Monthly Archives: January 2015

Expectations

I’ve been thinking a lot about expectations lately. Specifically, about the expectations placed on someone by the people who love them.
What’s brought on this reflection? I’m back in school and people are voicing their opinions. Most are happy for me challenging myself and respect the winding paths of life that brought me here. They respect the years of not attending college as much as they applaud my decision to go.
But some do not respect the fact that my life is mine to make. We all know the kind: they always have something to say and they always have to be right. They are just a little too quick to judge another’s life choices.

People who have gone far in their lives have, in my view, either had the world handed to them or overcome the obstacles by themselves. Both groups have expectations of others that is informed by their life experience.
If you’ve had the world handed to you, it’s hard to spot the obstacles. It wasn’t that hard for you. To you, they were molehills; to others they are mountains.
If you’ve overcome the obstacles by hard work on your own, it’s easy to compare yourself to others. You did it, so can they. But everyone does not have the same mountain to climb.
My parents are masters of the art of being supportive without swerving off into either smothering or enabling. “You want to work as a CNA and be a writer? Be the best CNA and writer you can be. You want to share the house so you can help support your brother and have the financial freedom to do what you want? Share the household expenses.” They have consistently respected my unique brand of adulthood and let me have my independence and make my mistakes. “If you’re gonna be stupid, you’ve gotta be tough” was a constant refrain of my childhood. “Grace covers many mistakes” was another.
Mom and Dad always wanted me to know that I could make my own mistakes and that I could tell them anything. It is still true today.

In some respects, having such awesome parents makes it difficult to know how to handle the know-it-alls and the busybodies of life.

I was listening to music today and “Brave” by Sara Bareilles came on. I love this artist and this song…but I had to wonder: what would I say if I just let the words fall out? Probably something I shouldn’t, followed by something I don’t really mean.
There’s being honest and then there’s being unquiet. There’s being brave and there’s burning bridges.
Most people whose expectations you are under do not mean anything nasty by it. They just want what’s best for you. They just don’t always realize that what’s best for you is not what they think is best for you.

So yes, people have expectations of me. That’s great: it means they see potential. Some know how to encourage and some meddle.
That’s okay: I’m still learning how and when to say “Thank you” and “Thank you but back off”.
“Is this worth the possible fight?” I’ll ask myself. Then try to decide how sensitively implement the “yes” or “no”. It’s hard because my naturally tendency is to swallow, swallow, swallow and SPEW.
Call it an INFP thing or a Hannah thing. But that’s a story for another day.

Hannah

Categories: INFP, ordinary life, Psychology | 4 Comments

Observations from class

I’m back in school. Ivy Tech, to be exact.
No, I don’t regret the time off–I was waffling before, not sure what I was going for or why. Odd as it sounds, I needed the experience of burnout and two years of distance in my career before I realized what I wanted out of college.
I want to understand and I want to be understood. Translation: I’m going for Psychology. This semester I’m only taking one class (financial reasons), Psych 101. My first class was on Tuesday, but I have found that the first day of class is basically just a meet and greet–very little learning goes on the first day. In today’s class, we started Chapter one…an introduction to an introduction to psychology, as my instructor called it.
We covered the history of psychology and the seven approaches.
Psychology, I am discovering, is a diverse field with many different approaches, philosophies and goals. It is almost diverse as the students in this class.
Since pretty much everybody has to take psych 101, my classroom is a pretty good sampling of the student body in general.
We’ve got nursing students, business students, engineering students, criminal justice students. We’ve even got humanities students. There’s also one other woman going for Psychology. And then, of course, there’s the other divide: the people going to school just to make more money and the people going to school to prepare for a vocation.
You can spot them by the questions they ask, the way they phrase things, the things they pay attention to.
I confess, it is a flaw of mine that I have very little respect for those who have made money their chief goal; I think this is from experiences in childhood and adolescence. During the times when my family skated on the poverty line, it was always the friends who struggled to feed themselves that filled our pantry; rarely did the affluent bring more than a couple cans.
I’m certainly not saying all rich people are misers and all poor people are generous…just that I have observed that those who put money and status first have difficulty appreciating the value of those who have less or barely enough.
I guess I prefer my rich folk the same as I do my poor folk: full of generosity and empathy.

Categories: INFP, ordinary life, Writing | 2 Comments

Feeling beautiful

Since I’ve been an adult, I’ve had short hair. It’s usually cut into a bob which naturally curls out. In part, it’s self-preservation: I have extremely thick hair that tends to split if it gets past my shoulders.
Recently, however, I let it grow longer. Well, I say “let” but it was more a case of consistently forgetting get it cut. I had started up working a bunch of overtime and my hair was one of the things that slipped through the cracks.
So it got long. People started to notice. I suddenly got a lot of compliments on my hair and my general appearance. Men started to do the stop and stare more often.
Clearly, I look more beautiful with longer hair…or at least, society seems to view me as more beautiful with longer hair.

Then, I cut my hair again. Back to the bob…see, the thing is, I didn’t like my hair long. Oh, I appreciated the attention I was getting, don’t get me wrong; I like to be seen as beautiful as much as the next girl.
I like to feel beautiful more, though. Long hair, however attractive on me, does not suit my personality. I’m not big on the whole beauty process…I don’t have the patience, talent or inclination to perfect my appearance. I admire and respect the women who do, but that’s just not me.

It’s funny, because I’ve been told by several people that I have the build and looks to be “model pretty” if only I’d devote more time to my appearance. Learn how to wear makeup that covers my cystic acne scars, style my hair, choose a better wardrobe. Flaunt my small, slight figure and play up my delicate features.

But all that requires effort. Effort I don’t want to put in.

It’s not ashamed that I’m thin and have good lucks. I don’t hide my figure under shapeless bags–in fact, I prefer well-fitting clothes. I won’t be intimidated or mocked because I have, through genetics and a healthy lifestyle, a slender figure. I love jewelry (fair trade only) and I love the gleam my hair gets when I wash it. It’s been years now since I’ve put any kind of chemicals on it and it’s never been bleached or dyed: all natural, baby! I know that I’m decently attractive and that’s enough for me. Going to more effort doesn’t make me happy…in fact, it just makes me insecure and miserable. From what I’ve learned, it’s a trait I share with other INFP females.
This is related to another trait of mine: I don’t like the selfie trend. I’ll take one every now and then when the mood strikes, but I feel like the camera often only records the flaws on my skin and doesn’t capture the emotions that moved me to feel beautiful. Whenever I try to get that perfect selfie, whenever I dress up specifically to please others or the camera, I fail. Looking at the picture later, my eyes are drawn to the scars and bags under my eyes; the wild mess that is my hair.
“How can this be beautiful?” I’ll think. My eyes aren’t lit up, my hair doesn’t gleam. I can’t reach the perfection of American beauty; and I don’t look happy in those selfies.

In the end, happy is the best kind of beautiful I have. For me, this means a chin-length bob, little-to-no make up, hippy-ish accessories, small and quiet jewelry and simple clothing.
That’s me, folks. Healthy and happy with my appearance: therefore, beautiful.

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