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Great Expectations

November 28, 2006

After a few years of being a divorced, single mother … I became a bit cynical about love and romance and all that “he-ing and she-ing” that goes on.

While my married relationship and ultimately the divorced situation that followed caused a tremendous blow to my self-esteem and ego,  I didn’t realize it, but I was prime target for experiencing a side of life and love and “romance” that turns out to be “not so pretty.” (or romantic)

My best friend during these first years of “divorcedom” was a young woman named Leslie. (I called her Lester)   We’d been friends since high school — we were very much opposite in many ways.  She was tall and slender, athletic and reserved.  I was short, VO-LUP-TUOUS, relaxed and quirky.  I loved to dance — she loved dogs. We were both intelligent, sharp-witted and deep-thinkers.  She was just more disciplined than me.

Anyway, we were in a philosophical discussion one day about men … and their lack of  social graces and overall good manners and the treatment of people. (namely us)   I was speaking from the cynicism that had begun to grow in my heart and mind.

Lester advised me that I needed to “expect more” from people, especially men…and not settle for less than what was expected.

I said, “Why should I expect anything … I’ve always been and expect to always be disappointed.  So if I don’t expect anything … and actually get something decent, then I will be surprised.  And surprises are always better than disappointments.”

“Well, expectations bring hope.  Without them, the situation seems hope-LESS.” she said.

Ahhhhh!  Therein lies the rub!

Lester and I muddled through a good five or six years of single-dom together.  By the way, we’re both still single.

I’m not sure if she is still expectant — I do know that I am still disappointed.

When it comes to  love and relationships … now at 43 … I find it a bit whimsical when married folks say, “It’ll come along when you least expect it.” (Sorry, Pastor)

I’m sure folks who are without children understand my plight after hearing all those well-meaning quips like, “Just don’t think about it and you’ll probably get pregnant.”

I told my Pastor just yesterday, “I am afraid at this point to expect anything.”

Truth is, it just hurts too much … and recalling Leslie’s words from so long ago … the situation does seem hopeless.  But I don’t understand why it is this way.

I guess I’ve needed a man for all my life.  I’ve needed a “HERO” to come in and save the day. And yes, I know that it goes back to my daddy.   He wasn’t one to stick around.  At best, I and my sisters were just “momentary” distractions from his otherwise seemingly fulfilled life.  And the things and people for whom we were passed over … only created more hurt and scars … and fodder for a life of cynicism.

This all began when I was five years old.  That’s almost 40 years of a hard life lesson.

My friend Leslie … did not have this same circumstance in life.  She was the only child of “older” parents who doted on her all her life.  Her daddy thought the sun rose and set with Leslie.  He worked his whole life without any other thought in mind except to bring security to the life of this little girl.   He never checked out.

But I know that you can’t blame your “lack of great expectations” on your daddy forever.  I don’t even want to.  I just know that it goes back a long way … and it’s deep … and not so easily dismissed — as much as I would like for it to be dismissed.

You see, I want to be hopeful.   I want to think that there is not something so desperately wrong with me that I can’t really expect someone to love and care about me.  I want to think that if someone would just give me a minute … a chance to just sit and talk … without any expectations of something weird or uncomfortable having to take place right off the bat … I might be kind of fun to be around — “likeable.”

But in all honesty, I’ve spent a great deal of my life trying to muster up this “hopefulness” — only to be disappointed.  And so, yes, I’m cynical.

And when I hear, “when you least expect it” — I scoff and say, “Aha, you see, I really have no expectations. I’m afraid to.”

But either way … it’s a morbidly, painful way to live.  (especially right now)

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