Expectation, Disappointment, Detachment — Keeping It Real

Those of you who know me already know that, while I write of the value of detachment when it comes to emotional responses to things, and the value therein, I struggle a lot with finding the balance between expectations and disappointment.  For the majority of my life, I’ve dealt with this by simply not looking forward to things, by not having expectations of positive results or experiences or whatever, centered around myself. I’ll be the first to admit that a huge, huge part of this a remnant from earlier in life, and it’s rooted in superstition. If you don’t think about the good thing you want, if you don’t draw attention to it, then it has less of a chance of falling through or being ruined by someone  who wants to ruin things for you. Don’t name the thing, don’t think about the thing, and maybe the thing might come to pass.

There are a few problems with this approach. One important one is that I’ve developed a bit of a resentment toward people (generally Beth) having the ability to look forward to things. Events or experiences, but also physical things. Connected to this is a small thread of my not being as interested in physical things (except for knitting, the things that I do and make do not require the acquisition of stuff), and so when you look around my house, a lot of what you see is stuff related to Beth. She’s got more books out, she’s got more stuff out — and as she makes things, this makes total sense, but one result of this is that I often find myself feeling like I’m not connected to my home through my stuff. I feel like I’m crashing at Beth’s.  (We’re working on this both in that I’m allowing myself to acquire more books, and in that we’re creating a writing nook for me in our wee apartment, yay!) I don’t resent the people, mind you. I love Beth and I cherish her support, and her presence in my life. But I resent that people have the ability to look forward to things.

There are other problems, too. The inability to Work toward positive outcomes; the prison that carefully guarding your thoughts can become; the struggle with accepting that you deserve good things while trying very hard to not think of good things happening to you . . . it’s interesting. I’m at the point where I can accept good, unexpected things happening, but planning and working toward good things that I want? It’s harder.

Harder still is seeking out religious material that I find appealing, and having it work out. There’s a history of this, and I’m struggling to decide how to best handle it. Commission a painting of Poseidon? It arrives broken. Order a picture of Matsya? It arrives –eventually — and is not entirely as expected. Order a picture of Vishnu and a picture of Lakshmi that I really adore, in this new exploration during which I’m rather open and sensitive and unsure anyway? They finally arrive, and they’re gorgeous — but the seller was rather fast and loose with dimensions, and the 5×7 that I ordered (and bought frames for, and purchased a 5×7 Ganesh image to go along with) are actually 4×6.

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Maybe shouldn’t be a big thing. But I have a history of daring to be excited about something, having it not quite work out, and having that crashing disappointment that is rather rooted in my sense of worth and isn’t just about the disappointment. I feel stupid for looking forward to it, I feel stupid for thinking I get to have this thing I wanted, and I struggle to not see this as a reminder that I ought to be happy for whatever I get, and forget about even the smallest of desires.

I’m tempted, always, to use this as an example of further detachment being desirous, except I don’t buy that. I don’t buy that I would be encouraged  — in this case, by Poseidon — to purchase things just to have it not turn out. He was as excited about that Poseidon painting as I was, and sometimes shit just happens. I just don’t have a healthy, adult relationship with expectations and disappointments, and I think part of this is me trying to find my way there.

Last night I had a full-blown panic attack over this. Not just over this, of course. It was a high stimulation day, thanks to having my ears cleaned out the day before and being able to hear again. Didn’t realize how muted my hearing had gotten, and there was so much noise yesterday.  I should have realized when I got home and discovered that the idea of dinner (pasta with alfredo sauce) was displeasing because it was going to have too much flavor. Too much flavor in bland food is always a signal that I’m overwhelmed. So, that happened, and then dinner was too much, and the trying to settle for bread and peanut butter was too messy, and then I just couldn’t handle anything and I was in a corner trying to stay inside my skin, trying to not go running through traffic, trying to breathe. The sounds of the house around me *hurt*, and I could just about see the sound waves.

Eventually Beth let Corbie at me, and he sat and used his weight to ground me, and threw his nose in my eyes  a few times, and there may have been kisses. Such a good dog. My hero.

But I hate that this small thing has the ability to tip the balance of the scale from holding on and being able to navigate through these waters to all hands on deck, may day, may day! I hate how raw and sensitive I feel about all this, and I hate that a dimensional change in two flipping photos results in me deciding that They’re all laughing at me, practically salivating to see my next let-down, my next disappointment.

Mostly, this morning, I’m ashamed, and committed to not be, because panic attacks happen, and I never pretended to be good at this, and if I’m going to work through to the point of getting good at this — of being able to handle disappointment, of allowing myself to look forward to something so much that I *can* be disappointed — well, the process is going to be messy. Nothing to be ashamed of, there.

(Maybe I should just stick with books? Books are always book-like. They are constant)

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7 thoughts on “Expectation, Disappointment, Detachment — Keeping It Real

  1. Oh honey. Sometimes I laugh because I am not a youngster, and you get to a point where all you ever work on are the core issues, the ones you came in here with that may take a lifetime to heal. and it gets tiring, and having doubts about yourself makes it so hard to live in the world in the loving way that we want to engage. So you/I we have good days, and we get a little better, then we have bad days and we think that we have not made any progress at all. But the truth is that you do, in tiny increments and then sometimes you get to make a leap. Your honesty and ability to discern what is really going on inside you is astounding and takes courage to do and courage to share. You are a gift to this world, and I wish you could see you through my eyes.

    Christine

    • So you/I we have good days, and we get a little better, then we have bad days and we think that we have not made any progress at all.

      This is so, so true, and a great thing to be reminded of, and so thank you. Because it feels like we get a little better, until we backslide, and then it’s like no progress at all. And I know better, I do. But it’s so hard to remember that.

      Beth tells me she’s proud of me, and sometimes amazed by me, and my ability to share these things so soon after they’ve happened — often while they’re happening — and I understand what she means, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel like bravery at all. It’s not altruistic, either; it’s just the best tool I have to help me process this crap, and a wee bit I hope that it can help others. But mostly, it helps me a ton to do it, and so I do it. I’m grateful that people find value in it, though. 🙂

  2. You get overstimulated, too? I don’t know a lot of people like that, where sensation and sound and scents and light all feel like too much sometimes. It’s so often a careful balance that something small sets off. I’m sorry you deal with that. And I’m so sorry about how the prints made you nosedive into that head space. 😦

    • Oh-ho, it is by far not just you!

      Read about Highly Sensitive Person here!

      Reading her book helped me understand more about myself, and lead to a better understanding of the tools I might need or want to help deal with this. I recommend it, highly. Most of the time I do okay dealing with it; every now and again things like this happen and it’s just impossible to stave off. Am better now, and Beth and I have both gotten good at just rolling with it. and the prints are beautiful, now that I’m not expecting them to be something they’re not.

  3. Dafuck, woman? Why your stuff be off like that? Unfair!

    I call it the eBay curse. Most anything I reeeeaaaaallllly like and buy from eBay is either broken, ripped, unusable, never arrives, or is not as described. It has become a Joke.

    And it bleeds into things I buy for others from eBay. Even when they’ve sent me the exact link of what they want. You’d think I’d stop ordering from there. Ha. Ha ha ha. You’d think, but then you’d be wrong. Much love and understanding!!

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