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.