Friday, March 12, 2010

shamefully eager


Eagerly Awaiting your Response

I wrote those words years ago as a closing to some letter I wrote for some school project in grade 5 or 6. I can’t even remember what it was about anymore… just that I was inviting someone to come to our class and she said no (that bitch! :P ). My teacher was so impressed with my mad writing skills that she then proceeded to draw attention to them by mortifyingly sharing said sign off with the class, thereby nipping any admission of eagerness in the bud forever more (have I ever mentioned my sheer and utterly irrational fear of being the center of attention for anything that I create myself?).


Anyways, with said attention I quickly learned a new life lesson: eagerness = shame. *

(Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit for the sake of my argument… learning this lesson was a gradual process, instilled over years and not a light bulb moment brought to you by my English teacher on the cusp of puberty… but indulge me and my desire for artistic liberty for a while).


So where was I? Oh yeah. Eagerness in our society is tantamount to shame and should therefore never be openly admitted to. EVER!


For some strange reason this particular memory resurfaced on my car ride home last night from Nia (hmmm… 2 left feet in dancing, shameful coordination, shame, shame as pre-teen = recollection mystery solved!). So yeah, thinking about this particular memory made me wonder why it is that we are so reticent to express eagerness as a culture, myself being particularly guilty of this offense. Don’t get me wrong, obviously it’s fine to express certain types of eagerness amongst certain groups. It’s fine to admit to being excited to see a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, or to travel, or about a new book, or…


But admitting that you’re eager in the dating world: EEEK! No one should be so gauche as to do that, hence the ridiculous 3 days phone rule. Why is it wrong? I mean, why do we play such dumb games with each other, thereby prolonging our angst, instead of just being upfront and honest? Obviously if you call too soon the other party will be uncomfortable by your eagerness (even turned off), but why? Who made up such dumb rules? [In the back of my head right now I am singing Ani Difranco’s lyrics:


How come I can pick my ears
but not my nose
who made up that rule anyway
how can you say that's the way it is
that's just the way it goes
why don't you decide for yourself
what you can do
and what you can say

Shit like this makes me glad that I am married. Seriously! I listen to my girlfriends as they continue the crazy world of dating and I am filled with happiness knowing that I can turn to Paul and just tell him what I feel, no games.


So while I was pondering said mystery (eagerness = shame) I started thinking (and for those of you who know me best, you’ll know that this is not always a good thing!) why are we so hesitant to share how we really feel? Or, in other words, why are we so scared to admit what we feel? When do we learn to be so worried about rejection? And why do some of us internalize these fears so much more than others?


Obviously I’m no psychologist and I don’t have all (or any) answers to my own questions. I only have some personal theories that relate to my own development and experiences. As I grew up in a family that doesn’t tend to express these emotions, learning to let go and trust others with my joys as well as my criticisms has been a journey that I have been walking over the past year. (I’m sure that I’ve blogged about this before but for the life of me I can’t find it in and amongst the hordes of posts I’ve written). But as I work on this challenge, I find myself becoming more and more aware of how we all stunt our own self-expression by containing our eagerness in ways that don’t challenge the norm. It can’t be healthy. So I’m not doing it anymore. I’m not playing the game.


When I get an email, I’m answering right away… none of this wait a day or 2 bullshit so that I don’t seem to keen


When I get a letter, well I’m going to write back right away regardless of whether or not it makes me seem too eager


And yeah, for everything else in between..


Because fuck it, I am eager. What’s the point if we’re not eager? Seriously? I want to live my life, not shy away from it. So when I feel it, I’m going to try to share it… because hiding in wait only dampens my enthusiasm and perpetuates the lame games we play with each other in order to figure out if the other person cares or not. So damn it: You’re going to know when I care and be damned with you if you don’t like it!


Jan 2009 011


Just call me fricken’ Eager Beaver over here!



* Please note, I am being facetious here and merely commenting on one aspect of the issue that struck my fancy last night. I am aware that eagerness doesn’t not directly equal shame, nor does shame reduce itself so innocently into such a simplistic answer!

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