on being the inflexible type
I wish I was go-with-the-flow. Sad to say it, but I...am not.
I am kind of awful to travel with. I am horrendous to make time-specific plans with. I need itineraries. I need a thirty-minute window.
I hate being late to an event or meeting (it feels like I'm wasting someone else's time) and I deeply dislike sitting and waiting for someone who is very late to meet me (inverse feeling of the above, with the addition of the embarrassment that I mistakenly thought the person I was meeting considered my time important when they apparently do not.) 1
I am aware of the fact that I tend to become tightly-wound when plans start to fall apart in the middle. Being aware of this fact does -
horrifyingly unfortunately - make me even worse. The anxiety about Being Like This compounds exponentially with the Inflexibility.
I thank all my lucky stars that my best friends have known me for a long time and therefore are used to (or have at least developed a patience for) the finer agonies of this aspect of my personality.
I've worked hard over the past two years to loosen my grip a bit. It's taken a lot of repetitive internal talk. I often have to do a lot of Worst Case, Best Case, Most Likely Case scenarios so I can make myself relax. Generally, it works, but sometimes I still find the Inflexibility creeping out of me.
(It feels weird to put that out into the world: Hi, I'm Eve and I can't fucking relax unless there's a solid Plan in place. It feels mortifying. When I'm doing these things - when I can feel the wire start to go taut and I see a friend raise an eyebrow at me as if to say you ok?- I'm ashamed. I want to be fun. I want to be easy-going. I'm not proud of this side of me. I don't understand how it's simple for other people.)
I'm not sure how the possibility of things going wrong doesn't stress my friends out as much as it does me.
Someone in my life recently told me, "You really need to accept that you can't control everything." How embarrassing, that everyone around me can see how quickly I unravel.
It's almost a compulsion. I have such a fear of, and attunement to, other people's disappointment that I'm constantly trying to circumvent it by making sure everything goes perfectly, even if it's completely out of my hands. I wish I knew how to leave that responsibility on the table where it belongs.
I don't know how to make this part of me "better". I don't even really know why I feel the need to write this all down when I'm not any closer to unpicking this particular knot within my tangled thread of anxieties. I guess I'm just hoping that walking through it 'aloud' organically will help me reveal something about it...So far, no dice.
This is just another lesson I have to work at, slowly, everyday. Here's hoping one day I'll be able to let things play out without trying to control it from behind the curtain.
Good luck out there,
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Please note, I'm not bashing tardiness in its entirety. I'm certainly not always timely. Things crop up and sometimes you just can't be punctual. For me, it tends to be a number of factors combining into my Perfect Frustration, and those factors depend on the type of plan (dinner reservation v. home hangout), the number of people (solo v. group), and the degree of lateness (I start to get antsy around the 45 minute mark). I think, in that respect, it's a fair scale I'm weighing.↩