On control, inadequacy and (already) reevaluating 2016

I painted my nails black then registered for the LSAT, capping a turbulent week with something I exclusively can control. I haven’t painted my nails since my senior Prom, nor have I ever painted them black (don’t tell my mother), but something about making a major decision like law school led me to a wannabe-rebellious color choice. I removed the black pretty quickly, but damn, it felt good to make such a daring choice to go with another relatively daring choice.

2016, clearly, has already been an interesting year for me.

This week, I gained more control at work when my boss officially handed off the museum’s Facebook account to me, then lost it when a health scare landed me in the hospital, revealing that I’ve been sick for several months and didn’t know it. I gained control when I registered for the LSAT in June and lost it when a would-be relationship didn’t work out as I had hoped it would, leaving me feeling unwanted and inadequate.

Control is tricky like that, the way it cruelly instills false confidence, false hope, only to sneak in and remind me I’ll never have it all completely figured out — and that’s fine, by the way.

For a long time, I perceived dating as something I could control. If I’m smart enough, cool enough, charming enough, driven enough, it’ll work out, I told myself. And when it inevitably didn’t, I felt it was solely my fault, that I simply wasn’t good enough. The adult reality of different expectations, timelines and goals escaped me. They’re out of my control, a menacing, unpredictable realm that led me to intense self-loathing and nagging doubt (again, something I could control and ultimately dish out in a destructive capacity).

I faced literal inadequacy this weekend when I learned my blood isn’t properly nourishing my body. I arrived at the hospital with a hemoglobin level of 5, when 12 is normal, and am dangerously low in iron. It is a bizarre juxtaposition, really. I sought desperately to control a would-be relationship but couldn’t ultimately control my own health.

It’s Jan. 11, and this year has already left me feeling empowered and powerless. In tune with my career path, out of tune with my health. A success in my professional life, an unattractive failure in my personal life. Running two half-marathons, owning the LSAT, applying to law school — those were the New Year’s resolutions I had planned to tout in 2016. Instead, I’ve shifted to a list that’s more modest, less flashy but, I’ve realized, equally as important: Take my new medication daily, be a little bit kinder to myself and remember that I can’t control everything — and there’s something beautiful about it.

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