Fandango’s Provocative Question #88

Coming from an abusive home, I learned very early how little control I had over my life. All kids have essentially no control because children have no rights and an abused child has even fewer rights. The only control children get is the right to beg, nag, or excel at a sport or in school. An abused child lacks even those minimal protections because an unstable parent can react in any number of ways to children, many of them violent and terrifying.

I grew up and as soon as I could, I moved out and stayed out. Not surprisingly, I married early because abused children are usually looking for a stable life situation — and to no one’s surprise, these early marriages do not usually last. They get outgrown. But the point is, by then I already knew how little control I had over my life. I understood that under a cool exterior can lie violence and cruelty. Later, I learned that simple good health was not within my control. I think I’ve spent almost as much time in the hospital and in recovery from some surgery or other than almost anyone else I’ve ever known.

Control is an illusion. Control is what we are sure we have over our lives until — out of the blue — our life takes a turn, hits a big rock, and slides into a ditch. Crash. All your firm beliefs that nothing can stop you doesn’t help because there are things — many, many things — that will stop you dead in your tracks.

I really love it when people tell me how nothing can stop them. Whatever they want, they can get it. All they need is to want it enough and keep trying. I never argue with people who talk like that. They believe it and who am I to argue? Personally, I’ve hit a lot of rocks and ditches. I’ve had my “life vehicle” battered to wreckage. I learned, painfully and slowly, there’s a time to put down the reins, let go of the steering wheel. Take a long look in the mirror and face your reality. Not the reality you used to have, but the reality you have today. Now. The real reality you live even if you have always gotten what you want. There comes a time to give up trying to control your world and go with the flow. To roll with life.

There’s no moral to this story. It’s just life. The only thing you cannot plan is a life over which you have full control. No one gets that. We all have some control, but ultimately, no one has full control. Ever. When life throws you a curve, you have a choice. You can spend your time fighting for something you can’t be or do — or with a bit of grace, find your way to being whoever you are now, in this time and place. Not winning all the battles doesn’t have to be tragic. That is where you have control. You can view changes as a challenge or as a catastrophe. How you see them is up to you. Just don’t pretend the challenges aren’t there. That can be calamitous.

A real world is not the worst place to live. A human life is full of weirdness, lies, and illusion, but going face-to-face with the truth can be uplifting. You don’t have to give up living. You do have to learn to live a life that works. For you. Now. In this time and in this place.

Categories: #FPQ, Anecdote, Challenges, Daily Prompt, Fandango's One Word Challenge, Life, Provocative Questions

Tags: , , , ,

13 replies

  1. Excellent post, Melanie, especially the second to last paragraph. I believe basically the same – we have some control, but not total control of our lives. We have to live with the limitations as well as the talents we were born with. But it’s also cultural, economic, socio-political, and geographical.


  2. I have to admit that the control I have felt that I had over my own life has been control over relatively small, personal things. I’ve been fairly fortunate in my life when it comes to both health and financial matters, and I’d love to be able to take full credit for that. But a lot of that has been environmental, political, and societal. Had I been born in a different time, a different place, and to different parents, I realize that the life that I felt I was in control of would likely be very different than the one I now lead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. Much of our good fortune has to do with being white and middle class. In my case, I had great medical care when I needed it. I got good jobs because I had some talent. I had some very hard times, but I could also be dead. So I figure win one, lose one.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I truly believe in Fate and Destiny. There’s no doubt that a ton of things were put on my plate before I came down here. Some good … and some I would have definitely avoided if I could have. Yet even within this I feel I’ve had almost unlimited Free Will and Choice to screw things up or to reach unbelievable vistas. YET it took me a long time to realize that I had caused it all. The good and the bad. I was responsible. Noting was on that plate that I didn’t deserve or need. That’s can be a really tough meal to swallow. Yet, conversely it gives you Freedom. it empowers you. You become Cause.

    Liked by 1 person

    • However you want to look at it, we get what we get for whatever reason we get it. What we don’t have is control. Looking back, it’s easy to see that a different decision would have made a difference — but then other things would have changed too. Every move we make, every step we take …

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very wise words which come from experience AND a life well lived (from my point of view).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have come to believe I did the best I could. I haven’t been so great all the time, but I did the best I could given what I had to work with. I’m glad I’m still alive. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to die over the past 15 years.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d have to agree with you -control, to a large degree, is an illusion.


  6. You’re absolutely right!



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