I’m all for being true to yourself. For being you. As it’s the only honest way. So there is nothing that ticks me off more than when I realize that someone tries to be someone else. When it’s obvious that they push hard to be someone else, to act in a way they think people want them to act, when they try to fit in a picture they think others have about them.
The other day I was picking up a friend of my daughter from school and my girl came along as she enjoys spending time with her friend even if it’s just a couple of minutes. I have picked her up previously, then take her home where she has a snack and then take her to an activity she is doing. So while we were at her house and she was eating, the girls giggled and chatted and played a little bit.
I don’t really know what it was but I suddenly had the feeling that my daughter was acting completely different than usually. I admit I didn’t have the best day and so I wondered what if she feels like she needs to be different and started nagging at her. A little bit here and there, until we were in the car. After we had dropped her friend off and were on our way back home my daughter was unusually quiet.
When I asked her what was the matter she told me that she felt uncomfortable because of me. She told me that I made her feel bad in the sense that she felt she couldn’t do anything right and asked me why I acted like this. It hit me so hard.
I hugged her and told her that I felt she was trying to be someone different than she is and that I felt it wasn’t right. She told me that she would never do that but that it was part of the game they were playing. They were playing “act totally different to who you are normally”. A game they had apparently made up during a play date. While I felt relieved that she actually didn’t really try to be someone else, it also made me feel so terribly bad.
Somehow I had missed that they decided to play something like this. And by interfering I made my daughter feel bad about herself. I jumped to conclusions and then jumped right at her instead of just letting it be and approaching her at home, asking why she acted the way she did. For the girls it was a harmless game, most likely actually a great game to realize who you don’t want to be and who you actually are. And I saw something negative in it. I assumed.
The bad thing is that I assumed that my girl didn’t feel comfortable in her skin, with who she is. I assumed that she tried to be someone else. And because I assumed all of this, it made me mad. Mad at the “fact” that someone or something made her feel that way. Because I got mad at the situation I then started barking at her. While everything I had assumed was not the case, making her feel bad was real. Only was it me that did it.
I for sure didn’t meant to do this. But it happened. It happened because I wanted to protect her, forgetting that if she needs protection it will show in a different way. She would not giggle. She would not move with ease. She would not feel comfortable. And I would be able to see it.
What irks me is that a what if situation like this happened a couple of days ago already, when I decided to take my son to a get together of a group of homeschooled kids. For the first time. It started out of a why not thought but suddenly turned into a what if moment. What if the kids we catch up with are all “weird”? What if he thinks they are weird and then starts questioning himself, wondering if others perceive him as being odd too? What if the mothers of those kids were the stereotypes people always link to homeschooling parents? Which would then throw me off…
Thinking about it actually makes me super mad right now. It makes me mad because once again I’m the one having the issue and nobody else. It’s all in my head and I’m the one who creates “an issue” where no issue is. Why would those kids be weird? Why do I even think about it? Why do I even think about the moms being “the typical homeschooling moms”? What do I actually mean by typical homeschooling and weird?
It’s disappointing that I even think like this. In both cases. It’s disappointing that I even think that people could perceive homeschooled kids as weird. Or their parents. It’s disappointing that I even think that my daughter ever wants to be someone else than just her. It all happens in my head and I need to set myself straight again.
The funny thing is, that I would tell both of my children off if they would approach a situation the way I did in both cases. And yet I did something so off. It shows that, no matter how hard we try to be who we want to be, sometimes we make mistakes too. Everyone does.
We act in a way we don’t agree with. We say things we don’t want to say. We do stuff we really dislike. And hopefully we learn by experience moments like this.
There was no harm done in my case. My daughter loves herself and my son enjoyed the catch up with a group of really cool kids while I had great conversations with mothers who are very similar to myself. We are all still the happy people we usually are. With an experience more under our sleeves.
Now I just need to get the “what if” in my head under control and stop worrying about things that are not there. It’s all only in my head… 😉