Century #9: Expectations

From the journal of Martin Way

August 18, 1935

Until recently I expected more from people than they could give and still keep themselves whole. What happened with Estelle is a good example. I wanted her to be interested in what I was doing and be interesting to me, which meant she had to make me her passion instead of the pursuits she was engaged in before we became a couple. The more we became entangled the more I lost interest in her. She became my shadow, always there in a passive way. But a driven woman like Estelle will not put up with that for long. So before I could adjust she was pulling away into new projects. I felt betrayed, but it was I who should have moved into her life at least part way.

I always expected my parents to always make things better for me. They are just human, and have 2 other children. But I remember even recently asking them to give me some extra money for something I did not need. I expected my friends to sacrifice their time to my restless ideas. Why do they do it? Just because they do does not mean I am not to blame, and will end up with shallow friends who avoid me instead of trusting me to look for what they might need. People are drawn to me without a lot of effort on my part. I see where it might be easy to live a life counting on that, but I also see how easy it would be to slip into a life that was easy enough, but without substance. I just am not sure what I want, but I feel the need to separate myself from easiness and open my mind to more of the world.

I am realizing I have to be by myself for a while without support to see who I am. I  wonder how long it will take to feel the solitude. So far it is like a long breath after being underwater for a long time.

I talked with the woman who owns the shack. Her name is Viola. She says I can stay as long as I will help her keep an eye on her 2 boys and the sheep. Why do people trust me? I do not have as much faith in myself as other people have in me. She does not have any extra food as her husband disappeared about a year ago without word. She is really quite courageous, the way she goes about running the farm without help.

August 19, 1935

I went into town to see about a job or anything I could do for food. I found a little church that does a soup kitchen every other day in the basement. I told the woman working there I would come early next time to help cook or clean or whatever needs to be done. I am beginning to see how hard the world is, and how hard people work just to eat and have a place to sleep. I am sleeping on the floor on a couple of blankets, Viola lent to me. The weather is warm so I can sleep on top of them. I swept and scrubbed the floors like a monk, and cleaned the little window and walls. It is a nice little cell. At night I can hear small animals moving here and there over the planks, but having no light and cannot see them.

Maybe something will come from all this deprivation. Nothing I do is planned. I have brought no books, and don’t miss them yet.  I have enough paper and pencils for a while. I am drawing the sheep and trees. The boys, Bradley and Baxter, are curious and watch me closely as I sharpen my pencils using my pocket knife. They don’t say much being very young and naturally shy.

I am trying now to expect very little from people and everything from myself. So far I amazed at the tiny miracles that come without being looked for.

This entry was posted in Century, conversations, developing relationships, Family, Fiction, House and home, mindworks, novel projects, paying attention, Pennsylvania, summer, Telling Stories, thinking in words and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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