It has been quite some time since I have written a “Perspective of Now” blog. Naturally, my perspective has changed. Each step and choice made shifts my perspective. The one thing that has grown exponentially is the realization of my worth. The last year taught me to attach and live in the full energy of who I am and practice it every now.
The current social experiment has created an environment that teaches me something new daily. Homeschooling my two young daughters, one who is on the autism spectrum, having what is consider learning issues, and the other I am discovering has similar learning issues, has been the greatest gift. I learn about myself through them. Their actions, their perspective opens the door for me to question the status quo. I see the standardized model simply does not work for them; they will not measure up to what the world says is normal. And I have learned to celebrate them in their perfection!
A few months ago, I was watching a movie with my husband when my six-year came to my bedside, requesting that she be in a dance competition on a stage when she turns sixteen. This request was so unusual, especially from her. Several years ago, I think she was four; we went to an overnight stay at an indoor waterpark. That night, a pajama dance party, where my daughter was going at it, was oblivious to the world around her, totally enjoying herself. Suddenly she looked up and saw all of the parents watching the children have fun, and she completely broke down. One of her behaviors is to react with complete embarrassment when people watch her. I am not sure where she learned this; she never had an incident that would have taught her this shame and embarrassment. I can say it is something I suffer from and have fought to overcome, but I thought I had taught her differently. So naturally, her sudden request to dance in front of thousands was not typical.
My eight-year-old heard my daughter’s competition request. An extreme reaction overcame her, accompanied by tears and anxiety. She begged me not to let her little sister compete, you know, in ten years. But for her, it was something so dire as if it was occurring tomorrow. What came next was shocking, and it taught me so much. My older daughter told her younger sister that she does not want her to compete, that the experience was awful. She said, “they look at and treat you differently if you do not win.” My poor daughter has had so many traumatizing experiences at the hands of the public school systems and sometimes even her grandmother because she is “different.” Ultimately that is why I began to homeschool several years ago. These experiences started in preschool and carried on to first grade. I removed her after being publicly embarrassed in front of a whole auditorium of adults by a teacher who made a mistake. Instead of recognizing her needs, she was sent off to a corner to deal with her anxiety with no direction. She was taught there was something wrong with her by these people outside of my home. She sees the world differently, and I, for one, learn so much from her perspectives. My children are my greatest teachers.
I am learning about my worth through my children. They are little reflections of me, showing me so much about myself and my beliefs. Through them, I began to recognize a culture that focuses on measuring up. In every area of life, within the spiritual communities, within academia, and relationships, we are pushed to measure up. This practice and ideology are in every aspect of our lives. If we do not, we are looked at differently, just like my daughter stated. The toxic shame perpetuated through this system results in a loss of self-worth. My daughter taught me to no longer let others’ beliefs and ideals negatively impact me. Through realizing my worth, it no longer matters to me if you are my friend or if you approve. I am done measuring up to anyone’s ideas of how I “should” or my children “should” look, act, and behave. I lead with love, acceptance, and compassion in my every now moment. I know who I AM, and I have value. Let’s learn to celebrate the unique perspectives each of us carries. If we are to measure up, let us measure up to that!