This is about to be the most intimately honest and vulnerable post I’ve ever written. If you prefer the dirty, snarky, bitchy Kendra please come back next week. I’ll finally be talking about my first waxing experience. In the meantime, if you need some Skanky Tuesday satisfaction, check out two of my favorite old posts; Spit or Swallow and Strength Training for a Happy Ending.

Last night I was up too late on Jezebel reading about sexual boundaries and things that surprised people to be turned on by. Really, does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. It made me stop and think about my own preferences. This isn’t going where you think it is. Reading the article and comments opened a can of worms of analysis in other areas of my life.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about control. Loss of control scares the hell out of me. As a child I felt like a little girl with no control over my circumstances. It was a really scary place to be and I never wanted to feel that way again. I’m convinced that most of the reason I gained weight in the first place was because I was trying to protect myself from ever being sexually abused again. Yet, it was a trade. I lost control of my health in an attempt to control what happened to me sexually.

Last night as I stood in front of my mirror, slipping on a headband because I was about to wash my face. I paused and looked at my many headbands. I stopped and suddenly wondered, “Am I still trying to be that little girl regaining control? Is that why I wear the cutesy things?”

As I thought through several different areas of my life, I realized that, yes, that’s probably exactly what’s going on. I also realized that there’s one area to which this doesn’t apply, one person in my life who has no idea how they’re helping me grow up.

That certain someone has seen the messy parts of my life. He’s seen me panic in a moment when I felt out of control. He’s seen me, months ago, completely out of control whispering sweet nothings in Indonesian to my carpet because I’d mixed the wrong drinks on an empty stomach. He’s seen me falling apart in tears through the hard times. He’s also held me in his arms while I fell asleep during those times.

It’s in those times that he’s earned my trust enough that I can give up control with him. It’s in the rest of the times that he learns that I’m not a total nutcase and I have many redeeming qualities, but that’s not my point today.

He’s inadvertently taught me that by easing my grip and letting go, I decrease my anxiety significantly and the struggle for control simply becomes freedom. Sempre libera, right?

He’s only part of the picture, though, for how I’ve been learning to hold less tightly and desperately to control. My own achievements in life and weight loss have also played a major part. Taking ownership of the fact that I’ve lost almost 70lbs is huge. It didn’t just happen to me, I did it. Living alone in downtown Seattle is also a big part of it. It was a risk I didn’t think I could take.

But, precisely a month ago I lost control again. I started grasping again. I struggled to grab back control from where it had been taken from me but I was failing. What happened played directly back into my issues of being that little girl trying to regain control. It’s taken me until the last few days to see some of the same patterns from December and January. Although it was much less extreme this time, it was the same struggle.

I saw the same desperate search for validation, the same over analysis of every event and conversation, the same use of drinking to avoid feeling, the same avoidance of responsibility, and the same refusal to stop moving long enough to feel or process anything. It was much more subtle than last time and much less harmful but the same patterns were present.

It made me pause and think a lot about my struggles, behavior, and habits. It made me wonder how much of my life is just a power struggle. It made me so grateful to have a least one person with whom it’s not even an issue. Finally, it made me realize that I’m a grown up. No matter how I feel, I am in control of my life. I don’t have to grasp for it, fight for it, or cling to it. It’s intrinsically mine. I’m not bound in the same way as the little girl I once was. I’ve worked hard to make peace with all that happened and give forgiveness, now I should get to live in the freedom of that.

Let the little girl go and let me be a woman.

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