Expectations. Or not.

I am expected to help with the annual Ten-Tec Hamfest up to 9:00 Friday night and 8-4:30 or so Saturday in spite of the fact that my cold has recycled. I woke up sneezing, the nose is running… GAK! I will be there as expected, packed with antihistamines and tissues in hand. Nobody cares aboud by code. Dag.

Growing up, Dad expected me to automatically respect all, that would be the whole planet full of people, based on the fact that I was “younger than.” This subject launched many a quarrel. For me, respect has categories and levels. I can always find something to respect about even the worst person even if it is only for that person’s constitutional right to be a jerk. So, there you have it, Dad, I do respect something about everyone on the planet. Maybe that wasn’t his exact expectation.

Society, whoever that is, has imposed blanket expectations on whole groups of people, like women, that are impossible to meet. Image, behavior, performance.

According to these expectations, real or imagined, which I permitted to crush me, I have been an abysmal failure. I am not a super model, I’ve been known to talk back, and I am not perfect. First, the current version of a perfect body is manifested in less than 1% of 1% of the population. Second, no one should be a doormat. Third, let me make a bold statement for just about all women. It is a fact. I have learned it as a truth the hard way. It applies to the vast majority with the exception of maybe 10 women since the beginning time who probably had sizable staffs. Here goes:

Superwoman is a myth and anytime we think we have to be her we set ourselves up for failure, frustration, ulcers, low self esteem, stress related diseases, depression, and may be seen shuffling through non-trendy malls slightly slumped over. Burnout is followed closely by drooling. Long term results may include and are not limited to divorce, and worse. Families are torn apart, children are in tears, and husbands everywhere have puzzled expressions on their faces.

Out of my half century plus years of experience, I want to speak to all women who know in their heart of hearts they can do all things and do them wonderfully. Yes, you can do all you want to do and all you have to do and do it wonderfully. but—

One thing at a time, girl! Maybe you can juggle 2 things or 3 but not 9 or 40. Figure out what can be postponed or eliminated. You just may live long enough to pick up 10, 20 or even 30 year old projects and give them your full attention. Prioritize what is precious and fleeting and practice saying no to what is not in your play book. Take a day off to strengthen, not to disappear. Share. Slow down. Take time to look love in the eye.

The Earth spins. People shouldn’t. I am not a failure.


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