I'm a Control Freak
So I've just started reading a book by Iyanla Vanzant called The Value In The Valley: A Black Woman's Guide Through Life's Dilemmas.
I heard Ukafrolista speak about this book in this video and decided to buy it. I bought it back in October last year, but I've only just opened it up now.
I haven't done any reading in ages, I mean I read blogs and articles, but that's not the same as reading a book. I really struggled with concentration, I found myself singing (in my head) along to the music I was listening to. I had to go back to read over some of the lines again. So I just ended up switching my music off, but then any sound or noise would distract me and I would lose focus, my phone would vibrate in my pocket and I would find myself on twitter or snapchat. I just had to lock everything off and focus on the book.
I started to realise that my mind never rests. Even when I was reading I would be thinking of all the other things I had to do. Being present and in the moment is something I really struggle with. Iyanla mentions black women and the struggle to be still. Not just in the physical sense but also mentally.
* When I finish this book, I really have to go back and highlight key points and put them on sticky notes. I think I could benefit from seeing words of encouragement on a daily basis, if I had them stuck up in my room.
I would confidently call myself a control freak as if it was something I was to be proud of. I would feel as if wanting to be in control of anything and everything was a good thing. That's was up until I started reading this book and I realised that being a control freak isn't something that is just unique to me, but it's actually something that a lot of black women encourage as part of their personality.
"Black women instinctively need to know everything, down to the most minute detail".
"Black women love to be in control. We want to know what is coming, how it us coming, when it is coming, and whether it will wiggle or jiggle when it arrives".
"Black women seem to have an insatiable appetite for helping and saving people. Of course, we cannot control them, we cannot save them. Many of us cannot control our mouths long enough to save ourselves from a bag of lay's potato chips - we cannot have just one, but we want to save the world".
"This is what most black women want:easy, effortless movement in and through our lives. It is most unfortunate that we usually get in the way of the very thing we want".
"There was no way I could continue to dress up the stories I was telling myself about myself and everyone else".
All these shockingly honest and scary quotes were the things Iyanla was saying in the introduction. Can you imagine I'm eighteen pages in and I'm already feeling like an emotional mess. I felt my heart racing whilst I was sitting on the train to work, hoping nobody noticed me slightly hyperventilating.
Then I remembered my period calendar did say I had eight more days of "normality" before mother nature would come and take over and fuck things up. Not in those exact words, but you catch my drift...So I ignored my increasing heart rate and continued to read on.
The idea of not actually having control over the things I thought I had control over is something my mind won't really let me accept. I was open to learn from this book, but I was definitely thrown off when I was told that I don't have the control I thought I did.
I can't even begin to tell you how scary that is. Even though I was hesitant to believe that I don't actually have any control, I did start to look at what I think I do have control over and I quickly realised that I honestly don't have as much control as I'd like to think I have. In fact my only experience of being a control freak is wanting to be alone when I'm cooking.
* If you love me you won't step foot in the kitchen when I'm cooking. Unless you want me to insult you or push you out the door, I suggest gathering whatever beverage or snacks you want before I start cooking.
The unknown is something I'm not very fond of, so I think I tricked myself into thinking that I have control over what's going. So when anything did happen I would feel comfortable knowing that whatever happened was because of me, instead of it just being that unpredictable thing called - life.
I'm constantly thinking about why my life isn't easier and more rewarding when it comes to the smaller accomplishments. I would sometimes get to the "what's the point?" Stage, even though I didn't intentionally do anything for something in return. I would sometimes end up feeling like it was all for nothing. Even though I know good things come to those who work for it, I still felt as if all the little good things I did went unnoticed. But then I'd be very quick to tell my youngest brother that if he does something good it shouldn't be for a treat or gift but because it's what he's supposed to do. Gosh, talk about double standards Saabirah lol.
I am terrified! Letting go of this mentality is freaken hard. Being still and present is hard. Accepting a lack of control is scary.
It's going to be difficult and very scary, but I cannot finish this book and be the same Saabirah I was when I started reading this book. I have to ask myself some honest and difficult questions and answer them honestly. I have to find out what it is that I need to do in order to be the best version of myself. I have to teach myself to be still, in order to actually figure out what it is I need to do next. I need to be honest with myself, and others. I need to do what makes me happy.
I'm only on the second chapter of this book and I'm definitely enjoying it, even though it is pretty intense. Thankyou for reading this post and I hope you liked it.
Have you read any of Iyanla Vanzant's books?
What one should I read next?
Enjoy the rest of your week beautiful people.