Friday, November 11, 2011

Favorite, Not So Much, and Just Plain Awesome!!

So I was thinking about social expectations, and I asked some of my friends to tell me their favorite social expectations, their not so favorite, and ones they thought were awesome or odd.

Jen says her least favorite expectation is “that going on a mission is the only indication of whether or not a guy is a good person.” Robbie said one of his least favorite was “that a mission will make guys automatically mature.” His favorite was “SHOWERS!!” Agreed. Then Tristan’s odd one “ ‘Wait, you’re from ___, you must know my good friend ___!’—obviously people from the same state know each other.…”

We can relate to all these. Especially showers … hopefully. So after reading these I felt like I should make my list.

I’ll start with the odd (AKA awesome) one. So I learned of this one from my psychology professor (who was AWESOME btw, if you go to BYU take REBER’s psych 111). He was talking about social expectations we all fall into (like facing the door when you get into an elevator), and my favorite was the shopping cart expectation. We don’t shop out of other’s shopping carts. And why not? They haven’t purchased those items. They don’t belong to them. Even though they have technically “dibbed” them, they’re not necessarily theirs. So I think it would be awesome to just start shopping out of someone else’s shopping cart.

Okay happy moment gone, back to serious.

I’m a convert. I’ve mentioned this before, but I believe it’s a huge part of who I am. Just because I believe in Christ now and do my best to follow the Church doesn’t mean I always have. Back in my hometown everyone knew my family (and their problems) for generations. So seeing as I’m one of the youngest of the last generation to live in this tiny, gossip-filled, hick town, I was the last “Potter” (family name, awesome, I know) to be judged by the people in my town for generations past. And I loved it. They all thought the worst of me which made me constantly want to prove them wrong. I’m thankful for everyone who doubted me because they were just a stepping stone to get where I am now. When I left that town, I was terrified at the thought of not having people look down upon me for fear I wouldn’t have someone to prove wrong. I was certainly wrong about that. Which brings me to my least favorite expectation: perfect Mormons.

I was guilty of this expectation when I first arrived at BYU. I thought everyone around me was perfect, and I was just this sinner drowning in a sea of Zion’s elite. So I wandered, ridiculously depressed, for two semesters, telling myself I would move to Portland where I could sin in peace. Then I went to work this summer at a place where I actually met other Mormons (I pretty much lived under a rock my freshmen year). And I was pleasantly surprised. The people I worked with weren’t just these mindless clones going around being perfect. They had faults. This one night I was out with some of them and this one guy who wasn’t a member joked with his friend about how he couldn’t listen to music that cursed. His response, “Damn it! I’ll listen to whatever the hell I want.” Is it odd that after that I instantly trusted him? He wasn’t perfect, and I was drawn to that. So the summer went on. I was on the watch for people who weren’t perfect. But after I got past all the judging I was doing, I thought about what I discovered. For example, three boys. All very different. I judge people on their taste in music. So one was classical, one was more punk with an eighties rock edge, and another hip hop/top 40 kind of guy. One was shy and sweet, another in your face and blunt, and another dorky yet cool. But all three had one thing in common. They believed in Christ. They were all LDS, but they were so different! That summer taught me that Mormons had thoughts and feelings (shocking I know) but that wasn’t something I quite grasped until then. Before, I kept trying to take the pre-baptized me and the post-baptized person I thought I was supposed to be and smash them together. After that I realized that I could be just me and that was okay.

I learned that I didn’t need to cram myself into this little box that I had defined as Mormonism. I could be free, allow myself a little wiggle room. So I challenge you all this week to break the social expectations laid out for you. If you are LDS I’m not telling you to go off and sin on purpose, but don’t hate yourself if you make a mistake. And if people think you suck prove them wrong. And please, please, shop out of others shopping carts.

My two songs to leave you with this week:

Defying Gravity (Glee version)

Because A) I <3 Kurt

And B) This song is all about achieving your dreams. Taking that leap and going for it. When I get discouraged about my dream of making it on the ballroom company, I listen to this song and think Heck yes! I can dance!


Someday by No More Kings

This song is just kind of fun and upbeat. But it has a good message about finding yourself and not being so hard if you don’t have it all figured out right now. As the song goes, “Someday I won’t be so self-defeating. Won’t kick me when I’m bleeding.” Someday you’ll just know. But don’t take my word for it. Listen and make your own interpretations.


  1. So, I"m just now getting to reading this post. And, I'm not embarrassed to say that I DO NOT conform to the social expectations of showering. I shower maybe once a week...and even then, I hardly ever wash my hair. But, I don't think I stink that bad...uh. Alright, I admit that I shower more often when I'm working out all the time and getting all sweaty and such, but I still don't wash my hair.

  2. Also, I LOVE the whole shopping out of other peoples carts thing...that's weird, but totally an expectation that we conform to, although I admit that I've shopped out of people's carts on accident before--because you know how they have those "discounted" carts sometimes that just have random things in there? Well, I was wrong. It was embarrassing.

    Also, I like that you realized that not every mormon is perfect and that it's a silly expectation to hold people to. I love that you decided it was okay to just be yourself.