Control: A Revelation

I guess you can say I’m a control freak. But then again, I feel like people are more controlling than they lead on. I think it has more to do with certainties and order than anything else; I like knowing what’s going to happen next, so I can make clear decisions. But life isn’t like that, and boy, do I know it. Everything is about chance and is ever-changing; the decisions we make change our paths constantly.

This is what I know.

Although I don’t have the certainties I want out of life, I still try to take control in whichever ways I can. I have a very clear idea in my head of how I want things to be, and I try my best to push for those things. For example, I can’t stand my younger brother’s style, so I would buy him new clothes every once in a while, to give him a better sense of it—to, essentially, fix it.

Maybe that’s what it is. Maybe control is a part of the perfectionist in me. And if things aren’t my idea of perfect, I want to make it so that it is perfect. Because when things aren’t, they will annoy me to extensive lengths, until I can’t help myself anymore. And that, my friends, is what I call driving myself into insanity.

In a way, I feel like such little things can throw me off the edge. But in another way, I do try my best to sit back, and try to ignore the elephant in the room, for as long as I possibly can. So I guess I basically wait until last minute to throw myself off the edge. Like a true procrastinator.

And speaking of procrastination, that’s exactly what I was doing last night. My dad’s two older siblings, my Aunt Margarete and Uncle Charlie, along with their respective partners, Rick and Terry, are all coming up to New York to see Oma. And my room is going to be Uncle Charlie and Terry’s while they’re here, so my job for the last couple of weeks was to get my room ready for them. The way I put it (because I can be a super dramatic person), was that I had to make it look like no one lived there.

Which is close to impossible, because I refuse to take down my photos and paintings from my walls. Not for anybody.

But I had to clean off the surfaces and change the bedding. Thankfully, my dad took care of the vacuuming and carpet cleaning, but I had a lot of work to do. My room isn’t very big, but there’s all of my stuff in there, plus a bunch of Caitlyn’s stuff, and a bit of Oma’s stuff here and there. There isn’t a lot of room for all the stuff, so everything is just kind of everywhere, so my room looked like a tornado hit.

Which you wouldn’t think, since I said that I’m a control freak. But you have to keep in mind that I said that I wait until the last possible moment to throw myself off the edge. So, like any other procrastinator, I waited until I couldn’t anymore to get cleaning.

It took me two days to do my room, if you don’t count my dad taking care of the floor. (Sidenote: my dad might just be as insane as I am, because he was going crazy about the house being spotless before they all got here.) (Spoiler: it’s not finished; Uncle Charlie and his girlfriend get here tonight.)

So, back to my room. I cleaned furiously, both Monday and Tuesday nights, and it’s still technically not finished. I still have to change the bedding, because I slept in my bed last night. But at least it’s spotless now; I could actually eat off the floor if I wanted to. (But I don’t, so I’m not going to.)

Yesterday, after I came home from my Mom’s house, my plan was to do any laundry I didn’t do the last couple of days, and relax. So, of course, I used my time to watch Sabrina The Teenaged Witch, as well as catch up on my YouTubers and vloggers.

And I had a revelation while watching Gabbie Hanna’s most recent video.

During the video, she got her hair dyed, and something didn’t go as she had originally planned. It was a couple of days after she had her hair dyed that she added onto the video a long explanation about something that she realized over the years. She explained:

After I got my hair done, pretty immediately, I starting feeling an overwhelming sense of anxiety, and I couldn’t figure out why. Because I always kind of go into it, especially with Guy, with trust, and whatever’s gonna come out of it is gonna come out of it, and it’s gonna be cool. But for some reason, this made me feel so not myself, not grounded. And one of the things about anxiety is that you don’t understand it. It will literally fuck up your day, and your life, even when you have no reason to be upset.


But I found, I believe, the reason that my hair upsets me so much, and why it matters so much to me. If you guys remember the video where I chopped off my own hair, I have this huge thing about my hair being a safety blanket, and how it was just something that I’ve always felt that made me look pretty, and how I never wanted to change it, and how many times I would go to a salon, and I would literally have an emotional breakdown if it didn’t turn out the way I wanted, or even if it looked fine, and it was just different, it would just freak me out.


But then it would be weird, because I would do random shit, like go to Guy, and be like, “do whatever you want,” or one time, I let Andrew cut my hair, and I would dye my own hair. And in those situations, I knew the outcome might not be great. Like, obviously, Andrew doesn’t know how to cut hair. I knew that when I was like, “hey, let’s make this video, and you cut my hair,” that it might look like shit. When I dye my own hair, I don’t know if it’s going to turn out okay, I’m not a hairstylist!


But, the one thing about that, is it’s always in my control.


So, even if I cut my own hair, or have someone who doesn’t know how to cut hair, cut hair, or I dye my own hair…even if it looks horrible, I go into that situation knowing that it might look horrible. Or, even in the situation where I went to Guy, I was like, “do whatever you want to my hair,” I knew that there was a likelihood that I might not like it. Because I gave him free rein, and I let him do whatever he wanted. So even in that situation, I was like, “if it turns out a way that I don’t like, that’s okay, because that’s a situation that I created for myself, and even if I don’t like it, it’s content.”


And that is what I’ve learned, is that it’s never so much my hair and what it looks like, but it’s the feeling of control. And this is part of…okay, so, one of my diagnoses is C-PTSD…it’s a form of PTSD…that isn’t…Google it, if you want. But I have a serious problem with losing control. Where I grew up in chaos, and a lot of my life has been chaos, so I would grab control wherever I could find it, to make sense of the chaos.


So, some people would control what they were eating, and that’s how eating disorders formed, sometimes. And some people would cut themselves, and that would be their sense of control. And I think, for me, I would really latch onto my hair, and that became something I could control. Because I didn’t have money, I didn’t have nice clothes, I didn’t have nice makeup—I didn’t even have braces, so I had fucked up teeth. The only thing that I consistently got comments on and compliments on was my hair, and girls would always tell me all the time, “I love your hair, it’s so beautiful, it’s so soft, I wish I had your hair.” And that was something that I could control.


I could change it, or, in my case, choose to not change it, but if I did change it, change it in a way that I am controlling the change. It became a safety blanket. It was one thing that was, first of all, constant in my life. It sounds ridiculous, but I swear, that’s the thing. Of course it sounds ridiculous! That’s the thing about anxieties and mental illnesses…it never makes sense to other people.


That was why it was such a huge gesture when I cut my hair off in the first place, because it was my safety blanket. It was the thing I felt comfortable with. And in my world of chaos, it was something that didn’t change. I always had long, brown, soft hair.


So then I thought it was a statement; cutting my hair off, it’s a statement, dying it purple…but again, I cut it myself. I cut off nine inches! Who, when they’re cutting off nine inches of hair, doesn’t go to a salon? Me. Because I needed to control it. If it was fucked up, if I hated the decision, it was my fault. If I went to a salon, and they cut off nine inches, and then I didn’t like it, then that would be completely out of my control, and my world would spiral.”

As I listened to her talk, it was like there was a huge light bulb or exclamation point over my head. I’ve never heard anyone talk about their hair in such a protective, obsessive way…except for myself. It was like listening to someone speaking things aloud that I’ve thought, and then explaining it to me.

I had such a weird feeling about this revelation. I knew that my hair was the one thing that I always loved most about myself, that made me feel secure, that I flaunted and protected.

That I changed when I felt something else in my life going out of my control.

You know, I can count all the times I’ve ever had my hair done professionally on one hand. And during none of those times was my hair being cut or dyed. The only people who have ever cut my hair were my mom and myself, and the only people who have ever dyed my hair were a friend’s mom (one-time thing, huge mistake), my dad, Amanda, Justina, Rebecca, and myself.

I’ve had pink streaks (which was the huge mistake), black tips, red and black tips, and I’ve done my whole head red before. I don’t have blonde or brown hair naturally, so when I got bored of my full head of deep red, it was really hard to bleach my hair. I looked like Bozo the Clown for about two days, and dyed it again, because I couldn’t look at myself.

I’ve had a bad history of taking good care of my curly hair, so I try my best to take care of it now. I’ve stopped washing it every day—because doing that kills its luster—but I still have to put product in it.

Nobody really touches my hair except for myself, and that’s because I don’t like it when people touch or play with it. I rarely ever cut or straighten it, and I don’t dye it anymore, because I don’t ever want to deal with another Bleach Breakdown again. Or maybe I’m somewhat afraid of change.

I definitely find myself trying to control anything that I possibly can—including my hair, which I still don’t have a handle on. It’s probably something I have to work on, but a lot of the time, I don’t find myself being too controlling. It just happens every once in a while, when I’ve finally thrown myself off the edge. I wouldn’t say that I particularly need perfection, or that I’m a constant control freak, but who knows? Maybe I’m just saying that to justify myself, or make myself feel better about being such a weirdo.

Prompt: Are you a control freak or are you more laid back? Or do you differ, depending on the situation?

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A twenty-two year old who lives through words and her Netflix account. She makes herself laugh more than others, and she claims that she is okay with that.

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