I’ve always had a bad attitude towards insurance. Seems very pessimistic, like we all assume something will go wrong. Plus everybody gets insurance. I hate doing things just because everyone does it. Then a tree falls crushing my fence and threatens to down a tree in my neighbors yard and I’m suddenly grateful that I don’t always cut off my nose to spite my face.
Man, can my attitude kick my butt though. I took a directing class in college that I made no secret of the fact that I found it to be extraordinarily remedial. At the time I felt my behavior was very justified, after all I had been teaching for none years. I was in my early 20s, newly introduced to the feminist movement (it was 1994), and away from home for the first time. My professor made no secret of what he thought of what an a-hole I was being. For the record, we sat down and talked it out before the end of the semester. It took me years to look back on that and realize I was actually the one in the wrong. (Thanks for not spitting in my face professor L)
I’ve always had a bit of a rebellious side. I tried to create my own fashion trends (think shorts with black tights and combat boots with an iZod and pearls). Aside from popular music, popular tv shows and popular movies I was on the cutting edge of entertainment. I never lived outside of my comfortable home in South Carolina. (If you’ve read other blogs, this explains why I thought a Barnum and bailey circus clown was a sign sent from God). So, really I wasn’t a rebel, I was just extremely contrary.
I can tell you this is not a terribly attractive trait. Why? Because now I have three daughters whose behavior is influenced by how I behave. Sigh. Nothing like your own kids reflecting your behavior to realize just how ugly it is. The logic behind teaching your kids to question authority is a complicated one. I would like to be authority now. Oops. Turns out I’m much better at mocking authority than being authoritative. So I’m retraining myself. It’s is just another process in the endless list of processes.
I can also see that this attitude has an upside. When my oldest daughter wanted purple hair, I said do it. And she looked adorable with purple hair. And I got to live vicariously through her. Some kids thought it was cool, some thought it was weird. The lesson was to do it despite the criticism or the accolades. Do it for you. That’s what makes it authentically cool. When my kids question a situation, a rule, a law we are leaning to do it productively. Acting like a jerk in a directing class actually does not promote any positive change. Not getting insurance doesn’t hurt the insurance company. They are so much better at it than I am. We are learning together.
I still resist popular trends and rarely see popular movies (mostly because I don’t have the time, and it’s not a priority). I’m still working on my personal style and now that I’m in my 40s it’s a careful balance. I did get my nose pierced just after my 40th birthday to prove Im still a rebel. Then I noticed how many women in their 40s have pierced noses. Maybe we are all rebels or this is the outward symptom of the new Feminine Mystique.
I think these days the most rebellious thing I can do is be myself. Sit with my feelings and watch my daughters as they learn to focus on self-identity. I can appreciate that I am a work in progress. No matter how much I’d like to imagine I’m outside the flock, this is really what most people are doing. We are all trying to find peace.