Sometimes I totally forget we’re a bit different around here.
And it doesn’t even occur to me until we’re in a situation where we’re surrounded by those who aren’t like us. (i.e. recent trip to North Carolina)
Let me give you a few examples so as to better paint a picture:
I currently have pink hair.
My husband just spent his Sunday getting two tattoos.
I have eight tattoos (only one is visible to the public).
My husband does not wear a suit and tie to work, or carry a briefcase. He doesn’t even wear a button down shirt. We’re talking jeans, t-shirt, flip-flops or Chucks.
We are atheists and/or agnostic (at least I am) at very best.
We discuss the human body, sexuality, private parts, politics, current events, issues that require deep thought and even global crisis in age-appropriate ways with the children.
We have no trouble pointing out the evils of the world and the injustice and encourage our children to stand up for what they believe in LOUDLY and with real action behind their words. (Our kids have raised substantial amounts of money for causes they believe in- like $1500 for Sea Turtle Relief during the gulf oil spill)
So as my son and I lounged around on a hot summer’s day, he asked me why teenagers are always mean and weird on tv shows. He wanted to know why they fought with their parents or were always ‘grounded.’ I then launched into a rather bad explanation of rebellion. And how we all feel the need at some point in life to show our independence and rebel against our parents.
He cocked his head and looked at me really funny.
Well, how do you think you will rebel when you’re a teen?
What do you mean?
I mean, what do you think you will do to rebel against your Dad and I?
Why would I do that?
Well I’m not sure, let just pretend…
I don’t know…I don’t want to rebel.
Well you don’t HAVE to, I’m just wondering how you might…
This went on and on and on. Until we realized our children would have to be rather over the top to rebel against us. And it’s true. I mean, look at us. We’re 40 or pushing 40 and tattooed, weird haired freaks. Right? Or so some would say.
So I took the same question to my daughter.
How do you think you will rebel?
I just think I’ll be mad at you because I’ll want to go be with my friends and you’ll want me to go somewhere with you.
But will you DO anything, like shave your head or dye your hair purple (her hair is currently purple and pink) or get at a tattoo because you are mad?
Definitely not. Why would I do that? I can do that NOW and just for fun.
…touche’ my dear.
Which leaves me taking a long hard look at myself and my body. My hair. My tattoos. And you know what? I love it. I love them. I love that my husband and I could care less what the world thinks and we show our children that daily. We are living life on our terms.
He has found an industry that pays him well and supports his family and allows him to stroll into work daily in a t-shirt and jeans. He didn’t have to conform to the suit and tie rat race to ‘make it’ in this world. THAT makes me happy as hell for HIM.
I’ve always marked important milestones in my life with body art (I got my first tattoo on my 18th birthday, right after I registered to vote). I’ve still managed to be a guest at the White House four times and interview everyone from celebrities to politicians, simply because I can easily change outfits and you’d never know what was underneath. I have made a career based on hard work and damn good work. When I was a professional journalist I investigated, I worked my sources, I climbed my way to the top. As a blogger and non-traditional journalist I’d like to think I became influential and did the same. Even disabled and sick I’ve managed to keep my influence and use my voice to work hard for the things I believe in.
I hope our children take away that they can be who they are and not compromise. They can follow their dreams and not worry about sacrificing their sense of self. They don’t have to fit in a box- anyone’s box- in order to be successful.
And if they really want to rebel, they can just give us heart attacks by voting Republican.