Wednesday, March 30, 2011

the control freak diaries

When I was in kindegarten, we had this amazing space near the back of the room that was designated as the play area, and featured several stations, one of which was a pretty awesome play kitchen set up, complete with a table, real dishes, all the accoutrements you'd need to play house, a cradle, a fake washing machine, etc. So we rotated every playtime. Sometimes you got the kitchen, but sometimes you got the mini-jungle gym, sometimes the giant wood blocks, sometimes the similarly amazing giant felt board with all of it's appliques. So the kitchen was my favorite, my fascination being especially odd since I spend very little time in my actual grown-up kitchen these days unless I'm making soap.

I waited eagerly for the days I got to play there, but even at 5 years old, there was a certain uneasiness: I loved playing house, but only if I could be solely in charge of the entire thing, ie, I could choose the role I wanted to play and dictate exactly how everyone played. I got in trouble ALL the time, and remember spending numerous days at the table across the room because I couldn't get along with other kids, especially when it came to the kitchen. I would say, in those years, I was much louder in my control freakiness (now I'm much quieter about it, but it's still there.) I did better on the days I wound up at the felt board, mostly since it was a rather solitary activity (it was large enough that you could make your own creations in your little space without having to be part of a group.) Apparently, as a sidenote, I also had problems "sharing attention" with my classmates according to my report card, attention being something even now as an adult I thrive on attention and shy away from at the same time, but that's an issue for another day, another blog entry.

Even now, everytime someone asks me to be a part of a project, I think about that kitchen play set. Can I do it? Or can I do it without hating everyone or making them hate me? I hated group endeavors in college and grad school with a passion. While I loved theater, this is the main reason why I gave it up and never looked back, settled into writing which is a more solitary pursuit. Truthfully, most of my life is pretty autonomous, where even at my library job, where while I am part of a department, there aren't many group oriented activities where it becomes an issue, since we all are sort of doing our own things, have our own little corners and duties. The press, which is perhaps the largest manifestation of my control freakiness, probably has existed so long only because I am working on my own and have complete domain over everything (which has it's badside in terms of shouldering all the work, but I'm willing to do that to retain that autonomy.) I always feel a little bad when I turn down offers to help out, internship requests, and a little embarassed to admit's sort of my own little corner of the felt board, if that makes sense.

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