Tuesday, August 08, 2006

bittersweet

I’m a big fan of growing and learning. I’ve been told my entire life that I had potential. My test scores indicated from an early age that I had above average intelligence, for whatever that’s worth. I was put in Gifted classes and encouraged to think critically, and in retrospect I can acknowledge that the seeds of my liberalism were planted in those very classrooms.

I went on to college, as expected, and pursued an education in the liberal arts. I started following politics, and volunteering, and learning about things like Lacan and the Other and gender roles. I got out of my comfort zone. I worked in an inner city school for a year. I sat and talked with homeless people. I participated in race dialogues in which I analyzed how my upbringing had influenced my perception of ethnicity and culture. I learned that perhaps my religion was not inherently superior, or even the one that most closely matched my personal views, and renounced my Christianity in exchange for Deism. I learned about Nonviolent Communication and began working as a crisis intervention counselor. I made friends of all ages who stimulated me intellectually. I have friends old enough to have been my grandparents, my parents, or my babysitter. I grew, I developed, I changed. And I liked it.

But with each knew impartation of knowledge I was moving further and further away from the girl I used to be—further from my hometown, my high school boyfriend, my family. We were all changing, but in different directions. It seems that this has caused a rift in some of my relationships. The things I care or know about, I’m not able to share with them. If I want to talk about things that I’ve learned, I’m accused of thinking I’m better than them. I don’t know what to talk to them about. I’m not their little girl anymore. It seems that we have very little left in common, and they’re not willing to show an interest in any of the things I’ve learned or experienced. With every new experience I have, it seems that we grow further and further apart.

They both stayed in the hometown after high school, got married instead of going to college and started a family. That’s fine, that’s great, that’s what brought me into this world, but it’s not me. They put me in classes to learn to think critically, they encouraged me to go to a major university and helped make it happen financially, but it’s like I’m supposed to hide who I am from them, pretend I stayed at home and went to community college. Pretend that I never experienced anything beyond what they taught me, pretend that I don’t have any knowledge or opinions they didn’t give me. I can’t do that. I can’t change who I am. It’s just sad to me that they don’t seem to like the person who they’ve helped me to become.

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