"Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you." Saint Augustine

There are moments where I don't want to be special anymore. Sometimes I am tired of standing out, being noticeable, and marked as different. Yearning to blend in when you are always visible is a conundrum. In some ways, people want others to take note of them, to recognize them as they are, and to be grateful for their presence. I think we always want those things. In other ways, there is peace in not being at the forefront, having to be "on," or in the mix. I still struggle to balance between showing up with the energy/comfort I'm feeling in any given moment, and the expectation that my personality means I am supposed to be endlessly entertaining lest others worry I am off. Sometimes I just want to dim my light, or to keep its glow for myself. I know I'm supposed to share, to empower others to be their brightest, or to reflect light, but having the experience of others of you be about your shine can be exhausting. I am grateful to be able to recharge but even more so the people that allow me to be lowkey. A gentle smolder of an ember instead of a blazing fire would be a welcome change. Having to explain that I am well, but not having others fawn over me is more difficult than just "turning it on" and being who people are used to. It's still me but heightened. It's a space I thrive in, but I also find great joy in the understated conversations that elucidate who people are, what they believe, and how their experiences have shaped them. Getting to do both fills me up. 

I don't want to disappear but I do want to get lost in a crowd. I've never been lost in the proverbial shuffle. Life has been tactical, intentional, meaningful. So much meaning. Does everything have meaning or purpose? Does it have to? Is there merit in doing things just for its own sake? I think so. The answer to it all is that everything means something just as everything means nothing. Duality, multiplicity, what have you - the meaning we assign to our lives and all its happenings are what informs our understandings. It's both a gift and a curse to have this feeling of always knowing what to do, or at least why I'm doing things - at least in a general sense. I have never been listless, lackadasical, or lackluster. I wonder how people live in the moment instead of in their heads. It's not worrying about who you're supposed to be and just being. I love who I am, who I get to be, and how I am, AND I know there is adventure, challenge, and questioning that I have yet to experience because how I've been made to move through the world. Am I missing out? What's the normative experience like? How do people just do without the internal theorizing about doing that they're ... doing? Sometimes I wonder if I'm too "smart" for my own good. Maybe things can be simple as much as they complicated. Life is simply complicated, and complicatedly simple. Always both.

Spending my days thinking about identity and existence has been a lifelong endeavor. By nature of being me, with all the ways that world has communicated who I'm supposed to be, how I'm supposed to behave, and where I'm permitted to be, I am in my head about well ... me. I discovered the other day that it was a bit odd to do so. I just thought it was a regular part of the human condition to constantly be interrogating our own identities and experiences. I realized that people, especially folx who life experiences differ from mine, go about their day without the heady grappling of incessant personal inquisitions. What is that like? What does that mean? What are people thinking about instead? Is life relatively "lighter?" I still believe that people's experiences, and how they feel about those experiences are impactful, at least in the context of them. Whatever is real for us, is real for ... us. Externally, others may perceive and receive things differently than we do but that does not, and cannot diminish the significance of life issues for us. Perspective matters, and reality has the duality of being both subjective and objective. 

Learning to manage expectations has been a saving grace in my life. As someone who lives in their own head, constantly analyzes the world around them, and wants things to be benevolent, I struggle to live in reality. The world I crafted for myself is necessarily brighter, more peaceful, and kinder than the world that exists around me. I think it's a powerful defense mechanism I created to preserve the best parts of me. In a life that can be cruel, ugly, and downright inhumane, carving space in my mind where people are better than they actually are, people care more than they actually do, and people love in ways that aren't reflected in reality is something I have long clung to. That is all to say that managing expectations is a critical part of life. When being told to manage expectations what does that mean in practice? It's not a call to abandon hope, to lower expectations, or to accept less than what is deserved. It is an admonishment to be realistic just as much as aspirational. It's taking stocking of assets, beliefs, and experiences along with hopes, and fears to prepare. It's being able to take things in stride, to rationalize, and to react appropriately & proportionally based on the reality of our experiences. It's knowing what is possible, capabilities, and problematics. It's not expecting the unexpected, but having the tools, and mindset to navigate whatever comes down the line. A fundamental belief that dynamic immovability is central to personal understanding positions the deciding factor as us instead of the expectations that can be unpredictable.

Intentionality in Experiences

  • What do I hope to get out of this?
  • How do I want to be changed by this?
  • What has prepared me for this experience?
  • How do I foresee I will be challenged?
  • Why am I experiencing this?
  • When will I feel satisfied, happy, peaceful, etc. here?
  • Who can I rely on to help navigate this experience?


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