Take Back Your Life!

Why I like to be out-of-control

June 22, 2011 by Giulietta Nardone

I have a tendency to lean towards the hysterical, the passionate, the out-of-control. It took me many decades to get there and I’m proud of it.


Because I feel alive.

Before I achieved “uncontrolness,” I felt trapped in my own body. I remember going to college basketball games wanting to cheer but feeling too self-conscious to do so. I often felt like the emotional bubble girl, bobbing along in this plexi-glass world where nothing got in but nothing got out either.

A kind of emotional hell, really.

Once I learned to let go of the need to control myself and others, it freed me to do all sorts of things. Like:

Go bonkers at “pretend they are open” municipal meetings.
Write kick-ass letters to the editor.
Craft opinionated op-ed columns.
Express my juiciness at networking events.
Break the rules and write my own.
Confront folks who try to intimidate others.
Wear loud and brash colors.
Live an out-loud life.

Do I get yelled at when I do this? Of course. Is it worth it? Of course.

Yes, a lot of folks DO NOT feel comfortable breaking any rules, especially the ones that would emotionally free them in any way. We’re raised to be hyper-obedient because the schools (then work) need it that way. How else would they get young children/adults filled with energy and life to sit at desks for hours on end, first at school, then at work – all continuous training for a life of being controlled and bored?

Kinda like braces for the mind. It takes years to train your mind not to bend out again after you take the mental braces off.

Where could you take your mental braces off?

A good lower-risk place to try for any of you small business owners would be at a networking event.

Step out of the accepted “what response” with a “why response” to that god-awful sleepwalking question, “So what do you do?” and you’ll get a range of reactions. Some intrigued (talk to these people more). Some perplexed but intrigued (talk to these people more.) Some freaked out/angry (Either ask them what freaks them out about your response or walk away from these people. They tighten their mental braces hourly and probably want to lean over and tighten yours.)

Thoughts on losing control? Yay or Nay? Love to hear below. Thx, G.

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16 responses to “Why I like to be out-of-control”

  1. Chaitra says:


    You’ve put it across so beautifully…. Yes, it’s amazing how holding on to those safety railings becomes an inherent part of out life, and we don’t even realize it. And it’s not just for the big moves of our lives, something as simple as getting in the rain also comes under the control-freak scanner.:)

    I’m still that person who wants to stand up and dance when the music comes on but …. well 🙂

    Your post reminded me of the song, “I hope you dance”…..

    “When you get a choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance….”

    Enjoyed reading it!


    PS : was away travelling for almost 2 months, have a lot of your blog posts to catch up on 🙂

    • Welcome back Chaitra. I hope to read about about your travelling adventure on your blog.

      Great lyrics regarding dance. Nothing more freeing than dancing. Got a mini-disco in my laundry room that’s lots of fun!

      Interesting you mention the rain. Hoofed it from Cambridge over the bridge to Boston in the rain a few weeks ago and noticed so few other people walking. What’s with the fear of rain?

      Glad to hear your inspiring words again. Thx, G.

  2. Evelyn Lim says:

    I have certainly stepped out many times in order to break free of my old fears. However, while I have found an increased ability to express my opinions, I am also mindful about not judging others prematurely. It’s a balance to strike, to be honest in one’s true thoughts versus being sensitive to a delicate situation, something that I have to go through right now.

    • Hi Evelyn,

      It can be a challenge to find the right balance, especially in personal relationships. I wish you well trying to find it with your current situation. One’s gut can be a great guide.

      In my out-of-control adventures, I can report that change for the better sometimes requires imbalance. It can take a groundswell of “yes” or “no” to make something happen that the status quoers don’t want changed. I’ve seen folks try to stay polite and get nowhere at the end of the change day. An example would be the beautiful land down the street from me. It took quite a bit of imbalance to get some folks to consider that open space is as important as developed space.

      Thanks for stopping by again! G.

  3. Jo says:

    Great post, and so true. My life is crazy, mostly, work, single Mum to two gorgeous kids, friends and I love it. I now embrace being me and enjoy others who are true to themselves and all the differences that brings.

    Thanks for the added inspiration.

    • Hi Jo,

      Congrats on freeing yourself to be the real you. It really makes life enjoyable, doesn’t it? People get weighted down trying to be someone they are not. Get a group of folks all trying to be someone else in the same room and the air has a heavy, stale feel. Yet, we keep promoting that fakeness. Makes no sense. Here’s to your great life! Appreciate the nice comments on the post. Thanks, G.

  4. I tend to be a very by-the-book person… but I also like to think for myself. This usually leads to a lot of armchair quarterbacking, which isn’t really helpful. I wonder what would happen if I stopped trying to control those reactions and let them out? Scary idea.

    I love your idea of answering “What do you do with?” with Why? I can’t think of a better way to stay authentic and grounded. I’d love to hear an example. What your answer would be?
    Monica | Authentic Abundance recently posted..Why Apathy is Good for Your Business

    • Hey Monica,

      I love the term armchair quarterbacking. Great way to define what happens when we observe more than participate. Perhaps, try experimenting in itty bitty steps and see what happens. I’m guessing you’re going to feel more powerful and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. That’s was my experience.

      Re: Business. People say “what do you do.” If I say, “I do branding and graphic design.” The glazed look waves across their faces because they immediately get defensive and think “I don’t need a graphic designer” and they start assigning stereotypical designer traits to me. Or they feel pressured to say, “I’ve got a friend who might need you.” (But they don’t, really.)

      Then they go back to sleep because it didn’t wake them up. Instead I say a variety of things, often “I encourage people to find their fearless why. It’s what prospects buy.” I see them wake up from their networking induced comas and say, “What’s a fearless why?” Say something unexpected … First and foremost, it will wake you up.

      I’m going to check out your post! Thx, G.

      • Miss Mary says:

        I tell people “I play all day and get at least 15 hugs and even more I love you Miss Mary’s every day”! Pay may be lousy but how many of you can go into work and as soon as you walk in the door you are greeted by people who are genuinely happy to see you! We sing, we dance, we tell great stories! I never long for the wonderful childhood years, I live them and love them everyday! Follow your dreams, never settle, live true to yourself and life will be good!

        • Hi Miss Mary!

          I’m glad your preschool is filled with play, song, dance and storytelling. All those activities are so important for developing imagination, yet we seem to be phasing them out at our own peril. I can see why the children love you! Great words you wrote, “Live true to yourself and life will be good.”

          Appreciate you joining our playful conversation here! G.

  5. Penelope J. says:

    Hi Giulietta,
    I never wore braces and I had an out-of-control, over-the-top, dreadfully outspoken mother. The result was an adventurous, fearless, who cares about consequences, don’t give a damn what anyone says, dance and drink until I fall attitude in everything except for my work and my kids. Life was an adventure though it could also be self-destructive. My sister went in the other direction and is cautious and always in control. She’s had a good life but has she truly lived?

    I’m not as out-of-control as before, perhaps due to the age factor and I don’t drink anymore, but I’m so grateful for those years of fearless living and out-of-control laughter and fun. Glad I never wore mental braces.

    Yes, you do feel alive when you achieve “uncontrolness.”

    And, Chaitra, I’m so glad that I danced when I could.

    • Hi Penelope,

      I’m reading Steven Tyler (Does the Noise in my Head Bother You) and Keith Richard’s (Life) wild and crazy memoirs. There’s something to be said about living closer to the edge, however you get there.

      I look fondly on my crazier times and am glad I, too, experienced them.

      Your entire life fascinates me. It could be a great movie.

      Am with you on dancing. My sister and I went dancing several nights a week in the 80’s and just danced our brains out. Loads of fun.

      Thanks again for being such a faithful and fabulous commenter. G.

  6. Wow! This post has filled me with renewed energy combined with the energy of all those out-of-control moments in my past! Coming to Peru was one of those totally-engrossed-in-my-passion kind of moments.

    I lived in an overly conservative Chinese household and it almost seems like my life purpose to have escaped from that “trap” and started living it loud! =) I am an obnoxiously loud laugher and learned to voice my opinion in Japan where I first met a lot of controversial characters.

    It’s funny because my sister is just as Penelope describes her sister — she became the complete opposite. She’s super safe, responsible and “wise” for her age. Even though she’s 6 years younger than me, she’s always my voice of reason!

    Loved thinking about this, Giulietta! Thank you for your enthusiasm and for the encouragement! =)
    Samantha Bangayan recently posted..Health or Happiness- Is It Time to Go Home

    • Hi Samantha,

      Love all the out-of-control adventures you’ve had around the world! Controversial characters are cool because they didn’t drink the conformist koolaid. There’s a tendency to look down on anyone who doesn’t fit the mold or throws off his/her mold.

      I like your life purpose – escaping traps and living out loud. A lot of the sorrow out there may just be held in laughter. I’ve got a bellowing laugh as well. As I’ve heard somewhere, “Laughter is the best medicine.”

      Thank you! G.

  7. Happy Belated Birthday! My son’s was Friday.

    I dance. I laugh. I hug people I’ve just met. Those things make me feel alive. I will have a tough conversation… not to be confrontational but to break down walls. I’m willing to take the risk.
    Angie Mizzell recently posted..Comment on The Governor, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Blake by Angie

    • Hi Angie,

      Thanks for the b-day wish! And I wish you son a belated wish as well.

      I like your hugging approach. I absolutely see you do that. Your warmth comes through your blog posts and comments. The world needs more of that. Thanks, G.

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