Thursday, January 20, 2011

All I Have to Be

With the start of something new comes a set of expectations. Those expectations come from a mixed bag that contains our own ideas, the opinions of others, what we think we're lacking, and what we think we've failed at or need to improve in order to feel complete as a person. Sensitives, I think, are especially vulnerable to this notion. Once we've concocted a vision for ourselves we tend to not only idolize it, but berate ourselves on a minute by minute basis if we're somehow not there yet.

I may have touched on this subject before, but for fun's sake I'm going to explore it a little again. When I started writing this blog I didn't have any expectations for myself at all. It was actually just a small idea in the back of my head that sat there for almost a year before I took action. It was an idea that was inspired by the efforts of one of my more social media savvy co-workers. I thought what the heck. I used to write. I've been meaning to start writing again since '07. That's why I finally broke down and bought that Dell desktop isn't it? Let's put it to use! Thank you "R." Not only for your sudden whim of inspiration, but for always being there to listen to my grovels about "you know where" without judgment and for your on the job avocation.

Some of you may come here out of curiosity. Some because you're looking for some sort of advice, guidance, or inspiration. Some because you're curious to know what I really think, because we all know I'm a tad more reticent and socially guarded offline until I've had enough time to get a feel for who you really are. Others might read to try to understand a part of themselves in a way that keeps that part of who they are private, as it should be. Some probably want to connect somehow with someone else who thinks the way they do and get reassurance that they're not "crazy." Whatever the reason(s), I hope that you don't have a high set of expectations since this is really more of a personal exercise/experiment. To be honest, I'm kind of tired of having to live up to them.

Part of life is letting go of expectations. The expectations that we hear from others and strive to become until it's a given that makes us wake up one day and wonder who we really are. Like the fact that I'm the "A" and "B" student and overachiever who's always expected to be on the honor roll, get promoted, be counted on to do the "good girl right" thing, have a "good decent" job with a fancy sounding title. The expectations that we impose upon ourselves because it's not who we really are but it sounds like the grass is greener on the other side. Like telling yourself that you're somehow inadequate for still being unmarried and childless when maybe you're perfectly content with the single life and random dating. And maybe, just maybe your life experiences have resulted in characteristics that have molded you for something else the universe needs.

We have expectations of others too. That they should react and behave a certain way or live up to a certain image that we have of them in our mind. That they should be a certain type of person for us because that's the way it should be. They're the kind of expectations that lead to misunderstandings, arguments, prejudice, bullying, and at the extreme end all out genocide. When my mom finally decided to call me about her reaction to my FB jest, I answered this time. After thirty-four years of being her daughter, I should have remembered that she takes her public image very seriously. Maybe it was last year's concussion or my own opinion that no dirty laundry is dirty enough to hide, but she has a different idea. To her, upholding the image that she's an upstanding Christian mom who has raised her daughters to never "go astray" is vital. And at the core of this is the fact that she doesn't feel like we spend enough time together; she doesn't know me, the adult me, well enough. A little empty nest syndrome that I think I might need to learn to at least meet her halfway on.

Growing up I had a few "idols," like most children do. Sources of inspiration was more like it, since I don't think it's fair to put a person up on a pedestal just because they give back something to society through their artistic talents. Their public side is part concocted image with a marketing objective in mind and part of the best side of who they are. But when the performances are done and the lights have been turned out, they're a human being like the rest of us. With struggles, inner demons, aspects of life they feel they've failed at, and challenges of finding their own ideas of hope and inspiration.

One of those inspirations produced a song that I still listen to occasionally. I revisit its lyrics whenever I forget that I don't have anything to live up to or a certain set of expectations to fulfill. While I would change some of the lyrics to reflect an inner dependence rather than a dependence on a spiritual being, the meaning still holds very true. We will always have our dreams and our visions. No matter how many people tell us what our problem is or what we should do, we'll still wonder if we can become what we're made to feel we should be.

But in those private moments of just being we discover that we can't simply strive towards an idea of completeness. And the reason for that is simple-we are complete. Complete in who we already are. And that's all we ever have to be.

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