before the duke started high school last year he was understandably nervous. any kid would be, but having been home schooled his whole life he *literally* had no idea what to expect. he'd ask me a ton of questions. about this and that and the what ifs. and i'd answer the best i could given my biases from my own dubious high school experiences and the wisdom gained with the passing of time.
basically, i pulled it out of my ass. about what might happen, and how he might deal with it.
but what i ultimately told him was 'just be yourself. that's it. that's all you have to do. the rest will come.'
so. he did. he was.
he wore the clothes he liked when very few other boys would even consider wearing what he did and teased him for doing so.
he took his lunch packed by his mother even as the other kids snickered or teased him that i wouldn't make his lunch forever. 'yeah but she makes it now. and i'm hungry. what are you having?' they were having nothing, or a slice of pizza, or bumming his left overs.
he listened to/read and defended the music and books he liked, never shy about it. or pretending he liked something just because someone else did.
he wasn't afraid to be dorky or laugh at himself.
if he liked a girl, he asked her out. regardless of whether he 'should' or what others would say. when he got rejected he was bummed, but he would still ask out the next girl he wanted to.
he refused to go along with the 'guys' when they started in on the unflattering girl talk. he'd just go find the girls and hang out with them.
he'd get heckled nearly daily by a few jerks and learned to ignore them, or do a humor zing. refusing to believe that it was anything other than them not understanding the new kid, even as the school year dragged on. it bugged him, but it didn't bite into him and take hold.
and at the end of the year he was lured by a couple of his friends to someones house. and when he got there there were 30 kids, all his friends, waiting to surprise him with a going away party. they had tables of food and drink, music, and they gave him gifts. they gave him framed photos they'd taken of him around the halls, or of them all dressed up for the semi formal dance they had attended. someone made him a mix cd. he got more than one filled up photo album. he got a t-shirt someone screened for him, someone drew him a picture, and he was given more than one handwritten letter telling him how he was just so different and cool and would be missed.
all from kids he didn't even know 10 months before that day.
he was surprised and happy and really stoked. he said he had no idea how much people cared for him.
imagine being exactly who you are and people digging you for it.
except here i am telling him to be himself. 'just be yourself.' meanwhile i am staring at the spot on my chin wondering if anyone notices, sucking in my stomach at the oddest times like it works and makes me look 23 again, waking up at night wondering if maybe i'm not just a little too soft and curvy even though i like it maybe i am, if i should have had so much hair cut off, shouldn't i write more about this and less about that and who cares about what i have to say about my kids and why don't my toes look as cute as they did before and does anyone notice? my toes my hair that spot on my chin. OH MY GOD DOES ANYONE NOTICE?
we say these things to our kids, be yourself. then we go stand in front of the mirror and catalog our flaws. we keep whole industries in business just so we can make a valiant attempt to look like we did when we were 17 or 23. even though 41 is pretty damned awesome. we feel bad about this and that so we eat too much or not nearly enough. we love our children unconditionally, but not ourselves.
and that's why my child is completely awesome. not because i'm bragging but because i am in sheer awe. because i gave him the line i have been working towards my entire life and at 14/15 he nailed it.
isn't that something.
and in a month he'll do that all over again. in a new town in a new school. (oh yeah. we moved. to the west coast. i would have said something before but i'm pretty sure i was too crazy and excited. but, now you know. so.)
i have made huge strides in the past few years in this area, just being me. i'm not there, but i'm so much farther than when i started. and i can't say that i'm going to suddenly stop worrying about my curves or my toes (or whether or not i should wear the short-ish skirt i just bought. but that is ANOTHER blog all together), but what i will say is that i got it. the lesson. again. getting. getting. getting it.
life is THIS. it's happening NOW. and it's just too damned short that it's so not worth it to waste what time we have worrying about the stupid shit.
and when i do start worrying over the stupid shit, because i know i will, until i don't, and i don't know when that will be, but i'm working on in it BUT WHEN I AM trying to stop
worrying about that stupid shit i'm just going to go hang out with the duke.
you know, if he'll let me. because part of just being himself is him being one of those pesky teens. prone to eye rolling and snark and definitely at certain moments NOT at ALL wanting to hang out with his mother.
but that is ANOTHER blog all together.