I love this prompt. I have worked hard not to be so impulsive that I was a danger to myself. Believe me, it is very helpful to have a little order in my life, some structure, routine, scheduling, regular healthy habits and a sense of purpose. I find that gives me some peace and a sense of satisfaction. Yet…it is always there…hiding away to spring out at unexpected times – THE WILD IMPULSIVE STREAK that has sometimes wreaked havoc in my life!
Since I was a little girl, I had a dreamy way about me. There is nothing wrong with dreaming. But it did fight against the training my parents and teachers were trying to tame me with. I had a dreamy wild impulsive side to me that was sometimes interpreted by others as being rebellious. I am grateful for their training. If I was left to my own inner compass I would be so beyond lost I would have given up in despair. In many ways it is the ordered framework to my life, that sometimes felt like a prison I wanted to break out of, that also became my salvation at times. I needed something to anchor me, because on my own, the impulsive side to me, which I connect to a dreamy, emotional, wild side that is spontaneous and sometimes explosive, would have ruined me!
You might wonder what the hell I am talking about. I am going to try to give you a few basic ideas of random impulsive things I have done – some fun, some stupid, some adventurous, some dangerous.
- With or without drinking cocktails, I have jumped up on tables and on bars to dance. I have danced on top of cars. I have danced on top of bus shelters. I have jumped up onto stages, I have crowd-surfed, I have sang at the top of my voice when I felt impelled to.
- In the past, I have tried to take part in drinking matches – which is not a good idea for Jenna Kirkpatrick because I cannot hold my liquor! The results were always shameful and undignified.
- I have played naughty games with strangers at parties, I have had sex in public places (mainly with Simon), I have had unprotected sex with a random stranger (Simon) who then became my lover for almost two years.
- I have jumped – from trees, off boats, off bridges, off cliffs (obviously from a low-ish height and into seawater).
- In the past when I could not control my emotions, I caused myself injuries because I did not know how else to deal with the build up of stress or guilt.
- I have spent money on things I did not need on an impulse – I am a sucker for shoes. But sometimes I have been charmed by something pretty that I would never use.
- Sometimes, I have lost my cool. I am not someone who gets angry, but I have deep emotions and when I am pushed, I do something impulsive. I have quit jobs – walked out due to being impulsive and deciding I was not going to stay there a minute longer. Long before we got together, I even called Ben an !@*& ing #%~@! under my breath – when he was effectively my boss.
- I have walked out on dates when I was offended by something they had said or their attitude. If I have been angry with Ben (which does not often happen) I have walked out of the house and walked without any idea where I am going, just because I need to break free from the situation that has caused conflict.
- I have given my opinion forthrightly when I was exasperated with people, without any fear of who I was talking to. Often later realizing I was wrong and suffering humiliation.
- I have wandered down routes I have never taken before just because I could not bear the thought of going the same way I have been a hundred times – I had to break free from the monotony somehow. I have ended up totally lost yet felt exhilarated I was discovering a part of the city I had never known existed.
- I found myself some motorbike friends in my search for wild excitement – but they were surprisingly very sensible – so after the thrill of riding pinion wore off I got bored and moved on.
- Ben says I am a dangerous skier. I have had to calm myself down on the slopes because otherwise he cannot enjoy skiing, which is unfair to him.
As you can see – a mix of fun, stupid, adventurous and dangerous. I think that a lot of people may have done similar things and felt similar feelings to those I have described, especially when we are young, full of energy and inexperienced in understanding things like conscience and deeply impactful emotions. But why? Why has Jenna (who has for the most part kept to the schedule, kept to the good habits and training instilled in her, accomplished almost everything asked of her by her parents, teachers and employers) had this wild impulsive streak that often threatened to undo all the good things in her life?
At times, I really thought I was cracking up. I have had very low dips with my emotions that persisted. I had to seek some help and had counselling for some time. The power of my emotions and the impulsive behaviour that kept causing upheaval in my life was actually frightening me. Did I need medication to control my emotions? Did I need to be locked up for my own safety?
As time has passed, I think I have grown to understand more about myself. I believe the reason I bucked against the routine, was a lack of purpose. When I did not have a reason within me – my life felt monotonous. I was desperate for something meaningful. When I was younger, I interpreted that hunger the wrong way. I knew something was missing. I was not trying to be flagrantly disrespectful or rebellious. I was just trying to escape a meaningless monotony I felt trapped by. I tried to fill the gaping empty hole with fun, risk-taking, adrenaline pumping, adventurous excitement. I call those things I did my sugar-rushes. Of course, they could never truly satisfy the longing within.
It’s too big a subject to explain in this post, but when I started to find something to believe in, a sense of purpose, people I could trust and felt could understand me, peace and security descended upon me. Routine did not seem as monotonous. I had a reason to stick to the schedule.
However, it has not gone completely – the impulsive, wild streak. Ben has said there is no need for it to go completely. He thinks it is good I am aware of it. I can be too easily led at times by my emotions, but he encourages me to be aware of the choices I have – follow my energetic feelings or try to harness them. You know like a young stallion who is bucking and leaping furiously. I have had to tame myself and my deep emotions and channel them into activity that is rewarding and enriching (you do know I am not talking about financial rewards right?)
Ben also makes sure that fun and adventure are a part of our life. He feels that humans need to feel a sense of freedom. We are not like those chickens they keep in terrible conditions – only there to lay eggs for the commercial system. We need to know we are not just hamsters running round a perpetual wheel of existence. We need purpose, we need a reason to be able to stick to a routine and we need also need time for fun, adventure, spontaneous, wild, impulsive living!
We humans are complicated creatures!!! But one thing that helps profoundly is feeling loved, feeling understood, knowing we are not unique or alone with these powerful emotions. There are many others who have been on a similar journey and can support us. I have some remarkable friends who have had their own emotional journeys and have become my closest friends as we talked about our mental health with each other.
I have Ben. Ben is drawn to the dreamy, wild, impetuous side of Jenna. But he also protects me from being of harm to myself. I cannot begin to explain how wonderful it is to be loved and understood by Ben. He has helped me to find the right balance in so many areas of my life – I can now stick to the routine and also make time to swing from chandeliers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!