been doing a lot of thinking about a lot of things lately (well, always). in the shower today (one of my best thinking spots, when i actually get to shower)...i started thinking about what it means to go against the mainstream and how i fit into that.
i've always been a little against the mainstream. i say a little because i really don't feel anything i believe or the way i live is so extreme. but anyway, my mom reminds me sometimes how even as a child, particularly in high school when everyone wants to fit in normally, i would buck the trends and not be interested in the prevailing clothing styles. if everyone else liked it, i tended to not like it--simply because EVERYONE else liked it. i have always detested trends. seems like a brainless way to live...following what everyone else does and likes, just because everyone else is doing it.
but at the same time i didn't go against EVERYTHING just because everyone liked it...that would sort of be doing the same thing, in a way...the mainstream would still have been choosing my likes and dislikes. so it was still pick and choose. i didn't rebel against all things mainstream. and still don't.
i do have a real distaste for letting companies and magazines and tv and movie personalities decide what is "in" and not, though. or just doing things because that's what everyone does. just seems so much like living life as a sheep. i've heard people who really get sucked into being followers like this called "sheeple"....i would agree that's a good term.
anyway back to the now...i definitely parent against the mainstream way of thinking. (the term "attachment parenting" was coined to define this style of parenting.) ...in my personal life mainstreamers are the minority. because i choose to surround myself with like minded people, where i'm able to choose.
i have very definite values on all things regarding my children. and those tend to buck the mainstream thinking. one example: my children aren't enamoured of disney. for the most part we don't do disney...with the exception of winnie the pooh and the heffalump movie. oh and mary poppins. but man, you should see the looks i get from people when i say we don't do disney. like i'm depriving my kids of their childhood or something. come on! give me a friggin break. disney does not equal a quality childhood for pete's sake! we do go to the park...i'm all for the magic kingdom...avoiding the rides that would scare my daughter...we just don't watch the movies, which i think are way too violent and i think its horrendous how disney nearly always kills off the moms...what message does that send? moms are expendable? moms are unimportant? anyway, we don't do disney, that's just something i feel strongly about. i'm not saying NO ONE should do disney. do what you want with your own kids...just please respect what i choose for my kids. my husband is with me on this one. disney films are violent and we don't want our children watching them. period. i have friends that DO do disney. i don't have a problem with that as long as its not put on when my children are there. then it gets sticky. trying to get maeven to another room so that she doesn't have to see it...without making a fuss because i don't want to make a fuss. i really don't. but i also don't want my kids watching what i don't want them watching.
this gets really sticky sometimes...because not everyone has the same values on tv watching that i do. i don't expect them to go out of their way to change their lives just because my kids are around...but at the same time it gets really hard when my kids are at someone's house where there's something on--tv or video game--that i feel is inappropriate for my children. ack! it makes me feel so many things! on the one hand i don't want to be a bitch and tell them they need to change it (i would never do that at someone else's home)...but at the same time...i REALLY feel strongly that i don't want my kids seeing whatever it is...so we work on keeping away from view and earshot as much as we can without making a stink...but it makes for some really not fun times for me and my husband trying to juggle this. argh! juggling our beliefs with wanting to be good guests. *sigh* there doesn't seem to be a good solution either. i'm probably already viewed as a pain in the ass to those that feel differently, so i certainly don't want to make things worse by confirming it, lol!
and then there's toys...i probably fall in the category of against the mainstream there too. because i just can't stand the vast majority of the crap that is popular for children these days...
i feel strongly about not having violent toys, electronic toys (for the most part), and non open-ended toys. so i try to avoid anything that is designed to emulate a weapon and would encourage violent play, most anything that requires batteries (with a couple exceptions), and anything that is designed to be used a very specific way. i feel disgusted walking the aisles of toys r us and dept store toy depts because its very hard to find toys that don't fall into these categories. the hardest thing is just finding toys that are not electronic! for pete's sake! that just really annoys me! anything and everything has to make noise these days! my kids know that "noisy toys" stay at the store. they are welcome to play with them in the cart at the store, or at friends houses...but they stay there when we leave. i hate to admit it but i usually exchange them when my kids get them as gifts. i hate to admit this because i never thought i'd be one to do that. but i feel that strongly that i want the toys my children to have to be developmentally appropriate and there's just not room in our lives or our home for what i feel is inappropriate. i am trying to create a high quality environment (key word--trying...ugh, i'm not always good at this...we still have far too much clutter...but i'm trying to change that!) to raise my children in and so that means that i need to follow my belief system and values.
i've taught my daughter (tyren's too young still) to be thankful of gifts, though...say thankyou and value that someone loved you enough to give it to you. that not everyone gets gifts...not all children have toys...we talk about not hurting feelings if she receives something she doesn't like or she knows mommy and daddy won't like (luckily she agrees for the most part with us so far). so she's getting that it IS the thought that counts. i don't want her to think otherwise. and i don't FEEL otherwise. it's the thought behind the gift, and i do appreciate that. but i also won't keep things that i feel won't be good for my children.
i know people who don't see things the way i do scratch their heads at me. i know they don't get it. and i don't know how to help them get it. its not my job to help them get it. i'm not here to convert anyone. i'm not about proselytizing and making people see my way... this is just who i am and how my husband and i have chosen to raise our kids. all i want is respect. i try not to be judgemental of other people's choices (again, key word is "try"...because this is a constant struggle in my life, being judgemental and i hate that. i really really really am trying to change that aspect of myself. because i find it so very ugly.) and i would like the same in return.
its so frustrating to have to deal with knowing that i'm being judged. i want to be able to have relationships with people that are mainstream and not have to feel the differences so strongly all the time. i'm still learning how to do that. why is it such a big deal that i do things against the mainstream? why does that make me a "hippie"? LOL! i'm actually take that as a compliment when someone calls me a hippie...because i am so not a hippie. though i would love it if i was. anyone that calls me and my husband hippies has never actually met a real hippie, lol! i'm not strong enough in my environmentalist beliefs to be categorized as a hippie...plus i'm a carnivore! LOL!
ok, out of curiosity i looked up a couple terms:
mainstream: the principal or dominant course, tendency, or trend.
hippie: a person, esp. of the late 1960s, who rejected established institutions and values and sought spontaneity, direct personal relations expressing love, and expanded consciousness, often expressed externally in the wearing of casual, folksy clothing and of beads, headbands, used garments, etc.--ok that one doesn't fit me...
but here's another for hippie: A person who opposes and rejects many of the conventional standards and customs of society, especially one who advocates extreme liberalism in sociopolitical attitudes and lifestyles.--i guess that one does sort of fit me. although i don't get into politics so i don't really know if i'm an extreme liberal or not. i'm definitely liberal, just don't know how extreme, lol.
my definition of a hippie in the 2000s would be a vegetarian or vegan that dresses organic and eats organic and is strong in their convictions against war and animal and human rights violations...living their beliefs by protesting when able and teaching their children...also living with very little of the mainstream trappings...especially little or no tv...that would be my view of what a hippie is and i have friends that are in this realm. so when someone calls ME a hippie i just laugh. because i am very far from that. i'm away from the mainstream but i'm not THAT far. i wish i was! i think that you have to be a very strong person to be that far from the mainstream. i'm not there.