One thing I’ve noticed in my deschooling process is my shift from helpless victim, to active participant, in many different areas of my life. Perhaps it stems from learning from one’s own heart and guidance that by default puts you in your own driver’s seat. It is reflected in the guidance of compassionate communication that bases interactions on one’s own needs, rather than the actions of others.
It seems, looking back, that my whole world was turned inside out. What to learn, when to learn it, what to value, how to dress, what I could or could not do: all of this was externally presented, and accepted. The ad said “shop!”, and I did, whether I needed it or not. The orchestral film score said “cry!” and I did, whether the story itself touched me or not. The teacher said, “No, not you, we need a nice strong BOY to carry this table,” so I knew I was weak because I was a girl.
It was no more their fault for telling me than mine for believing them. It was about a way of seeing the world that created a helpless, victimized and powerless me.
Things seem a little different now. I’ve noticed several changes in the past year. For example:
- I’ve piloted an anti-inflammatory elimination diet to seek out the root cause of a rash that I’ve had for the past 15 years. Previously I’d presented my problem to various medical doctors who all gave me advice or medication that did not cure the rash. Now, although I am seeking the help of several naturopath’s and nutritionists, the main expert here is me. I know what goes into my body. I know how I feel.
- In the past I was always envious of those who were handy and creative, but I knew I wasn’t able to do those things. The only way for me to really make something was pre-packaged arts- hook rugs and the like. But now, after finally getting a sewing machine that works I surprised myself by busting out a whole bunch of stuff from pajamas to bags. I’ve also been having fun watching Make Magazine videos with my son- projects that steer away from the pre-planned safety of a kit and nudge you into practical, daring, and empowering hacks.
- I was raised as a rule follower, and concerned for my safety, I would gather rules to follow to lead a safer healthier life (Wear your seatbelt, wear a helmet, take a daily vitamin, immunize your child, brush your teeth twice a day, flouridate the water, use antibacterial soap, smoke detector in every room etc.). But now, though I may do some of those things, I am no longer doing them because someone told me to. I am doing them because I know what the specific risks and benefits are, and I am making a conscious choice about what I do in any situation.
- I grew up thinking that “electronics are too dangerous” coupled with “electronics are for boys” and kept my distance. Recently I’ve started volunteering at FreeGeek with my son, and started asking, well, exactly what part of the computer is dangerous and why? Not only have I learned a lot about my own safety that are not reflected in psas on prime time tv, but also I now have the visceral empowered feeling gained only by tearing apart a desktop computer case with my bare hands and a few tools, when there are no instructions to do so.
- In the past, I paid my taxes the easiest way I could figure out so I could get the most money back, or the way I knew most others to do it. This year I am trying to be true to what I really feel is important and learn how to minimize or eliminate the taxes I pay that go to fund a war.
I just read that the average American is viewing 142 hours of TV a month– this is the average?! That’s like having an extra full time job! Think of what we could do with that time if we chose to; if we felt empowered.