-based future thinking and a refusal to accept reality. And it leads me to something else. Because I’m okay now, I can look back and see what I can do the next time these feelings occur and p. 417 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is primary tool for me. Acceptance really is the answer for me. Sometimes, I need to come to terms with the idea that surrender has a level of power over my emotions. It has a power that frees me from the binds of emotional slavery imposed by fear, powerless and unmanageability. The thing is, I’m an alcoholic, and my thinking is my dis-ease. The cure for me is in relying on my Higher Power, which is what I refused to do during this emotional crash. I refused to accept it and I refused to seek something greater than myself to carry me through it. I can see it. I can feel it. But I can’t control what’s going on around me. But what I can do is accept it and I can choose to live in a light of principle.
3 thoughts on “There are Things I Cannot Control…”
You can be considerate and mindful of someone’s emotions; you can kinda “manage” them in a sense but one of the life lessons I learned was that there’s nothing you can do about how someone else is feeling because these are their emotions and, really, no one really gets to tell us what we can feel or how we should feel. You can tell someone that they shouldn’t be pissed off about something and they just might agree with you… but that doesn’t really stop them from being pissed off and even when they appear to have calmed down, you can’t know what they’re thinking about and, yeah, still feeling pissed off over.
I think this screws up a lot of guys because of what we’re told and taught about what it means to be a man, including being a husband and father. We must be in total control of everything and everyone and, well, most guys find out pretty quickly how impossible and problematic that can be and they usually give up trying to control things that have proved themselves to be beyond their ability to control or do much of anything about.
Here’s the truth: You’re either going to get a grip on yourself and act like you got sense in your head or you aren’t and you’re going to keep trying to control things that you just can’t do anything about. The truth is that no one can do this for you and you have a… responsibility and a mandate to be in control of yourself and… that’s really about the size of it. You can seek assistance in getting back in control of yourself but you still have to do it and if you want to keep what sanity you have, you will do it… or else sink into a dark pit of despair and madness.
You are a complex person with a lot of stuff happening. Writing is a form of deep thought and a good way to deal with some of your concerns in life. I’m sure there are others with similar struggles who would be happy to know they are not alone in their daily battles. Best wishes on your journey.
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Thank you for that. It’s nice to hear what others see that I may not.