Tuesday, May 26, 2015

When Expecations Bite You in the A#$

I'm warning you now, this post may contain some cussing..... In fact I am sure it will and if you are offended, I totally understand but this post requires a bit of cussing to tell the story. And I'm here to tell some stories.

I'm not totally sure of where to start except I do need to apologize for being gone so very long.  I didn't mean to be but life sort of became a river of rolling rapids, one after another and just keeping afloat took everything....

Let's start with the show I did.   I love doing vintage shows but truly they take complete and total absorbing and immersing of the process.  Every moment is full of lists and making of things and display creation and that all starts with a BIG VISION!   I tend to think and dream in large scale and then get myself into a frenzy of trying to meet that vision. All by myself, one girl with no support team or anyone to help create this crazy big vision and usually no budget for the vision creating because well....nobody in my household supports the doing of shows and there is a whole lot of undermining and sabatoge going on especially with time for the vision making.  So I had a show scheduled for the first weekend in May, it's a big wonderful show and a couple of hours from home. I was excited to share a booth space (only half a vision was much easier than a whole vision) and set about starting in late March to do my show prep.   Well things happened/everything unraveled when an incident (next part of this story) happened in mid April.... But I reduced the vision and kept going. I made some AMAZING new items, was ready to debut my new Wild Daisy clothing and I was sure I would KILL IT as my kids say..... I loaded my stuff into the truck , drove myself west for a couple of hours, set up my space myself and was feeling pretty spiffy with myself the day before the show. I just KNEW I was going to sell everything and could bask in the glow of what a big success I was....The show opened and people poured in to the venue and the energy was amazing.....and I stood there ready to talk to people, meet them and sell all the wonderful new things I made. I'll keep it short, sales were dismal. The first day I sold 3 of my wonderful new things and some last minute fillers I had grabbed when packing. I didn't even make my booth fee.  But, there was still Sunday and I was sure it would go better. It didn't. I woke up Sunday with what I knew was a horrible stomach flu, I had a show to do all day and then a long 2 hour drive home and I was not good. An hour into Sunday, I fled the scene.  My darling booth mate sold my goods and packed up my stuff and my lovely business friends  from my area loaded my crap and displays their trailer and brought it home.  I drove away defeated, fighting a fever and in tears.  Heading home to admit failure to the very people who predicted and expected my failure. I had expected to do well, that my goods would be well received, sell out and I would come home with some dollars in my pockets...Expectations...bit me in the ass and I was crushed..I barely covered my expenses which was hard but worse, I was called a failure and I may have even done a little shaming of my own self. 

So this all happened the wake of another crushing expectation shattered event.  My son as I've shared, is about to graduate from high school. He attends a big school with big expectations of the kids. There is no room for making mistakes and he made one of those stupid teenage mistakes that because there is Zero Tolerance in our district, that mistake cost him everything. He was sent to a continuation high school, is no longer allowed on his old school campus, didn't go to prom, didn't go to Grad Night, wasn't able to be a part of the All League Football awards or photos and most devastating of all, will not walk at graduation with his class.  One quick stupid decision and his status as big guy on campus was revoked and everything as he knew it was gone.  And then all the people he thought and I thought were in his corner said "oh wow, I'm so sorry"...and then silently took 5 steps back and turned away.  My boy who was king of the school, king of his world   one day and the kid nobody wanted to know the next.  All that wonderful stuff he was looking forward to and admittedly so was I...gone along with the expectation of how it was going to be. 7 years in this district talking about the day he would graduate in the stadium and counting the days til we put on that royal blue cap and gown to take pictures with his friends and listen to the band play the fight song and the entire crowd and graduating class sing the Alma Mater.... All of that gone in an instant.    Expectations had a tight grip on us and even though the mom in me kept assuring him that he would be okay and that he was not a bad person, I admit I cried hard in the shower for a week...I was heartbroken over losing all these things that felt were so so so important to his appearance of success and perfection. The stuff that everyone else could brag about. And I was a bit pissed off because I wanted to take those pictures with him and celebrate at the big ceremony in the stadium.  

So shit....all of this expectation crushing stuff at once had to be some sort of lesson and oh boy it was.... I realized that for all my tangled and messy nature, I have a death grip on expectations (can you say AVOIDANCE) because there is stuff in every day that kind of suck. Maybe because there are things in my world that drag my heart down and I pin all my good thoughts and hopes on events and happenings instead of just being okay in this moment.  Maybe because I invest too much in what I want to happen instead of just taking life as it comes and knowing that it will in the end be okay. I don't know but this certainly has made me re-evaluate how I approach things.  Maybe projecting forward keeps me from really being in the moment when the moment seems too much.

We had to do a whole lot of meetings with people after the school event as you can't make a kid leave a school without a process.  But luckily for us the last person we met with was Hank's new counselor.... And if expectations kicked our asses hard , this woman  was the truth and bright light we needed....she waded through the shame we had wrapped ourselves in and forced us to let go of what we thought was going to happen and embrace what was our new reality.   A school of kids who all needed a little redemption, 6 weeks to get through and then as she told us, a diploma that looks like everyone else. A more intimate and probably meaningful graduation and OH what a story my kid will have.  His future college football coach assured him that people do indeed make mistakes and it was time to move on and learn something and come play football.  And soon what felt like the end of the world will just be something that happened. Let go of the expectations because that was then, let's stay in now and take this new path for what it is...Let go of the expectations because they don't serve you well.  

I'm pretty sure I am not the same girl I was a few months ago, I still have a plan and big visions of what I am working for but I am certainly a whole lot less inclined to trust those darned expectations the way I used to. I don't let myself live in "the way it will be" anymore. And guess what?   I don't miss that shit at all.   What I trust is what I see and experience but not what I'm trying to make be the truth.  What I do know is life holds oh so many twists and turns and being a bit unruly and unsure is totally okay. We get up, tackle the hard stuff, embrace the curves , let loose of the grip just a teeny bit, throw our hands in the air and feel the wind on our faces.  I listed my stuff on Etsy and it sold in hours.  I'll do another vintage show in 6 months, but will not let sales dictate how I feel about myself or what I do. My son will graduate in 2 weeks and I'll take pictures with him in his cap and gown, smiling as big as if it was in that giant stadium with fireworks. We have not failed, we have grown, that kid and I, knowing that expectations will kick your ass if you let them. But I will not again let that happen, because I know life holds lots of amazing surprises and if I am so busy looking at the photo album of expectation, I may just miss some shooting stars .

“it is a serious thing // just to be alive //on this fresh morning // in this broken world.” 
― Mary Oliver

Love wins