A dirty, dirty word that often wears a disguise by calling itself anticipation, hope, assumption, or probability. This nasty, seemingly innocent word has even had the nerve, on occasion, to masquerade as “the Norm” and “Rules!”
Personally, I’m convinced that ‘Expectation’ is a high ranking Demon Lord who sits in Hell laughing his ass off as he gains more and more power due to the ever-increasing expectations people have!
Expectation is pervasive. Regardless of age, gender, race, or socio-economic position, it creates more chaos, arguments, pain, scars and general negativity than any other two words combined! Even more bizarre, Expectation is the one word that will truly follow a person from birth to death.
When we are born, we are expected to ‘perform’ a certain way--within a certain time frame--or we are slapped with a label such as ‘slow’ or ‘defective.’ When we are toddlers, we are expected not only to perform, but we are also expected to behave a certain way. If we do not meet those expectations, more labels are pinned to our forehead: troublesome, stubborn, bad-ass kid, stupid, hyper-active, must-have-ADHD-give-him-drugs.
Now we reach the age where we go to school--Oh, Lawd (!!!)--where the number of people who have specific expectations of us increases exponentially! We have other kids, parents of those other kids, and teachers; all of whom expect different ‘things’ from us! Realistically, by the ripe age of five a child has more than twenty different people putting pressure on him/her with their ‘Expectations.’
By the time we are wading through our teen years, the Demon Lord Expectation has assigned each person our own personal demon-minion who sticks closer to us than a pair of thong panties. Expectations of family, peers, and teachers have multiplied. Additionally, each person now has the dubious pleasure of having an entire society of people--that they don’t even personally know--who have Expectations of them! Be athletic. Be thin. Be above average intelligence (on every subject, thank you). Be funny and fun! Be likeable. Be cool! Be heterosexual. Wear only this year’s fashion. Have money. Be popular! Have lots of friends. Be involved with school activities! And, by the way, do all of that while making good grades, doing your chores at home, and not embarrassing anyone with any ‘odd’ behaviors. Soooo…hey! No pressure! (Gah!…Is it really surprising that there are more kids smoking weed these days than there were during the 60’s? I mean, really.).
Moving on to adulthood--with all of the mental and emotional Expectation-Baggage one accumulated from one’s childhood--there is now a whole new, hard-core playing field of Expectations. Due to the ‘grooming’ received over the course of their life thus far, each person now has a.) personal pressures they have put on themselves based upon what they think other people expect of them, and, b.) their own set of expectations for everyone else! With adulthood comes The Big Three--the truly divisive Expectation arenas: professional relationships, same-sex friendships/frenemyships, and last--but certainly not least--romantic relationships.
The Big Three are such gi-normous troublemakers that, truly, I have no idea where to begin to explain how evil these three toadies are. Thinking about all of the people who do (or say) something to another person with the Expectation that their words or actions will result in a specific, expected response makes me want to do violence. And I’m a non-violent person, people!!
So. I think I should leave the Adulthood Expectations for other posts (when I’m not feeling the need to verbally or physically goober slap anyone). But I will say this much: A girlfriend of mine expects her fiance to drop all of his friends and spend all of his free time with her. He expects her to lose some weight. They’ve been together six years. He still hangs with his friends from time to time and she’s still adorably chunky. Since I no longer have to work for a living, my mom fully expects me to be her personal slave. I keep explaining that Emancipation reached Missouri in the late 1860s and to keep dreaming. The family keeps expecting Grampa to ‘go at any time.’ They’ve been saying that for at least eight years (that I can remember) and the contrary, crotchety old rogue keeps disappointing them (much to my delight!).
Suffice it to say I am SO not a fan of Expectation. People have so much potential; it's just not fair to place limitations on them (or myself, for that matter) with all of the negative expectations.
In having no preconceived expectations of people, I find I am rarely disappointed and end up having some very cool (and memorable) experiences. I don’t know if I’m a reincarnated Hippy or if it’s just a belief borne of experience, but I live by the motto of “You do you, and I’ll do me.” If who I am, what I do or what I want doesn’t marinate well with who you are or what you want, well, then, that’s just how it is. And I'm cool with that.
Causes Kati Kline Supports
Operation Smile, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, and, doing my part to help the less fortunate (whenever an opportunity to do so presents itself).