Intention vs. Expectation

Fair warning: this one rambles a bit…

Despite the old adage that good intentions pave the road to hell, and the analogous corporate-speak parable that ‘hope is not a strategy’, intention and desire for a particular outcome have powerful meaning in my life. If nothing else, having an intent, a meaning behind my actions and words, helps me in my quest for authenticity and spiritual wholeness.

But, intent divorced from action is worthless.

I think a part of that feeling of being a fraud that I’ve blogged about in earlier posts is rooted in a feeling of not doing enough…a feeling that if I don’t hurry up and do something, say something to specific people in my immediate daily circle, then my intention to come out and be authentic will die, leaving me forever a deceiver of myself and those I care most about.

Yet I sometimes feel cheated at this assumed obligation to come out. The petulant teenager that still lives within me rebels at having to disclose something so personal when others in this life don’t have to. Why is it required for gay people to declare themselves when straight people don’t? (Don’t worry, I won’t get off topic onto the issue of apparent/supposed privilege. My point is simply that gay = different from the accepted “norm”, so gay people are treated as less than. I get it. But I don’t have to like it.)

I object to the expectation of action or disclosure that ostensibly legitimizes the declared status of gay, but in actuality perpetuates the disparate treatment. By requiring this intimate disclosure, the individual is forced into a position of vulnerability vis-a-vis the mainstream culture, further reinforcing the separation of the heterosexual from the homosexual classes.

So, I’m caught in the middle between self-imposed intention to live authentically, and societally-imposed expectation in order to achieve legitimacy. Never mind that the intent appears to coincide with the expectation. The fact that there is an expectation is confining.

Not to mention the fact that there isn’t a single expectation, but a whole load of shifting, barbed, venomous expectations, that seem to send out runner vines to wrap around my freedom and self-direction, choking them off. And don’t forget the looming threat of crushing rejection that is a very real possible result of choosing to/complying with the expectation to come out.

It all just seems a hopelessly unsolvable riddle.

Or, maybe that’s a load of crap to rationalize the mixed rebellion and trepidation I experience at the prospect of vulnerability and the change that goes along with it. Because, fundamentally, that’s what this journey is: a roller coaster of vulnerability, fear and change.

A friend once told me that my personal world view was like a person standing in a cell, looking out through the bars, judging my experience by the steel in my hands, but not recognizing that if I turned around I’d find there was no wall behind me holding me in. In other words, my prison is of my own making and I have the means to free myself from the confinement.

Even if we accept this metaphor as true for certain aspects of my life and being, there is a difference between having the keys to my own cell and being free. And it’s not just the basic question of choice. Rather, when I choose that freedom and self-direction, I will be directly affecting the comfort, ease, peace of mind of those I love and live with.

So, what’s the upshot of all of this? Honestly? I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m coming to an inflection point. I can feel circumstances converging on a point where the choice to come out or not (or the illusion of that choice to which I still cling) will be taken from me. Because life marches on and either I go with it or get trampled by it. And, as I’ve said, I’m not into trampling. Expectation and intention notwithstanding, if I don’t do something, the universe will do it for me…and maybe not in a way that works or is comfortable for me.

Bottom line: I need to find a way, and quickly, to unite my intention with action and overcome my umbrage at the feeling of expectation foisted on me to do that very thing. Said another way, I gotta get over myself and get on with it!

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4 comments so far

  1. Femmi on

    Aw love… it is hard, it is scary and I know how you feel being caught in a situation where hard decisions need to be made. The choice between self fulfillment and self sacrifice is the hardest choice to make especially when your choices affect the people you love.

    I am fighting with the idea that my own happiness is worth taking a leap of faith for. It is so scary! This is a choice that presents itself in your life more than once. In the end it boils down to asking yourself… out of the two possible courses of action, which will make me happier? Sometimes there is no good answer in the short term.

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      Scary, exhilarating, terrifying, thrilling. Leaps of faith, large & small, are intrinsically a stretching beyond our self-imposed limits. When the purpose of that leap of faith is to reach for personal happiness…I can’t imagine a goal more worth pursuing, or more worth the risks that go with it.

      Here’s to both of us taking the leaps best for each of us.

  2. […] Intention vs. Expectation (suddenawareness.wordpress.com) […]

  3. […] Intention vs. Expectation […]


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