|Not what I expected - Surprise!|
Some people really like surprises. Me, I can do without. I’ve watched others dance with glee at the thought of a pending surprise. Me, I have a bad feeling about it all. Others live with a heightened sense of anticipation. Me, all I feel is dread. And when the moment arrives they are wet with excitement. I am just hoping I don’t really end up pissed off. For you see, while, “Surprise!” has fond and happy memories of others, for me it has meant that I was expected to accept and enjoy some situation, circumstance, event or thing which was not my desire, interest, or in my mind even a possible consideration.
“We have a surprise for you. You’re going to have a brother or sister.” I’m the eldest, so this one just kept happening all the way into my college years. This particular surprise shaped how my world looked to me, especially around getting my needs and desires met. It’s the surprise that replicates itself daily – forced sharing, endurance, and responsibility.
“Good morning. We have a surprise pop quiz, test, or other method to put you on the spot around facts, ideas, or thoughts I know better than you.” How much does this suck? The only way through is to have been studied up, be quite knowledgeable about the matter, or maintain a sense of apathy. Otherwise, there are usually groans, pouts and angst.
“Please come to the office. Please see HR. Please gather your things.” Please becomes a scary word sometimes. I went to the office to find that the agency I worked for had lost the contract for services and could not maintain the current staffing level. That day was my last there. Surprise! I went to HR to find that I my contract was coming to an end two months early. I was sick. Surprise! And being told to gather your belonging, no matter how nicely, is rarely a good move, as in “You’re moving to a bigger office – Surprise!” Nope, that’s not what happened. Everything seemed to be going so well. Can’t we work this out differently?
“It’s not you, it’s me.” Well, no surprise there. The only surprise is that we lasted long enough for you to make that declaration.
Dating surprises have turned out especially poor – gifts or questionable thought, lies, misrepresentation, and half-truths, inconsistency in presentation and reality, and loads of cow poo.
“Here, I found this on the side of the road. You like to collect stuff. I thought you could use it.” That’s my basic feeling for all items bought for me without due thought or consideration of who I am or how I live. The worst part is when I gear up and buy into the surprise aspect.
I like to limit some surprises. I like to think through what might get in the way. Asking your date, partner, POA (person of affection) specific questions generally indicates that you want a specific answer. I’m asking now so I don’t have to be surprised later. Some things are just that important – gender, gender preference, relationship status, etc. If there is something to hide, reply with either I prefer not to share or none of your business, so I can move on. I am past the excitement of the supposed ex banging on my door, shouting to the world that I let her lover, partner, POA out. This web of deceit was wound by another. They are free to leave, as in, “Get out!”
So how am I going to stand waiting for my first meet up (now to be called a seriously vision impaired date) and watch the person approach with no idea as to their gender. “Surprise!” Not f*&$%^ fair! Just not.
I planned my day – my time, energy and resources – around this experience. I shifted to make space. The big deal is that I put myself out there. And yes, I have a few expectations. I expect that my preferences be honored. I said what I was looking for and interested in. If that is not who you are, please do not think I will adjust after meeting you. Come on, even if a person could pass for quite a while and we found we were deeply interested in following a progressive course, at what point do the facts become clear (as in spoken). Where is the trust in a relationship with that depth of deceit?
This issue is not about being friends or having someone to share time with. I expect my friends to be direct and honest with me. The word, “Surprise!” is not supposed to freak me out. Recognizing that we are each in our own space and time working out what works for us, it would still be nice if we considered the effects our work might have on others.
There are great discussions on when people self-disclose intimate details of who they are. I have a great many transgender people in my life. I understand their struggle with meeting others and establishing relationships. But this is my side of the story.
What I want most is better sorting on dating sites – one that offers several gender identity and preference choices. We can still all contact one another, but we know from the beginning where we stand. Of course, people can still be deceptive, but if we choose to meet that’s a bit of information that carries forward. If I am meeting a liar, I can expect them to lie.
“Lets all indulge in a little truth in advertising. It begins with being honest about our purpose, and telling the truth, or at least not lying, about the important facts. Lets be proud of our age, tout our assets, and talk about what we want in a relationship. Using the right words to convey those things in a softer manner is fine and acceptable. But, valuing ourselves first and foremost means were bringing that honesty to a relationship.”
I am reminded of a time when I belonged to a community that asked its members to identify so that we might remain women born women. It became divisive and more exclusive than before. And while I could see the irrational nature of fear creeping into the process, I understood the essence of the need to maintain defined space.
I believe I get to have my requests honored, even if the answer is, “No.” There is no use in pretending you can be what I desire when that is not who you really are. We are both cheated in the process. I have yet to find surprises that are sweet for that exact reason. The compulsion to fit into another’s ideas and standard at personal sacrifice is demeaning, deceitful, hurtful, inappropriate, and not at all useful.
We are called to show up as our own wonderful selves. That job is challenge enough without trying to be someone else.