On July 6th, exactly one year ago, I wrote the very first post on this blog. So, to tie in with Blogger's challenge to tell them how blogging has changed your life in one way or another, that's just what I'm going to do!
When I first started this blog, it was going to be a chronicle of my unschooling life, showing, daily, how I was learning as an unschooler. This was as much to prove to myself that I was actually learning as it was to show anyone else what unschooling looked like! No one, except for my mom, even read it. And it was started at a time in my life when I was really uncertain. That Winter and Spring before the beginning of this blog was really tough for me. I was frequently depressed, and in the Spring I lost a very close friendship that had meant a lot to me. Added onto that was the fact my father felt I wasn't learning anything at all (my mother was pretty sure I was learning, but was plagued nonetheless by doubts and worries, as is everyone at times), and I really wasn't so sure I was learning, either. I mean, unschooling is pretty "out there". Learning in freedom, learning what you want and need, when you want and need it, learning through life. For some reason, most people find the idea unthinkable. So I was very unsure, very insecure, but determined to prove to myself, and the world, that unschooling can, and does, work in practice, and that I really wasn't going to fail at life if I didn't go to school.
Of course, seeing as unschooling really is learning, and as I read the Teenage Liberation Handbook, mentioning that frequently in my early blog posts, I started to relax about unschooling a bit, and start realizing that by scrutinizing each day for whatever learning was gleaned from it, I was kind of missing the point. So the posts stopped coming every single day, and started focusing less on the details of each day, and more on my thoughts and feelings.
Also, in my earlier writings, I was just starting to research and learn about anarcho-primitivism. It was a fascinating journey for me, learning, thinking, discovering. I had always been semi-interested in, but disgusted by, politics, and no political party ever really felt right to me. But as I learned about anarcho-rimitivism, as I read a ton online, and a bit later read a ton by Derrick Jensen, it all just felt right to me. Scary, as it was the most radical philosophy I'd ever discovered, but right on a fundamental level. Like deep down, I'd already known and believed all of it, I'd just needed someone to point it out to me, to point me in the right direction. And the rest is history. As I thought, discussed, and wrote on this blog, my opinions moved from strong interest and curiosity, to tentative agreement, to absolute agreement. I had found my own worldview, the educational philosophy I knew was right, and even the vague direction I wanted to take in my life. Through it all, I blogged. I worked things out in writing, expressed my thoughts, my insecurities, my opinions, my beliefs. And gradually, I also developed a readership.
At the start of my blog, no one really read it. But as I continued writing, a few people started following this blog, and as soon as I knew there were actually people reading it, I had a real incentive to keep writing! So I did, and as my opinions solidified and my writing grew stronger, more people started following, until now, there are nearly 50 people officially following this blog, with more, although I have no clue how many more, reading regularly, or following through a program that doesn't show up in my little followers box! And really, the value of all you people who visit my little corner of the internet can not be overrated. If, as I tentatively started to write about ever more radical and unknown opinions people had reacted negatively, I'm not sure I would have continued. But having the support of people online who actually agreed with what I had to say was wonderful! Knowing that, even if everyone I talked to in person, aside from my mom and sister, thought I was insane, at least there were people in other places who felt the same way I did, saw things from the same angle, or at the very least supported my right to hold those opinions. That made, and makes, such a difference to me.
This past year has been one of great growth and change for me, and this blog has been there every step of the way, reflecting what's been going on in my head and in my life. It still seems slightly strange to me that people actually want to read what I write, and that many unschooling parents are more likely to say to my mom "Oh, you're Idzie's mom!" than for things to be the other way around! :-P
I'm still growing and changing, as humans constantly do, and still feeling insecurities and worries. Everyone lately seems to be either very impressed with me, or very unimpressed (seeing as I'm neither in school nor working, and to many people those both assign value to a person). I'm not sure which I struggle with more! I feel my life isn't very impressive. I want to be able to tell people that I'm a member of a permaculture co-op that teaches people how to grow their own food, or that I'm working with a center that helps teenagers liberate themselves from school, or something similarly impressive. My life is a continuous process, and I want things to change in certain ways, but am not quite sure how to do so, and even more then that, I'm afraid to do so! But as I continue to change, this blog will continue to reflect those changes. It's therapy for me, and support at times, simply writing things down and then letting my words loose in the World Wide Web for all to read...
So to sum up this very long post, I simply want to say Happy Birthday, I'm Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write.! And thank you so much to everyone who has read, does read, or will soon start reading my blog. I'm sorry if I sound soppy in this post, but I really do mean everything I say! I love you guys, and you make all the difference to me! :-)