Do I need to explain myself more? There’s also the situation I felt I had gotten myself into. Being a recipient of hostilities. The constant accusations about me being on a “witch-hunt” or waging a “war” or wanting to “attack” anthroposophy or waldorf. I don’t think any of these things are true, but while dealing with people who are basically blinded by their own feelings, anything and everything, even joking, is an affront or a threat; my intentions matter little. I stopped wanting to blog. I didn’t care anymore. And I want to care. However, I don’t want to be so pissed off I resort to raving lunacy.
And actually, the more Steiner people I encounter online, the more I like Rudolf himself. He’s eloquent, clever, eccentric… he’s got everything they haven’t. His followers, some of them, are but mindless drones in comparison. (He’d be a messed up kid in a waldorf school — that’s for sure. Dogmatic Steiner fans would never accept his originality or even (perhaps less) his intellectuality.) And those who aren’t outright stupid, still behave as if any disagreement were an attack, directed at them personally.
I suppose that they think that I’m trying to slaughter their anthroposophical cow of essence, and that I’m claiming things that I have no right to claim, because I’m not an anthroposophist. I’m not entitled to butcher this holy cow. It’s as if I were not allowed to an opinion. Or that I’m not permitted to share what I went through, because speaking about it is hurting them, some way or another. That their anthroposophical essence — in its practical application — hurt me, is a matter better ignored. It all looks pretty hypocritical to me.
In the end, it’s tiring. It isn’t what I want to be doing. It might be that I have to adjust to the insanity, because the insanity isn’t adapting to me… Maybe I have to put things differently. I don’t know how to, though. (Being neutral and detached seems to cause as much anger… doesn’t it?) Waldorf was a misery, and there’s no way around that. Anthroposophy contains a multitude of nutty beliefs; there’s no way around that either. Anthroposophists might want to live with it in their lives; I don’t. In my mind, leaving anthroposophy and waldorf alone, untarnished, uncriticized, isn’t the natural consequence of my wish. They, however, seem to believe that it is. They want to sell their products — be it education, health care or something else — to the general public, but deny responsibility for what they sell, and believe they have a right to immunity from “consumer” complaints.
I’ve realized that being critical of waldorf and anthroposophy has put me in a place I’m not sure I wish to be. I’m told I’m hateful, that I’m venomous, that my sole aim is to offend and hurt. But I’m not hateful, I truly am not. Somehow, whatever I do or write, I put myself in a vulnerable position, and I don’t seem to be able to prevent it. I still stand by my contention of last fall:
While boasting about their superior social skills, they shower any dissenter with invectives. One would like to, as some waldorf teachers reportedly do, wash their mouths with soap. Or perhaps, rather, disable all the alphabetical letters on the keyboard, like waldorf teachers take away the colour black, until they’d learnt to behave. My dog has lots and lots better social skills, and he never went near a waldorf school, I promise. But it’s like this: lazure wall paint won’t cover blatant meanness or cruelty. You can’t hide your lack of civility beneath a eurythmy robe. And you don’t even try, because you feel entitled, because you’re so superior. Some of you can even offer me condolences. Because you take pity on me, inferior as I am. Deficient as waldorf proved me to be, right?
But still, you know, I’m so fucking happy. There’s no way in this world I’d choose to make undone my waldorf years, and I wouldn’t even want to not have waldorf be part of my life. That’s really all there is. For all it gave me, it, in the end, took away less than I got. It’s a somewhat paradoxical conclusion, admittedly, and it’s not one I would’ve drawn had I been a child still. Or even just a year ago. It didn’t steal my childhood, it gave me my life, in the sort of inevitable after-the-fact version of an approaching middle-age wisdom… perhaps… (maybe insert karma, and there’s a jolly brew!) It’s impossible to have regrets for something you can’t even imagine what life would be like if you were without it. And I’m so deludedly, crazily, in-love-ingly, enchanted by it all. I live my paradoxes. A mysterious transformation towards an atonement of sorts drives me to a kind of strange conclusion; that nine years of misery — and many miserable post-waldorf years — was a destiny that was a blessing I couldn’t have anticipated, and I couldn’t construe as a blessing, until now. (It’s a devilish thing that just was meant to be, I think Rudy would have said, wouldn’t he… an ahrmanic–luciferic showdown of power.) And I don’t even believe in destinies. However, I do believe in what I am now, right this moment.
Fortunately, or unfortunately perhaps, I don’t think waldorf is half as bad as I did think it was — that is, for a child like me. I was always the child who would’ve learnt to read anyway, with or without waldorf. Neither they, nor anyone else, could have stopped me from learning in any case. Being many years behind really didn’t make any huge difference. In a way, I don’t think I’d have been more at home in any other kind of school. I would’ve been conflicted, a problem to solve, a… bothering something. But I was shielded from that through waldorf and even in the higher grades, after transferring elsewhere. They screwed up badly, in waldorf, but they didn’t truly try to change me at all — they didn’t try to save me from myself, my situation and my surroundings. They just let me be, even if that meant I got beaten up, if I got misery, if I happened to be the child who really shouldn’t have been there at all. They didn’t hurt me, really, because they couldn’t. They left me to my devices like no public institution would have ever done. The physical and mental scars could have easily been a million times worse. I got off lightly. Even measured by waldorf standards, most people fare a lot worse than I did. Of course, I knew they deemed me a defect, and knew I had to imitate a standard I could never begin to live up to. The waldorf imaginary-perfect-child was never an ideal in my league — it was unattainable — and my league was a totally different league.
Here I am, almost 30 years after I first encountered waldorf as a kindergartner. And I’m roasting in a mid-March afternoon, 5 floors up sun-bound, indeed; I don’t think I ever imagined I’d be here, writing these words I write. And I feel like, you know, I’m really not that kid anymore. I’m not forced to look at anthroposophy, Steiner or waldorf through the eyes of a 4-year old. And if anthroposophy, Steiner or waldorf changed me, I’m still owning that change, and no matter the crappy education and misery they made me go through, I don’t want anything to be different. If they bestowed upon me a burden of sorts, I’m the one gaining from it. In the end. I wouldn’t be so free, I believe, if someone hadn’t tried to restrict my freedom. If I hadn’t been stifled and bored.