Friday, August 2, 2013

Why I write

   Have you ever had the sudden realization that something you think about yourself just isn’t true?

   Here is a light hearted example.  Growing up I had wild, curly, white-blonde hair and light hazel eyes in a family with parents and siblings who all had dark straight hair and dark eyes.  To my family and friends I was ‘the blonde Ulmer’.  In my teens my hair gradually darkened, but I didn’t realize how much until one day in my early twenties I heard a new friend point me out as ‘the girl with brown curly hair’. I was really caught off guard until a look in the mirror later made me face the fact that my ‘blonde hair’ was really only ‘blonde highlights’ in a sea of brown. I didn't mind the color of my hair changing, but I did mind realizing that a little bit of 'me', - being the blonde one, was no longer true.

    I think all of us have had those moments. We think of ourselves as ‘fit’ but suddenly realize our life actually consists of sitting in the car, and sitting at work, then on the couch at home - one long day at a time. We think of ourselves as eating healthy, until we suddenly realize we are eating our 6th fast food or frozen meal in a row. We think of ourselves as passionate about a cause, until we realize that we’ve never actually done anything of real substance to support it.

  Sometimes, - those moments which change our thinking are positive and empowering, like when in the midst of insecurities of studying, starting a new job, or being a new parent we have that moment where we smile and realize – ‘Hey, - I am rocking this! I am a good parent (student, etc.)” Other times those moments are uncomfortable or even painful, when we realize that how we think about ourselves, things we want to be or remain true – thin, athletic, or young, - no longer apply.

    Some people have questioned my motives in writing about the controversial topics on this blog, (such as my list as 10 Reasons Not to Home School) and for creating the survey for Home School Graduates.

    My main motive is pretty basic; intense curiosity. In the past few years as I’ve looked at my childhood, at my home school experience, my large family experience and more, I have found myself wondering.

    How many things about my life as a girl in the early years of the conservative Christian home school culture were unique to me, or were they were more broadly experienced by others raised in ways that (at least on the surface) appear to be very similar to my upbringing?

   Countless conversations with others, and observations of my own have led me to several redefining moments in my perspective of Conservative Christianity and the Home School Movement as a whole.

    My own personal revelations (realizing I was no longer really blonde – or seeing a picture of me and realizing I was overweight) are obvious to the non partial observer.  In the same way, some of these ‘controversial’ views may seem obvious or perhaps petty and inconsequential to those not emotionally vested in the little piece of American sub-culture where I was immersed as a child.

  To those who’s lives are currently deeply involved in certain ideas of homeschooling (or other topics)  - what it is, how it works, what it produces, etc. these topics may be hard to read.

   At this point in my life (for some very good reasons) I am pretty allergic to being told what to think. My greatest mentors are those who ask great questions, or make comments that force me to think about things from a perspective I would never come up with on my own.  That process is not always easy, or fun. But it is always empowering.

 If my main motive is curiosity, my main purpose is to empower.

   The greatest complement I can receive on something I’ve written is – “Your post was thought provoking”. I do not expect everyone to agree with me. I am blunt and tend to write in a strong, definitive voice. I know I am not always right. I don’t expect you to read my posts and feel warm and cozy all over. But hopefully you will come away blessed with something I greatly value in my life; the gift of courage. I hope for you the willingness and ability to think outside boxes that allow us to live in comfort and keep us from growth.

     The moments that have made me face an uncomfortable fact, or inconvenient truth in my life have been the keys to unlock living a life that is the most authentic, real, and best version of myself.  It has allowed me to choose which ideas I want to keep and make reality and which I can let go because I realize something else is not just true, but better than my preconceived ideas.

      This blog; the survey; they are a part of my journey.  Thanks for being part of it. And if they in any way challenge you on yours, I am happy.

This Present Mom,

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