Unmet Expectations

We all have them.  I certainly do.  Some are realistic-some not. To be honest, I don’t know where half of mine come from! My expectations that is. We are inundated with so much stuff from almost day one of our lives. As a child- and a girl child- it was “read” into me to expect a Prince Charming to sweep me off my feet one day-offering me a glass slipper and a carriage ride into a fairytale life. I started to believe and expect that for every bad situation, the would be a Glenda- the good witch of the East- to rescue me and send me back to safety with 3 clicks of my heels. Again, fancy shoes were involved! This time the Ruby Slippers. You know as I’m writing this, it’s occurring to me that shoes have played a big part in fairy tales- all the way from Cinderella up to recently, Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City! But I’m getting away from the subject here- or am I? Maybe having fancy shoes or not- does come into play here. It does for me! My feet are so messed up from working on them for so long that shoes are a big problem for me . To be honest, I’d rather shop for a swim suit- and that is not because I like how I look in one! So yes, I do have an unmet expectation in regards to shoes. I never imagined that they would be such a problem for me.

There’s both unmet and unrealistic expectations.  Sometimes they merge and become one in the same. We are so brainwashed into how we should be- eat a certain way, weigh a certain weight, workout this way or that. Meditate this way- do one kind of yoga over another. It’s trickled down into every aspect of our lives- my life. I find myself wondering just how I would be without so much outside influence. Wondering if at times I might not feel so let down if I could just know at my core what is the best way for me to be. So many ideas can sound so good when I read them in an article- but then in reality, they don’t really fit into my life. They don’t fit with who I am. And that’s where a lot of the problems start. At least in my case. Because what’s happened is that I’ve bought into some kind of “way of being” and instead of realizing that it’s not me and go on from there, I feel like something’s wrong with me. I’ve let myself down. I haven’t met up to my own expectations of myself. I’m just not good enough. Of course I realize this could be a never ending cycle. Because it’s possible and in my case probable, that I will always find some other expectations to have and not come to fruition.

And then of course, there’s the other people in our lives- what about when they don’t meet our expectations? How realistic are the expectations that we’ve placed on them? I know in my case one of my major, recurring issues is that I sometimes give people too much credit. I have had this come up mainly in work situations. Giving someone too much credit . Then they don’t meet my expectations. Then there’s problems.  I had this problem in my marriage- thinking my ex and I were on the same page and then being extremely disappointed to find out differently. I will say, that as far as my relationship with my SO now, I don’t have this problem. At least not in the sense that I’ve received mixed messages from him only to be disappointed. Nope, not from him. The only times I’m disappointed is when I’ve concocted something in my head and it’s just not so.

Of course there’s the saying that goes something like “if you don’t have any expectations, you won’t be disappointed “ but that is so hard to do in this world we live in- there’s so much on social media- so many magazine covers screaming out about a new way to be- so many strangers surrounding us that look so perfect-  Last night I got hooked into watching an infomercial on some skincare line. Those sales people are sooooo good! I decided to Google reviews for the product. While it didn’t have a horribly negative rating, it didn’t exactly have a positive one.  If I had bought it, I’d have one more unmet expectation.

I think another aspect of unmet expectations is that often that they then become a way for us to beat ourselves up.  I’ve had too many “day ones” or “I have no willpower” or whatever it is.  That way of thinking can eat us up. I’ve seen people who are so full of resentment and bitterness over their unmet expectations- whether of themselves or in regards to another person- that it just takes over their lives. Like a parent who can’t accept that their son is gay.  Or a Jewish father that won’t accept his non-Jewish son-in-law. The list can go on and on. It’s poison. It’s a waste of time and energy.

So here’s what I’m going to TRY to do. I’m going to try and be more conscious of my decisions- try to be clearer in my thinking. I’m going to try to remember to question what exactly my expectations are in a situation. When- because it will happen- I find myself having unmet expectations, I am going to try and react differently than I have in the past. I will question myself as to why I’m disappointed. I will try to let it go as soon as I can.  I will also remind myself that there’s a reason- in some cases, maybe I’m just not meant to do something- it’s not me.  Or maybe something better is coming in place of it.

Our lives are so short. We have so much going on in them- so many experiences and choices. In our quest to better ourselves, it seems like there’s a fine line between lovingly accepting who we are and building our lives around that truth and setting ourselves up for disappointment in the form of unmet expectations.  Life is fluid. It’s always shifting and changing. We should try to do that too!


With Love





Rebel Without a Cause

I had this crazy-very busy dream last night.  And what may have been my first drinking dream-in over 2 years!   Without getting tooo wordy about it all, I will tell this much.  I was getting on a bus and as I was boarding, Victoria Beckham was also getting on.  She handed me a champagne flute that was filled to the brim with brandy.  I was surprised on a couple of levels-one that she-Victoria Beckham-would do that and it was really early in the morning, like dawn.  I also didn’t want it.  I really wanted coffee-but, I took it.  I sipped at it all the while not liking it and afraid I’d get drunk.  Then at some point, Lucinda Williams got on.  Victoria handed her a glass too-and she loved it!  Had her guitar with her and started to sing.  Not sure if you know who Lucinda Williams is-I LOVE her!  She’s kind  of a folksy, country, rock and roller.  Has had a pretty wild ride. So, here I am, feeling  and believing that the people we see in dreams represent a part of us-of our personality. And boy! 2 very different sides here! “Posh” on the one hand and wild, rebel southern rocker chic on the other.  That sounds about right!

In thinking about and trying to analyze this dream, I realized several things.  The first is that I did not want nor was comfortable with having an alcoholic drink in my hand.  I did not want to get drunk. I wanted coffee!! Times do change! As a matter of fact, throughout the dream I kept looking for a way to either make or somhow get a coffee. I guess I would like to think that in some very, very small way, I can at times be “posh”.  But then! Then comes in Lucinda!  An-at least at one time-hard living woman!  With the gravelly voice to prove it! Yet at the same time, she’s an artist-a poet-a performer.  And yes, I have definitely had and lived through my rebel southern rocker chic stage.

All of this makes me think and remember how rebellious I was growning up. I was always angry- fear based anger.   God! I was always fighting something-having to prove something.  Because I got so nervous trying out for the drill team and only made pep squad-which I deemed was for nerds and failures, I went to the complete other side-drugging and drinking all through high school.   Then through my limited time in college.  Always being the one who could “stay in control”. Yeah! Right!  Eventually giving up drugs and pot, but hanging on to that alcoholic beverage.  Until of course 2 years ago when I quit.

What this dream ties into on some levels is something that occurred to me the other day. That aside from the fucked up political scene here in the US, I don’t really feel and underlying need to rebel anymore.  Which brings me to my belief that addiction and overindulgence on a regular basis is tied to underlying issues that we are either not in touch with or don’t want to be in touch with.  For example-or several- in my first marriage, I realized during all the therapy that I had during and after, that I never really felt safe with my ex.  Not in a fear of physical abuse, but emotional. And, now in thinking about it that while I can acknowledge that being with him helped bring me to where I am today, there was an underlying level of discomfort-and so I drank.

The same is true with my catering career.  While I was good at it, I never really wanted it and there was a HUGE amount of stress involved-both physical and mental. And to be honest, I should never have gone into business for myself.  I was good at the catering part-and pretty much every part except the business part.  So there was another underlying reason to medicate myself.  Another excuse.

Of course growing up I had issues with my parents.  A metally unstable father and an over-loving mother.  I spent so many years so angry at my mother-but as I like to say, she out lived my anger and I am so grateful for that. I was also adopted.  And while I was so loved and accepted by all of my family-and never thought of as an “outsider”, I think that was always something that I was aware of on some level. As a child and an adolescent, then as a young adult and then as a not so young adult, it seems that I was always in a state of outraged resentment.

I felt like I had to be the “coolest”.  And that of course involved substance abuse.  Even as an adult into my 30’s, 40’s and 50’s (YIKES!) that meant looking sophisticated with a glass of poison in my hand.  Using all kinds of excuses as to why I needed it.  Except of course the real, underlying ones.

Then, the other day that thought about not needing to rebel anymore occurred to me.  I’m in a strong, loving relationship with a man who treats me as an equal and isn’t into any kind of power trips or manipulation games and has a good heart.  I long ago made peace with my parents. I let go of my father long before he died and as I said, made peace with my mother and was able to be with her when she died.  I no longer have my business.  As a matter of fact, I totally closed out all of my business tax accounts at the end of the year.  I realized that even doing it once in a while was not enjoyable.  So now, I will cook for groups that I want to cook for-as a donation.  Like when a special Guru comes to town or the yoga retreat we go to every year.  Cooking out of love on my terms. I have a strong spiritual belief system.  And while I don’t have a ton of friends here in the city I live in, I do have strong, loyal friends that are there when I need them.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that getting to a place of being gounded in sobriety-or just life for that matter-is a process.  An ongoing process-ever unfolding. IF we do the work.  IF we face our demons and underlying reasons for WHY.  By facing those demons and confronting them and bringing them to the surface, we are able to heal.  I am certainly no therapist or professional in the recovery process, but I have to wonder if the reason so many people fail over and over and over to obtain sobriety is because they don’t want to deal with the underlying reasons as to why they need to medicate themselves.  To self-harm.  So many think if they just quit drinking, everything will change.  And yes, much will.  And sometimes, the main thing is to quit and stay quit-but what I’ve noticed with some people, is that while they might be sober, they still make the same poor choices as they always did.  They are still in the same “drama” as they’ve always been in.  Because they haven’t dealt with their shit.  I learned long ago-and am constantly reminded-that if we don’t deal with a deep underlying issue, it will keep presenting itself to us. It may come in a different form-but I can almost promise you it will come up-again and again.   For example-a therapist once told me that unless I dealt and learned about my issues with men, that I could choose someone who was totally different than my partner-totally opposite in physical characteristics, nationality-all of that.  BUT, because I hadn’t learned to be different, that sooner or later, we would have the same issues I’d had previously.  I mean, come on, how many times have you realized that “ok, here’s this same lesson again!!!”  When am going to learn??  When we change, when we have changed and learned from our core issues, we can create a new life.  A new way of being that we can be secure in. We attract new people and new situations.  A different kind of people and different kinds of situations.  When we learn to react differently, we change the dynamic.   We are then coming from a place of Self, not from some deeply flawed insecurity.  We can always blame the other person or situation, but at some point, in order to overcome and grow, we have to accept our part in things.  We have to have ownership as to why we are in the situation we’re in.  That’s where the growth comes from. Yes, it’s scary and it can be painful.  It can mean making some changes that are deeply uncomfortable until we can become rooted in them.  It may mean taking a stance against something or cutting someone out of our lives.  But hey-you can always go back to being dysfunctional-having dysfunctional relationships, so what do you have to lose?

DO THE WORK!  There are many avenues-therapy, group therapy, an all women’s or all men’s group, books, online courses-online therapy.  In AA they tell people not to make any major changes in their first year of sobriety. I get that.  After my divorce I made a conscious choice not to become involved in a relationship until I became grounded in who I was working on to become- so that I would have changed enough to not attract the same type of person/relationship again. I was without a relationship for years! So long that a friend of mine remarked that so much time had passed I should consider myself a virgin again!

Its important to dig deep. It’s will take however long it takes. Give yourself time to “break in” those new shoes you will be walking in- to be comfortable with who you’re becoming.  Slowly, step by step walking away from the past and stepping into the new.

And love yourself.

Drunken Angel by Lucinda Willliams