Sunday, August 19, 2012

Different (and then a sidetrack)

Being different is something we've joked about with Tera since before she was born, but really one of the things I'm most grateful to my husband for is showing me that different is okay.  I spent most of my life trying to be like everyone else and not really feeling like I fit in all the time.  I had lots of friends, but none of them really listened to the music I did, I had a weird sense of humor, and though I never in any way felt alienated, it wasn't until I was with Tom that I really let me be me (which my mom may or may not be as grateful for).  

The reason I'm thinking of all of this is because while at the ComiCon last weekend (the Comic Book convention for those not in the know, though we don't actually go for the comic books) we picked up a few new prints for the house.  That would make roughly ten that we've bought in total over the years from this event (thirteen if you include three in Tera's room that we ordered after we went when I was pregnant) and they're not exactly what you would call "typical" prints or pieces of art.  See there's a whole part of the convention that features artists of all types and since Tom and I have a bit of an eclectic, all right downright odd, style of decorating, we've found lots of things that we really like there.  This time through we bought two Nightmare Before Christmas prints, a portrait of Frankenstein, and two zombies dancing together.  The Frankenstein and one of the Nightmare prints were supposed to be for Halloween, one Nightmare print was for Christmas, and the two zombies were for Valentine's Day (that was my idea by the way, they looked in love).  We were going to just get two frames and hang them up in place of two other pictures we have, but just for those specific holidays.  Well, the more Tom thought about it the more he liked the idea of leaving the Frankenstein picture up all the time so I said okay.  

To put this in perspective for those of you who may not know what our house looks like let me describe it.  Our bedroom has three pinup pictures in it and my bathroom upstairs has three also.  I'm guessing without knowing any better, a stranger walking in might assume a single male lived here, but in fact I really like pinups.  I'm a huge Bettie Page fan and I really just like the style and class of pinups.  I love the 50's era style and none of the pictures show anything the average bikini doesn't and so we own several pictures of them.  Tera's room is all Star Wars as I've described before and our workout room is host to a portion of Tom's Star Wars collection.  Our kitchen is pretty normal except for the picture above our stove top that is of three onions with faces being cut and blood coming out.  I found this one hilarious and think it's perfect for the kitchen.  Then to our living room.  We had a space above our couch that was in desperate need of something and it took us months of searching a website called redbubble.com to find what we thought fit there.  Of course what we decided on was a picture of Dorothy's legs from the Wizard of Oz wearing fishnet stockings and a trickle of blood going down her leg.  The other two pictures are ones we bought in Greece and though we love them, they're not quite fitting in as much recently.  

The other four prints we bought a few years back are a little more graphic, though not inappropriate and with a little more of a comic book style to them, and one will probably go in Tom's bathroom downstairs and one will go in my office.  The only problem I have with some of the pictures in our house is though I love them and I think they fit our style well, I'm still not completely comfortable enough with myself to not worry about what other people think when they come in.   This is kind of a big revelation for me and I really wish I didn't feel that way because it is our house and we decorate it in a style that makes us happy, but that doesn't mean when other people come in they don't think it's weird or too graphic.  I have of course thought about what Tera will think when she's older, but in my opinion if it's always been there, it won't seem odd to her. 

So I guess my whole point to this post is that while I've come a long way in my comfort level with myself, I'm not completely there yet.  My husband on the other hand would just say to hell with anyone who doesn't like it or is offended by it; they don't have to come here.  I choose to hope that anyone who comes to our house feels welcomed by us and understands that it is our style and maybe even compliments the fact that it fits us perfectly.  

I also hope that it helps to illustrate to Tera that different is okay.  You don't have to be the same as everyone else to be just as important as everyone else.  Though I'm not a huge proponent of mushy messages in my classroom, I actually ordered new posters this year, inspired by my daughter, to encourage my students to be more open minded about other people.  I also am pushing the message about personal responsibility and have really spent more time and energy in the past few years trying to encourage the idea that my classroom isn't just about math; I hope they take away some ideas about life and how it really is.  Things don't just always work out for you because you're entitled to it. Shit happens and you have to be able to deal with it.  Many of my students have had more happen to them in their 15 or 16 years of existence than many other people have to deal with in a lifetime.  When asked why I teach where I do, that's the answer.  To show them that they matter just as much as anyone else.  And for the students who don't know anyone different, I hope that when I tell them about Tera, it gives them some perspective and makes them think twice about the language they choose to use and the way they treat other people.  I hope that someday they come across someone with DS and say hi to them when they might otherwise not have and maybe share that they had a teacher whose daughter has DS.  

I've completely gone off track from where I started but that's how thoughts go sometimes...

My constant source of inspiration

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