Am I really going to do this?
Life is tricky…interesting…surprising. Full of highs and lows: beautiful and messy, difficult and easy, lovely and awful. And generally we think it should be an either or situation instead of an “and”. But these opposites must coexist. We need it all: highs and lows, to understand ourselves and discover what we truly desire, who we are, and who we want to be. Recently life has led me to understand something important about myself.
I am realizing what I want out of life and it has come out of a difficult and sad situation. The light has come to me among the darkness.
I want freedom.
More than anything.
Freedom from schedules, expectations, judgements (my own and other people’s).
I am figuring out how to get it.
By starting with getting the fuck out of school.
School has conditioned me to be a certain way, all the way from kindergarten on. Sit, listen, behave, do my work, do it well, receive others praise as a sign of worthiness. Never stopping to ask myself if I value any of this or value myself as worthy. Until lately.
School has been sneaky about all of this. It’s a staple, a stronghold. And we are tethered to it long after we leave.
I have been conditioned to follow the rules, be compliant. I have spent my time working on school and thinking about school when I’m not even there. Thirty years of school is hard to let go of. Because we all do ‘school,’ it is not a question of if it’s right or good. It just is.
So lately, I have realized school is preventing me from the one core thing I want so deeply: freedom.
I have always had to live by someone else’s time table. I get up incredibly early, just to rush all day. Hurry my exercise, a bath, getting ready. Then I rush to get my kids awake, lunches ready, and out the door. I rush them around (and others) the rest of the day. All while telling myself I am free to do what I want with my schedule. But it’s still a schedule that isn't mine.
School created boxes for all of us to fit into. The organized one, the smart one, the outcast, the jocks, the dumb ones or ones who do not care. Truthfully, we are probably a little of everything but we had to choose long ago.
Well, I am done fitting in.
I am done hiding.
It's time to figure out what else I want out of life.
I thought my leaving the public school system would allow more freedom. But I have come to realize being at an alternative school is still school. It’s still schedules, still rules, still, still, still.
This realization of leaving school has been a process too. I have been ignoring it and shoving it deep down, trying to be happy with my new innovative school. I continually tried to convince myself this school was giving me the freedom I so desired. But it wasn’t enough for me. It pains me deeply to say this, to realize it. I wanted it to be enough.
So I ignored this feeling and calling. I didn’t want to leave. I liked the community of people I had found. I knew I was a good teacher. I know how to do this and do it well. I love my middle schoolers so much. How could I leave all these good things behind?
But nonetheless, I kept being nudged and prodded about school. Pushed to face my deep set fears of not being enough. Not a good enough mom, not having enough without a paycheck.
Leaving school and doing something else? Nope, no thank you. I have no idea what the hell I’m actually going to do. Except be free.
My two hearts were at odds: continue to invest in a dying system or focus on my family, myself, and cultivate deep relationships, diving into a path of freedom. I knew I couldn’t keep splitting my time between them.
So, I made a choice.
We have left school behind…for now.
We have done this in pursuit of a more meaningful and deeper life. I have not done this lightly. It has been in my heart, growing and rooting itself there.
Logic goes against all of this. But faith and belief are above it. I have a strong belief this is my true path and faith in God that it will all work out.
School will always be there. We can go back to it. School is school. It’s the same as when you were there how many ever years ago. No matter if I stay or go, it will remain unchanged.
But we have changed.
We are only a few days into this homeschool thing and I have cried more now than I can remember when.
I have already questioned if this is really the path for me. For my boys. I have talked more openly with them about my own insecurities and shortcomings. I am owning this and showing them it isn’t what I thought…not yet.
This is messy and hard. It’s easy to imagine homeschool from afar when you’re not living it day to day. There are beautiful pictures, amazing books, and wonderful people doing this. None of this captures the messy parts of us. The arguments, the tears, the anger, the sadness.
But the truth is, everything we do in life is messy. We try to tie it up nice with bows and ribbons but when we are honest with ourselves, we know the picture doesn’t show all the work it took to look happy, be happy.
We only want the positive and beautiful emotions and experiences and share these. I do too. But the other parts still exist whether we acknowledge them or not.
I wonder why life needs to be so messy. It makes it complicated. But the messy is what teaches us the important things. We cannot learn about ourselves without it. Humans are messy.
Freedom lies within the mess. We need to get in there, allow it, be messy with it, clean it up.
It is like the wind: we can feel it and know it but can’t see it. It is often fleeting, nonexistent, or steady. Freedom can be all these things.
I have left my job in the middle of the year. I have taken my children with little understanding of what I am truly getting myself into. Afraid for me…
But now, things have accelerated. The train has sped up and I cannot jump off.
So here we go.
It’s the chance of a lifetime. A chance to get to know my kids more deeply than I could have imagined. A chance for freedom for our family. A chance to be happy amongst the messy. A way to have it all coexist together. Most importantly, a chance to trust myself and my faith that we are all going to be okay.