When I initially came up with the concept for this piece, I thought I had it in the bag. I was wrong. Instead, it took me months to gather my thoughts and how I really feel about, well, everything. As I began writing I realized it would appear I was neither over it or knew how to actually manage my expectations. There may be some truth to that.
Managing your expectations is an uncomfortable task. It is something I catch myself struggling with still, though it is situational. Due to the life cards I have been dealt, my expectations of and from people have been quite low. However, when it comes to certain aspects of my life, I recognized I expected certain actions and reactions, especially from people who consider themselves close to me. Expectations and everything that came with it was a difficult yet important lesson for me to learn.
In the summer of 2016, I was brainstorming one night and came up with the concept for Pitch Brown Media, my sometimes Black-centered platform and sometimes “passion project.” Though not incredibly unique, I knew I wanted to create something dope and positive for the Black diaspora. I quickly bought the domain and began working. I worked on it here and there for months, designing and writing bits and pieces of content that would later become the website.
During this time, I was in graduate school. It had not panned out the way I intended, and I needed a creative outlet, so I dedicated more time to Pitch Brown Media. I shared my ideas with a few of my professors and discussed it with the two other Black people in my cohort. I had been through a few logos, never really settling on one. I began uploading random concert footage to test out video and learn how to use YouTube. I later piloted a series I wanted to do for businesses and entrepreneurs. I wrote concert pieces that would serve as blog posts. By the summer of 2017, in my mind, I had a fully functioning website, a well thought out idea, and some pitching material.
I got discouraged and my quest to find a job after grad school exceeded anything I had going on. After a few months of noes and discarded applications, I opted to focus full-time to Pitch Brown Media. This round included: an academic YouTube series on public relations and media and a test run of On This Day tweets about “monumental” albums in Black music.
Everything was planned out at least 3 months in advance. I figured if my people supported then others would support. I promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Interestingly, it was easy to get people I didn’t know to subscribe, but not the people who call me their friend or family. Anyone who knows anything about YouTube knows subscription is only a piece of the puzzle, watching is most important. If people aren’t watching, what is the point? I could count on one hand how many people watched. None of them were any of the people who called themselves being supportive. I was annoyed. People were aware of my struggle with finding a job and the one opportunity I created for myself I couldn’t receive the support I expected to receive. I figured since I never asked people for anything and I supported people in the ways I want to be supported, people would be more inclined to actually support. Instead, I couldn’t get a piece of what I gave in return. All they had to do was play my videos in the background.
It left a sour taste in my mouth. It wasn’t as if my content was bad or that it was too abstract, as I later discovered more and more people who did not look like me were able to succeed with similar content. People would ask me how it was going, but they weren’t one of the people supporting. It took a few conversations with myself to not be as upset even if I had the right to be. I was disappointed for weeks and I put a halt to all things Pitch Brown Media.
I needed to regroup and refocus. I began reapplying for jobs and took some classes at the community college. I started to focus on myself and my health. A lot transpired emotionally in 2018 that I chose to work through my issues and opted for inner peace. I redirected my energy, using my disappointment as fuel to produce dope content for other people. Not surprisingly, people decided to be more supportive even if it were the bare minimum. The difference this time: I didn’t care nor was I expecting anyone to do anything. I just wanted to produce with the purest of intentions.
How can you help me manage my expectations?
As I’ve been learning and growing, I am here to tell you there is no concrete way. Expecting could be something deep rooted and a manifestation of something else. There are only things I could tell you to be mindful of like:
- Checking yourself and why you expect. What is this expectation motivated by? Are you authentic/pure in your approach or goal?
- Shedding your assumptions about people and/or audience.
- Respectfully communicating with people your wants, needs, and expectations.
- Recognizing folks’ bias and how it plays into your goals.
I know it probably doesn’t feel like help or a resolve to your problem. In advance, I will apologize for that. However, as you begin to unpack and think about the things I suggested previously, you’ll understand where I am coming from.
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Brittnie Applon is a part-time lifestyle writer. When she's not giving unsolicited advice, she spends her days stressing about nothing while watching court shows and Golden Girls.