Anticipation vs. Expectation

"Expect this, Pal."

Copyright Screamer 1999 All rights reserved

(Article inspired by Jack Rinella's Column entitled "Leather Views" from the week of 12/6/99)

(Also, thanks, G, for letting me thieve your thoughts for this.)
So, I was thinking about the down side of this lifestyle. The essay that I posted last week from Jack Rinella (See "Leather Views") surprised me in that Jack wasn't talking about all roses and romance in BDSM.

How dare he! How dare he insinuate that we are not all living happily ever after in our self-built kingdoms of perversity and mirth?

Cause the guy knows reality, that's why. Gotta love that in a man.

Well, some of us do, anyway.

Fact is, I've spent enough years on AOL and other online chat services to know that folks don't always get their reality when they come into their own in leather. As a matter of fact, even those who do venture offline from this cyber fantasy often find themselves believing that all of the romantic, passionate scenes they did online will be reality, and that's what they should expect their leather life to be about.

And god forbid, they should be partner-less in their explorations. Or, that they should go to a party without a date, or without the knowledge that they're going to do some huge, dramatic scene.

Here's a quote from Jack: "But the sad fact is that the way we act with one another has gotten out of hand. I believe that the root cause of that is that, first, our imaginations have run wild. Second, we have believed that our fantasies are realistic when they're not. And third, our fantasies have created unattainable expectations that lead to predictable and rather unpleasant failure."

In plain, rudimentary English - if you set yourself up for a fall, you're going to take one.

Most of us have read the erotic material for the leather community. The Sleeping Beauty books, The Marketplace books. The problem is, in some cases, that folks believe these to be real and attainable on a daily basis, rather than accepting them for the jack-off material that they were mainly intended to be. I'm sure that neither of the authors expected folks to use these books as their BDSM Bibles, but I do know folks who have tried to mold their lives to fit into the erotic fiction they've read. They set themselves up for great falls, and when they tumble from their self-built pedestal of "24/7 D/s Sex", they crash land.

Even if we're not talking about committed couples, this theme still runs rampant. Folks will set up an intricate scene, and then be crushed when it doesn't happen the way they expected it to. Folks will arrange a play date, and then be disappointed when the scene they expected to happen, doesn't happen, and they end up with something completely different. It isn't so much that what DID happen was bad (as a matter of fact, it might even be better than the fantasy that they had built), it's just not what they…. Expected.

I watched once as a couple set up a dramatic scene in their minds and out loud before going to play. Both were running high on adrenaline and expectation. When the scene didn't go off as planned, both were devastated.

I'm going to a leather function in Chicago in February, and have a short scene set up already for this. I look very forward to it, but I'm not setting any expectations on it. If it comes off as planned, it will be fabulous. If it doesn't, then yes, I'll be disappointed, but I won't be crushed by the weight of those expectations falling on my head. Because I see the reality of the situation for what it is - intense, brutal and highly charged.

I have a friend who plays as often as he can. On nights when he doesn't have a specific date, he'll jump in his car, drive to the city and hang around at the Power Exchange. He almost always finds folks to play with there. But he goes without Expectations of playing, and without Expectation of some big, huge, dramatic scene. He anticipates, not expects.

What a concept. Can we all say that out loud together?

Do Not Expect - Anticipate.

It's been my experience, and the experiences of many of my friends, that expectations lead to disaster, especially if you hinge them on someone or something that is prone to changing directions rapidly and often, as scene energy often is. I'm not going to write this and say that I'm not guilty of having done this in the past myself, because I have. I do catch myself doing it occasionally now as well, but I can recognize it. Once you begin having such expectations, and you don't see them for what they are, it almost becomes a disease.

What's the cure?

Just stop it. Knock that horseshit off.

The key to that is being able to accept certain realities, limitations and facts. Accept the fact that reality can and does invade your fantasy life. Accept that people are fluid and their needs and desires change minute by minute. Accept that people get sick, that unexpected company arrives and that sometimes, that click just doesn't happen. Be prepared for sick children, ailing parents, and work emergencies. Understand that your date might be hot to trot early in the evening, but any number of things can happen between dinner and being tied to that cross in the basement. And rather than be disappointed that you didn't get as many strokes with the cane as you thought you were going to get, be realistic in the fact that you enjoyed the fantasy and that the scene was what it was meant to be at that moment.

Fantasies are good. As long as you recognize them, and can distinguish them from reality. As long as you use them, as all fantasies are intended - to make your creativity flow (amongst other things) and make you think about what you want.

Give yourself fully to a scene, but don't expect it to fulfill you each time. You are responsible for fulfilling yourself, not your partner in a scene, or the scene itself. And if you are unable to recognize certain inalienable truths about that reality, you're destined to descend into that place where your expectations run your life, instead of the reality.

Don't go there. It's not a pretty place.

Anticipate with your entire heart what it is that you desire. But instead of counting on it, be blessed and thankful for the reality in which you live. You're alive, you're living, you're working towards what you want in a safe, sane way. And you've come to a point in your life that you know what you want! That's a huge step. Revel in that, instead of letting it consume you. Anticipate greatness, but don't expect it to happen every time.

Return to Screamer's Verbosities