We are so accustomed to disguising ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves. ~François Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The new school year has begun on our side of the world. As usual, the kids were nervous to go back to school. Who were going to be their teachers and which kids came back after the summer break? (Within an International school community you never know). As always a strange week because it is back to school for me as well. Together with the other mums, back to the coffee mornings, drop offs/ pick ups and other activities. Though I’m meeting up with dear friends, too. This part is great!
Don’t get me wrong, I love to connect with every one on our posting and we have a lot of fun. The part I struggle with is, who am I in all these different groups. Who to be and most of all who not to be? I read somewhere that, ‘You’re neither who you think you are nor what some one else thinks you are. You are what you think some one else is thinking you are’. It is so true. How can I be myself, with so many expectations around me?
With the first week conquered, I was wondering who sets out all these expectations. Not me, was my first thought. No one would do these kinds of things to themselves. After taking a little more time with the question, I think it is me setting the expectations out there, because no person ever came up to me and listed their expectations. Can you imagine someone saying this ‘Listen up you! It is really important that from now on, you always smile and be nice to every one you see and meet? Next, it is very important to say yes to every activity and request you get.’ It would be quite strange to have a conversation like this in real life. Even imagining this makes me laugh, because I would never agree to any of this.
So why am I this tough on myself? This is how I make myself feel sometimes. There is no need for me to go to everything that is being organized or offer to help with every activity. But then the feelings of a good excuse comes to mind. The feeling that, just saying no because I don’t feel like going or helping. But this is just not good enough. But why not? Isn’t this being human? To not always want to go to all the activities? Sometimes it is really nice to be at home. To be honest to myself. Isn’t this what we tell our friends when they are struggling with the same questions?
So, this school year I’m going to change my approach towards the playground and to which activities I will be joining. This is going to be a huge challenge. There will be up and downs, but the outcome will be great. I will learn to express myself differently. I will be at all these places yet really be where I want to be. Enjoying my friends and the new people I meet, ask for help when needed, and will try to accept the help offered as well. It is very important to see that there is not really a big deal going on, just me making a big deal out of it.
I feel very energized to start this new school year. Let the exceptions begin.