It was the rare friend who actually acknowledged that I might have made a valid choice for my family, and if they did, it was generally coupled with regret over their own decision. Those conversations re-focused on them with no small relief from me. Rarer still was the friend who congratulated me. Not that I expect or need congratulations, but I found it worrisome that overall, people seem to take it as a personal affront that I selected a different school than where their precious iddy-biddy goes. (fyi, about 30/124 kids chose different schools so it's not an unusual phenomenon in the neighborhood.)
Unilaterally, people did not take into consideration my son's issues, learning style, and needs; my feelings about schools in general; or that I might have made a valid, thoughtful, educated choice based on experience (I worked in dozens of schools with literally hundreds of kids as an educator in my 20s and I'm only a few hours short of a masters in K-8 education--had to stop cuz I ran out of money. From that I'm oddly well-trained in sizing up schools, at least for my own purposes). I rarely volunteer those details of my decision and frankly, other people don't want to hear it. It might cause them to doubt themselves. After all, it's much easier for them to consider my choosing another school an insult, to just reckon that I'm wrong. Cuz, weirdly enough, if I'm right, they must be wrong. There's a line, and I crossed it. Aberrations will not be tolerated. Cuz we're all the same, right? Whew! No differences. Nothing to see here. Move along!
I don't often admit my sleepless nights since my kid started school, wondering if I did the right thing. When I have, I invariably experience a weird brand of happiness from the other person, a "whew, she was wrong after all!" And it's worse than that, cuz people do desperate, mean, horrible, hateful things to bury their insecurities.
Because of that, I don't share easily. I don't trust easily. I've been told I'm laid back, I'm confident and friendly, I tend to let things flow. It's not that I don't have my opinions and insecurities--enough that I wonder how I hide them well enough to be considered laid back, confident, even. But apparently hide them, I do.
After years of fighting others' insecurities, like a disease, I try hard not to let my insecurity run my life. I've seen the horrible effect it has on ordinarily nice people. It's like a demon inside, insidious and hateful. A cancer that destroys kindness. And it's catching.
Insecurity. The root of all evil.
I still don't emotionally understand how tearing someone else down builds you up. I never will. Oh, I know it, I can preach against it, I can point it out when it happens. But I don't understand it on anything but an academic level. It doesn't even make sense to me.I mean, it clearly doesn't work that well, not for any longer than a bandaid on a leaky dam. Otherwise it wouldn't happen over and over again. The issue, such as it is, would close.
People have been talking a lot about accepting differences lately. I certainly am focused on it this week. There's a lot of talk of Us and Them, of political and social polarization, of hatred. And it's all built on a foundation of insecurity. Insecurity runs so deep, and we are so loathe to admit it--as conditioned by our culture--that we have lost the ability to express it.
Wanna see insecurity at work? Express your own insecurity.
Homey don't like that. Reminds him too much of his own. So many adults today, in the US culture, will go righteous* on your ass.
For instance, I think righteousness is so prevalent in Christianity because of the elusive, insecure nature of faith. I mean, salvation rests on belief? That's ALL you have to do? Nah. There's a catch somewhere. And it's just kind of stupid, right? Fairies at the bottom of the garden stupid. But frankly, I think it taps so deeply into our insecurities that most of us are terrified. Hell, doubt is even spelled out in the word:
I don't know of a religion that taps into insecurity more deeply than Christianity--and I mean the kind of Christianity that actually rests on Christ and the true nature of faith as it was meant from the beginning. (Faith as salvation, I mean. Look it up.) No wonder Christianity is so screwed up. No matter we're all so screwed up. Cuz what do people do when reminded of their insecurity? All together now:
They go all righteous on your ass.
I always beware the person, Christian or Atheist or scientist or parent, whoever they are in that moment, who seem utterly sure. Because the big thing we don't admit, the secret many of us do desperate, mean, horrible, hateful things to hide, is that insecurities are supposed to plague us. Without insecurity to balance out our natural survivalist egos, we would be assholes.
*I don't prefer the term "self-righteous" because it's a loaded, hateful term. So I use "righteous" instead. I think it works because the definitions often employ the word "moral" which is, admittedly, up to the individual to judge. So by "righteous" I mean "sure."