Great expectations.

I have had expectation put upon me throughout my life. My father demanded and expected things constantly.

As a child, I had to live up to the standards my older sister had set. My path had already been decided. Dreams were contained and aspirations had to meet the correct criteria. I had to aim high, the career choices I made as a nine year old seemed to matter immensely to my parents. I loved acting as a child. It was a skill I enjoyed and excelled in, but the thought of following that career path repulsed my family. It was made very clear that I was not going to succeed in that dream. Instead, I was led to aim “higher”.

My school life began well. At primary school I was energetic, enjoyed English and writing and did very well. However, at secondary school my work began to decline. I was “expected”  to do well. My sister was getting straight A’s in everything and it was assumed that I would too. I even went to the same secondary school as my sister and once again expectations were put on me there. They all predicted me to be the same as her and give the school an amazing reputation. I was never an academic. I loved creativity. But this was forbidden and not encouraged. I’m not thick, I love maths too. But it wasn’t good enough. During the turbulent times, I was put on report by the school much to my family’s horror. I had shamed them when their other daughter was doing so well. It became difficult to please them.

My personality was assessed constantly too. I lacked maturity, patience, depth. I was shallow and materialistic. I only thought about myself. These were statements I regularly heard growing up and they continued to haunt me as an adult. Everybody has faults but they all magnified mine. I was criticised about the music I liked, my hobbies and my love of fashion was repeatedly mocked. I was certainly not the typical Indian girl my family expected me to be.

Relationships and friendships were straining too. I have had bad luck in the past with both of them. Without guidance, it is easy to make these mistakes. But once again, they were the subject of many jokes amongst my family. I was a joke to them.

I have built up a good life for myself. I have a few, close friends and a husband who I trust. I may not have met their expectations and I’m sure they can still find plenty of faults in me. Because of the requirements that I have failed to meet, I have lost who I am. I am a people pleaser, I can’t say “No”, I find it hard to defend myself in case someone tells me I am being “typical” and my character is tarnished by their words. One day the courage will come. It’s slowly coming now. They can read this and see the damage it has caused.

It has been commented that I am a strong person, but even the strongest of things can break if you try hard enough.

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.
Saint Francis de Sales

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