Expectations are a such a damn thing.
I’ve been thinking about how my whole life has been based on expectations: ways I think things should go, which inevitably more percent of the time than not they go not that expected way and then I feel all out of sorts. Hurumph.
My personal sad truth is that I am sort of obsessed with a few things that I expect to be one way, but then I don’t really do things to have them turn out that way. And so then I get to feel bad about it. Hooray!
And yes, although that seems totally stupid (totally) it is how I’ve lived in my head my whole life.
Like this: I am happiest when I do the things I love to do: run, read, write. Take the time to stop and think. Get myself onto my yoga mat just to get my body on the ground and push my imaginary roots into the earth. Eat the food as nourishment not punishment. Spend time by myself every day. Read to my children. Be kind and affectionate with my husband. Wash my face. Brush and floss. Honor my sobriety. Pray some. Get enough sleep. Do some dancing.
Instead I launch myself headlong into a bag of gingersnaps or whip myself into a little frenzy of frustration and resentment where I lecture the kids until we are all heartily sick of me and all my good advice. After the kids are in bed I go into the Facebook/Plants vs. Zombies trance that keeps me up too late and I’m convinced that kicks dents into my soul. I avoid writing because I think I don’t have anything to say, or promise myself I’ll come back to comment on a blog I’ve read later: when there’s more time, or there might be a better thing I’ve thought. I don’t go for a walk because I’m lazy, and it’s cold. I run and hurt myself and declare that I can do nothing so why bother.
And then, the beloved universe gets sick of waiting for me and all my lagging and out come the jumper cables. You know: connections.
For some reason (see: universe) I started re-reading A Woman’s Way Through the Twelve Steps. And I got stuck on step one. Then two days later Lilly posted this brilliant post and I spent last night reading that step one chapter again and making notes and drawing and thinking and realized that surrender is the total antithesis for expectation.
Surrender is a lack of expectation.
I got some surrendering to do.
My biggest one is surrendering to me. Like, me me. To stop being innerly embarrassed by who I am. I unconsciously correct myself a thousand times a day to fit in nicely. Lord. This is annoying and awful. It’s hard to explain. Even in traffic I try to make life easier for everyone else. I spend my days compromising constantly. What a control freak!
Surrender is a lack of control.
Which means I am totally uncomfortable.
Something else really struck me about Lilly’s post: the idea that if you are a true Australian you are almost expected to drink. Like if you don’t drink you might want to get off their continent, because unless you’re pickled you’re branded an impostor and shall be voted off the island. More expectations. Big ones. Nationwide ones.
What bullshit. Stop listening to those fucking people and find some who think being an Australian means you come from Australia. Anyone who thinks you can’t be something because you don’t drink is fucking ridiculous. Dammit.
Which gets me thinking about surrender again. What if most of some people’s ideas don’t fit you? What if instead of pushing our square selves into their round holes we take that energy and make our own truths about life? What if that’s hard but we just surrender and do it anyway? What if, instead of predicting outcomes we can lean into this moment and be in here and not flung out there in the world of expectations and pseudo rules?
Step one, for anyone who knows or has read the steps, is about admitting powerlessness over our addiction. I had a lot of trouble with that in my very early sobriety: powerless? Um, no.
Um….yes. I am powerless over alcohol. Which is why I choose to never ever use it again.
But I am also power-full. The power comes from the surrender. And the surrender comes from lack of expectation. It comes from having self truths that resonate with me. Giving up the idea that I don’t not fit in the world is tough: making decisions from a place of surrender rather than expectation is a hard act to follow. It’s not easy to wake up from a lifelong sleep.
But here comes spring. We expected it a month ago, and then today it’s freezing out still. So I surrender to the cold today, and dance in my chair. I’ll walk instead of run. I’ll learn to stop at enough. I get on with the business of living MY life and stop white knuckling the day. I’ll be glad to wave my white flag. I expect you will be too.
This video (It’s Coldplay “Paradise”. Check it out on YouTube if you can’t watch it here. It was a perfect way to explain how it feels to be sober.) made me laugh and cry. Lilly, this one’s for you. One day we’ll meet in person. You’ll know me. I’ll be the one in the elephant suit too. xoxo