When two freaks* meet, how do they decide which one is freakier*?

*definition of freak from google dictionary: “In current usage, the word freak denotes a person with an unusual personality. This usage dates from the so-called freak scene of the 1960s and 1970s. “Freak” in this sense may be used either as a pejorative, or a term of admiration.” In this blog, it is used as the latter…a term of admiration…a term to mean someone ‘outside the box’ in some way or another.

I used to use all my energy to stay as ‘in the box’ as possible. Middle, average, normal, unremarkable, indistinguishable. I found being these things very comforting. ‘Don’t rock the boat’ could have been my motto, but since it isn’t normal for people to have motto’s, I never made up one for myself. As a side effect, I never was very comfortable around people who shook things up, or went against the grain in any way.

In any case, becoming a homeschooler was a shove out of the ‘status quo’ closet, as it were. And you know what? Had I known that being counterculture was so fun, I would have done it ages ago! In the spirit of individuality and uniqueness, I learned to tolerate and even appreciate the people who would have freaked me out before. Because really, people living in freak houses shouldn’t throw stones, or something like that.

Today I met a woman at Golfer’s basketball game. Hubby is coaching Golfer’s team of 9-11 year olds at the Rec Center. Have I told you of my discomfort of Rec. Center sports? My disbelief of parents paying off their kids to perform better in Little Leagues? My abhorrance for all the screaming and yelling parents on the sidelines? I can’t remember if I’ve blogged about it at all. I’d really rather Golfer to play pickup games at the park than participate in the organized mafia known as Rec. League Sports. But! He loves to play. Loves. To. Play! So, I grit my teeth and keep repeating over and over…”It’s not if you win or loose, it’s just that you’re enjoying the game!”

Anywho…after the game I met one of the other moms. “We just moved into town a few months ago!” she mentioned. I asked where she moved from, and she said, “Kyrgyzstan. We lived there for 12 years.” Now that, in and of itself, is pretty freaky, but I wasn’t going to stamp her with the freak label yet. If it’s for a job or spouse, then that’s not freaky, it’s just cool with a dash of responsibility. So I had to know, “Why did you live there for 12 years?” “Oh”, she said, “we were missionaries over there”. And that, my friends, is freaky. In the admirable way. “She’s a freak like me!” I thought happily. “I bet we could be friends!”

She asked how I liked the town and if I’d settled in here. We chit chatted back and forth, and then she asked, “So where do your kids go to school?” “We’re homeschoolers.” I told her. There was a looong pause as we walked towards our cars. In looong pauses like that, I tend to overspeak, so I continued, “We’re going on our 4th year now. It’s been great! I mean, it’s kind of ‘outside the box’, but then, my kids are kind of ‘outside the box’ thinkers anyway, so it fits!” I laughed. She walked a couple more steps and said, “I could never do that. My kids are much to social.” I could tell she had labeled me with the freak stamp, but I couldn’t tell if it was pejorative or in admiration. “Well, I’ve gotta go get my car” she said, and walked off. Ooff. Definately pejorative.

Now how in the world, when I’m talking to someone who has spent the past 12 years being a missionary, living with her husband and having babies in Kyrgyztan, how in the WORLD did I come across as the bigger freak?!?!

I still think we can be friends. She’s been gone for the last 12 years. How could she know how fast homeschooling is growing in the US? Also? I give her 3 more months in our town’s public school before she starts asking me more about homeschooling.


14 Responses

  1. because school is such a social event. right. ha. that just cracks me up.

  2. oh that is too funny.

    and where exactly were her children going to school in Kyrgyzstan anyway?

  3. Good question, Tari! I’ll have to ask her at the next game!

  4. It still amazes me that people actually think us homeschoolers are freaky. I don’t get it. But really, it is when we take that next step and proclaim that we are unschoolers that we really get shunned. Isn’t judgement just a wonderful thing?!?!

  5. My kids are VERY social too! Extremely social. They live and breathe for friendships. It is so nice that they get to spend so much time with their friends doing FUN things they love. Homeschooling ROCKS!

    Brandy, you are so right about the unschool thing. That qualifies us as super freaks!

  6. I cringed…here I am thinking you found a “soulmate” and what a slap. It is amazing, and the sad thing is, she will soon realize how it feels…because not everyone is as kind as you…12 yrs missionary work…thats going to get a few people running to there cars too.

  7. You must think my grandparents were the freakiest of them all! They moved from South Dakota to Bagdad in 1957, then lived in Afghanistan, Pakistan, & Iran… and Kenya until 1976! I think they were really amazing though, not freaks.

  8. superfreaks…lol!

    And this is the point…aren’t we all freaky in our own way? And who decided unusualness or uniqueness was a negative connotation. In my world, Sarah, your grandparents can be freaky AND amazing interchangeably. 🙂

  9. “And this is the point…aren’t we all freaky in our own way?”

    Heck yeah.

    Hey, at least she didn’t argue about all the reasons you shouldn’t be homeschooling in a condescending, critical and mean-spirited tone, over and over even when you decline to argue and keep spamming her comments. (Can you sense what I’ve been dealing with for a couple days now?)

    Heck yeah, we’re all freaks. The important thing is that we freak and let freak (what?). Don’t let it bother you though. What someone else thinks of you is none of your business! 😉

  10. “I give her 3 more months in our town’s public school before she starts asking me more about homeschooling.”

    Good on you! What a great attitude to take. The truth is we can’t control what people’s thoughts and ideas are about us just because we homeschool.

    (Love organicsister’s line – “what someone else thinks of you is none of your business”)

    What we can control is what we think of ourselves based on their reactions to the “news”. Your attitude shows a lot of confidence and self-assurance.

    And yeah, after 12 years out of the country, she might just get a shock of what the public school systems here (in NA) are really like these days.

    Way to go.

  11. LOL! Which of the two elementaries? We’ve been lucky (so far) with the new one. That said, I will never say never to homeschooling A. While he drives me batsnot crazy every.single.day., I would do it for him and his brother. I don’t find homeschooling freaky, I consider it an option to consider. I taught flute lessons to a homeschooled girl, and she is still one of my very favorite people in the world. She’s like a little sister to me, my first-call babysitter, and the most responsible kid (now adult) I knew. Homeschooling works.

  12. Yeah, my kids are much to social to sit still quietly at a desk all day! 😉 He he.

    I’ve always embraced my freakiness. As I got older I don’t work so hard to OBVIOUSLY look completely different than everyone to buffer myself against the mainstream, so I’m often shocked when people don’t obviously find me a freak. Har. Of course my neighbors know, and yeah, I’m different. But I do too much good stuff for anyone to write me off, so I’ll be ‘that eclectic person’, I guess. I can live with that. People are a ‘hoot’, I tell ya. A life not lived is not worth living, as my mom jokes.

    My kids have no idea yet. They are little. They are exuberant and love all living things and are open and interested in all kinds of people and all kinds of ideas. I hope it stays that way.


  13. //TheOrganicSister says “The important thing is that we freak and let freak (what?). “//

    Oh, I think I’ll make that my new motto!

  14. I love that it didn’t occur to her that you were at a social activity for your son when you met. How does that jibe with her vision of homeschoolers, sitting at home, only interacting with family members? Freak.

    I love you, you freaky freak. 🙂

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