If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. But asking is sometimes the hard part.
“Let’s meet at ___ location at about 6pm.” What does “about” mean here? Does “about” mean, “I want you to meet me exactly at 6pm?” Does it mean that we might be there by 5:45, but that it also is acceptable if we aren’t there until 6:15?
“I like it when someone else takes the trash out.” What does that mean? Does that mean the person is hinting that I should take the trash out?
“Someone needs to design a flyer.” What does that mean? Is someone being asked to design a flyer?
Authenticity is a complicated word. We are told to be authentic. However, we also face a lifetime of expectations, of being conditioned by the cultural norms to try to meet the expectations of others.
When we begin to first stretch our wings, to be authentic to what we really want, there’s sometimes a clash between trying to continue satisfying everyone else’s expectations of my actions and doing what I have previously committed to….This sometimes conflicts with our desire to live an authentic life, to follow the dreams we may have only just admitted we have for our lives.
And those dreams may be very different from what everyone around us “wants” for us or expects of us. Trying to become more authentic is where many of us first learn to say, “No, that’s not what I want for my life.”
I’ve seen a lot of chatter the past days about Teo Bishop’s announcement that he’s moving from Paganism back to Christianity. There’s a few folks that I’ve seen get rather irate about this. It’s an inappropriate response–but it’s also a very natural reaction–particularly in our culture. In the dominant Western culture, we (people) generally have really crappy boundaries.
I don’t know Teo, and I’m sorry to see him go as he has written some insightful things. I saw him as one of the Pagans who was working to raise the bar on Pagan writing and bring us that one step further out of our squabbling adolescence. I’m glad he’s hanging around a bit and continuing to do some writing. So this post really isn’t about him so much as what I’ve observed in this situation about ego, boundaries, and the idea of betrayal. And it’s important things for every single Pagan to reflect on if we want to actually build healthy, sustainable community.
Most of the time, when people say “You betrayed me!” what they actually mean is, “You betrayed the vision I had for you. You said no when I wanted you to say yes. You aren’t who I wanted you to be.”