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C10P56 – Mustache

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At this point, Dream Eater, this is less of a riddle and more of a cruel joke. Although these days, I supposed that’s more your speed anyway.

My brain has been working against me this weekend. In many ways, failing at the first Volume Three Kickstarter was a far less stressful experience than succeeding this time. Mostly because my mind and I have never been the most steadfast of allies. I’ve been fretting all weekend with the feeling that I will let everyone down. That I won’t get the books done fast enough to meet the expectations of others. That by not having everything ready to go right this instant, I’ve already disappointed everyone that worked so hard for us to have the funds to move forward. I know that it is irrational, and I’m working to focus on doing things as well as I can, one step at a time, rather than as fast as I can and all at once. To set expectations for myself that are reasonable, following my own experience and knowledge and requirements. I still feel the weight of that anxiety, though.

When I was a kid, my dad always wanted someone to help him in his workshop on a car or plane or whatever he was working on. I had no interest in any of those things. I wanted to read and draw, but doing either of those activities while he was working infuriated him. He’d never tell me what he wanted me to do. He expected me to observe the engine or part that he was working on, and intuit what it was that he wanted. I could never figure out what that was. If I asked, he’d usually ignore me the first few times, until finally he’d get frustrated and snap out some instruction, annoyed that I hadn’t managed to figure it out on my own. I always felt like a huge disappointment to him.

I realized this weekend that whenever I get anxious like this, it’s the same feeling I had as a little girl, desperately sad and angry that I wasn’t good enough to figure out what he wanted. That I was too stupid to figure it out, and I’d let him down. I never do well when expectations are unspoken, because no matter what I assume that I’ve failed someone, and that they’re angry with me, but won’t tell me why. (Figuring out what I’d failed in was my responsibility too, of course.)

It occurred to me, when I made this connection, that the expectations of another person for me are not nearly as important as my expectations for myself. For one, I cannot meet an expectation if it is unspoken and unexpressed, because I am not a mind reader. And for two, if I am expected to do something that I myself do not desire, then wouldn’t meeting that expectation for another person be unfair to myself? Why follow the path someone else lays out for me, if it means leaving the path I’m trying to build for myself?

If a person is mad at a fish for not flying, where is the true fault? It seems silly to fault the fish for choosing to swim, rather than to throw itself onto the bank in an attempt to reach the sky.

How do you separate your expectations for yourself from the expectations of others?


Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

ok that one felt pen tash I’m not getting the blame for! he he i did that lots to my brother when I was young.

what you wrote here about yourself and your dad touched me because I was very much the same way. it is true what you say people must go their own path and not be led a lesson i wish I had learned before wasting half my life on the wrong people, however all the frustration is poured into my stories.

Huh… I never really thought about that before Parental expectations kept me in one school rather than switching like I was wanting when I was in high school. Maybe I did turn out a bit better than I would have if I switched but every so often the what if’s come out to play because each one offered a distinct better opportunity: one for music – the one that was taken due to expectations – which wasn’t all that much of a better opportunity because at the stage I’m at in life music is pretty well restricted unintentionally to singing in the car because I don’t have enough skill or time to do otherwise, and one for sports because as I found out the following year I had decent hand-eye coordination and could get a substantial speed boost for short distances for sprints that went mostly unused because the school I was at didn’t have the proper sport for me to utilize those two thing… I still wonder what might have happened if I had stood my ground and stuck with wanting to change schools. Where and who might I be today if I had switched? I’ll never know unless there’s some kinda cool multiverse view afterlife where you can see where each iteration of you ended up. That’d be interesting.

As far as how that relates to the question posed above, a lot of times I’ll subconsciously weigh what it is that others are expecting of me. If it’s something that I can do or give (staying in the school I was in to satisfy my parents in the above instance) then I’ll do it, sometimes just to get the person to be satisfied enough to let me be for a bit, sometimes because I know they’ll be happier because of it. If it’s something outrageous then I’ll dismiss it from my mind and what happens happens.

I have a saying fo people who ask or expect things of me that I don’t know or are incapable of. It goes that “I am psychotic, not psychic! Those extra two letters make a huge difference!” They tend to rethink their approach. I am currently trying to convince my child that I can not see through walls, doors, floors, or other solid objects. She likes to shout at me ‘Mom, how does this look?’ from a room or more away, without any intention of bringing me and her project within eyesight of each other.

Honestly, I struggle plenty enough with my own expectations for myself, which are not generally realistic. Being able to back off and tell myself that I would not expect this much from another person is necessary.

With other people… well, it gets blurry. What other people expect of me may not be something I expect of myself, but I still sometimes feel the pressure. Not doing what your boss expects can have obvious consequences. Not doing what your loved ones expect or want can hurt even if they’re as gentle as possible about it; you can feel the disappointment and/or wanting and it’s hard to dismiss.

Oh, Dreameater. You were doing so well being serious and dark, too. But you just couldn’t help yourself!

I just imagine him bending down and delicately painting the words, a sly smirk on his face and narrowed eerie red eyes. Then, he pauses, looks at the unconscious monk, and cracks up as he adds the moustache. XD

For too long in my life, I never had any expectations for myself. Instead, there was only the expectations of others – they entirely defined what was success and what was failure, and a poor review would just rattle me to the core.

I think this dictated a lot of behaviour when I was younger in particular. I was typically very focused on remaining as quiet and out of mind as possible. No one’s expecting anything from you if you’re not even a consideration in things.

Luckily, in my late teens I started to change things a little. First by realising it’s not a crime to like the things you like. I do think your expectations for yourself should come first, just so long as they’re fair. I aim to just be a little bit better, in some minor respect, every day.

Oh my god, Dreameater, you are twelve years old.

Also, I think you really need to remember that “you are not a mind reader” thing. I think that if you asked all of us, we would say we value your mental health over getting our books and that we trust you to keep us informed/do this on a timeline that makes sense. (And if someone said otherwise, they’re an asshole.)

Old as time and young as a toddler. Yup, that’s the knowledge god for you. 🙂

And you’re right about the mind reader thing, and about LeyLian priorities. It’s just very hard for me to keep in mind when I’m stressed. That said, now I can at least come back to this page and re-read your comment when I need a reminder. Thank you!

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