Anticipation

[an-tis-uhpey-shuh n]

noun

  1. the act of anticipating or the state of being anticipated
  2. realization in advance; foretaste
  3. expectation or hope

* * *

In the most general of senses, anticipation, is a wonderful thing. After all, who doesn’t enjoy that tingle of looking forward to something fun that has been planned or something that has been long awaited?

I experience anticipation when I think of my education. I hold an expectation that I shall complete my MA this December. This is a long-burning anticipation, four years in the making, and as this journey winds to a close, that anticipation elevates to a nearly euphoric level. I can count down the weeks or days to each impending deadline as this my final semester progresses. Each of these moments serving to further build the anticipation of the assuredly momentous conclusion to this adventure.

Sometimes, though, anticipation tears at you. With a knot in your stomach, you wait. And you wait. And then, you wait some more. The knot grows, and you find your mind wandering down the winding paths of a thousand what if questions. You wonder if literally tearing out your hair would be preferable to this damnable waiting. But you don’t tear out your hair; you like your hair and tearing it out won’t serve to help anything, not really.

So you continue to wait. And you hope that what occurs at the end of this turmoil was worth that agony of anticipation. Because you don’t know how this one will turn out.

This anticipation is not looking forward to the simple, expected joys of completing a lengthy endeavor, or to an event scheduled with the known variables of close friends and repeated activities. This anticipation is of an event with an unknown, unpredictable outcome. Until it has come to pass, anything could happen. And that mystery eats away at you like rust chewing on old iron.

<end melodramatic exposition>

Note that the third definition cited lists both expectation and hope. I find this to be of particular interest because expectations and hopes are so very different, particularly when you are dealing with people. To hope for something with a person is one thing; to expect something from a person… well, that just opens up a can of worms.

I have found, in my own experience, that it is far too easy to allow a hope, a dream, or even a feeling to evolve into an expectation, and, once it crosses that threshold, it is very difficult to turn it back. I have further found that the expectations we lay upon others are often an undue, unfair, and unknown burden, and those who carry our expectations often suffer unreasonably for it.

This is not to say that all expectations are bad, no, rather that unspoken expectations are the problem. When a hope runs away and becomes an expectation it is rarely communicated to the person on whom it relies. “I hope this happens” becomes “This should happen” without ever a comment of “Hey – I’m expecting this to happen” aimed at whomever ‘should’ be causing this happening.

I dislike weighing expectations upon people. I especially dislike when expectations leap, half-formed, from my hopes and feelings and attach themselves like parasites to the object of these hopes, these feels. And I work very, very hard to prevent this from happening. Sometimes I even succeed.

Few things prompt such unfettered an outpouring of emotions as that dreaded state of anticipation. This is what causes anticipation to be, sometimes, so excruciating – just how long can one temper these volatile feelings before they burst forth of their own accord?

With a little bit of practice and a can-do attitude, well, quite a long while actually. Rein in that anticipation and build a little self-awareness. The worst case scenario is probably not as bad as your lizard-brain is making it out to be, and even if it doesn’t turn out exactly as you hope (full of rainbows and sunshine and unicorns and so on), it’s probably going to be just fine.

All those feels you’re feeling? Well, they’re yours. So knock ’em back into line and remind ’em who’s in charge here (Hint: You are).

Me? I’ll be here, grounding myself and waiting in anxious anticipation, feeling all my feels, hoping all my hopes, and curtailing all those expectations as they try to rear their squirrelly little heads.

The Great Fixer

I speak, of course, of superglue.

Great for assembling,  mending, and, of course, fixing everything from china to miniatures to broken body parts.

Now, before anyone panics, I assure you that my ‘broken body part’ assessment is more than a little melodramatic.

In my infinite grace whilst cleaning, I broke a nail. Painfully. That fucker split like halfway down the nail bed. In and of itself, no big deal. However, anyone who has broken a nail in such a manner knows that the next few weeks while the break grows out are, at best, annoying, or, at worst, downright agonizing.

My crisis was averted with the help of my pungent friend, recently uncovered in The Great Sorting. Indeed, the solution is so effective that I may well leave a bottle of glue in my medicine cabinet for future incidents.

Cluttered

Anyone who knows me well (or has lived with me for any amount of time) knows that I clutter, especially when I am engrossed in a creative project.

I’m not saying that I’m messy – I don’t leave dirty dishes and empty drink cans scattered about my home, and you won’t find a new species of mold in the deep, dark depths of my fridges, but if left to my own devices for any period of time, I will inevitably find that little piles and stacks of things will just manifest around me.

Some say that clutter is the sign of a creative mind, and I have certainly seen evidence to confirm that. I most definitely clutter more when I deep in the throes of a creative endeavor – all of the bits and pieces of my project scattered about me in a perfectly organized chaos, fueling those creative juices to keep on flowing.

Anyone who has only visited me for scheduled, hosted events has likely not seen this side of me, and for good reason. It is deeply ingrained in my psyche that my clutter is not for public consumption and should be cleaned away when hosting any kind of social event. On the one had, this is good, because it forces me to have homes for all of the things, so that they may be organized when situations so demand. On the other hand, I tend to never leave myself enough time for the cleaning and oft find myself scurrying to tidy at the last minute, which leaves me sticking odds and ends in weird miscellaneous places in an effort to finish on time.

This turns my happy-creative clutter into sad-stressful clutter, because I never seem to have the time to go back and sort through all of the clutter than was hurriedly put away wrong. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve lost something because it got stuffed somewhere in a hurry, and frankly, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of misplacing things because I haven’t done the back-end work of organizing my home well enough that the clutter goes away quickly and easily when I want my home tidy.

Which is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past two weeks, since my summer class finished. I’ve been pulling things out of closets and cabinets and drawers and boxes, and getting it all sorted. I’ve been getting rid of things left and right; I’ve even hung art on the walls. And I very nearly know where everything is and where it should go.

It’s been very cathartic.

Added bonus: Apparently when I get everything sorted into where it’s supposed to be, I actually have a reasonable amount of free space in these closets and cabinets and drawers and whatnot.

I should have this whole organization project wrapped up by the end of the week (just in time for my next class to start on Monday), and I just might celebrate with a new art project. It’s been too long.

Fake Geek Girl

Ok, you caught me.

I admit it.

I’m reading Dune right now for the first time. *gasp*

Call the Geek Police and take away my Sci-Fi Nerd Card.

Or, y’know, accept that maybe my geekdom hasn’t manifested itself via Frank Herbert yet (maybe it will be after my reading concludes). It’s certainly manifested in other ways: let the record show that my bedroom is decorated nearly exclusively with Star Wars fan art.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know the story of Dune. I’ve seen the film and the mini series, both of which I enjoyed. It is a fine story, and I look forward to reading it in its original glory.

But I spent my youth reading Dragonlance and Star Wars and Valdemar and Sword of Truth and Redwall, and Herbert just never managed to make the cut into my schedule. To be completely honest, Lord of the Rings hasn’t made the scheduling cut yet either (She hasn’t read Tolkien?! The Horrors!!).

I may joke about losing my geek cred for having not yet read some of the iconic classics, but in all seriousness, I find the whole idea of “Fake” Geek Girls to just be absurd. (And honestly, I have never been accused of such. Maybe I’m not pretty enough for people to think I’m faking it. Maybe my fellow geek friends just aren’t the kind of asshats who accuse people of faking their interests.) The nice folks at Cinevore seem to agree with me:

When it comes down to it, there is so much geek fodder out there that it is impossible for any one person to have perused it all. (Seriously, ain’t nobody got time for that!)

Revel in each other’s communal appreciation for geeky things and don’t pass judgment on someone for having not read or seen or enjoyed something that you love. Instead, maybe lend him that book you love; invite her to watch that favorite movie with you. Maybe ask to experience their favorite things too. Share your excitement with them instead of rejecting them for the crime of not having experienced it.

Me? I’m going to go experience some Dune and then geek out over it with my friends who’ve already read it.