I know I may come off as this inspiration who has it all together. But it’s time to be honest; I have a serious addiction to image control. To be clear, I am comfortable, but putting on the braces meant something else. It meant taking off the armour of self-sufficiency. Which means facing my addiction to control (gulp).
By this I mean, in contrast to what my ego desperately wanted to believe, it was only the beginning of showing my weakness. Not, unfortunately, happily ever after. It is only now that I am going deep into things and acknowledging the pain. In this case it’s confronting that I don’t know how to show emotion without trying to explain it away or make it sound like I’m over it when I’m not. Which means I’m experiencing, not just explaining, the emotions that come from realizing no one is self-sufficient, least of all me. This may sound strange. Even arrogant. But despite my physical weakness being more obvious, it has taken me 21 years to begin to move away from denial.
My first real experience of disability as weakness initiated at school at six-years-old. Ever since then, I have tried to live my life as not only comparable to a normal person, but improved. That is, timelines for completion, resiliency, and particularly personal independence, have to be in overdrive. I have to get a transcript with nothing lower than a B minus, I have to finish a course in two months, not six, and I have to do it like a walk in the park. The thing is, when you take into account sensitivity level, dictation program errors and life “just happening” sometimes, this last one is impossible. I’m not meant to be superwoman. None of us are. The thing is that putting away my cape is making me feel extremely naked. Put another way, I think I have a new appreciation and sympathy for those who struggle with substance addiction. I feel like I’m going through withdrawal as I give up my dependence on emotional control and autonomy. I still have goals and dreams. I am simply giving the Divine Director the script back.
This is terrifying for me. I feel vulnerable and my inner critic is a real jerk. Especially when I am completely honest about being a people pleaser who doesn’t want to experience anger as a response. But suppressing all my emotions has never been and will never be healthy for me—or anyone.
Feeling exposed is scary but psychological suffocation in the name of self-sufficiency is much worse.
I’m scared, I surrender.
Hi! I am Elisa, and I am a perfectionist and have control issues.