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Once Again, My Roots Are Showing

This is directly related to the post I just made about pseudonyms (although interestingly enough, that word never appears in that post).

I was talking with my dad the other day, and he observed -- with clear relief -- that Wolfling "No longer seems quite as set on 'being different'" as she has in the last couple of years.

The specifics of this include: not doing a lot of body art with colored pens, especially lots of runic writing on her arms; and not wearing t-shirts with 'weird' things on them (like a funny little monster that says "Changeling"), and etc.

It took a day or so for my father's palpable relief to really sink in with me, and I felt a sad sense of confirmation of all the thoughts I've had over the past couple of years that more than anything else my parents wanted me to fit in, to conform to expectations, to be agreeable. I don't think they understood that they were inhibiting my chances of being exceptional and being recognized in a positive way for it. To them, success was possible only if one kept carefully within the boundaries and didn't make other people uncomfortable.

They had no idea that some of my core strengths were going to be things like thinking outside the box, asking good questions, and being creative -- all things that required getting out of step, crossing the lines, being different.

I am trying so very hard to encourage Wolfling to be herself, whatever that involves -- while being a courteous, thoughtful person. I want her to be empathetic, but not take responsibility for making sure everyone around her is comfortable with her all the time. I don't want her to hide her light under a bushel because someone else might feel intimidated by her.

I need to keep a buffer between her and her grandparents in this area.

And I need to continue to work on separating myself from their concerned, conservative voices in my head.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
sharpchick
Aug. 19th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
I think part of your dad's relief is grounded in generational attitudes. . . a notion that everyone should get into their "place" and stay there.
qos
Aug. 19th, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
I think it's more an "Us/Them" issue, with "Us" being "respectable, normal, safe" people, and "Them" being disruptive, unreliable, and of questionable ethics.

He has become *much* more open-minded as he's aged, but he still has a very strong sense that a middle-ground, middle-class, conventional public face is essential to social and career success.
9thmoon
Aug. 19th, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)
I always try to attribute the best intentions to people I don't know. Maybe he is relieved to see your daughter becoming more "normal" because he doesn't want her to have to go through the painful process of finding herself in a world where unique individuals aren't really welcome, the way that you did?
qos
Aug. 19th, 2009 05:50 pm (UTC)
I certainly give him credit for the best of intentions, including a sincere desire to prevent Wolfling from being hurt.

However, I don't think he has the slightest idea how painful my own process has been. I took his lessons to heart at an early age and carefully concealed virtually all of the elements within myself which were non-conformist.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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