So I'm sitting in a mother's group the other day, and we're talking about "Death by Rubber Duck," - in other words, the insane amount of exposure to harmful substances we experience in our daily lives. We're sharing ideas about natural cleaning products and organic foods and low toxic makeup, and someone makes the comment "but I'm not one of those left-wing, granola eating hippies."
You know what she means. Those people who are so far out of society, doing their own thing, living their own really strange way of life. Probably live in California. They don't only live outside the box, they've never even seen the box. Or at least their kids haven't, since they tossed all conventionalism out the window during their university days.
Yeah, I'm not one of those either! Right?
I'm not one who really needs the praise of the general population. I don't mind dancing to my own beat, doing my own thing. I like to think of myself as an individual, carving out my own path, the path that is best for me. I love to learn new things and am not afraid of change when I do learn. But I'm not out on the fringe. Right?
I started to wonder how people view me. (Again, not because I need to fit in - just curious about how people perceive me and my lifestyle). I feel "normal." I feel like I'm just like all those other moms out there, just like my friends. Different enough that there is variety in our friendships, but much like them in many ways.
I thought about the changes I've made to my lifestyle since becoming a mom:
- I try to make most meals from scratch
- I bake my own bread
- you would likely not find any junk food in our cupboards
- I clean using silver nanotechnology, vinegar, baking soda and lemon
- I have seriously considered homeschooling (and still haven't totally ruled it out)
- my kids are not fully immunized
- I am learning more about naturopathy and homeopathy as an alternative to modern medicine
- I grow and can my own food
- I want to do my grocery shopping at local farms this year
This is just a small list...but as I considered everything together, I suddenly felt on the fringe. Although many of these things are certainly becoming more popular, I bet much of the general population would look at me and think "left-wing, granola eating hippie." But I certainly don't feel much different than who I was growing up to this point. Perhaps because the core of these ideas (healthy living, questioning the norm) were a part of my childhood home education, even if these specific actions weren't. Perhaps because my journey has been an inward evolution, a slow change and growth from within, a natural progression. Perhaps because many of my friends have shared their ideas and beliefs with me, without the pressure of conforming, with only the intention of enlightenment.
I heard a great quote the other day. It went something to the effect of "the purpose of a debate is not argument, but enlightenment." I love that, because it means that when we share ideas and debate conflicting opinions, it is not about making the other person think the way you do; it is simply about a sharing of ideas, opening our minds to other possibilities.
I guess I am on the fringe. If I were to view my journey from a metaphorical distance, I must be traveling in a spiral, each arc taking me a little further from the centre. I love where I am. I love what I've learned. I love talking about new ideas with old friends, new friends, and strangers who become friends. Isn't learning a wonderful thing?