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changing_expectationsYou probably wouldn’t believe the things I see and hear on a regular basis. Well, you might think you can imagine, and after some of the things you see on social media as people let it all hang out there, you might get close on some things. But I promise you, there are some things that I’ve seen said and done to others that blow me away and might make your head spin. It takes a lot to surprise me these days, but it still happens every once in a while. I was thinking through all of this over the past week when a few things happened and I had to “deal” with them. I was pondering why people say and do the things they do. Yes, there is selfishness and being self-absorbed and greediness and just outright grossness, but as I looked at all of that, I kept coming back to two words.

ENTITLEMENT

and

EXPECTATIONS

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Yep, there’s a lot of these two things going around these days. But it’s not really a new thing. It always feels like a new thing when it’s happening to you, doesn’t it? But people have been selfish, greedy, self-absorbed, and gross for as long as time. Entitlement and Wonky Expectations seem to be here to stay. We see it in literature, history and artwork. And yes, we see it today. I think the difference is that we can see it very upclose and personal thanks to the wonder of social media. Oh that crazy social media… It’s a catch-22, isn’t it? We love to love it and we love to hate it-usually at the exact same time. Because here’s how it can look:

Facebook Post: I’m so excited! I just got Netflix! {Sharing the excitement with the world…look at my wow…type of post}

Comment 1: Yay! I’m so excited for you! {Oh…there’s that person who loves you and is always happy for you no matter what}

Comment 2: You have got to watch The Vampire Diaries, girl! Once you go Damon… {There’s the ever helpful friend who always knows what’s up.}

Comment 3: You JUST got Netflix?? Where have you been living-the Dark Ages? {Oh. Yeah. There’s the one who likes to fart on people’s wows}

Comment 4: Oh ugh…I hate Netflix. Hulu is so much better. Or Amazon Prime. Did you do any research on this first? Were you just too lazy to find out which was best? Jeez! {And there’s the one who thinks they are anonymous and unaccountable for what they say since they aren’t saying it to your face}

I think you get the picture, yes? We’ve all seen it happen-some of us more than others. It’s annoying as hell to be honest. And we could discuss that for hours and hours, but I think I’ll save the social media etiquette post for another day. Or you can just read all of the other 800 trillion that have already been written on the topic. If you haven’t read at least one on the topic, you probably should. But, today, I think we’ll discuss Entitlement, yes? Yes. We’ll do Expectations another day.

First, though, I want to be very clear that I believe there are exceptions to every rule. None of what is said here is geared towards reviewers or bloggers or authors or WHOEVER who act professional or are doing the right thing. And giving an opinion doesn’t mean you are acting entitled. I’m speaking to the EXTREME here in this post. Because there are extremes out there. I see it on a regular basis.

The definition of Entitlement is this:

en·ti·tle·ment
inˈtīdlmənt,enˈtīdlmənt/
noun
1. the fact of having a right to something.
2. the amount to which a person has a right.
3. the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.

Usually, when we see entitlement happening, someone is making demands on something in which they don’t have ownership.

In the area of the literary community, we see this sometimes when readers tell an author they should price a book at a certain amount, or they should only write a book about THIS character, or they email an author and tell them that they wrote the book incorrectly and if they had just done THIS in chapter 15 and THIS in chapter 18 and THIS for the ending, it would have been perfect so too bad… Or-did you know that if you just stayed up longer, you could get in an extra 500 words a day and be finished with the book I want 15 days earlier and then I would be happy? You don’t need sleep do you? Hire an editor-you’ll be fine. We see it in authors who hire a cover model, or cover artist, or editor, or formatter or whatever and then “lay claim” to that person as if they belong to them. Things like, Well, I hired _____ to be on my cover first and then they went and did another cover and another cover. Can you believe that cover model did that to me?

Wait. What?? You don’t think that happens? Of course it does. Here’s the thing, though. It’s truly a beautiful thing actually.

We. Don’t. Own. People.

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Can we all get an AMEN to that fact?? Isn’t it a great thing that you are free to do as you please and say what you want and go where you want and buy what you want and think what you want? No, really. This is a beautiful thing. And if that were taken away from you, you’d be pissed. And guess what? Just because you spent $2.99 on an eBook? You don’t get to tell someone how to write their book or how to price their book or what their next book that they write should be. You don’t have ownership in those things. You have ownership in the one thing that you spent $2.99 on-the book you bought. But that’s not ownership to tell someone how they should have changed it. (AND PLEASE HEAR ME-I’m not talking about giving reviews. Everyone knows I love reviews and the people who give them. I’m speaking to an extreme past giving a review and an opinion. I’m speaking to the person who leaves a review saying the author is a complete ____ and imbecile and why didn’t someone tell them they should never, ever, ever, for-the-love-of-all-things-holy write. Yep. I’m speaking to those people.) It’s ownership to read and reread that book. That ONE book. You have ownership of your money and the things or services you have bought. And just because you spent money to pay a cover model, you don’t get to be mad that they then went and did exactly what they do for a living and *gasp* modeled. Of course, these are just a couple of examples of things we see. A smidge. And, again, there are exceptions to things-and contracts that can be written up if you want some exclusivity, etc. I’m not discussing when there is a contract in place or when an author is clearly ripping off another author. I’m talking about when the “I’m just mad!” moment happens and you react and say whatever is on your mind because “I’m just mad!” and you don’t really care who knows it in that moment.

And just by saying all of that out loud, we are able to see that all of us have our moments, right? None of us are immune to the grabby-hands, I-lost-my-ever-freaking-mind behavior that sometimes spews out of us. Because hey… we all have our time to shine-even in the not so shiny ways. Unfortunately. Which hopefully, makes us want to work harder to not act like crazy people. Because guess what? You don’t have ownership of some things no matter how badly you wish you did.

Okay, let’s put this in another world besides the book community, shall we? You go to the dentist and have a cavity and they have to do the whole filling, etc. thing. (You should know that I hate dentists and anything to do with them. And teeth. And dentists. Blurg.) After insurance, you have to pay your deductible of $85. (I also hate doing math so don’t judge the numbers, people.) Last time you had a filling, it was only $84 out of your pocket. IT WENT UP A DOLLAR! And then, you decide that you could have done that filling yourself so much better. If that dentist had just decided to put the filling paste in and then drilled the hole. Yeesh! Don’t they know anything?? So you write them an email, after you rant about it on Facebook of course, and tell them exactly how they should have filled that cavity. Years of school and degrees be damned. Experience be damned. You know best and you paid $85 for that dentist! They won’t listen to you and do it your way. I guess we should tell them how stupid and ridiculous and ignorant they are…How greedy they are for the price to be raised a dollar. How lazy they are because they had a receptionist and a dental hygenist and an insurance administrator. Seriously, can you believe they can’t do everything on their own? You would do it so much better. And if they aren’t going to do it your way, then you’ll go to someone else. Maybe the next person will do it your way. As soon as you realize they aren’t doing it right and you tell them about it.

Oh….you didn’t pay for that dentist. You paid for that work BY that dentist. And you would never expect a dentist to run an entire practice on their own without a staff. You’d have to wait forever until your next appointment. That would suck… Almost as much as going to a dentist does.

Huh. I’m pretty sure you get the picture… We all have wants and desires. We all have opinions. We all have our areas of expertise. We all have something to offer. I firmly believe this. But we also all have those moments when, honestly, silence is golden. Biting your tongue is hard but sometimes it should be done. And we don’t have ownership in something just because we see it happening or hear about it happening or paid a bit of money for something that kind of looks like it might have something to do with said thing. Life is hard, y’all. It’s beautiful and painful and both usually go hand-in-hand. We don’t have to insert ourselves into every little thing, especially into areas we haven’t been invited into. And knowing someone, or paying for something, isn’t an automatic invitation to all the things.

You don’t like how an author writes their books? Don’t buy their work again. You don’t like how a model went and landed another job and took it but it wasn’t for you? Don’t use them again. But don’t get on social media and rant. Don’t private message another author and say, “Did you know that model was on my covers first?” Don’t email or message an author and tell them they are lazy or a complete idiot for not doing _____ or for killing off your favorite character or for…all the things I’ve seen authors get told. Don’t message someone and say, “That witch used red on their cover and I have red on my cover. They copied me!” 

Just_don't

Not everything needs words to go along with it. Sometimes all you need to do is act-by not purchasing or hiring or whatever. Not everything demands an explanation publicly-even if we do all pretty much want and like to be heard. And we do all want that I think. To be heard? But sometimes-thinking before we speak and then not speaking is best. For everybody. Them…You…Me… Because we are all still human. We all still have feelings, and sometimes our skin is not as thick as others think it should be. But also, sometimes we need grace to permeate what we do and how we do it too. And sometimes the most grace-filled thing is to say and do nothing at all. Because, again, there is always beauty and pain mixed together. And we can make a choice moment by moment on which one we are going to be a part of. It’s hard, y’all.

And just because I’m currently obsessed with The Vampire Diaries (and currently Team Stefan), I’ll end with this. 😉

Stefanshirtless

 

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