Thursday, July 14, 2011

Great Expectations

Be yourself2Man, I have so much I want to write about, including lots of pictures of Graceland and how much I love and want to go back to Memphis, as well as the current debt ceiling discussions and the puerile Eric Cantor...but I’ll save that for another day. Oh, and the excellent book I’m currently reading, Monkey Girl by Edward Humes (about the Kitzmiller vs Dover case concerning the teaching of intelligent design in schools). But seriously, another day, another entry!

I’ve recently encountered a few opinions and attitudes that bothered me quite a bit. I’m not talking about political opinions or social attitudes (some of those bother me quite a bit, but everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter how misguided they might be), but about opinions and attitudes concerning ME. I do have a stake in that, and have every right to be bothered and pissed off.

I’ve experienced some recent situations in which people expressed concern about the time I spend on the computer, or have kept quiet about their irritation and disappointment in my behavior, choosing to express their irritation in silence and body language rather than actually saying something. Sort of that long-suffering “Yes, I’m very upset and hurt, but I’m just going to keep my mouth shut and stew rather than say anything” type of thing.

To address the first concern: the person worried about my online time has no idea of how much time I spend on the computer, or what I do while I’m on it. I honestly have no idea of where this is coming from, because they really don’t know my habits or daily routine. (I don’t know if someone is telling them things that are beyond their own scope of knowledge...really, no one has any idea of how much time I do or do not spend online.) I have made a conscious effort lately to spend much less time online, focusing on reading and writing; I was writing political articles for a bit, but I am unhappy with that particular site and am looking at another site; much of my online time is spent reading news and political articles. I do not spend time idly chatting and I do not spend an inordinate amount of time on any site. I get much of my news and political information via online content. I also spend a significant amount of time offline and immersed in a book, often without the TV on...just me and my book and when it’s nice out, some outside time and some sunshine.

I will eventually address this issue with the person who expressed the concern. In the meantime, I am truly perplexed as to how and why they would think that my online time is a reason for concern, when they have no idea about the time I spend on here and what I do while I am on. Where are they getting their misinformation? I will do my best to find out. Honestly, of all the things to worry about in this world, the time I spend online should be the least of their concerns.

The other issue had to do with someone apparently expecting me to behave in a certain way. I’m really not sure, because nothing was ever expressed. When on the verge of saying something, they just shook their head, held their hand up, and refused to say anything else. That might be a good thing, because I might not have reacted kindly to what was said. It bothers me that someone would expect me to react or behave in a particular way, one that they decided based on their own wishes and desires, rather than my personality or mindset. I hate to use that “I’m a rebel” crap, because I don’t rail against authority or expectations just for the sake of doing so. However, I am definitely what I am, and if I don’t behave in the way that you expect me to, it really isn’t my problem if you get upset because you’re disappointed in me, or because you are disappointed in your experience with me because you expected it to be something else.

Be yourselfIt just tells me that you really don’t understand or know me very well, and that your expectations are based on your own wishes rather than the reality of my personality. I really make no apologies for this, either. I am a very introverted person, and I don’t let people in easily; I feel that I can truly be myself with only a few people. I am not the kind of person who calls someone up and says, “Hey, let’s go have lunch and then go shopping!” If that is your expectation of our relationship, you’re going to be disappointed...but that is through nothing that I have said or done, it is because of your own expectations.

I am fortunate to have some very good friends (and a couple of relatives) that I feel that I can confide in and with whom I can be myself. There are very few people like that in my life, and attempting to force the issue does not make it happen. The more you get upset that I’m not who you expect me to be, the less I’ll want to be that person. The more you tell me about how you “want to get closer” to me, the more likely I am to pull away. Such a relationship either happens naturally or it doesn’t happen at all for me. I like many people and get along with most, but true confidantes do not come easily for me. It cannot be forced with me.

The pressure of expectations makes it no easier and makes it less likely that I will meet those expectations that you have placed on me. I am a loyal friend, and I will defend anyone I care deeply about, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to some sort of intimate friendship. I don’t know if it’s my stoic German nature, or what, but that really is NOT who I am, and I never will be. [shrugs] This leopard isn’t changing her spots.


  1. Hmm... I think that people are prolly envious of you to begin with, Beth. You have a great relationship with your husband, who is a nice person of his own account and your life is more than stable. You are pretty, nearly Wily E. Coyote smart, and political savvy as well as a staunch liberal. Nothing offends people more, IMO, than having their intelligence impugned.

    Now, you don't do that on purpose. I know that I would think that it came with the territory when discussing things online and in the kind of forum that I thought would encourage the kind of discourse you are involved in.

    I have had a few folks 'de-friend' me because of my occasional racy and adult content stuff that I link to my page. "My children look at my page!!", they say. "You are a grown a$$ adult," I say, " and you friended adults who are liable to post adult content, screw you!!"

    If the current mess over the debt ceiling has confirmed nothing, it is this: There is a segment of the population who refuse to think and believe anything other than the drivel that flows from the reactionary media outlets, like Limbaugh and Faux News (am I the only one who wonders when the shoe that hasn't dropped here but has in England does..?) and the fear that makes them stick their head in the ground.

    Yeah... I think that is what it is... your persona more than likely affect people in a way that makes them question themselves. And it scares them. And like any good disciple of the 'conservative' social set, having their character and intelligence challenged and threatened, they react with dirty personal attacks.

    Unless they are close, lifelong friends to you or your family, FUCK THEM. Seriously. There is nothing like getting rid of bad rubbish, as they are revealing FAR MORE about themselves than they are you...

  2. Ooh, can I borrow the "Be yourself" photo?

    I can see this REALLY has you upset, and I can understand why. You and I have discussed our similarity in this area before; your 7th and 8th paragraphs describe me very well. It is something that Thomas really had to lovingly deal with and come to terms with, because we are opposites in that area. He helps me to be more outgoing, and I help him to be more discerning about people before he really puts his heart out there to be stomped on.

    I hope you do confront these people. It is frustrating to realize that people have a problem (and it is THEIR problem) with you through no fault of your own, and that they are misjudging you completely. As for "spending too much time online", it would really be none of their business if you were spending 20 hours a day online. They can have their own opinion about it, but have no right to even give you a hint of their opinion unless you were harming yourself or someone else.

  3. Hi Beth,
    Sheesh ... nothing's worse than these judgmental but silent-suffering types. How manipulative ... I'll bet every "sigh" and every bit of body language was calculated to upset you. If you really want to annoy them, just smile at them as if you couldn't care less and continue on your merry way!

  4. sometimes this is when it's nice to be a little bit on the spectrum....a lot of those looks and sighs fly right past me because i don't read the social cues i'm being given correctly.

    both t and i spend a lot of time online. it doesnt interfere with us, and actually, it's how i do both my classwork and the research i need to be doing on math for work. sigh. it's not 1950 any more. we are allowed to want to be informed now.


  5. I find it amazing that some people have nothing better to do but sit and worry about what someone else is doing with their time.

    You don't owe anyone an explanation for how you spend your time, online or otherwise. Me? I would tell them in my best Jon Stewart to Bernie Goldberg voice:" Go. Fuck. Yourself."

    Chris :)

  6. Beth, what a wonderful personal entry.

    The Emerson quote you used in the header graphic helped me when I was trying to define who I was after leaving for college. The pull and tug between who people want us to be and who we are can be exhausting, which is why I gave it up long ago. It isolated me at first, but that changed over time.

    Like you, I get along with most people, but I won't ever change who I am or what I believe to placate someone. No one should do that. I'll take criticism where it is due, but I won't let someone demean me, especially someone who doesn't know me or know all the details of a situation. That makes getting to know people you can really confide in and trust very hard to find. I empathize with you on that point. I feel that too.

    I find both of these complaints perplexing, as you obviously do. I'm hoping they won't keep you bothered for too long. You have way too many other great things to be doing.

  7. Both situations leave a lot to be desired, but we will get through them together!


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