Self Control and Opinions


I like to think I have a lot of self-control, but let us talk for a moment about why self-control is a kind of subjective concept.

We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The concept of perception is basically defined as the fact that we all see a little differently, and that normal is a made up thing; ask any teenager, they’ll chew your ear off about “conformity” vs. “non-conformism”; it’s okay, they probably need to risk airing those opinions anyways to realize that it’s all garbage. I’m opinionated in just about everything, and most of it is because there is a certain catharsis in competition, words, and savoring bickering that up-builds (and isn’t actually bickering unless we’re using my mom’s definition) for the sake of generally enjoying people’s company. The thing about most opinionated people is that you can’t beat or trick or tickle the opinions out of them; they need to have healthy spaces to vomit it all out and make art with it. I’m using negative imagery here right now, but really I could say something frilly like “explore the interconnectedness of the human mind and the awesome power of learning”. That has mostly already been said in other ways and other places, so I’m going to stick with what we were talking about, as in, what I was talking about.

Self-control is an interesting concept when we talk about the world of opinions and perception. My perception of my self-control is likely waaaaaaaaaaay different than what another person may think of my self-control, and for me, that is completely okay; it’s a two way street. We all have opinions, and whether or not we vomit-art them, they are part of us and significantly shape our priorities, perspectives, and personal narratives down to the tombstone. Which is great.

But, the idea that one person’s self-control is insufficient, deficient, or straight up wrong is something that makes my skin crawl because that one has been lobbied against me various times. We all grow up in a unfair world, and depending on your culture, geographic area, and family (among other factors), that means that your opinions will likely be evaluated on the basis of things other than the fact that they are your opinions and yours alone.

You could be too fat to have an opinion. You could be too white to have an opinion; or more often, too not white. You could be too tall to have an opinion, or too short, or two sexy or handsome or generally anything that isn’t really boring. You could be too eccentric, too young, too impatient (lol), too chatty, too not chatty, or too freckled. But the moral of the story is that we all have opinions, and odds are there is someone in the world that is thinking yours is crap as we speak.

Which is okay. The idea of an opinion is that it is your personal subjective input over a topic. Some of us are more loose with our opinions than others; ask me what kind of candy is the best and you will find yourself in the whirlwind of a perfect storm, and honestly, if you gave me a piece of candy 75%+ of the time, I’m going to eat it no questions asked. However, many people only mutter opinions of grave matters of terrible life things, or over birthday candles, or to God. That is good, we need those people because they help us blabberstammers shut the hell up here and there. If you are a quiet person, thank you. Although your worth doesn’t come from your words, it is nice to hear you speak because generally, it means you have more invested in the words you produce.

So, back to self-control. When I was a kid, I had a lot of strategies to get out of things I absolutely hated, and I mean a lot. I was the kid that would be kind in a way that weaseled her way into basically whatever. It’s not sweet-talking if it isn’t mean to wound in my book, but many of my peers and often teachers would get enraged when I was able to get out of trouble by batting eyelashes, making jokes, and generally being a goob (just ask my twin sister trolllololllol). When I say things I hated, that was a broad umbrella, friends. I’m going to level with you: I even timed my bowel movements precisely to the moment in which I had to clear the dishes from the dinner table, and I still suck at chores as a whole.

It’s not that my parent’s didn’t try to impose structure for chores upon me, but part of having a volatile situation between divorced parents is you can work every angle and still get punished for it, even if it is more or less survival more often than not (it depends on which year we are talking about; that’s why I kept journal entries). But, I really hate chores. I still do, I think I always will. The only time of the year I have historically liked chores are the sporadic once a month periods that allow me to gut certain parts of where I live and sleep and shower and take care of business like an adult. But woe is me that I have learned to get slightly better at cracking down on myself.

I really hate doing the dishes. When I was on study abroad, I did my best to cook and ask my friends to do the dishes for me. It seemed fair enough to pass, and I HATE DISHES LIKE I HATE BASICALLY EVERYTHING I REALLY HATE; THERE IS NO IN BETWEEEENN bahahah not really I can live with dishes but the drama of doing dishes is like the drama of nails into a coffin and waking up buried alive; I’m just over it.

The biggest danger for someone who has a lot of self-control and the natural tendency to love breaking the rules for the hell of it is that one doesn’t always know when to stop breaking. I have thought it through, and due to better self-confidence (from faith), I have come to the conclusion that I will break only what I can thoroughly commit to fixing. But the road to pick your battles is long and harrowingly immediate when you have many opinions. That’s okay, I’m a quick learner, but seriously, this crap is daunting.

Apart from leaving my dirty dishes in public spaces, I’d say the biggest temptation for me as a whole comes from the things that give me the most joy. Priorities are hard, especially when they are meaningless to me and I need to just power through them alone. I love people to an almost infinite extent from what I can tell, and that doesn’t change, it just grows. The quest to spend as much time possible with the people I most love is seriously enough to bring out the five year old in me, and that can be rough. It’s not like I want to be bossy, but having large blocks of unstructured time with the people I love is enough for me to Diva away everything, including their preexisting priorities. I typically befriend people who are waaaay more chill than me subconsciously, like trying new things and enjoy adventure, and usually have a high bulls*** tolerance (among other delightful attributes), and it can be hard for me to respect the things they need to do when I just want to absorb enjoying their company into my soul and bottle it into a jar to file in my pantry full of almost immediately accessible memories of people I love and more often than not, strangers. Time is the most important thing to me in the world, and I SWEAR WITHOUT JOKING that if someone (especially someone I don’t know, idk but it just is that way) would donate 1 entire day of their time to let me just come with them and experience their life as a birthday present, I think I would seriously explode. Y’all may think your lives are boring, but I would do just about anything to say I’ve done it at least once, especially if it is something most people hate doing (srsly).

It can be very easy for me to attempt to overpower people because I just want to stay with them. It’s not like it comes from a place of need, I can entertain myself just fine; I often laugh myself down the street because I long ago gave up containing really funny things. But, to enjoy things with other people. The struggle is real but man is it vivid.

I get most mad when people insinuate my time isn’t well allocated, and I’m just going to through it out into the void; if you imply that my time isn’t valuable at any time (be careful, that one is perceived not necessarily stated) there is nothing quite like the anger that will accumulate over time until the entire house of cards collapses, at least before lately. Being able to have really solid friends that I can confide in really helps the Diva status diminish, but that can take time, especially when self-confidence is a naturally advancing variety of dandelion.

The blessing is that I am waaaay less sleuth-y than I like to pretend. My friends (and a random assortment of acquaintances and strangers) are pretty good at discerning when I’m overreacting, and unfortunately, the ones that get offended easily really don’t last long. I wish them the best, but I can only filter so much, and to filter than is to negate much of the best as well as the worst. It just is; it isn’t my area to try to change, honestly.

But many people get it, and that is comforting. It has been mostly trial and error for me to accept most of this stuff (you have to prove it untrue definitively through doing it), but that is what works for me. Independent people who like to push boundaries are often successful for better or worse because they push boundaries that here and there need pushed. The flip side is that they break things that they often can’t fix immediately. Ehh, but such is the price of life. It comes, it goes, it trips over the rug, it stains, and it forgets to straighten out the freaking rug. So be it.


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I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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