LIST 13 | List the labels and expectations that have been placed on you by family, friends, colleagues, and others.
Eldest. That comes with all of the typical expectations associated with the title. I had to grow up quickly which was intensified by the fact I was 5’5″ by the time I was 10 years of age. With little guidance, there was an expectation that I would always manage to do what I’m told (which is not always the same as doing the right thing).
Daughter. For those of us who have one, we all know there are certain expectations of those of us with a uterus. At the same time, we are forced to apologize for the power it gives us. The expectation is that I conform. It is not easy for me.
Mama. Probably my most important label, the one which scares me the most as I feel the most responsibility. As a single mama, the expectations of the “job” were more my own than those around me. I think I did well – certainly, I did the best I could. Every day. I’ve had cheerleaders and detractors. The only people who matter are those who call me “mama”. My report card is still being written.
Sister. For a lot of reasons, I’m closer with one than the other. At this age and stage, I think we’ve evolved to the point where we expect us to always be “team Currie” for all important issues – and we are. Over the course of years, regardless of our own differences, we always come together when an outside force has tried to divide us.
Aunt. My nieces and nephews (two of each) are incredible kick-ass human beings who make me proud as much as they make me laugh. When mine get together with their cousins it’s like watching a pack of puppies – and they become sillier the older they get. I love that I can simply show up for them. There are zero expectations which makes it so fun.
Alpha. The word my kids use to refer to me when I’m around the dogs. I’m still surprised I have one, let alone two sweet Labradoodles. I expect them to eat underwear and garbage, beg for food and play keep-away with the tennis ball. They expect me to take care of them, give them many pats, feed them, and leave the music on when I leave the house.
Friend. I have a fabulous group of friends who have been curated over the course of my life to include those who agree with me, disagree with me, expand my knowledge, make me laugh, sometimes cry, and always have my back. They are always honest with me as I am always honest with them. I deeply love and cherish them all. They show up, and I do, too.
Sweetheart. I love that mine appreciates me arriving in his life the way I am – imperfectly perfect. Right off, my children described me as a “strong independent woman who don’t need no man”. He did not run for the hills. I love that he appreciates that I want him, I don’t need him. As for expectations? None. The love we have is both constant and unconditional.
Boss. For a long time, I had a lot of people work for me. I retired for a while (and got super comfortable in that space) and now I’m boss again. The expectation of those who work(ed) for me was that I have all of the answers. The reality is quite different.
Dragon. What honest list wouldn’t include this word? For some, I show up as the quintessential dragon. For others, I show up as strong. The expectations of both are the same: transparent, honest, verbal.
Writer. I do my best to show up here on the blog a few times a week. I continue taking creative writing courses via the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. The expectation of others is daunting as many things I’m a good writer and “can’t wait to read my book.” Eek! I put it down in October and hope to pick it up again. Right now things are percolating.
Coach. I was a good one. I’ve done the work and I know it’s hard. HARD. But worth it. The expectation to be a paid girlfriend was too much. I can’t divorce your husband for you. I can’t put your kid in rehab for you. I can’t have a hard conversation with your Dad for you. I can’t have the conversation with the care worker about your mum. I can support and help, but I can’t do the work on your behalf. It broke my heart but I had to stop.
And it goes on, and on.
What about you? What are the labels and expectations in your life?