Authentic Stereotype

Guys…am I a hippie? You don’t have to answer. I know the truth, and I’m actually okay, even *good* with it. It’s just funny to me, to realize how, as I have slowly, over time, come into my own, how my identity has settled, and how different it is, both from who I thought I was, and who, to some degree, others might think I am. Identity and image are a funny thing.

There are just so many layers and factors, and labeling people is both assumptive and reductive.

Let’s take me, for an example- I am an entirely open book, so this should be easy.

Externally, yeah, I’m a hippie.

  • hair is greying, only colored with vegan color conditioner (no salon)
  • beaded/ boho jewelry, mostly purchased from etsy or independent artisans
  • diet is *primarily* whole food based and includes plenty of kale, chia, quinoa, grass fed meat and dairy, and other stuff you haven’t heard of
  • farmer’s market is one of my happiest places
  • uses and (technically) distributes essential oils (has an oil for that)
  • natural deodorant and toothpaste
  • green/clean beauty and skincare
  • organic garden
  • nose ring
  • 10 total piercings
  • multiple tattoos (more please) with deep personal meaning
  • lotus tattoo
  • practices yoga
  • *teaches* yoga (certifications finished in next few weeks)
  • given a chance will tell you why *you* need yoga (definitely has a pose/stretch for that)
  • switching from coffee to adaptogenic tonic for energy
  • hired a doula for both pregnancies
  • really wanted water births
  • doesn’t think it’s crazy to eat the placenta.
  • attempted unmedicated labors until literally almost passing out from exhaustion (total 97 hours of labor with 2 kids)
  • breastfed as long as possible (and will help you if you want to also!)
  • wants you to have the birth *you* want. (even though I wasn’t able to)
  • doesn’t think doctors know better than parents always
  • will always try a less chemical/processed option for anything first-cleaning, medicine, food…
  • yes, he’s a rescue (the first time I said this aloud I laughed to myself after, “well, that’s on brand…”
  • homeschools (not virtual, real actual homeschooling from day 1- graduation)
  • most comfortable in yoga pants and flowy tops
  • fantasizes about living in the country
  • wants a pet cow and chickens and goats
  • buys coffee from artisanal/not for profit company
  • nutpods not cream
  • maple syrup or coconut sugar, not white sugar
  • organic produce as much as possible
  • made all her own baby food when her kids were babies
  • meditates daily

Now, very few of those things makes me a hippie by itself, right? a lot of them are pretty common. When all combined, though…

But there are plenty of things about me and my lifestyle that don’t fit that mold:

  • rides a peloton (so aspenzive!)
  • shops on amazon and walmart more than whole foods (it’s cheaperrrrr)
  • will never be vegan or even vegetarian (meat is so good…)
  • loves lululemon for activewear (capitalism!)
  • loves a good skinny jean, sweater, boots, and scarf look
  • retro pinup beach look with one piece suit, red lip, cat eye sunglasses

When you look at all of that, you might still call me a stereotype, but the inconsistencies prove the authenticity of who I actually am. I’m not buying into a stereotype in ways that aren’t true to who I am, and I own the differences confidently.

At the same time, if you only know me casually, or we haven’t been close in awhile you might think:

  1. I’m a doormat
  2. I’ve pulled away from society because (insert assumption) and I’ve just given up and this is who I am now
  3. I’m “not strong” or that my sensitivity is equivalent to weakness.
  4. I need (or want) a lot of attention.

None of those is true.

Point 3 is one I need to address: about two years ago, I was having a conversation with someone who, at a certain point in time, I was really close to, and in reference to how direct (sometimes to the point of rudeness) they saw themself, I said I didn’t see them that way. Their response was, “You couldn’t handle it if I was direct with you.”

UMMMM

That person had been close to me at a time when maybe that statement was true, but by the time the statement was made, that person was not in close enough relationship with me to a) know what I could handle, or b) speak with any authority on anything that would hurt me to hear. So, they were just plain wrong.

If you talked with me, you might learn the truth about each point:

  1. Due to childhood trauma that continued until I was 35, I have conditioning that makes it difficult for me to voice my needs, and wants, for fear of rejection, emotional abandonment, and exclusion, and even though I’ve grown astronomically, on days I don’t have the fight, sometimes I still fall into it.
  2. Every day I am working to overcome my mental health challenges, and I’m winning! COVID threw a huge wrench in things, as it touches on a number of my triggers, but I am still fighting, still making progress. Just because you personally don’t see the payoff doesn’t negate its presence.
  3. My sensitivity is a great strength. Do you know how hard it is to face abuse (of every kind), rejection (often from those who are meant to love you most), ostracization, and more, and still stay tenderhearted, compassionate, and open to loving others. Get outta here with “you couldn’t handle it”!
  4. There are few things I want less than to be the center of attention. I’m actually very shy and socially anxious unless I know I am safe and loved. If you perceive me as needy or asking for attention- that means I trust you enough to ask for what I need, even if the way I do it isn’t the smoothest- it’s because it’s scary and I hate being vulnerable.

I’m a phoenix, baby. I’ve been through fire, been reborn, and I’m better, stronger, and more beautiful than I was.

Just like that person made assumptions about my character (in the negative, even) based on knowing me well in the past, I think we all tend to put others in boxes based on assumptions, and as cheesy as it is to bring up…

What happens when we assume, boys and girls?

It’s true.

I wrote this post to poke fun at the hippie I never dreamed I’d be ( around 18 I was full on glam, platforms, wet seal, bath and body works, bubblegum pop, and that stuck well into my twenties), to call out the superficial way we see and even connect to people, and to challenge us all, myself included, to look a little deeper and not let assumptions do what they do. I bet if there was an aspect of my hippiedom you thought was weird, you would think it less so if you asked me what was behind it.

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