Great [Ex·pec·ta·tions]

Woah. Shit got real.

When deciding to launch this blog and then delaying it for months I couldn’t help but wonder what purpose it would serve. Writing has always been therapeutic so it was a given that it would help me with the important emotional component that goes into such a big transformation. But accountability was also a factor. If people were watching, then they’d be holding me accountable to change. They’d be expecting results. That word, ex·pec·ting is what most likely led to my procrastination. Expectations are such a double edged sword. If we set expectations for ourselves and we succeed, we are winners. However if we set expectations that we fail to meet, not only do we lose but we disappoint ourselves and inevitably others.

On a recent family trip to Montana we did a day trip to Yellowstone Park. After hours in the car we couldn’t wait to visit Old Faithful. Known as the most famous geyser in the world, we knew we were in for something great. Apparently so did hundreds of other tourists. After finally finding a parking spot and making our way to the viewing area we realized we were in luck – the geyser was expected to erupt fairly soon based on recent patterns. So we waited in the hot sun, two small children in tow. We waited and we waited and we waited some more. Any minute now. Our 45 minute wait at this point was nothing in comparison to those who had arrived 2 hours earlier to get a front row seat. A couple of false alarms later and….wait, was that it? Surely this spectacular and arguable wonder of the natural world hadn’t just erupted. A small spray of hot water, some obligatory “oos and ahhs” from the crowd and then a rush to get back to our cars – a sight akin to the end of a baseball game in a crowded stadium.

The truth is – I don’t want to be Old Faithful. None of us do. Someone who is sometimes spectacular, often great but also sometimes disappointing. So naturally I delayed…and delayed…and delayed. Coming up with excuses about why the blog wasn’t ready to launch. Eventually my friend Sarah looked me dead in the face and said “just do it.” I knew she was right. And so I did one final read; took the deepest breath of my life (other than during child labour, hee hee hoo); and hit PUBLISH. Shit.

What happened in the minutes and days following was terrifying. Humbling, yes. But scary, nonetheless. Comments started flooding in on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, texts etc. And it wasn’t just encouragement that surprised me (though the encouraging messages made my heart sing). It was women I see daily to women I haven’t talked to for years to women I’ve never even met, all sharing their personal stories… with me. Thanking me for inspiring them;  thanking me for saying the things they’ve felt in their heart but didn’t know how to say outloud; and thanking me for being brave enough to be vulnerable and raw about something so personal that so many can relate to. Hee hee hoo, hee hee hoo. Turns out that breathing method is not just for child labour.

I’ve felt so many emotions this week ranging from happiness, to motivation, to “holy f*ck, I actually have to follow-through now. I have to do what people are expecting me to do.”

So in the spirit of being honest, which this blog will be nothing short of. Please don’t. Don’t expect me to be spectacular. Sure, I may be. I may lose this weight; become an inspiration to women struggling with their own journeys; and live the life I was meant to. And sure, I may be great in some capacities. But I’ll be very clear that I’m going to disappoint you. I’m going to eat things I shouldn’t eat. I’m going to skip workouts. I’m going to make excuses why I ate things I shouldn’t and why I skipped those workouts. All the while sharing these excuses with you. Because fact of the matter is, this isn’t my first go of this. This is a lifelong battle I’ve been fighting. My suit of armour is worn and tattered.

Sure, I’ve been spectacular. Sure, I’ve been great. But I’ve also disappointed. Disappointed myself and disappointed those supporting me, rooting for me. This journey of mine is full of expectations – it’s part of the human condition. But instead of expecting me to succeed I challenge you to expect me to keep going. Imagine the world if we changed our expectations, not necessarily lowered them, but course corrected them to help people succeed, versus setting them up to fail. Because if I keep going, and I do promise I will, I cannot fail. I cannot be less than you expected me to be. Expect me to get back up when I fall. Expect me to fail forward and learn from my mistakes. And lastly, expect a lot of labour-like breathing.

Hee hee hoo.

 

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