Cruise Control

Flikr image courtesy of wSilver via creative commons“You know, I was just talking with someone about that the other day…”

I find myself saying that a lot.  In the company of friends, colleagues, random people in line at the grocery store.  It reinforces what I’ve come to believe in recent years, that as a race, we funkadelic bipeds are all toiling over the same issues.  Sure, in our own wily and wondrous ways, but the same issues nonetheless.

This week’s installment of Redheaded Fury, stimulated by conversations I’ve enjoyed with friends over the past week, grapples with the concept of control.

From the moment the alarm wails and the cats cast their first pissed-at-me glance for the day, I slip into an automated process:

Jammies – off (hang on closet doorknob)

Wash face

Socks … need socks.


Sports bra, shirt

SHOES. (where are my shoes?)

Ah, shoes.

Downstairs, fill cat dishes

Fill water bottle

Grab iPod/portable DVD player

Towel.  Gym keys.

Front door.

All of this takes, I’d say … oh, 10 minutes.  I’m on AM Autopilot and it gets me where I need to go, each and every time.

I emerged from my front door this morning (at an absurd hour), greeted by a silvery slice of moon above and Orion’s belt lingering in the South sky – a celestial tie into another day here in LasVegasLand.

I don’t even have to tell my body where to go in the mornings.  It just knows.

Sooooo, on my 45 second walk to the gym this morning, I considered how useful our “autopilot” settings are and how we can use them most effectively.  And I also wondered why I don’t use them more often.

Y’see, I’m a control freak.  A control freak on the path to recovery, but a freak regardless.  While being such a freak brings along with it organized closets and cupboards to the Nth degree, it doesn’t leave much room for “que sera sera” and many of life’s other wonders that can sneak up on you when you remove the blinders (and clean them, of course).

There’s this little button on our steering wheels that’s pretty much standard issue:


I have no problem giving that button a tap with my thumb and letting my (lead) foot rest a bit, trusting that my navigational skills will get me where I need to go … but what’s made me dread using my inner cruise control?  Why have I not been able to trust that life will bring to me what it will and in due time?

My thoughts drift to why I’m so comfortable with control in some aspects, yet seem to find so much delight in the unknown.  With a healthy respect for my own “inner giddy,” I wonder when I started looking at life more as something to be managed instead of something to experience.  Specifically, have I been comfortable with letting (and not making) the joys of life unfold in front of me?

In taking a journey back into The Hallway, perhaps control is my pup-tent of choice.  It lends me shelter when exposed to life’s unknowns and if I work diligently (and quickly) enough, I’ll emerge from the storm dry and safe (unlike this weekend when I lost sunglasses in a flash flood and tripped myself after acting the fool).  I do know that when faced with adversity and I’m stuck with “Busy Brain,” I turn my Control knob up to max and lose myself in rote tasks such as housecleaning, arranging my closet, sorting out hiking gear, and the like.

Those things—I can control them.  With these two hands, I can fashion an outcome.  And all will be right with the world.

Lately, though … I’m finding there’s hidden beauty and potential waiting to blossom in the crags of the unknown.

In dawning realization, I see a life behind me streaked with passion being confused with control.  Like an irritable fourth-grader with a Marks-a-Lot in hand, I’ve made hasty strokes on my life’s canvas … out of fear or a need to bring about results faster.  Has it all been bad?  Of course not.  The life I hold in my hands today is a product of all I’ve done in the past.  The best I can ask for is that I’m having this conversation with myself.

Oh … and you folks, since I published it in my blog.

Better late than never, no?

But with passion comes purpose.  Passion isn’t blind – it’s applied.  Control, though.  Yeah, that fucker.  I’ve managed to control lots of things straight into the ground, losing whatever passion that set me on the path in the first place along the way. (enter the Marks-a-Lot)

I’ve always considered my passion to be one of my greatest assets.  Passion — it’s a gentle fire that starts in your soul.  From slow-crackling embers come deeper flames, ones that will sustain and warm you from within as long as you’ll let them.

But if you keep fucking with the fire, you’re going to get burned.

It’s best sometimes to be the spectator, to feed your own soul and not confuse passion with control.  Control is the water that douses those passionate flames radiating from within, stifling and then snuffing-out the potential for what might have been if you hadn’t been such a control freak.

What if I can learn to control less and release more, trusting that my life will bring to me all that I wish?  If I learn to press the


button inside of me and stop having to have that constant foot on the

gas/brake/gas/more gas

I wonder what my passions could become if I just let them be and fed them as they’ve asked to be fed for 34 years.  Trust is the issue.  Well, trust coupled with OCD.

In a life full of brilliant and shiny things such as the one I’m blessed to live, how about I let go for awhile and just live my life?

That’s MY life, by the way.  Not his, hers, or what someone else thinks mine should look like on this very day.  MY life.  Who else is going to live, laugh, love, and make moose faces like me?  What other redheaded scribe will extol the virtues of dulce de leche and how it should be used as a thigh cream?  Who else do you know that has booked a commercial by belting Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz?”  Is there another 34 year-old woman you know who sits in a bathtub by candlelight reading “Guess How Much I Love You?” and invariably tears-up on the last page?

That’s ME, by all that’s holy on this sphere we walk.  I’m a dork, and a passionate dork at that.  I believe in fairy tales and make jokes to hide my pain.  I have an incredible amount of love boiling-up in my heart and I give endlessly – damn the consequences.

Is any of that BAD?  Does any of those qualities require me to reign-in ME and manipulate to death the things that come into my life?

Goddamn, I think I’ve had an epiphany.

The perfect close to these redheaded ramblings of mine today come from a quote that landed in my inbox this morning (thanks, Jodi):

Imagination is the beginning of creation.
You imagine what you desire,
you will what you imagine
and at last you create what you will.

– George Bernard Shaw

That quote does NOT say that “at last you create what you’ve jammed into a box that wasn’t meant for what you just jammed into it because you’re one impatient, petulant child and weren’t willing to wait for the right sized box to come along.”

Abandon the Marks-a-Lot.  Set the cruise control at 72 MPH (because 65 mph is just…silly), take in the scenery that passes by my window, and heed the words of a little Chihuahua:

“I theeenk I neeeeed a beeeeger box.”