My mother loved performing and she passed that onto her two daughters. Every Sunday we did our own in-house variety show where we sang, danced and told stories. One of the songs that she would sing was Doris Day’s “Que sera, sera” (whatever will be, will be). My mom was a big believer in fate and that song was her mantra. That belief in fate was deeply entangled with her strong belief in the supernatural. This layered belief system was her guiding force. Many academics have gone on to talk about how Hispanics are fatalistic, believing strongly in fate and abdicating control. It’s more complicated than that, obviously. By believing in fate she didn’t abdicate all sense of control, it was something to be listed to when going through life.
While my mom passed on her love of sweets and performance, her sense of fate was passed on in a more nuanced manner. While she believed heavily in fate, I believed more strongly in exerting control over one’s life. At each turn, I fought the fate that many in my neighborhood were subjected to. I believed in putting on a daily smile and making things happen. I felt I was taking a stand against my mom’s belief of fate. I couldn’t conceive of not having control over any aspect of one’s life. I still believe that to a point.
Once in the workplace, I came to realize, that there are times when “it is what it is.” There are many circumstances when you just have to let things happen and take a step back. There are moments when you have to not strive for control in order to have a piece of sanity. When others are bent on doing something a particular way and to change course would be an immense effort that maybe wasted, you just have to shrug and say “it is what it is.” I have been in so many situations in the workplace where decisions that are made barely make any sense. At times, I have felt like fighting because I knew that at the end of the day I would be asked with the inevitable cleanup. What I have learned to do, however, is to anticipate how the cleanup will have to take place and get it set in motion. As such, I have been thinking about this never-ending battle between fate and control.
I have been watching the television show Supernatural, where two brothers battle demons as well as this fate versus control life trajectory. They were slated to be demon hunters and save the world but they have fought (or tied to) on their own terms. In other words, you can be fated to certain roles in life but you can still control how it gets played out. We see this battle discussed in the news and science fields all the time, when the “nature versus nurture” debates get fired up. I have to come understand that there are many things we are slated to do and experience, but the environment can and will serve as the trigger.
Had my mother still been alive, she would have been glued to the television coverage of the missing Malaysian flight. More specifically, she would have had several cups of black coffee each night in order to stay up for Don Lemon’s 10pm CNN newscast. She would have had the national inquirer in hand to compare to his coverage which has bordered on the obscenely ridiculous. Every night he has brought forth the wackiest theories out there as to the disappearance of the plane and had panelists debate them. To add insult to our collective viewing mind, CNN kept the breaking news scroll at the bottom of the screen.
I believe my mom’s favorite theory would have been the Zombie Plane theory that CNN and MSNBC put out there. A zombie plane is one where everyone aboard loses consciousness because of a loss of pressurization, an explosion, smoke or fumes. It isn’t really that the plane because filled with the Walking Dead extras. A zombie plane continues to fly on autopilot in such an instance. My mom would have liked that theory because she could imbue it with a bit of a supernatural twist. For instance I could see her thinking that maybe everyone slipped into a coma because they were in an area similar to the Bermuda Triangle. She would then go on to argue they were meant to be in that area in that point in time. She would have said it was their fate and there was nothing they could have done to control that situation. There are other wacky ideas out there. Others assert that a meteor struck the plane because one was reported in the area around the time Flight 370 took off. There is also the “shadow plane” theory, in that the Malaysian plane flew in the shadow of another aircraft or on top of another plane. Of course, right now one plausible theory is that the lithium batteries in the cargo area burned up. Either way, as I watch the news coverage I can’t help to think of how my mother would have come up with a supernatural and fate-driven theory of what is driving current events.
Lately, I have had to reassess what is within my sphere of control. I have been going non-stop for so long that it just seemed like everything had to be in my sphere of control. Now, however, I must let certain things fall within the realm of fate and other things I can mold within my purview and desires. A little bit of mom and a little bit of me-going forward. Today’s song will be a mash between Que Sera, Sera and Drive. As Incubus notes in their lyrics:
Lately, I’m beginning to find that when I drive myself, my light is found
Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah
Inspired by current events and the Daily Prompt of Que Sera, Sera
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