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Feb 7, 2015

no expectations

Two weeks ago, amidst funeral planning and helping my mom, Josh said something that challenged and encouraged me:

"Just remember, there are no expectations for you to feel or act a certain way."

He didn't know it, but I was struggling with what I should be feeling and how I should act. Yes, my grandmother passed away; yes, it's sad; and yes, I miss her. But I'm okay; she's okay.  Josh's words set me free.

There are no expectations for you to feel or act a certain way.
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Have you ever felt the pressure to feel a certain way, even when you didn't truly feel that way? I remember 9/11. I remember where I was when it happened. I remember my mom saving newspaper clippings, and my dad watching the news ad nauseum. I also remember that my life kept going. I still went to get braces that day, and I still had homework due. Life was different, especially for the families directly affected; it was sad, but I was okay. I remember visiting a counselor of some type with my brother, and that the counselor pressured me to draw or write or talk about what I felt, "Use red," he said, because I was obviously internalizing my anger, grief, and sadness. But I was really okay.

There are no expectations for you to feel or act a certain way.

That phrase made me think about a post I wrote almost two years ago now. Looking back, that was exactly where I was then, but it's not where I am now. It's still true, and it still applies, but it's different now.

Since jumping into this world of "til next times" by choice, I've learned how to deal with my emotions, but not be controlled by them. Every time we say goodbye, I'm sad, but I'm not so broken up that I can't live. Usually I have my cry, but then life goes on and I'm okay. That til next time is a part of me, but it doesn't control me. I was beginning to think I was emotionally broken or something.
There are no expectations for you to feel or act a certain way.

This is not me saying that people should just act recklessly, or heartlessly. I am not saying "be yourself to the point of inappropriate." I strongly believe a person should act in a culturally relevant and age-appropriate manner, with grace and compassion and love. However, culturally relevant and age-appropriate leaves a lot of room for a person to still be and express themselves in a meaningful, personal, appropriate way.

I'm holding on to that phrase now, especially as we draw closer and closer to the "big trip" to PNG and begin life there. It's okay for me to be excited to go, to make home somewhere else.

There are no expectations for you to feel or act a certain way.

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