coronadiary | 17 March

Yesterday I wrote that I’d talked with my husband about being frustrated with the news but I was lying as I wrote it and I was very much aware of the lie. I would apologize if you hadn’t been warned beforehand (and you had been, be it only two paragraphs up ;-)). Me and him, though, we had talked about it, but only very (very) vaguely. No ancient mariners were mentioned, and my magnanimity only surfaced while I was writing my diary. (We did talk about it afterwards, so do forgive.)

Today we talked (we honestly did) about the diary label I’m applying to whatever this is (only an /ə/ missing at the end, right?). He said I should use blog instead because my writing is too exhibitionist to be a diary, but also added that if it’s a blog, it’s not exhibitionist enough. I hate to say he’s right but I am indeed an exhibitionist (I want to be read – I’ve never had a personal diary with more than two entries) but I’m also a prude who doesn’t believe in Facebookwriting (that’s a verb) myself (that’s a direct object). Would you warm up to me more easily if I told you where I’m writing this from? What I’m wearing, what my children’s names are and what we had for lunch? Do I want you to warm up to me? What do you want? And do I want to know your want?

It got me thinking – aka rethinking, writing and rewriting – because all of this (my lying, my exhibitionism and my reticence) is connected to expectations I’ve somehow, somewhere, internalized: expectations of what you might want to read, expectations concerning good writing, and, by extension – expectations concerning good living. And what I realized is this: when someone says expectation, I hear restriction –  I hear swallow your wants.

Why is it, then, that I’ve felt less restricted these past days than I have the past months? There are more expectations/restrictions than ever before (I’m told how to sneeze, how to wash my hands, where to (not) go), but at the same time other expectations/restrictions seem* to have loosened their grip over me (school schedules, sports clubs, commutes cutting up days) just enough to balance the new ones out for now. What they’ve also balanced out are my head and my vocabulary. I’m trying to read expectation no longer as wing-clipping, but as wing-giving, as related to hope, to the future. And instead of reading restriction into expectation I’m trying to read expectation 2.0 into restriction.

(optimist me and the dictionary – to be continued)

* the choice for seem (or for now, or trying) was not coincidental

text and photo by Sofie De Smyter |photo taken @ Jardin D’Acclimatation, Paris, France