Eryan Cobham

Thinker-tinker. Web Developer.

Hancuffed by Expectations Pt. 1

I started this a while back, but it’s been taking me so long to finish that I’m just gonna post it and hope it’s a complete enough thought to get my point across. There might be future ones along the same train of thought, hence the pt. 1.

So I’m on Fergie’s Wikipedia entry (don’t ask – boredom can take you places you wouldn’t normally go), and I see that she was on the show Kids Incorporated and in a group called Wild Orchid before she struck gold with the Black Eyed Peas. For some reason it was mad funny to me that she had been involved with those two things, and I made some remark to Sean about how so many famous people just kept trying and reinventing themselves and trying again until they finally come up with a formula to get them where they want to be. They really work hard at being famous. But, now I wondered which one of those was the real Fergie, cause it seems like a long way from Wild Orchid, which I imagine to be one of those angst-filled groups, to Fergilicious. Sean just said hey, maybe they’re all her, just at different stages of development – a good point.

Him saying that reminded me of something I had been thinking about a while back about people trying to change. It seems like one of the most difficult and frustrating parts of a relationship (any relationship, not just the significant other type, but also familial relationships and friendships) is when you are trying to change and it feels like people are kind of holding you in place. I’m not even necessarily talking about a subjectively good/bad type of change, but maybe just doing something different from how you would normally do it. I think it happens because over time the people that have known you for a while tend to develop expectations about you – what you think about things, how you would react in certain situations, what you want to do, etc., and usually that’s a great thing. Having that kind of familiarity leads to situations where something happens and you just look at each other and start laughing. But, other times it’s not so great. I know every now and then I just feel restricted – like I can’t do something different because people might not know how to react to it, or might look at me funny – whatever. There are definitely times when I don’t even want so much as a comment about how I’m doing something different. With some things I’d just rather not get any acknowledgment at all that I did something that I wouldn’t usually do

The perfect examples of this are my dealings with my mother. Basically, I’m fairly sure that my mother still thinks I’m the exact same person I was the last time I really lived with, and was fully dependent on. I’m talking 1997 here. Nevermind all my experiences in the intervening 10 years, I’m positive she still thinks of me as pretty much the same – at least, that’s what her actions seem to tell me (you can always argue that I’m looking at her the same when she’s changed, but I’ll ignore that argument for now because I think you change a lot more between 17 and 27 than when you’re reaching retirement age, and I also think I’ve tried to recognize any changes in her).

An example of the way she looks at me: she still thinks that I don’t drink. At all. I admit, a large part of this misconception is due to my laziness. Every family function, when the champagne comes out, she’ll be like “oh, don’t offer him any, don’t waste it, he doesn’t drink.” And I’ll ignore just ignore what she said and take a pass on the liks, because it’s easier and more comfortable than accepting it and having to hear comments/have a discussion with her about how and when I started drinking. Besides, I’m usually the one driving home anyway.

My mother is a more extreme example, because she just has something to say about everything. I know most of my friends and family aren’t going to bother to say more than something small acknowledging it (if even that much) then keep it moving, unless it’s a pretty significant change that deserves some kind of comment. I’m also sure some people don’t consider what other people might have to say at all, but I think most people think about it to varying extents. Most of the time it isn’t a big deal, and doesn’t really affect what you’re doing. But that kind of inertia preventing change is at its worst when you want to change and you’re trying to change, but you are just so used to and comfortable with the relationship being a certain way for so long that you end up relapsing into the roles you usually play.

I’ve seen that happen with a lot of couples, where they just get way too set in dealing with each other in a certain way and playing the role they’re been playing for a while. And it ends up getting to the point that the only way they can break out of that is by breaking up so they can change on their own and hopefully come back and be in a different position. After all, even if you want to change, if someone keeps treating you the same way as before its too damn easy to fall back into old habits. I’m always hoping I don’t get stuck in any ruts like that with any other people I’m close to. Still trying to break some of those assumptions with my mother, but it gets tiring.

So coming back to Fergie for a sec, I wonder if all those people that were fans of Wild Orchid and loved her then are now rejecting her because they don’t like the change. Or if maybe some of those fans have changed too and like her new music. I guess its possible that they could like fergilicious and still like whatever hit songs Wild Orchid had as well. And, I wonder what Fergie thinks of all the music she made with that group – if she still listens to it now and then.

So I guess besides just trying to change whatever things about myself, I probably need to make sure I’m doing a good job of letting the people around me change and not doing anything that would hold them back. Maybe at the next family event I’ll take the champagne, and maybe when I do that, my mother won’t comment on it. I doubt it though.

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