Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Not the Boy Who...

Adam's always been a bit self conscious.  Not self loathing in any way, which is totally different.  But self conscious simply as in aware of self.  He knows who he is and feels no particular pressure to be someone else.  In fact, he's not a big fan of any sort of pressure that would suggest otherwise.

I like this about him.  As of right now, Adam is not particularly likely to succumb to peer pressure, because Adam only does what Adam is comfortable with.

This self awareness has developed into a new set of words that Adam uses frequently:

"Mom, I'm not the boy who..."

I heard it first when I contemplated purple shirts for the Empress Youth Theatre program I run.  Curious how the younger boys would feel about the color, I asked Adam his opinion.  "Mom, I'm just not the boy who wears purple."

I loved so much about the statement.  In one sentence he acknowledged:

A) Some boys wear purple
B) It is fine for boys to wear purple
C) But I am not that boy

I've heard it a lot since.  For example, he's also not the kid who wears plaid shorts (though I discovered a loophole: apparently grey and white is conservative enough for his tastes).

Interestingly, he's willing to be a different kid based on the group.  For example, he had the opportunity to hang out with the EYT teenagers on the 4th of July, and he saw many of the boys getting their nails painted purple and green.  He decided that in that particular company, he was okay being the boy who gets his nails painted by cute teenage girls.  But he asked me for the darkest purple I had and clearly set the expectation that he would not approve of anything with sparkles.

But only a few hours later as we prepared to go to a neighborhood party, he approached me, distressed.  "Mom, do you have any nail polish remover?"  He explained that he really didn't want to go to the party with nail polish on.  I took a moment to talk to him about the long-term effects of the choices we make.  If he wasn't comfortable painting his nails, he shouldn't have done it in the first place.  I was considering making him wear the polish to the party as an opportunity to feel the effects of his decision when he rationally explained, "Mom, I forgot about the party when I made that choice.  I knew the people in EYT would understand, but I don't think my friends at the party tonight will get it."

I'm not sure if that's something I am as proud of, though I know I do it.  I make different choices with certain groups of friends than I would feel comfortable making with others (or with my family).  But I suppose as long as they are choices of comfort - not choices of ethics or choices of right and wrong - there is no harm in being something a bit different depending on the group.

Still, one of my favorite things about Adam is that - for now at least - he's got it figured out.  As long as he can confidently say to me, "Mom, I'm not the boy who..." I think he's going to do just fine.