It’s been a long couple of weeks.
I’d like to say that the events of this week, particularly Monday, and then yesterday, and then that thing with the ricin that I missed weren’t bothering me. I was doing so well – but I think just the shear amount of deja vu that I’ve been feeling this week, and last week, and stress from last week and the week before are finally just…..sinking in.
I’m not scared. I’m not terrified. I’m not even angry. But in some recess of my soul, I’m acutely remembering the way I felt and reacted when I was 10 and 9/11 happened. That same amount of confusion and general “what the fuck is even happening?” feeling and the I can’t really think about or process much of anything right now because my brain is kind of just shut down and in a weird way I feel both numb and paralyzed. Numb is probably a good way to describe how I’m feeling, because it’s a confusing lack of emotion that’s running through my brain. I’m not afraid, I’m not upset, I’m just numb and this feels all too familiar, but just like when I was 10, I don’t know what to do about it or how to even channel it.
I distinctly remember, and I’m ashamed to admit, that when I was 10, for at least 3 months following the event, every artistic expression, every game of charades, that was what haunted me and that was what it was about. I think I did towers falling on every turn. I had no way of knowing or figuring out what was happening even (watching the news didn’t help – still doesn’t, they say the same thing over and over because there’s nothing else to say), no one did. It’s confusing, and yet familiar and almost….I don’t know. Life goes on.
I don’t know why I’m ashamed of it, of trying to process it the only way I knew how, by repeating it over and over in every corner of my psyche until I could somehow reconcile it to make sense. I don’t know why I’m ashamed of drawing that picture this afternoon, because I couldn’t do anything else until I drew it. I had to draw the feelings, the comparison, the shame, the confusion, the deja vu that’s been plaguing me all week (and the deja vu from article hits last week – just too much deja vu in one month I think), I had to draw the greyscale, the numb, cold, unfeeling, unscathed, cloudy, confusing color that both is reminisce and present.
I had to draw it, because I had to move on. Life goes on, “terror attacks” (god that phrase is so hard to use now) don’t stop us from living – I think if we’ve proven anything over the last 12 years it’s that. Life. keeps. moving. the world keeps spinning – eventually with time things will start to make sense.
I really didn’t want to draw it. Because I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve had a hard week, that this bothers me on a subconscious level, that it feels so familiar and yet I don’t feel heated, I really didn’t want to draw it because I didn’t know how to move on, and for some reason I felt like giving image to the feels was stepping back. Like I needed to just get over it. I feel ashamed for connecting the two events psychologically, I feel ashamed for needing a break. But I drew it anyway, and it’s not a very good drawing, but it’s the drawing both 10 and 22 year old me needed to draw because we needed to give our overwhelmed, overtired, overstressed psyche some semblance of closure – so I can turn off the news for a while, and move forward.
The irony of being featured for my writing and Homeschoolers Anonymous, and posting nothing in written form all week isn’t lost on me. I’ve been overwhelmed by the (amazing) responses and talking to so many people this week, it’s kinda surreal and hard to believe it’s only been a few days.
I felt for most of this week, that there wasn’t really much to say – I had an overwhelming feeling of Deja Vu, and some of the nervous energy I think transferred into pummeling through my creative block and actually making some headway with the Surface Pro, Sketch Book Pro and comic-drawing. I’ve actually been more proud of the drawings I’ve created over the last few days than I have been of my creations in a while.
I’ve been avoiding the comment sections religiously, but that’s not to say some of it hasn’t gotten back to me. Most of the negatives were exactly what I expected: largely dismissive responses, saying things that were never said or writing off our experiences as illegitimate, as if we aren’t “actual homeschoolers”.
So, I’d like to take a moment – before I go back to drawing – to say what I think it means to be an “actual homeschooler”.
It’s simply this:
If you are a parent, and you are homeschooling – you are not a homeschooler (you are a homeschooling parent).
If you are/were a student who was/is homeschooled, you are a homeschooler.
Every homeschooled child has a different experience. Saying that those of us who had negative experiences are making it up or because it’s “only one” story doesn’t mean there isn’t a real and legitimate problem – simultaneously, this doesn’t mean that every homeschooling family is doing it poorly. Simply put: there are problems, abuse does happen and the situation is unique because there is little recourse to be taken on behalf of the people directly involved (homeschoolers). This is why we share our stories, because we have been silent – we want to help people who are feeling alone know they are not, to tell people who had no idea this went on that it exists, and hopefully aid well-intentioned parents in not falling into the same kinds of traps that we lived through. These are our stories, but they don’t have to be anyone else’s.