Archive for ‘Homeschooling’

May 1, 2011

Feeling Judged

How can I tell when it’s external, and when it’s projecting?

You know, like judging myself, and attributing it to someone else.

And would knowing make a difference?

My house is trashed.  And lately is all the time.

Two weeks ago the family of my 8-year-old’s best friend came over.  The friend entered and took in the piles that adorn my front room.

“Wow,” she said, sounding impressed.  “This place is messy.”

Her mom walked in a moment later and said nothing, though I expect she had the same thought, since children’s standards tend to be built by the mother.

The mother never really seemed to relax at the table (maybe the tea was a poor choice of flavor) and jumped at the chance to get back outside.  She kept asking me what projects consumed my time (Ducks? Rabbits? Garage? Library? Garden?), remaining tense as I blithely reiterated nothing big would happen till the snow was gone. And I finally realized she must be fishing for a reason for our house to be so destroyed.

And the real reason is that I fight depression and feel successful when my girls get through math, language arts and allergen-free meals.  I know the food is sanitary, the family has clean clothes, and this is (frankly) enough for me now.

Despite mentioning the novel in that last post I’m not actively working on it, for the above-mentioned minimums consume all my attention and energy.

For my creative- and story-hunger, I’ve turned to knitting and music.  And not the complex knitting, either.  I started a 3D “pet” and quickly decided that is still beyond my skill-level.  I am currently working a gaugue-swatch for a little 2T cardigan.

(I didn’t want to do it, at first, since I don’t have any 2Ters anymore, but then I resigned myself to sensibility, and agreed with the book that starting small really was the preferable way to learn something.  It’s done sooner, less emotional investment, and troubles probably won’t be noticed by the wearer.)

This mom and I don’t have much in common, and our conversation has always been minimal, but now I wonder if she’s thinking of my messy house every time she sees me.  Makes me want to figure out enough small-talk to interact and decide if she’s only tired (like me), and thereby reassure my bruised little heart.

But the fact is, I’m no good at small-talk.  There are times when I like to talk to hear myself talk, but those are times when the person I’m with also likes to hear me talk and continually sparks these fabulous verbal essays.

The basic nature of man. The difference between openness and intimacy.  Separating giftedness from personalty type. Archetypes compared to religious symbolism and practice.  These topics energize and challenge me and I can’t race fast enough to beat the clock.  I’ll talk till I’m hoarse and tired.

I feel alive when challenged in this way.

I can talk at other times. (I’m working on a post about What Homeschooling Didn’t Teach Me.  One of these is “How to not take things personally.”  The group gets asked a question, I’m often the first to answer, and nearly as often without remembering to raise my hand.)  I have a reputation as a talker, but for all that I’m bad at small talk.

Which means I’m really insecure in lower-tier personal interactions.  I almost wrote an e-mail tonight (I blogged instead. Aren’t you lucky?)

Dear [Name],

Are you still thinking about my messy home?  I’m still thinking about your non-reaction.  Are you afraid of eating my contribution at the potluck, now?  I promise my kitchen is cleaned daily– often more It’s the kids, I swear.  I keep telling them food is optional, but they don’t see it my way. 

And don’t remind me about the baskets of clothes.  I sometimes wonder why we bother with dressers.

Please go back to the completely ignoring me or else climb my flimsy ladder of self-disclosure and fact-spewing to let me know you still value me as a human being despite knowing what my home looks like.

Yeah, I realized it was too weird.  I’m so proud of me.  In college I might have sent it.

Conclusion: I’m just as insecure, I’m just matured enough to hide it better.  From people who know me in real-life.