Is it the human condition or is it the society we have built for ourselves, that so many forces around us try to mould us into being something we were never meant to be?
Oh, I know I am guilty of it all too often, when I want this or that or the other for my children. Particularly my eldest son, who is developing so quickly right now. It is hard to find that fine line between helping (and sometimes pushing) a child to develop as he should and trying to force him into a straitjacket – and it seems even harder to stay on the right side of that line. As a parent I am supposed to intervene from time to time, but I am not supposed to run interference.
Obviously schools and well-meaning ‘others’ can make any parent (especially first-timers) lose their way. I know I lost mine. Everyone else seemed to know better and so I, conditioned to fit in as much as anyone else, tried to keep everybody else happy and still find a way to ensure the happiness of my son. And myself, too, if at all possible. And I stopped listening to myself. In fact, I think I had stopped listening to myself a long, long time ago. Perhaps even when I was still a child.
That turned out just fine and dandy, of course. Not.
So I finally figured out that trying to fit into that straitjacket is part of what always made me feel like an outsider. And what made me increasingly miserable through the past years, as I desperately tried to make what people consider to be a ‘normal’ life for myself.
Because I just happen to not fit into a straitjacket, thank you very much. Nor does my son. If that means I am not normal, then so be it.
So these days I am trying on this jacket and that. I expect that I will end up sewing one by hand, piece by piece and stitch by stitch, and adjusting it until it fits me perfectly. It will probably be a very curvy (not straight) jacket made from different fabrics, with a lot of different buttons, tough leather and studs down one side and perhaps some embroidered silk down the other. It will have many colours and be versatile to fit with any hat I might choose to wear. It will be both extravagant and restrained, smart and silly, and very stylish, of course. And it will not look one bit like that straitjacket I finally managed to escape.
And in the process, I hope I will teach my children how to sew their own.
Thanks for clarifying that one for me, Albert.