Ever had that one niggling thing about yourself that you just knew wasn’t really all the way right but you couldn’t seem to crack the code on how to fix and make it better? For me, it’s complicating the simple stuff; stuff that should be cake, like friendships, maintaining consistent communication, or walking into a room where I don’t want to be noticed. On face value the subject matter can be easily defined, but my ten thousand and one issues thrown into the mix suddenly make things look not so easy.
Life for me has always seemed to come with complications.
BUT IT’S NOT REALLY THAT COMPLICATED! RIGHT?!
My often regurgitated thoughts from pre-school right through to the end of my 20’s questioned so many things and today I’ve grouped the mass of my troubles into one area that explains my exhausted plight; control …. (or failing to realize the lack thereof). From the moment I could grasp that concept it’s shaped my world and how I try to live in it for as long as I can remember. Finding ways to fit into the right group and / or control, win, manipulate the outer perceptions of my various social circles has proven to bear a burden, depending on where I fell in the grand scheme of belonging & how greatly I valued the connection.
Whether for a class project, group activity, or even within religious groups. The exceptionally awkward feeling of being ‘picked’ or openly evaluated is to then interpret how everyone involved feels about my skill or how ‘likable’ I am to the masses. So, it’s a public situation that has this annoying habit of following an individual for the majority, if not all of their existence.
We all find ways to ‘mark’ each other. Either because of being most popular, least equipped, or the greatest embarrassment; a mark, whatever it may be, will work to prove or disprove the importance or unimportance that everyone has labeled you with. A ‘mark’ isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but where our world seems to have jacked it up is by giving a greater platform to negativity and using marks to box us in; a game that devalues human identity instead of elevate. Sadly too for far too many, we’ll just fall in line with the stamp placed on our forehead whether we agree with the label or detest it at our very core. It somehow finds a way to be inclusive to how we learn to define ourselves and maintain an image we’ve grown accustomed to carrying.
Because of bearing a ‘mark’ I’ve found myself pulled and yanked in so many directions, all in order to pull off, emulate, or give the impressionable translation of me which everyone in AND around my circle loves, approves or expects. That is until the clique changes and I’m left feeling lost again trying to grab at every available resource to steer away from the ‘last and least’ bunch.
And yet, if anyone were to ask me the million dollar question; Keisha, what is the biggest joke in all of this???? As I reminisce over former fads, trends, styles and the people I’ve broken my neck to be like for acceptance, after all is said done I’d still end up going home, taking off the mask and breathing a big sigh because now that all the prying eyes are gone I can finally just relax as me.
In a recent occurrence I found myself super frustrated and tired. Tired of using ‘their’ words, buying ‘their’ clothes, embracing ‘their’ music, all because ‘they’ felt it was me. What was ‘MY’ stamp in life that set me apart???
Indeed I’ve embraced pride and identity in my British accent that beams amongst a sea of Americans, and the Jamaican flare I get to pull from thanks to my parents. However, I was still choosing clothes that looked nice on ‘her’, was guilty of using ‘his’ words and felt more and more irritated every time I set foot within somebodies church or social group because all day every day it’s a fashion, hair, intellect AND praise-a-thon where people are ranked, rated and labeled as ‘the one’ [quite possibly a foul reflection of Western priorities]. When did we become so self centered? How did I become so caught up?
Without even realizing it the trick of people pleasing was my dependence and my ‘high’. An un-gratifying, unsatisfying and a cruel mistress that often left me in tears because nothing I did was ever going to be good enough. Not to mention left me paranoid at times when feeling unnecessarily pressured to measure up for the approval and acceptance of those I couldn’t see had already embraced the truest essence of myself that I had yet to even discover.
It’s such a dangerous place to be in. That mental space of ‘what do you think?’ because whether they answer or not, inner human thought has a tendency to always put itself in last place or feel it has to fight to remain at the top, instead of relaxing in the truth and sheer joy of knowing personal worth can’t be outdone because unique identity is God’s guaranteed gift to each of us, and it’s insured 100% to never be duplicated. Our authenticity is copy written from birth, yet many of us take years to understand and appreciate this truth.
Today I’m utilizing a different lens to see for my urgent necessity to #losecontrol in a society that has trained my soul to thrive off of having a steady grip on my situations. Instead of getting flustered by the ever changing opinions of others or becoming overly consumed with my own harsh critiquing, I’m turning the page and pulling strength from Luke 17:33 NLT
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.”
Will how high or low we rank on the totem pole of likability and being needed for the task at hand actually bring one satisfaction? I’ve come to the conclusion that there will always be something else we’re lacking if we stick to a man made solution. What Christ offers is the exchange of control for His will being defined and revealed in us.
It sounds insanely ludicrous to surrender all control. But in a narcissistic society where the almighty selfie is king, I’m encouraged to be as bold as Essena Oneil and other famous social media models who rebelled against the control of creating profiles founded upon lies. God’s answer to how I #losecontrol will forever shift how my consciousness will embrace the rest of my human existence.
Though the realities of un acceptance and / or always being expected to perform are valid, this account serves as my wakeup call to my true source of validation and purpose. I’ve recently grasped that although man can provide the first, they can never define the latter. And often the first can set up the wrong foundation.
Clinging to control keeps me stuck in the posture of a victim headed no where.
What I am now learning to accept is the central truth that I’m imperfect and I cannot control other people or circumstances. To try and run the tiring race of living to prove others wrong, make others love me or gain rewards that appear to be the answer to all of life’s problems will keep me stagnant instead of progressing.
My life now stands to practice the art of losing control in presenting myself with the following ultimatum every morning and again before I go to bed:
A life constantly tripping over flawed and unfulfilled identities or an existence free from control where I pull back the arrow and straighten my bow letting the one who created me from the beginning prep me to release and fly… Knowing that my bullseye may very well be entirely different from who and where I envisioned myself to be. Which is the greater inconvenience???
*images are not my own*