Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Relentless Expectations

"Hillary Clinton Shows Raw Emotion" was one of yesterday's headlines. Is this really news? Or how about the story about the newscaster who was rude to Obama and was subsequently restrained by the CIA. Is rudeness, in the heat of the moment, actually dangerous enough to require restraint? Is this kind of behavior so unusual that it should be reported?

Raw emotion, rudeness ... uhmmmm .... so what? Why such a fuss over normal human behavior? I don't get it.

If you're old enough you might remember I'm OK, You're OK, a book written in 1969. It was a gentler time back then, when the transactional analysts decided it was alright to be human, to show raw emotion or do something rude every now and then. It was a silly book, as most self-help books are, but the concept of acceptance was sound advice - practical, too.

After awhile, I forgot all about I'm OK, You're OK. In fact I spent much of the 1990's all worked up with righteous indignation and/or grandiose self-loathing and fear. Looking back on it that madness, I'm embarrassed, though more than that, I'm relieved to have moved past the era in my life that was characterized, as my partner called it, by a "Cry of Outrage of the Day." We're talking EVERY day. Just how much spleen venting does a woman really need? Apparently - a lot! Gosh.

The idea of perfection is such a siren song - calling me to try for the impossible. When I "fail" (whatever that means!) I've historically been quick to berate myself and everyone else around me for "making mistakes," another phrase I no longer understand. What is a mistake? Please tell me.

Hey Hillary, you go girl. Show "raw" emotion anytime you want to. It's OK. Really!! And all the rest of you out there ... have you noticed you're not perfect? BRAVO and carry on! A toast to human imperfection and to the possibility of accepting that sweet truth. Cheers!


m.a. said...

That's true. One should be able to show emotion, but I think that people love the stoics--so they don't have to be one. :)

Aileen said...

Hi Reya,

I read this post just after writing my post, essentially beating myself up for yet another "mistake" or "flaw"!

I love reading about your own personal growth/evolution. You seem to be in such a healthy state. It gives me hope!:)

Squirrel said...

It is sad that people can't sniffle when they feel bad, or yell YEEHAW! when they are happy. Everything we do seems wrong--by someone's standards!

Barbara said...

Who knows, maybe it was that show of emotion that proved the polls to be wrong. Maybe this country actually wants someone who can laugh and cry in all honesty. It's a lost art.

Reya Mellicker said...

I don't think anyone in this country knows for sure who should be the next president. Polls are snapshots of moments in time - people change their minds, and, too, who is being polled? Everyone? Not even close!

Aileen, if we could somehow transform all our collective guilt and shame into electricity, there would suddenly be no energy crisis. Everything in our culture encourages us to waste years worrying about making "mistakes." I'm over it.

Reya Mellicker said...

M.A. I have no special affection for stoics over drama queens. I think the world needs both. What I love most is people who can let down their guard and be themselves.

It occurs to me that besides shame and guilt, if women (particularly) channeled their collective anger into some machine that could convert it to energy, we could power up New York City for a year.

cuff said...

Don't know if you saw the Tom Toles cartoon in today's Post, but Toles pretty much calls it right: it's nine panels, the first seven of which show Hillary with same stern expression and captions like "Calculating," "Machine-like" etc.

The eighth panel shows her "sighing" with a more emotional look on her face.

The ninth panel shows the caption "hysterical woman" -- pretty much the choices that the media gives to political women: they're either "unsexed" as coldhearted bitches or they're irrational as "hysterical women."

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh yeah - same as it ever was.

Lynne said...

Politics aside (although I could say more): I really love that 60s semi-psychedelic hanging on the outside of this house. How very cool. I think she's a "flower child!"

rothko said...

Ditto on the hanging outside the house. Love it.

As for emotion, everybody thinks I'm a stoic, but I let my emotion get the best of me more often than I'd like to admit. And of course I always feel bad and guilty afterwards. Fortunately, I'm also the type of person that doesn't mind apologizing.

lettuce said...

so is that your house reya?

such a great post - absolutely! or "hear hear" as we say, restrainedly, here in blighty
;op again.

letting ourselves be human can be really hard - and also so liberating and wonderful

Steve said...

All the attention given to Hillary's "moment" was so interesting. She wasn't even THAT emotional. I didn't actually see any tears or anything.

Not that her emotion wasn't legitimate -- I think it was. It's just interesting what a flurry it caused, in all its mildness.

We demand so much of politicians, particularly when it comes to their private lives, don't we? It's silly.

kimy said...

show emotion? oh my, not if the pharmaceutical industry and the other engines of medicalization of everything have a say.

you go girl. another great post!!

love the house!

Reya Mellicker said...

Lettuce, this is not the house where I live. Ours is far more formal, more Victorian looking, and painted in creamy browns and tans. The hosue with the woman belongs to some serious characters. You should see what they do at Halloween! I always love walking past that place.

I wonder if the neighbors are aghast? Probably!

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

This brings to mind a "channelled" book which I'm reading at the moment. We're human, here to experience the full range of human emotions and to live in the moment. But we set ourselves up with so many rules because we've forgotten what we really are and where we come from.
Great post!