I remember one time in elementary school. I didn’t get something signed by my mom and instead of admitting that I excused myself to the bathroom and attempted a horrible rendition of her signature. I got caught. In school suspension. Nothing major. Happens to a lot of kids. What stood out was the reaction of the teachers seeing me with the ISS kids (going to that different lunch). They looked so disappointed. I wasn’t supposed to be that kind of kid. I didn’t really understand the look then, I just know I hated it.

Expectation is a nemesis we don’t always know how to stop fighting. I don’t think we really understand how early we fit ourselves for that burden. Next thing you know it becomes regular. We even feel awkward when its not there. It’s like its a setup or something. It starts to distort our thinking, how we care for ourselves, how we care for others, and how we show up in so many different spaces.

It’s an ongoing struggle. Some days I come out swinging, some days I’m on the ropes covered up trying to survive until the bell, and some days I’m just sitting in the corner waiting for someone to throw the towel in. It’s not about a challenge or pressure. It’s not about potential or possibility. It’s not about being reminded I’m equipped or built for whatever comes. It’s about learning to escape the feeling that success is determined by benchmarks set outside of yourself. That you don’t get to define your existence for yourself. That you don’t to choose how things play out, you only get to participate.

I learned to be a director, managing roles, controlling scenes, and keeping to the script. Maturity taught me to be a producer, overseeing the direction of the production and keeping things on task. It took a long time to even begin to question who was backing this movie. I know they didn’t seem to be happy with any of my rewrite’s. Probably because most of them were self destructive. Luckily, God kept me from doing too much damage. I’ve been blessed and highly favored. Like so favored.

I can run the reel for you… He’s smart. Expectation. He’s talented. Expectation. You’re nice. Expectation. So glad he’s not like his father. Expectation. You’re not tough enough about this. Expectation. You put up with too much of that. Expectation. Why are you still here? Expectation. Why haven’t you done this? Expectation. You could figure this out. Expectation. I could tell you stories about how many different situations I put myself in trying to affirm or fight against ALL of these. It was like I got caught in this loop of trying to live up to or smash to pieces any perception or idea of me. All in an attempt to exert control over who I am. A lot of years and a lot of struggle keeping up whats on the outside while privately trying to be have enough left to deal with whats on the inside.

I’m getting comfortable with the fact that I DO NOT HAVE TO exert control over who I am. I GET TO determine what happens over here. I get to set the benchmarks and standards that matter. Everyone else gets to observe. It’s like sports commentators. You can analyze and watch but I got to take the floor. So Imma handle this business and God gone call these plays. You can get access to the locker room and you can ask questions, but you gone get the answer I give you. I get to negotiate the contract terms, I have a say so in teammates, and we got handshakes and dances and there is a mascot and folks on unicycles….you get the point! I’m the star player over here.

“…respect the game, that should be it/What you eat don’t make me sh*t; where’s the love?” – Jay Z


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