My seeds post inspired two things – a lot of laughter and mocking on my personal Facebook page…..and an angry tirade from a stranger on a public Facebook group. Apparently my attitude is terrible, I’m an embarrassment, and anyone reading my blog will end up thinking home education is bad. I, Alison the Awful and Terrible, will be responsible for fanning the fires of hatred against home education.
But here’s the thing: I can only be me. I am not the sole representative of home educators, of parenthood, of anything. And while we do each provide a personal face for ’causes’ or issues we are associated with, sometimes the best way to do that is to be honest.
When I was younger, I was under scrutiny as a lesbian. Was it a phase? Was my hair gay enough? Was I really as normal as I seemed, or did my deviant sexuality mask some serious deficiencies as a human?
It carried on, all of it. When we first had the babies, I was conscious again of our status as queer parents. While I had long ago made peace with being Other, suddenly I was in a world where even more people than usual were in straight relationships. We had to come out again, and again, and again. Every single health professional commented on us being a two mother family. And while the vast majority were (over compensating) very positive, it was still a constant presence. We were judged as parents. Could two mothers function as parents?
All I’ve ever been able to do is to be myself. I’m not perfect. I like to swear, I kill plants with the greatest of ease, I’m tired and just want ten minutes alone to watch Full House. But all of that is good enough. It’s all we can hope for.
I’m a real person, and perhaps because of my ‘otherness’ the internet stranger’s critique didn’t bother me as much as it could have. But did it bother me? Sure. I don’t want people to view me as a shining example of ineptitude and home education failure. But you know what else? I’m not an example of that. Nor are you. We are both allowed to have off days, to wobble, to tell funny stories that make people laugh because they relate. Not everyone will like us, but that’s okay. (And not everyone has a sense of humour…it isn’t always about you or me, it can be about that other person having a bad day or just being radically different in their viewpoints.)
We are allowed to be gloriously messy, to make mistakes, to spend too much money on eBay. The best and truest way to let people know who we are is to be who we are. It might feel like a risk, but it is the easiest way to find like-minded souls, to celebrate and relax into who you are, to represent yourself as authentically as possible. You and me, we’re okay. Just as we are.