One second…

“If you can’t control your peanut butter, you can’t expect to control your life.”

~ Bill Watterson, The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury

~ Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

Being a control freak… by definition, I thrive on control.

Well, perhaps… On the illusion of control.

In this rant, I’m talking about self control.


“Self-control, an aspect of inhibitory control, is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior in the face of temptations and impulses. As an executive function, self-control is a cognitive process that is necessary for regulating one’s behavior in order to achieve specific goals.

A related concept in psychology is emotional self-regulation. Self-control is thought to be like a muscle. According to studies, self-regulation, whether emotional or behavioral, was proven to be a limited resource which functions like energy. In the short term, overuse of self-control will lead to depletion. However, in the long term, the use of self-control can strengthen and improve over time.” ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-control

“Self-control – or the ability to manage one’s impulses, emotions, and behaviors to achieve long-term goals – is what separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. Self-control is primarily rooted in the prefrontal cortex – the planning, problem-solving, and decision making center of the brain – which is significantly larger in humans than in other mammals.

The richness of nerve connections in the prefrontal cortex enables people to plan, evaluate alternative actions, and ideally avoid doing things they’ll later regret, rather than immediately respond to every impulse as it arises.

Staying In Control
The ability to regulate one’s emotions and behavior is a key aspect of executive function, the suite of skills that allow an individual to plan, monitor, and attain goals. There is debate surrounding the degree to which self-control is an innate individual difference, versus a learned skill. Most experts believe that people who are disposed to lower levels of less self-control can still cultivate healthy habits and take counter-measures to control their behavior.

Does self-control fluctuate?
The idea of self-control as a stable trait isn’t always true. A person’s level of self-control tends to wax and wane over the course of a day, suggesting that self-control is less like a mental capacity such as intelligence and more a fluctuating resource along the lines of physical energy.” ~ https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/self-control


Easy to believe that I’m “grounded and stable” when in control.

I like to believe that I’m almost always in control; and perhaps – I possibly am…

Until I’m not.

And I mean – I believe it right up to that moment – until I lose it.

Right up to that one second… Where everything changes… And I change with it.

It takes…

One Second.

Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com

In life, the passage from one second to another is always critical because every second contains infinite possibilities that can change or end your life in every way possible!

Mehmet Murat ildan

A reaction can be explained as an automatic action without voluntary or conscious control.

One second is the difference between Action and Reaction.

More importantly, for the scope of this article, it is also the difference between Anger and Rage.


“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”

~ Maya Angelou

“Anger is useful only to a certain point. After that, it becomes rage, and rage will make you careless.”

~ Lauren Oliver, Pandemonium

So, despite referencing extensively from Wikipedia and Psychology Today, why do I claim that Control is an illusion?

Because those sources are experts in defining Self Control, while my experience lies in it’s failure.

It’s an illusion because for all practical purposes everything that matters – hinges on the carelessness of a single second.

It doesn’t matter how long I retained it – All that counts is when I lost it and the fact that – I lost it.

Example – since alcohol = loss of control (slowly but inevitably) in a visibly measurable way – lemme use it to articulate…

Just like I must consume a drink and not let the drink consume me…

I must experience the Anger without letting it experience me.

It must remain as Anger within me and not escalate into Rage.

I must utilise it to create – perhaps, Art. Or vent out by Writing.

Rage cannot utilise me to create Violence.

But it does.

And it did…

And it will…


“We were neurophobic and perfect
The day that we lost our souls
Maybe we weren’t so human
But if we cry we will rust
And I was a hand grenade
That never stopped exploding
You were automatic and as hollow as the “o” in god”

~ Marilyn Manson Mechanical Animals

“We must learn how to explode! Any disease is healthier than the one provoked by a hoarded rage.”

~ Emil Cioran

And… So I explode.

As I have before.

And in all honesty – I will again.

Not the first time. Realistically – unlikely that it will be the last.

Despite my best efforts to exert and maintain control, I fail.

For one second, I fail.

In one second, I fail.

No excuses. No bull…

It’s simply Failure – as simplified as can be. Without any layers, regardless of reasons, justifications or rationalising… Its my failure. Failure in and for one second. Failure to retain control.


“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.”

~ Jack Kerouac

In retrospect, I believe that the above failure can lead to the discovery of the Self through the loss of the Self. “You lose yourself to find your self.” But which really is the true self? The one you lost or the one you found?

Maybe that doesn’t really matter in this article. (That deserves it’s own post)

There’s no denying that self control = discipline and power.

For a control freak, any loss of self control is definitely not good or even acceptable.

For the sake of argument, if self control can be equated to strength…

Logic dictates that losing it equals to weakness.

It was a struggle to become strong.

It’s a struggle to remain strong.

It was never easy to begin with and it doesn’t get any easier…

It’s a constant battle to keep control.

Knowing this and implementing it are two separate things…

As I’ve stated several times before…

Awareness is never enough to guarantee successful practice or outcome.

Knowledge and mindfulness are the superficial calm you see on the surface of what appears to be peaceful and inviting water…

While rage and violence are the crocodile just beneath… Stillness impersonified, lying in seemingly endless wait for an opportunity to explode and strike.

Question isn’t “whether” it gets you. It’s “when”…

And, once it grabs you to drag you down to darker depths… what’re the odds of escape?

Unscathed and unscarred ?

Ever seen the extremely violent and efficient death roll?

Your odds are Zero.

~ Killer Crocodile (1989)

It takes only an instant… One moment… Half the beginning of a breath…

One slip up… A slight easing of a tightly held grip…

One second…

To turn inertia into chaos.

To lose the mind… The logic… The senses… The process… The upbringing… the training… the practice… the pretending… The facade… The mask…

It takes far less than can be explained or imagined…

For nature to overcome nurture.

Self control is an illusion.

At that moment – in one second…

There is no self.

There cannot be control.

This cannot be read and imagined – It can only be felt when experienced.

Imagination is a very poor substitute for experience.


“It’s a struggle to be better than who I really am.”

~ The Crimson Stroke

That’s tough to state and harder to be.

You’re only as good as the last time you slip up and lose control.

All of compliance, adherence, self discipline and control mean nothing – the moment you lose your self. At that point, you are redefined by that moment – by that loss.

Cause that’s all it takes – a moment to lose yourself to find your true self.


The Crimson Stroke…

All it takes is…

An age old trigger.

To resurface…

Suppressed violence.

One second – In a moment of rage…

Everything changes.

In that one second, that gets away from you…

You lose yourself… and find your self.

In between losing yourself and finding your self again…

Everything changes… and I change.

Contradictory to my regular mantra ~ “No regrets – It is what it is”…

This is my one regret I always desire to reverse.

What would it take…?

What would I give…

To take back that one second.

That one second that got away…

The Crimson Stroke is the dividing line between the two selves.

The Crimson Stroke is the one second that changes me…


“The Crimson Stroke is the one second that didn’t just get away, but perhaps… I gave away.”

~ Personal Experience

I Experience. So, I feel… Then Pause. Attempt Sleep. Fail. Mutter Curses. Attempt Painting. Fail. More Curses… Pause. Coffee. Introspect. Write. Analyse. Write. Think. Feel. Mutter more Curses. Read the Draft. Contemplate Deleting… Pause. Say the final “F@#k it” and Publish.

Then Repeat…

In between, Life is supposed to happen, but I seem to lose the sense of time…

Between two breaths… Life seems to be frozen in a suffocating, indifferent and uncertain state of limbo…

Perhaps, there is more to it than it seems in something so ordinary as breathing.

Earlier, in https://thecrimsonstroke.com/2020/05/23/the-other-side-of-the-dark/

I stated that “I’m not cut out for mindful meditation practices that may involve doing nothing but focusing on breathing.”

Someday – I may take another closer look at that. Perhaps, a bit more “mindfully”.

Life – by default, is an always never ending quest to be better than before – preferred in leaps and bounds but accepted in minute increments.


And for one second
I lost my head
and for one second
I wished that you were dead
and for one second
You wish that you were here all alone

And for one second
I lost my breath
And for one second
I cherish what you said
And for one second
it seemed that I was here all alone

And for one second
I understand
And for one second
My life was in your hands
And for one second
You wish that you were here all alone

Hold back the tears that could fall for me

They fall alone…

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