Emotional Control Through Permanent Change

A few days ago, an old friend that I hadn’t seen in a few years stopped by my house for her not-often-enough-drop-by visit. When I say I haven’t seen her in a few years, I mean I haven’t seen her since high-school (I’m in my final year of university now). Of course, we had talked on the phone a few hundred times, but could never really find time to kick back, hangout, drink some wine, and gossip. You could imagine my contentedness when she called me and yelled “I’M IN TOWN, I’M DROPPING BY!” She looked different from the last time I saw her. She was thinner, more notable around the face, her hair was shorter than I remembered it, and she had a youthful glow to her skin. She looked healthy, and more importantly, she looked happy. I say that because the last time we spoke on the phone she was telling me about her split from her 2 year boyfriend (who she had recently gotten engaged to), and although she sounded fine over the phone, us girls know better than to think a breakup would be that easy. When she arrived, we cracked open a bottle of wine and began the gossip. She told me all about the troubles with her now ex-fiance, the splitting of the house they got together, as well as the car and their 2 little kittens. She told me all about the other woman who led their relationship to its fateful demise. In return, I told her about my now ex-boyfriend and the events leading up to the inevitable end of that relationship. I told her about the lousy excuses leading up to the break up, the new girlfriend, and the new bad habits. We finished the bottle of wine and arranged another day to hangout, catch up, and gossip some more. Now I don’t know how her night ended, but mine ended in sadness.

Reminiscing on my previous, short-lived relationship didn’t just include the obvious girl-gossip of how terrible the guy treated us. It also including reminiscing on the qualities we cherished. At least for me anyway, and although I tell myself I am perfectly fine with the fact that the relationship ended, I still can’t help but ponder how things could have been different had I adopted specific behaviors over others. I don’t necessarily miss the guy, but does anybody like the feeling of rejection?

I hate to admit these feelings pop up quite frequently in my day-to-day living. Feelings of sadness, helplessness, like nothing in my life is under my own control. Don’t get the wrong idea here, these feelings don’t develop from the sadness of losing someone I cared for, this is an accumulation of work, school, and family stress all boiling over the top of the pan. Because lets face it, I’m not the only one who frequently feels this way. However, I am someone who has developed a method of dismissing these feelings, giving them a point of escape from my mind. You see these feelings manifest at a point in my life at which I feel I have no control over the events that occur. Whether I failed a test or I got into a car accident, lost motivation to complete a goal or lost interest in a hobby, lost of a friend or lost a partner, an accumulation of bad luck can get a person feeling like they just don’t have control. Every now and then, when I develop these kinds of feelings, I like to remind myself: that is a load of a horse shit (excuse my French). You see, we are in total control of our lives, capable of changing it from one day to another. Take my good friend Liz as an example. Sweetest girl, grew up in a small town, lived there all her life. Until she didn’t. She booked herself a one-way ticket to British Colombia and changed the course of her life forever. She grabbed the bull by the horns and showed life no mercy.

Liz is a strong, ballsy woman. I, on the other hand, am not quite as ballsy. I feel anxious when I don’t conform to the typical go-to-school, get-a-white-collar-job, provide-for-your-family lifestyle (which is what I admired the most about my ex). Because I lack this ability to just drop everything and make a new life for myself, I have to rely on less drastic methods of regaining control over my life.

The ability to change a part of the human body, permanently, is of great fascination to me. How else could you express change for the world to see, than by altering who you are as an organism. When I was under age, my method of change involved dying my hair bizarre colors. One year was purple, one year was blue, one year was Ariel red. To me it said “Hey world, this is what I think of your predeterminism!” Of course, wasn’t much considering 6 weeks later the color would wash out in the shower. So as I became of age, I started getting tattoos. My first tattoo was in response to a mental breakdown in my first year of university. Crippled by my anxiety and fear of chemistry, my mind had enough. As Niagara Falls was about to emerge out of my tear ducts, my possessed music player started playing Three Little Birds by Bob Marley (and if you don’t know just how powerful music is to the mind, go watch Alive Inside the documentary. Go on, this post can wait). It was in that moment that I felt I had reached inner peace. Like my life suddenly wasn’t going to fall a part. Like everything was going to be alright. I grabbed my coat, my wallet, and my music player, walked right out my dorm room and made my way to the closest tattoo parlor. There, I got three little birds tattooed under my rib cage. A constant reminder that every little thing is going to be alright.

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