I've spent my life meeting other people's expectations and don't do it any more. Two events this weekend I was expected to attend in the audience. One, I was called by someone I know associated with it and told to go. To get off the phone, I said, Ok. A part of me wanted to go to the event, but not enough to get me out the door and key in ignition. That was Friday night, and today I was expected to be at a big Main St extravaganza, and skipped it. It might have been a tolerable way to spend the afternoon, but I was enjoying it at home indoors so much better. In both cases, I was expected by somebody to be there. All day yesterday dreading leaving home in the evening when I was comfortable, dreading giving up $10 for something I didn't want to do, these words came into my mind, When somebody expects of me who does not know my life, they run the risk of disappointment. Ok, so they're pist off because they don't see me there. Control freaks suffer a lot of disappointments.
People who tell me what to do once will tell me what to do twice, three times, infinitely. Experience has taught me to stop the progression at the first step. They stop expecting of me right away when it doesn't work the first time. Pisses them off, but they can write me off as an asshole and that's that. If I follow expectation second, third and more times, then, when I want to put a stop to it, the other party hates my guts and will wait patiently go to my funeral to see me dead. If I don't bring it to an end fairly soon, I'll blow a gasket eventually and quit altogether. Big blowout, serious hatred flying back and forth until it swirls into a whirlwind. Then we don't speak for lotsa years.
I went to see a psycho-therapist for six years over this question, jumping to please other people's expectatons like I was trained to do in childhood, because other people know what's better for me than I do. Believing I didn't know what was right for myself got me into a lot of minor messes, and a few times big messes. Nothing really serious, just a lot of time spent doing things I didn't want to do because somebody else expected it. Political correctness is about other people's expectations. The answer to where I got this inner dysfunction was deeply ingrained and hidden way back there in the earliest years, mommy. Phew, a sigh of relief. Of course. Before seeing it, I knew it unconsciously. I needed to see how it grew to where I continued to believe after a lot of years, even believed habitually, that I was supposed to jump to other people's expectations. And woe if I disappoint somebody I just barely know. It wasn't that she actively did that to me, rather it's how the child interpreted and applied the interpretation to everyday life for the rest of my life. It reinforced itself as years went by into a habit way of thinking.
Never permitted an opportunity to make a decision for myself, I grew up unable to make a rational decision. When a decision was necessary, all I knew was other people knew better than I did what's right for me. I went down a lot of dark alleys for a long time, though gained some interesting experiences that were educational -- don't do that again. There was a period of years after high school, I'll say 5 initially, the most intensely ignorant years, when I did nothing but work against myself, following other people's expectations. Many years passed before I even started to notice that when I did what other people told me to do, my own satisfaction was nowhere to be found. Following orders. Doing my duty. Being good. By my early 30s I had no clue who I was, what I was really about other than doing what other people told me to do. About the only way I can define my inner life at the time was lost. It was the same as in a forest at night without a flashlight. I tried meditation to see if I could find who I really am. It didn't work, or didn't seem to. It might have opened something up that took a little while to grow. But I didn't get the answer.
I'm not alone. When we leave the nest in this society to make it on our own power, not everyone is taught by parents, school and church to think for themselves, make their own decisions. Read Leo Buscaglia, he knows more than you do. Read Deepak Chopra, he knows how you're supposed to be. I kept up with Chopra until he started talking about living forever in the same body. Who would want to do that? If it could be done, and of course, it can't. Deepak went off into some New Age dreamland with Shakti Gawain, Ram Dass and some others he can have. Good fit for the middle-class New Age Cruise lecture circuit. At that point, I said Bye-bye. Like I bought all Bob Dylan albums when they were new. I brought home Saved and played the first side, I said, Bye-bye Bob. Never listened to the second side. Bob Dylan evangelist was a turn I couldn't take. He repented, however, and it wasn't long before he was writing Bob Dylan songs again. The only real direction I had inside myself in the first fifteen years of freedom to make my own decisions, was I knew what I didn't like. That was it. I wasn't even one to say I know what I like. I knew what I didn't like. That's not much light in the darkness.
It's part of growing up, perhaps even maturity, to have one's own mind, not a disguise of somebody else's. Or maybe it's not even possible to decide entirely for oneself, like a cat, and live in a herd at the same time like a cow. In a herd, I have always been the one that stays off to itself. In every domestic herd you'll find one that stays to itself. It stays near the herd, travels with the herd, will eat with the herd, but isn't entirely a herd beast. It is, because it's with the herd, and it's the nature of a herd to have one cow that stays to itself. It's a herd beast like the others. I don't know what an individual cow's reasoning would be, but mine seems to be about expectations. It's custom among us to expect of the people around us, relatives, friends, neighbors, "he hadn't oughta be doin her that-a way." Gossip. At work the entire time. I don't have a job anymore, am not involved in any organizations with guidelines of behavior to stay within. Expectations coming at me are few anymore. By this time in the life, I hand pick the ones I want to go with. Always it's people I don't know very well who do the expecting whenever it happens anymore. After a few dashed expectations they start knowing me a little bit and stop it. I'd lay odds that some of it has to do with Taurus the bull in the night sky. Snort, kick up some dirt, say: don't you climb over that fence.