Stupid Susie! (Date 1 of 35)

10 Sep
I looked at the tea kettle sitting on the top of the fridge. My eyes narrowed, my face contorted into a snarl, I started tapping my foot and I stood up, stomped over to the fridge in my heels (that were 5 sizes too big) and grabbed the kettle and slammed it on to the stove. “NO Susie, the tea kettle goes HERE!” I made a cup of tea and looked at the kitchen table. Again, my eyes narrowed, I pouted and stomped over to the table. “NO Susie, that is NOT how you set the table for tea!” After tea was over, I started washing the dishes. I looked over my shoulder and loudly sighed, “NO Susie, you have to clean up BEFORE you take a nap!” Susie had no idea how to be a good guest! She was messing up EVERYTHING. I was an angry hostess. I was also 4. And Susie wasn’t real.

I have control issues. I’m a planner. For any situation, I have a detailed, carefully thought out, plan to guide me from beginning to end. From how to keep a house, to schooling, to career, to friendships to relationships – my plans are carefully calculated to ensure that things turn out as I intend. If things start drifting off of my clearly defined path, I freak out. I am then overcome with anger, frustration and stress. I don’t like anger, frustration or stress.

I felt this yesterday, prior to Date 1, Eric. Eric e-mailed me a few hours prior to our date to express concern about it going as planned, due to the horrible flooding of many streets in our area and he asked if it might be better to move it to the next day. A PERFECTLY legitimate, and quite thoughtful, inquiry. I immediately felt my eyes narrow, my lips pout and my foot started tapping. In my head I thought “NO Eric, Date 1 happens on DAY 1!” I got on the horn with my friend Marlene, complaining that the 35/35 project was already destined for failure. What a stupid idea! How had I ever thought this would work?! She ever so gently pointed out that, perhaps, I was putting my needs before Eric’s, only seeing how I was being impacted by his request to reschedule instead of seeing how, perhaps, driving on flooded roads could impact him. She also pointed out that I was exhibiting an extreme amount of “control freakishness” over a situation that was already, entirely, within my control. I created the 35/35 project and I could have it play out however I wanted it to. I didn’t have hard rules that I had to follow – so why then was I allowing myself to get angry, frustrated and stressed by a simple request?

I control because I want things to go my way. I want things to go my way because I know what’s best for me. I was mad at Susie, my stupid friend – my stupid, IMAGINARY friend, because she didn’t throw a tea party the way that I knew was best. I have been upset at friends for not adhering to my idea of a “perfect plan”, assuming that they were attempting to keep me from what was best for me. I’ve lost boyfriends because they didn’t stick to my plan for a perfect relationship – my ideas for holidays, my ideas for dates, my schedule and timeline for our future (all of which were calculated to arrive at what was best…for ME). And I was almost about to lose Date 1 of 35 because he wasn’t sticking to my “perfect plan” of how this whole 35/35 project should play out.

I am single. I live with my mother (the topic for a future post). Yup, my controlling ways have sure worked – everything has turned out just as I have intended!! (Insert sarcasm here). Perhaps it’s time to recognize that I may just not know what IS best for me after all.

I sat at my desk, about to compose a response to Eric when I decided to take a first step to changing my ways. After all, to change your results you have to change your actions. So, I took a deep breath and trusted that things would work out okay without me having to manage them to make sure that they did. “Sure thing Eric. Let me know if it’s easier for me to come out to you or we can reschedule for another day.” SEND.

We ended up going out as planned. We met at The Epicure Cafe in Fairfax, a unique little cafe with tasty food, beer, wine, outdoor hookah, local art, comedy, open mics, and live music almost every night. Eric was pleasant company and extremely interesting! I listened in awe as he talked about his month of spanish immersion in Costa Rica, his years of ballroom dancing, his love of golf, his frustration with golf and the extremely interesting articles he’s written and had published for his job. And to think that I almost let the date get cancelled all because he proposed to reschedule – in concern of my safety on bad roads. Forget “Stupid Susie!” STUPID RITA!

I need to TRUST that, without my managing and control, things will work out okay on their own. I need to go with the flow. It’s the only way that I can open up to wonderful possibilities that I would not consider existing in my definition of a “perfect plan.”

“Force yourself to hang your control-freakishness on a hook and embark on a journey of experimentation.”

-Paul Grieco


Side Note: Luckily, I’m going to have help on this journey of experimentation. Jess McCann, a highly successful dating coach, and Dave Elliot, another successful relationship and life coach – are going to follow me through the 35/35 project providing me with their honest assessments and recommendations for how I can make the most of the experience and be the best version of myself that I can be. Not only for my own personal growth, but to ensure that I’m providing true value to the men who have graciously offered to be the dates for this project. It’s not going to be easy but I’m ready to change my ways because I want new results!

Meet Susie

Epicure Cafe


15 Responses to “Stupid Susie! (Date 1 of 35)”

  1. Erin September 11, 2011 at 1:31 am #

    You are a virgo- we are planners! It’s also hard for us to relax and let someone else take the lead.

    • Rita September 15, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

      It’s hard, but it’s necessary – that much I know for sure now! I’m going to do my homework, and try to find a good balance between “positive planning” and “negative control”!

  2. Kelly September 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    I think it is great what you are doing, not just the dates, but the overall self reflection. I had to comment on this post, because I can totally relate and it is something I am going through right now. I am a planner for my job and of course part of my personality so it carries over into my personal life. I have had the same control issues, it is difficult to change your style, but you are giving me hope. Look forward to following your journey.

    • Rita September 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

      Thank you Kelly! I’m really happy that you’ve decided to follow this journey! It’s great that you can acknowledge that trait in yourself – as that’s half the battle! It’s not even a bad trait to have, it’s just learning how to manage it and apply it correctly! I have all the faith that you are able to do it! I hope we talk again soon!


  3. Catherine Hedden September 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    Hi Sweet Rita,
    Today you sent a message to those of us connected to you through Facebook to join in the conversation and support you here. So, I’m going to jump in and offer some thoughts that occurred to me the first time I read your posts.

    This first post reminded me of babysitting you when you were maybe 3 or 4 years old. I was playfully calling you “Reet-er Reet-er Punkin Eater” and you were NOT entertained. In fact, you stomped your foot, clinched your fist, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Cathy, my name is Rita R-I-T-A, RitAAA!” Of course, I thought is was hilarious, but you were annoyed. You like things done correctly. Fun is not as important as right.

    The patterns that you want to change are very deeply held. They have been with you for a long time. And, they served you well in the past. You were a great student. You have a very successful career. You have been an “rock” in your family.

    From my perspective, it seems as if you assumed a very “masculine” role in your family at a very young age. Something I totally understand. This masculine energy provides, focus, drive and determination. You know what you want and you go after it.

    Unfortunately, this same masculine energy that has brought you great career success just won’t support your success in your love life (unless you want the masculine role and are looking for a feminine man). So, something to consider is, what role do you want in your intimate relationships? Do you want to be the one who carries the masculine role, or the one who carries the feminine role? If the answer to this question isn’t clear to you, let me know and I will offer a few ways you can tell.

    Just one clarification. We all possess both masculine and feminine energy. The question is not whether you will always be more masculine or feminine, but whether, in your intimate relationships, you want to be the one who carries the masculine role, or the one who carries the feminine role.

    Something to ponder.


    Cousin Cathy

    • Rita September 16, 2011 at 1:59 am #

      You, probably more than anyone reading this, know why I would have assumed a very “masculine” role in my family at a very young age. (For my readers, who don’t know, my parents got divorced when I was 6 and I haven’t really heard from my father since then.) Haha, and I haven’t thought of Reet-er Punkin Eater for a long time hahaha, but I remember it frustrating me, haha! No, I am not looking for a feminine man. That is something that I’m learning. Yet, I’m attracted to guys who, on the surface or even first layer under appear to be very masculine but, when you cut down to it, they aren’t. I would like to carry the feminine role, most definitely.


  4. jenniferlourdes September 16, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Rita I’m also in the “need to control everything” camp, which is a hard way to live because it is impossible, no matter how hard you try, to control everything in life and make things absolutely perfect in order to have things “your way.” Trust me, now that I’m a mom of two kids, I am learning that firsthand. BUT I also cannot just completely “go with the flow” and let go of all control and planning in my life because that’s also a part of who I am and what I need to do sometimes in order to feel fulfilled.

    What you need to do is develop the judgement and knowledge of when it is fine to let your uber-planner control-freakishness loose (i.e. your Singles group events! or for me, PTA events and my “day-job” organizing stuff and planning meetings), and when to just let it go and accept that there are some things you just cannot change (i.e. the weather and other circumstances around your 35 dates or for me, pretty much everything related to getting my kids ready and out the door haha.)

    It was a lot less intimidating for me to look at it that way – channeling my control-freakish nature into things like work, running, yoga, PTA, and turn it off when it comes to the things that matter like my family, friendships, marriage, etc. so that I can be fully open to those relationships and experiences and not be focused on issues of control. it sounds like you are now looking at life the same way which is great!

    Best way to sum it up for me is the prayer – “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    • Rita September 16, 2011 at 10:35 am #

      That is absoultely correct! I definitely need to learn tactics to channel my energy into a positive, as opposed to negative, direction.


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