Monday, September 1, 2008

Living up or down to expectations

Recently, I've put a lot of thought into how people live up or down to expectations. Some people don't have much of an internal core. They're so much on the surface, the surface goes all the way down. Like wind socks, they catch the breeze and create form.

In Blink! the book on first impressions, it says we make up our mind about a person within sixty seconds. It takes a deliberate step back to be objective. Like Seger says, we're products of our environment. We see certain things as good and other things as bad. We judge through the filter of our environment and expectations.

We grow "to" expectations, bad environment=bad kid, good environment=good kid. I guess that's a riff on parental influences and all the things Seger says go into creating the "soul" of your character.

Redemption stories are a popular form of romance. More popular as historicals, because gunslingers, mercenaries and rakes are at a greater distance from us than ptsd vets and reformed criminals. In the Sacketts, by Louis L'amour, Tell is dangerous. He's a loner, more comfortable with his gun than other people. It's only through internal narrative that you see the person on the outside isn't the person he really is. Tall, with an angular wedge-shaped face and bad attitude, he's the person people expect him to be.

And because people expect him to be a certain way, he is a certain way. It's only later when he meets Ange that he can show her he's also the guy who reads Blackstone in his spare time, takes care of her when she's sick and--kills the bad guys who are after her.

Some people really are bad attitude, and I'm not trying to justify them, but the reason the redemption story is a cliche is because it's a truism. We look at the girl who sleeps around with guys and think, "oh yeah--we know what "you're" like", not thinking maybe she grew up in a dysfunctional family and she's looking for "love" in all the wrong places, or acting out against something not related to sex at all. Like Dulcinea in Don Quixote, the potential is there to become more--but nobody showed her how.

We hold within us, a core of "us". The person we can be. Like Saint Exupery says, many people wall it away and every year the voice grows fainter. And the mud grows hard and tall because expectations are their own prison.

We live up or down to expectations. That's why it's called redemption. You need someone to believe in who you can be. Not who you are..


Alice Audrey said...

Is a woman who sleeps around ever really doing it for the sex alone? I've never scratched the surface of such a person and found it to be true. But you're right, everyone assumes they know what's going on and pigeonholes the people around them.

Unhinged said...

This is one of those posts I have to mull over (hey, it's hard for me). You make a lot of good points...and I love the resources/folks you cite.

So...who I CAN be. It's kind of like dream fulfillment, on my part, anyway. You see, I've snowed a bunch of people into believing I can be (do) more than who I am.


Which tells me I need to a much better job with those damn affirmations....

Jeanna said...

Moon cakes?

jodi said...

that's true, Alice. True nymphos are rare (although every guy wishes he'd meet one :)

Unhingey...I love Saint Expury (the little Prince), he's a philosopher above all things, I don't think he ever meant to become required high school reading. That kind of misses the whole point of what he's trying to say.

Read Man of La Mancha. It's a good play, or Don Quixote, or watch the movie. It's about Sancha and Dulcinea, not the Don. And how knowing him, changes them for the btter, because he believes them into better people.

Belief can move moutains.

lol, Jeanna...I almost spewed Coke. I'll take pictures when I buy some. I love me some moon cakes.

Big, fat pastry cases with bean paste inside, and an egg.

It tastes like a chestnut danish.

Jeanna said...

Well that sounds...that just sounds gross, dude.

Unhinged said...

The Moon Pies thing? To celebrate...something I can't remember. (Obviously I haven't taken my Ginko Biloba today.)

Anyway, I bit into one of those pies thinking it was going to be dark chocolate heaven. And it wudn't.

Alice Audrey said...

Guys don't really want nymphos. As soon as they meet a real one, they feel inadiquate. What they really want is a living, breathing blow up doll. Something that never says no, but does it in a way that makes him think he's accomplished something when she says yes.