Something has been bothering me for a while; for years, actually. And, if I'm even remotely like most people (some days more than others!), than I'm sure it bothers other people, as well.
What am I talking about? Well, there is no ONE word to sum it up, but I'll try to explain it as best as I can..... (warning: get a cup of coffee and a comfy chair!)
I will be the very first person to tell you that I do not live the "standard" American lifestyle; I do not work away from home, I have more than 1.2 children (how in the Good Lord's Name do you achieve .2 children?), and I usually don't follow the typically "politically correct" way of thinking/speaking.
So, then, what is my lifestyle? Hmmm.....
I think you could call it the "Don't Pigeon-Hole Me" lifestyle;
-I believe in God,
-I try to put my faith, religion AND spirituality into action everyday,
-I make mistakes and commit sins (nothing too serious, I hope!) everyday,
-I am the mother of 6 children,
-I have been married to the same man for almost 15 years,
-I have delivered my babies both naturally and surgically (both at the hospital and at home, both with doctors and with midwives),
-I send my kids to school (albeit a Montessori school!),
-I cloth-diaper and disposable-diaper,
-we are a "co-sleeping" family,
-I serve both organic and non-organic foods,
-we eat fast food (on occasion!),
-I breastfeed (yes, for longer than 6 months),
-I wear makeup, dye my hair (do you know how many grey hairs FOUR boys can cause?),
-I watch Comedy Central,
-I watch PBS,
-I poke fun at a lot of people,
-I try to have real compassion for others,
-I am a fiscal and social conservative,
-I am an American patriot who believes in *inalienable* rights,
-There are dust bunnies under my bed,
-I DO tidy-up my home everyday,
-I believe my kids need discipline,
-I believe my kids need love,
-I hate to exercise,
-I don't really care for "being one with Nature",
-I love Autumn,
-I love coffee,
-I am in love with my husband,
-I try not to make fun of other people who say they are "in love" with their spouses.
I am all these things, and more. Just like every other human on this planet, I am an amalgamation of complexities and contradictions. I like being this way. I like being different.
And, yet.... When faced with most social situations, I find myself loathe to "admit" to the above characteristics. I listen while, seemingly, everyone else in the group agrees on politics, religion, child-rearing, education, economics, and environmental issues. And, in my head I'm thinking, "Yeah, not so much. I don't think I have very much in common with you. I'd like to enter into the 'discussion' and explain why I believe what I believe." But, there I sit.... the quietest loud-mouth you ever saw.
Why? I ask myself the same thing all the time. It's been bothering me more and more, of late. I think it because I'm afraid. In the past, when I have tenatively expressed a dissenting opinion during these "group exercises", I have been (politely) derided and/or ignored. Only a very few times did someone ask me for the reasons behind my opinion, and even fewer times did people bother to listen to my argument. Mostly what happens, is that I am treated to more than one person telling me that I'm wrong because (here's my favorite part) "don't you know that NO ONE ELSE thinks like that?" (By the way, this has happened more than a dozen times, so it's not a one-time fluke). There's some logic for you.
So, I thought to myself: "Don't I live in a country where we have Freedom? Where I have the Freedom to express my opinions, even if the majority of people disagree with me? Isn't this wonderful Right to Freedom protected by my government? Doesn't that mean I am safe and protected when I disagree (politely) with others?"
The short answer is, of course, "yes".
But, I also am aware (mostly on a subconscious level) that human beings have a herd-like/flock-like mentality (hence, the Bible's not-so-subtle references to people being "sheep"). We feel comfortable, even powerful, when we are surrounded and validated by people who agree with us. That's OK. That's normal.
I think where we run into trouble (and, I am guilty of this, too) is when we assume that anyone holding an opinion that disagrees with the "majority", is wrong. It's more than "wrong": that person is crazy, evil, ignorant, uninformed, uncaring, unpatriotic.
I am sure that none of these observations come as a shock to you. We have all felt them, acknowledged them, and worried about them from time to time. I would like to leave you with this thought:
Wasn't it the "minority", the ignorant, the rebellious, the crazy, the evil people who dared to defy a monarchy and an empire who gave us this Freedom to hold differing views AND be able to respectfully announce these views?
Also, I DID shock some of you when I *admitted* to some of the things on my "list", didn't I? I would be so disappointed if I didn't.
Oh, did I mention that I'm also slightly rebellious and perverse by nature?