Thursday, July 15, 2010


Let's talk about expectations.

I often say I hold the world and myself to unreasonably high standards. That is true.

It means that I am disappointed often, by both the world and myself. That is also true.

So what do I do?

They say that happiness is an inside job and that a person who has no expectations cannot be disappointed, and I understand that.

But it seems counter-intuitive to me.

I have been doing self-esteem work and self-image work and affirmations for long enough that I know I get to say "I deserve to have my needs met."

Only when I hope that someone or something outside of me is going to do that, I get disappointed.


So do I rely on myself to meet my needs? How does that translate into my need for intimacy? love? gentle touch? Can I do that?

I don't think I can.

As a human being, I live in a world with other humans. That in itself, seems to be the problem.

I need other humans. I need conversation and connection and contact.

But they are human like I am and have their own frailties and faults and weaknesses.

They let me down.

And right now the disappointment I am feeling is pretty intense.

It's been a rough spell for me in these past nine months. Some shit has gone down, and I have had to deal with a fair amount of loss. Sometimes I think it has been an unfair amount of loss.

It seems that the universe is teaching me not to rely on any people, places or things to bring me happiness. It seems that every source of joy in the past nine months has fucked up in one way or another. Campaigns lost, relationships ended, sources of security and affirmation became sources of pain and betrayal, and joy and hope become anguish and need.

I guess I need to look within for happiness. I get that. But I'd really like to have something on the outside of my skin work out well sometime this year. I'd like something to go the way I'd like it to. I'd like something to work out so that everyone involved is happy and fulfilled. Maybe school will be that thing. I don't know. I am not inclined to believe in it right now.

You know how I like to rant every now and then about wanting nothing more in life than truth in advertising. I'd like things to work the way they are supposed to, for people to do what they say they will, and for the weatherman to be right every now and then.

I fall short of what I would like to be able to do. I suppose I can give the rest of the world some room to wiggle as well.

It is Thursday and already this week has felt very long. I have more to accomplish than I can handle, and something is pressing down on me, making it difficult for me to move. I have things to do today, but I can't seem to get out of my chair. I have coffee, and it is strong and sweet enough to motivate almost anyone, but I can't seem to budge.

My birthday is tomorrow. Maybe this funk is built around that. I will be 45. That means I am very likely more than halfway through my time on this earth. What have I accomplished? I don't know. I have built some things, some better than others. I have loved some people, again, some better than others. I have accumulated a sizeable debt in my pursuit of education, but have yet to have a job that successfully pays those bills. I live hand-to-mouth, paycheck to paycheck, I drive a 15-year-old truck that was given to me when my other one fell apart around me. I have a small dog who loves me and a cat who alternately loves and resents me, but I think that's how those relationships are supposed to go. I am single, after a fashion. I have a sweetheart, but she is on the other side of the planet, and that makes the loneliness ache even more. For reasons beyond my control, I cannot go to her right now. I must wait, and I am not terribly good at waiting. I have a couple of friends with whom I have the occasional date, but that is not what stirs my heart. The dates are fun, but not emotionally fulfilling.

I wonder if what I am feeling is just loneliness. I feel disconnected, like I am somehow apart from the world and people around me. I feel as though I go through my day without touching anyone or anything, at least not deeply. I brush by on the surface, make a ripple, but don't stir any real currents. And I feel like the world does the same to me - like it doesn't notice my presence, like I am invisible, sort of. I walk around and know that there is really nobody here who knows how I feel inside, what my fears are, what my hopes are, what I'd like for lunch, or what I had for breakfast. I feel like I have to shout to be heard or noticed at all, and that's exhausting.

I don't know where all of this is coming from, but I don't like the way it feels. I am sure my hormones are playing a part, but I dare not just write this all off as some kind of menopausal blip that will pass when the moon changes phase. That kind of conversation feels like it minimizes what I am feeling, and I don't like it.

I read somewhere (I can't seem to find the clip now) that Daniel Patrick Moynehan said, while eulogizing Ted Kennedy, "To be Irish is to know that the world, someday, will break your heart."

It is tragic and romantic, to be sure, but true. I wear my heart on the outside. It gets banged up by life. I think it hurts more when that happens. I think it feels joy and love and passion more than others as well. I don't know how to keep it on the inside. And honestly? I'm not sure I want to. I guess what I need is to learn some skills to deal with the highs and lows. Right now I just feel them as they are, raw and real and present. I howl with the pain, and I weep with the joy. Might I learn some other way to be? I don't know. It seems kind of late for that now, like I probably have the patterns now that I am going to keep for life. I am stuck feeling things this intensely.

And somehow, there is contradiction in this post. I feel things deeply, down to my core, almost at the molecular level it seems, and yet I feel as though nothing touches me as I go through my day. Maybe it is just that I don't feel that I touch anything else. I can't tell. What I do know is that it does not look like she is going to call this morning (it is afternoon now) and I must get moving about my day. My heart aches.


MRMacrum said...

No matter how thick our armor is, the vibes that really matter to us always get through. Good and bad.

Anonymous said...

And, Ms. Dawn, you really are surrounded by love--however it may be. Happy Birthday. Best, Deb G

padi said...

hope she called you later that day and will again in all the days ahead. happy 45th!