Tuesday 24 August 2010

Drowning in personal expectation

I can't keep up with my own expectations. Am I drowning?
Going, going, almost gone. Water bubbling round me as I try to come up for air. Sucking it through the tiny little opening on the surface of the stream - through a very thin black straw.
The air is not quite enough, but it's keeping me alive. Just. Just enough to get what I need, but not what I want. No room to spread my wings in this confined little pool of murky water.
But I can wash my wings, at least. I'm respectably clean and presentable - able to appear in control. But no one can really see how much water I have swallowed.
How long will it be before my lungs are full? How long before the thin straw will no longer suffice?

Please don't forget about my contest!


  1. That picture of a man drowning is really chilling. It reminds me of that movie about the husband and wife lost at sea. Dang it can't remember the title... but yes, I know just what you mean. I often think of that film, and feel like that. For me it's when I get overwhelmed and don't feel productive. I hope you come up for air real soon :)

  2. Please come up for air soon Jessica, It must feel awful to be drowning, I can't swim so it wouldn't take me long.
    We can all drown in our sorrows if we so let it, but the only person to suffer is one's self. I have been there and the expereinece is not pleasant,
    Have a good day.

  3. I know what you mean. I get this feeling a lot. I'm sure things will change. I hope you get air soon.

  4. This is so fitting for the way I feel today, I have twenty one new little students that will be arriving at school soon and my head is stuck in my rewrites!
    I love the picture you used. I hope you get the air you need soon too!
    Great post!

  5. Well written. I hope you are able to find a new source of air--knowing that expecations are difficult to dull.

  6. Ugh! I can so relate to this!!! I'm actually feeling that way today... and last week, and probably the rest of this week!!!

    However I know there is end in sight!! Next week the drowning should die down, and I'll be very, very thankful!!

  7. I'm with you on this one. I'm having one of those overwhelming days.
    Hope you break the surface soon :)

  8. Hang in there and keep breathing!

  9. I feel that way about college alot. I hope you can get relief soon. Good luck!

  10. Ugh. I know the feeling:( Hang in there. You'll find air again soon. xoxo.

  11. Ooh, that pic's intense. Maybe take a sec to write out some concrete, realistic, manageable goals to balance out those expectations? Hugs!

  12. We've all been there. Too much stuff on the plate overwhelms the senses. Can you get out of the water, rest up, and try again later (perhaps with narrowed goals and/or let some stuff go)??

    We stayed in the center of Athens. We couldn've passed each other on the street...we certainly walked a lot. Hub ran the marathon prior to the Olympics. We walked some of the end to the stadium. If we return next year, how about a cuppa coffee or Greek beer?? Or both...why not?

  13. I truly believe we are our own worst taskmasters. Having said that, I drown at least once a day. The problem is remembering to come up for air. Hmm...maybe a road trip? (Hugs)Indigo

  14. This post is really well written. I know exactly how you feel. We have to be careful of our expectations.

  15. Thank you, Aubrie! I wrote it so quickly. Just trying to describe how I was feeling. Sometimes I write the best things when I don't even think about it. Do you ever find that?

    Thanks for all your comments everyone. I'm so EXHAUSTED right now. Your comments make me smile!

  16. That picture is chilling. Keep breathing! I hope it gets better for you soon. :)

  17. That's why I'm maintaining a low profile with my expectations.
    You'll be okay!

  18. That is pretty haunting, but wonderfully vivid as well, thanks for sharing Jess.

    I've decided I am going to donate for your contest, but won't have time to do it today.

  19. Sometimes when I was a wee cub, I would thrust my hand into the cookie jar and grab a fistful -- only to find I couldn't get my fist out of the darn jar.

    I had to let some of the cookies go.

    Perhaps you need to let some of the cookies go -- for now.

    The drowning analogy is apt. We have just so much oxygen in our lungs. We can keep down under the surface for just so long. The number of underwater tasks are limited.

    Each of us has an emotional checking account. Each transaction : social, job, interpersonal, physical -- they all demand a certain amount of emotional energy.

    Make too many withdrawals with doing any depositing = NSF (we find ourselves writing an emotional check that bounces.)

    Perhaps you need to deposit into your emotional checking account -- take time for yourself :

    to be alone and just chill,

    listening to your favorite music,

    soaking in bubble bath, while

    sipping your favorite wine,

    jogging down a beautiful path,

    or just sitting, closing your eyes, and breathing in deep, filling your mind with scenes of love and peace.

    You are just human. You can do these tasks you desire -- you just have to do them smart and pace yourself.

    I'm in your corner, rooting you on. But take some time to deposit into your emotional checking account. Your friend, Roland

  20. I know that feeling. Many times I find myself saying "why bother", just because my standards are so high. But we can't give up. Those expectations can be satisfied as long as we don't let our own personal selves discourage our own personal selves.

  21. hi miss jessica! first i gotta say i care about you a ton. you know im part fish so i know lots about water and breathing. :) when you get drowning you just gotta stop fighting the water and get still and then you float up to the top and take in lots of fresh air til you catch your breath. then you look up at the pretty sky and white clouds and know everythings gonna be ok and you just keep floating til you get back to the shore.
    ...BIG hugs from lenny

  22. Made me take a dddeeeeeeeeppp breath!

    Let at least one thing go.

  23. Gosh, I feel like that more times than I'd like to admit too. "Just keep swimming". :)

  24. I'm sending you a floatie. It can either hold you up so you can rest, or give you a little extra air. Hang in there, hon. It's a long slog, yes, but you will get there!

  25. Oh my gosh- I feel this way too. Just last night my husband told me my expectations for myself are too high- I expect to be perfect in everything I do. Then when I'm not the best I feel like a failure. I just can't help it!

  26. Very powerful! And I can relate. Just take one word, one breath, one idea at a time and everything will work out.

  27. Wow -- what a vivid, chilling image. Cough that water out of your lungs and take a breath!

    I hear you, though. In my case it doesn't feel so much like drowning as The Perfect Storm.

  28. Here...let me toss you a flotation device and pull you to safety of the shore. Can't let the water claim you!

  29. We've all been there. Since you're not actually drowning, go with it. Get it out of your system. I do things like this from time to time. Like that famous troll named Shrek once said, "Better out than in."

    Stephen Tremp

  30. I hope you find time to relax soon, can't have you drowning Jessica!


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