Being Perfect

People ask me how I am. I tell them I’m perfect. They laugh.

I hear people say nobody is perfect. This creates a lot of misconception. Perfection is defined as being without flaw. I would agree that every person has flaws, but I refuse to think the word perfect cannot be applied to people in a meaningful way.

First off, people say nobody is perfect as an excuse. I suppose they think failure is acceptable as long as they feel no one can do better. Saying nobody is perfect allows them to lower expectations making their inadequacies seem not so big. I think this is a shame because we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to others for a sense of worth.

What I find particularly irksome is when people try to use the line “nobody is perfect” as an argument against me. People assume I’m looking for perfection simply because I desire some quality in my life. I don’t understand why people get upset when I keep my standards. They’ll accuse me of being arrogant just for wanting to improve myself and my situation.

The word perfection is not something that comes up in my vocabulary. The only time I hear it is when listening to others. Everyone has their own messed up idea for what counts as perfect. A word is meaningless if it does not create understanding. I feel people should not say to others they can’t be perfect. It is like saying that improvement is meaningless.

Our behavior can be perfected. It is as real as change. I’ve seen people who were untrustworthy turn into people who are as good as their word and better. I’ve known people who were introverted to eventually become people who are outgoing. Actions, thoughts, and feelings can be perfected to the point where you don’t have to worry about them.

Tell people they can improve. You don’t have to constantly remind them to be realistic in their expectations. They can do that themselves. The greatest accomplishments in human history were due to men and women who did more than what other people expected of them. We will never improve the quality of our lives if we fail to recognize our own capacity to improve ourselves.

Gingerbread Men

When the going gets tough, the soft get running.

I recognize each of us has different levels of ability, but it is not wrong to expect a minimum amount of courage when facing life’s trials. Everyone needs enough bravery to at least get out of bed in the morning. And people certainly shouldn’t be afraid to talk to other people. We can’t function in society when we are governed by irrational fears.

On the other hand, knowing when to run from dangerous situations is part of survival. We take a risk when getting close to people. They could learn our weaknesses and exploit them. And becoming attached means it hurts when they part from us. Honestly, I don’t know how much optimism or pessimism I am supposed to have. Either choice presents risk.

Hope keeps me going. It’s more than just being positive. Not every positive person looks forward with hope. And a negative person can still be filled with hope. Hope means you can keep your eye on the prize on the good days as well as the bad days. It keeps me treating people with respect no matter what I am feeling.

I’ve met many good men and women who don’t possess hope. They give up on people at the slightest provocation. They would come to me, tell me I’m a friend, and then leave without saying goodbye. I’ve endured so much heartache because of people who run. I’m not their enemy, yet they run. I still love them, but they are gone.

Still I hope. So many people to meet along my journey. How can I give up on any one of them while I’m on my way to meet many more? I hope to one day encounter those who are running in my direction hoping to stay next to me.

Power Play

My roommate once said the person who cares the most in a relationship has the least power. I hope that’s not true.

The one time I babysat another person’s kids was an example of this. Babysitting is like being in a hostage situation. You try not to meet the demands of the captors too fast while constantly trying to calm them down. The whole day was spent entertaining these kids in the hopes they didn’t realize they could walk all over me. I had the least amount of power in that situation.

I would hate to think the only relationships I can have are ones where I maintain leverage over others. It’s not my personality to make people do what I want them to. I’d rather be with those who genuinely want to be with me. A relationship where the majority of your time is spent trying to not lose the other person is not a great relationship to be in. I call these socially abusive relationships.

A socially abusive relationship is when another person threatens to change the nature of your personal relationship with them because of failing to meet their expectations. Physical abuse attacks the body and verbal abuse attacks self-esteem, but social abuse attacks the relationship. I’ve met many people who would call me friend as long as I did what was expected. It took some time for me to realize these weren’t truly friends at all.

Take a good look at yourself to see if you are in a socially abusive relationship. Do you have to hold back your opinions and feelings for fear of offending your loved ones? Do your friends dispense punishment by spending less time with you when they get upset? Do people simply allow you to be around them instead of eagerly seeking you out? Be honest with yourself. The truth will set you free.

Each of us is guilty of being socially abusive when we give up on someone we have a personal relationship with. Are you refusing to talk to family because you are upset with them? Do you gossip about friends who are no longer in your favor? Do you tell people they are your friends and then convince yourself they aren’t really that close to you? You were never friends with someone if all you brought to the relationship was an end to it. Threatening to run out on friends is being nothing more than a social bully.

Instead of having leverage over friends I would rather be equal with them. They stay because they want to. They leave because they have to. I would never threaten my friends with thinking less of them just to make them stay by my side. No one has ever had to fear losing me because I have always been the one to care the most. This may give me no power over the relationship, but it makes me a powerful friend.

The Original Copycat

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. I say it is standard procedure.

We learn to talk by copying our parents. How else would we figure out what words mean what? School is spent mimicking the behavior of those around us. We take on roles such as doctor, engineer or scientist after we observe how other people have done it before. Human culture is simply behavior that is presented to the next generation for them to copy.

I would think that most of what we do is simply following a set path. We are born, play with toys, go to school, grow up, form relationships, get a job, grow old and die. Having a set path is a measuring stick that lets you know how close you are to achieving your goals. How do you know if a path leads to success if someone else hasn’t paved the road for you?

Templates

We choose whom we wish to emulate. Our heroes are the ones who embody the traits we value. If you value intelligence, then you might try to emulate Einstein. If you value strength, then you might choose some athlete as your role model. If you value masculinity, then you probably are into John Wayne.

The groups we are a part of each have their own set of expectations. To be accepted by a group requires acting like the other people in the group. A father may expect all his children to follow in his professional footsteps. A religion should expect its followers to be devout. A country demands its citizens to be loyal. The roles we are given to inherit are often carved out for us before we are born. People get upset when you don’t fit their molds.

Blank Canvas

I acted different as a child. I chose different. The diagnosis of ADD was first given to me and eventually that turned into Asperger syndrome. People needed some sort of explanation for why I did not fit in. My explanation is simple. I don’t want to be like anyone I know.

I want to be a part of my family, but I don’t want to make the same choices as them. I want to find true friends, but I don’t want to earn them as some reward for acting the right way or speaking the right words. The things I value most are on paths that have no footsteps. I don’t even know if the things I dream of are at the end of the path I walk. If I have to walk alone, then so be it. Someone has to be the pioneer. I probably won’t get praise for it. How do you value the worth of a treasure that is one of a kind?

What To Expect When You Are Expecting

To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.” – Oscar Wilde

Once upon a time, I was playing video games with my older brother at his place. It had been a long while since we played together. He was working hard raising his family and moving forward in his career goals. I had the opportunity to spend the night with him at his apartment. We wanted to play some games for the sake of old times.

It’s important to note that the Meldrum brothers are very competitive in their video game playing. There are four of us and we filled each controller port on our Nintendo consoles with pure gaming skill back in the 90s. Each of us still purchases video games today and enjoys them in our free time.

My brother was having a hard time playing against me that one night I came over to visit. The game was Soul Calibur II for the Nintendo GameCube, a fighting game where you beat the snot out of each other with giant swords. I can’t remember if he won any matches in that play session. He became openly upset when I would score a slew of hits on him and he couldn’t get me back. He argued that I obviously played the game so often that I had an unfair advantage. In truth, it had been more than a year since I played that game.

I didn’t want to upset my brother. I decided to go easy on him in the next match. I chose a fighter character I never had the opportunity to practice; Yoshimitsu, the crazy samurai guy. During the match, I randomly pressed buttons in the hopes of giving him an edge. Unfortunately, I accidently activated some of the character’s special moves. Yoshimitsu suddenly hopped onto the hilt of his samurai sword and started pogoing all over the stage. My brother tried to knock me out of it but couldn’t land a hit on me as I repeatedly stabbed him from above (in the game). He didn’t believe me when I told him it was an accident.

My brother had supposed we would trade equal blows with each other. He expected his time away from playing games would not hamper his level of skill. He didn’t expect me to be overwhelmingly awesome at an activity that I love.

Reactions to Expectations

I rarely see people react positively when their expectations are not realized. My brother became upset when things didn’t go as he expected on that one night. The possibility of him enjoying his experiences was dependent on events unfolding according to a set plan. How often do we make our plans with the intention of changing them as we go along?

I love it when my expectations are exceeded. I wouldn’t read Harry Potter for the longest time because I expected it to be too childish. Looking back, I’m glad I started reading them. And when The Dark Knight came out in theaters I was blown away. I knew it was going to be good but I didn’t know it was going to be that good.

The expectations we put on life either help us to enjoy it or despise it. Keeping our expectations either high or low is the balance we must discover to make life sweet or sour according to our liking.

The Value in You

The reason we put expectations on things is because that is how we measure the value of a thing. Thing is the best word I can use. Expectation can be placed on any one thing. People, places, events, and even inanimate objects have set expectations on them.

It’s common to expect puppies to be cute. So if one puppy is cute and another is not, then we attribute higher value to the puppy that met the expectation. Sorry ugly puppy. We expected a lot more from you.

Don’t confuse expecting with wanting. Those are two different things. Let us say you scheduled two musical performances for you to attend. The first one is your kid’s piano recital. The other is a performance from a professional musician. You want the same thing from both events; a good performance. However, your level of expectation for the skill of each performer is adjusted accordingly. You love them both, but you value each of them in a different way.

From whom we expect little, we think little of. Whom we think of most is whom we make the most of. We expect our leaders to be strong, our models to be good looking, and our heroes to be amazing. We expect losers and weak people to do nothing special. It’s not wrong to feel we deserve better things in life. Just remember that the Universe does not care if things go your way or not. You have no right to the things you think are not worth fighting for.

Affections and Affectations

What are reasonable expectations? I recognize that I will not always get what I want. And I can’t get excited about life without good things to look forward to. How does one go about finding a balance?

I wonder how kings get established. Does one guy just take any group of people and expect them to honor him? And then he expects everyone to honor his kid as the next ruler and his kid after him? How does one earn loyalty?

My friends and loved ones do not owe me anything. They have done so much on my behalf that I cannot repay them. I do not expect them to do anymore for me than what they have already done. However, I wouldn’t regard them as high value if I had low expectations for them.

I expect my best friends will keep their promises to me. I expect my family will take time now and then to let me know they are thinking about me. I value them all highly because I expect the best from them. I refuse to think poorly of them.

I do expect I will be spending Friday night alone. I expect the next one after that to be the same. I would rather spend them all with people who value me. I’ve been forced to lower my expectations so I don’t react too badly to the inevitable lonely nights. I’m not offended when my friends and family don’t do what I expect. No one has to change their plans for me. On the other hand, I’ve got little to brag about right now.

What Did You Expect?

Not much is expected from a guy diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Do you expect me to be smart? Do you expect me to be capable? I don’t have much value if all that is expected of me is failure.

I’ve never had a self-esteem problem. It’s more like an esteem problem. I remember one time my brother said to me that he couldn’t visualize in his mind me as a married man. I knew what he was trying to say, but it still hurt. I don’t know if my siblings expect great things of me these days. I know that they do care about and love me. That has to suffice for now. All of us need positive support from time to time. If I don’t expect to receive that support from one place, then I will find a new place.

I’ve been working on a series of novels ever since I was six years old. I can tell when people have high expectations for me because they will ask about my story ideas. The people who desire to see me happy know that I love sharing my ideas with them. I hope that is not a surprise to anyone.

We give more of ourselves to the things we value most. The path does not seem so long when a loved one waits at the end of the journey. You would choose to spend more time with a good friend than you would an acquaintance. And you would definitely pay more money to see Taylor Swift in concert than you would to see the Wiggles. Just saying.

If I have offended anyone with my ideas, then I wish for them to feel at peace soon. If they expect me to feel guilty, then they should expect to feel disappointment.