Day 27 of 365: Detox From Expectations – If You Can
I remember years ago getting super down and out around this time of year. I was in a relationship with a woman named Anna (I’m going to just start using people’s real names) and her mom literally didn’t like me (or herself, or Anna, or anybody for that matter – God rest her soul). So, this time of year Anna would be pulled to either stay with me or join her family—I usually lost.
This went on for about three or four years, consecutively. Every year around Thanksgiving, Anna would start to make her trips up north to visit her family for each holiday occasion and I would be left behind to be alone. It fucking sucked.
The reason it sucked so much was Anna was all I had – kinda.
So this yearly separation started in 2005, and around that time and for many years before and after (until fairly recently, actually) my Mother and I were estranged.
See, I grew up experiencing these phenomenal holiday season festivities—every year. My house was the center of it all because Mom’s cooking was on another level (no amount of emphasis serves justice). So we’d pack in at least 15 bodies all looking to get fed (multiple times there + a few plates to-go).
This was the case for years until one year it just stopped.
I’m not sure if it was my aunt Bet or aunt Annette that left the state first, but that was the first chink in this traditions armor. Eventually, they both left. Then Mom started to get serious about her boyfriend at the time, Bill. Around the same time, I was being ostracized for bad behavior. The world I knew as a child was coming to an end.
Everything was all falling to shit.
Fast forward to 2005, I thought I knew what love was back then (most of the love I experienced up until that point was unhealthy). Plus I couldn’t understand why someone – Anna’s mom – wouldn’t like me without ever even meeting me. All of this new, exciting and problematic stimuli often left me anxious and depressed. I was an emotional mess back then.
In hindsight, most of the turmoil I experienced was based on my expectations. I had a longing for the way things were in the past and an idea of what my relationship with Anna should have looked like.
As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can’t see how it is.
These days I make it a practice to be mindful of what my reality is, what it is not, and where I am placing my expectations. Do some still creep in? Sure. But am I grounded in reality more now than ever? You bet yo dirty-ass, holey-ass socks I am.
I say all of this to say this. If you are one of the millions of people who are feeling depressed this holiday season take a moment to sit in silence and ask yourself this vital question:
Where did I fuck up??
I’m just teasing of course. But on a serious note, you’re going to be okay. I had to drink and smoke and random hook-up my way through some of the toughest times of my life because I wasn’t grounded and my expectations of what my reality should be weren’t in alignment with what my reality was. You don’t have to experience this.
Let me let you in on a secret. Are you ready? October 31st is exactly the same as October 30th. And the third Thursday of November is exactly the same as the third Wednesday of November. December 25th is no different than the 21st or the 22nd or the 23rd. Do you get my point? Like, your birthday happened when your birth day happened—one time; that was it.
Then why do I feel so shitty right now?
It is all, 100 percent, no doubt about it, slap your momma if she says differently, your expectations. It’s all in your head, my friend. If you were on a deserted island without a clock or calendar and no one to see celebrating these stupid-ass, made-up-ass, corporations-trying-to-get-more-money-ass holidays, you’d be fine. But the advertising and the photos and products and ‘holiday smells’ got you feeling some type of way. All of those things listed produce a longing for an experience you are not having which is the textbook definition of expectations.
Let them go (as much as you possibly can). Enjoy your life in whichever configuration you find it in. This moment is all you have.