Tuesday, July 31, 2007

¡Vive le difference!

I don't know why, but I have always been different from "the crowd". I know everyone feels that way sometimes, but I feel such a misfit over and over again, from childhood till now.

My strangeness began because of something over which I had no control - I was tall. I mean a head taller than everyone, especially boys (grimace) from about second grade on. An unusually early onset of puberty added to my "uniqueness" at the tender age of 10. And my grade school was messed up - girls were embarrassed if they needed to wear a bra, not proud.

I guess all preteens and most teens have an intense desire to be "one of the crowd" and not stick out. Sadly for me, not only did I not have a bunch of "cool" friends in middle school, I got voted "Tallest Girl" in eighth grade. Great. Thank You. That did wonders for my ego.

I think the feather in my wierdness cap came when the boy I'd had a crush on for at least three years started calling me, "Big Sue!" in a friendly way, as in "Hey Big Sue! How ya doin' today?" Not exactly the kind of attention I was looking for.

In high school I continued my path of bizarreness by shunning and sneering on anyone who I considered "normal", ie. cheerleaders, school govt. people...etc. I became a stoner, an outcast. I globalized my antipathy for all things mainstream when I spent a summer in rural Mexico, realizing that my Walnut Creek (and probably all of America) world was incredibly privileged and ignorant of how others lived. Cut me a little slack here, I was sixteen and seventeen and thought that I knew what was right, and that everyone else was wrong. Doesn't everyone feel that way at that age?

In college I mostly put my head down, studied and avoided all the partying and sleeping around that my private Catholic school peers indulged in. OK, I partied a little. Met my hubby, became a democrat and swore that I would never take a job that was "just a cog in a wheel". Instead, after college I took crummy, low paying jobs in nonprofits which I mostly hated.

When motherhood came along, once again I chose my own path - homebirth. I know, I know, I've heard all the arguments against it. But I felt safer at home. So I did it - three times. Yep, three home births all safe and sound. That decision is probably one of the best ones I made in my whole life. I'm so glad I didn't do what everyone else was doing - going into the hospital, taking pitocin and epidurals and ending up with a C-section - yuck. (no offense if you did it that way).

When my son was four and I started thinking about sending him to kindergarden, I started to feel sick in my gut, my intuition. I had heard about homeschooling from my sister-in-law and when I tried that on for size I got all excited. Long story short, I am now homeschooling all three of my kids.

"Oh, I could NEVER do that! You must be so patient!" is the most common reaction I get when someone learns that I homeschool. Really, I'm not known for my patience. I just look at educating my kids like it's my career. My job. And I do the best I can because I want to. But, one again, it places me out of the mainstream.

And now? Let's see....we don't have TV, I read the Bible to my kids (among other things!), I don't have cool clothes, and probably craziest of all I am totally into Ron Paul. I am still wierd!

Do I do anything that is normal? Let me think....I wear jeans - that's pretty common, my kids take swim lessons, my husband is a techie, I like to eat, we live in a house..........oh! I color my hair (for some unknown reason my hair turned dark when I had kids). I think most ladies my age do that.

Sometimes it is lonely to not be a part of the crowd. When people make American Idol references and look at my like I'm crazy when I say, "What is that?", when folks at a party do endless shots of tequila (I'll have my wine, thanks), when people talk about our government as if it has the right to do everything it does....well, I just don't fit in.

But I suppose the alternative is not to do what I think is right. No can do. So....

¡Vive le difference!


Mike said...

Whooo! Thanks for not listing nerds in your high school "shun" list.

Sue said...

Oh never! You, I mean THEY were never considered "normal". The nerds were always nice to me.

BTW - I just enjoyed looking at my Foothill Jr. High yearbook and noticed you won "most school spirit" Ha! Ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha..... (meant in a nice way)

Mike said...

From the instant I won that award to this very day, it's been a mystery to me.

My only theory is this (as if you care).

I'm certain that Rodney Centeno got 99% of the votes for that "award" because he was Mr. School Everything. However, it looked like they didn't want to give more than one award to any person, so they had to find someone who didn't win anything.

Meanwhile, I had shared the leading male role in the dinky school play that year, so perhaps somebody listed me on their ballot, confusing bad acting with school spirit. Thus, with one vote, I sprinted past all the other more deserving candidates.

As you can tell, I contemplated this quite a bit back in the day.