“You’re doing it wrong.” Is an ancient colonial teaching that nearly all of humanity has to overcome. (Insert mystical wise voice LOL)
It’s so engrained that when I was 5 years old I KNOW I felt like there was a “right” way and a “wrong” way to do things. I learned very young. I was not encouraged to explore my creative mind. And, unfortunately, I feel like I failed to do the same for my kids. I mean I barely know how, so how can I teach them. To be clear, my goal after I get my diploma is to drop everything and just explore our creative expression together. I admit I feel a little powerless, but I’m doing what I can in the meantime.
So, when I was in kindergarten, I had a Kindergarten teacher named Mrs. Pope. She also would become my grade 1 teacher. She was kinda nice, but kind of cold. Our school had two kindergarten teachers, and the other was Mrs. McDonald I think? She would be my sister’s teacher the next year when she entered kindergarten. Mrs. McDonald seemed nice and fun. I never got the nice and fun teachers. Ever. My grade 2 teacher was considered nice and fun, but she didn’t like that I would show up late to school a lot. I think I probably had some positive experiences, but I no longer remember them. Haha, I remember we were reading a book, and the word “Native” was in it, and she said all people born in Canada were Native because of the definition of “Native” and I was like, “Ok. You’re super invalidating the existence of Indigenous peoples right now, I wish there was an adult to teach you how to approach this matter in a more well-rounded perspective.” It just made it awkward that day. Lol. I’m digressing. I asked Mrs. Pope to help me with my writing in my journal. I often would get the letter N and the letter M confused. I also didn’t know how to spell ANYTHING. She was like, “Write in your Journal. Whatever you want.” I was like, “Ok, but I don’t know how to spell anything.” And she basically was telling me to “Just try.” I was like, “So, can I just write random letters?” “Well, no, you have to try and challenge yourself to spell and write something.” “How tf? WTF?” was basically my internal reaction. Here’s a moment I would’ve loved to express rage. Or meltdown. Because honestly, I felt like doing so. This God damned teacher was giving me no sense of how I could be accepted. How I could survive, essentially. But, I didn’t do any of that. I spiralled into pain, shame, and embarrassment of my identity as Indigenous. As a Girl. As an unpretty girl (I had bad teeth and I felt like I always had a snotty nose lol). I felt like I had to protect my Mom from being judged for not teaching me these skills before I got to school. But then, I kind of remember a “Fuck that bitch” kind of feeling, because I was like, “I’m getting help. And, if I don’t then I’ll just write whatever I want.” So, I found Mrs. Knee. Mrs. Knee (I dunno if she spelled it that way or not) would assist with special needs children, usually. I believe she was a volunteer. She would helping a boy Peter for many years, who was the same age as my sister (I’m the oldest so every sibling reference is younger siblings). But, she was a bit softer than Mrs. Pope. So I sort of cornered her and was like, “Can you just tell me which letter sounds like Mmm and which letter sounds like Nnnn?” It was a challenge, because she had an accent, I believe. Plus I was shy as fuck and quiet as fuck. So, there were barriers. But, she did her best to help me but she, too, basically ran away from me.
But honestly, I think when we’re little like that, We THINK we’re saying all this stuff super clearly, but I don’t think we always were. Especially those of us who were shy and quiet. It was super clear in my mind, though. I just remember thinking a lot of the times that adults who couldn’t understand me were basically assholes who thought they were better or smarter than me. I was like, “Hello, children are here to teach you. IDK wtf I’m gonna teach you but you gotta learn how to listen.” Lol. I feel like that’s the blessing of the family I was born into. This message was relayed from generation to generation. So, it came through for me very early on.
I don’t know why I felt so exhausted most of the time at school. I felt super stressed. And, I’m trying to understand how to get to the core of that. I feel like I have dealt with it a lot… But I think ultimately, my soul craved to choose it’s own direction. Craved some safe space to be created around that. I think my parents did a pretty good job in somehow passing on that I was allowed to explore the world in ways I saw fit, but I also feel like I wasn’t nourished emotionally. I’m ok with that. I chose that for a reason.
Astrologically, I think it’s my Saturn in the 12th… a huge sense that I must deny myself pleasure, and that must conform to someone else’s expectations of success. That feeling that some authority determines whether I’m good enough… It stuck itself deep. I believe it’s imprinted from experiences of my mother and grandmother. Physically, I think it’s represented by the pain in my solar plexus area… This ache that has stayed with me since I was 18 or 19 and pulled a muscle in my back.
I pinched this nerve when I was exercising with my friend. We were training for basketball. I think at that time I just felt like no matter how hard I practiced, I’d never be fast enough, strong enough, skilled enough to be a good basketball player. I’m Canadian. Even if you become really good as a female basketball player in Canada, the best up here would get their asses kicked down in the states. So, I’ll never make it to the WNBA or anything like that.
I also was working with my dad at the time. I was stressed there, because I saw all this stuff we were throwing out. All this lumber. It depressed me thinking how much we just get rid of. And then I’d think of how much materials we put into skyscrapers and malls, etc. I was like, “Ugh. I can’t just see this and do this for the rest of my life.”
Boom. There goes my back.
It’s very hard to know what’s right for myself. Whenever I’d get interested in something I immediately would be like, “How do I do this right to know I can become the best and make a good living with integrity in my relationship to myself, others, and the environment? How do I become rich doing this?”
It was an exhausting way to think. And, I think that’s society’s influence.
I’ve been thinking lately, I don’t wanna be the best at something. But, I think sometimes I just experience things that way because I just think I’m not good enough.
Maybe I’ll figure out soon whether that’s fear based. Or, maybe, I authentically just want to learn things for my own interests and I don’t need to make a living off of them.
Question is, if that’s the case. How do I make a living and just get to live a life of learning? Also, how do I make my own learning my utmost priority while also honouring my children? Because honestly, I feel like I could jump into a rocket and go and learn from place to place to place, but then I’m like, “Well what about my kids? Are they coming? are they staying home?”
That’s why my plan is, once I’m done school, I will make a commitment to all of us discovering a creative expression focused life. Because I will find my answers that way, I truly think that’s possible. For now, I have to write these things, because I don’t want to lose myself.
What I recognize is that elements of my expression here still kind of are reflection of “What is right?” and “What is wrong?”
Also, that I still see myself in a pretty “black” and “white” way when it comes to decision making. And, maybe that’s ok. I just feel chaotic when I’m in the “grey”. 😀