My parents were sort of hippies. They weren’t the smoking pot, protesting against the government, anti-Vietnam War type of hippie that is portrayed in the movies and documentaries about the ’60’s and ’70’s. After all my dad was a Vietnam vet and my parents didn’t even drink alcohol when we were growing up. However, looking back at pictures and analyzing childhood memories, it was clear that they were the kind of hippies that grow their own food, drive a VW van, wear second-hand clothing, home school their kids, and use weird “natural” cleaning products.
I was certain that I would not grow up to be them. As a child of the ’80’s and a teen in the ’90’s, I rebelled against the natural beige, orange and brown of the seventies with my taste in clothing with bright jewel tones, neons, and later exclusively late ’90’s plaid. I teased up my hair into impossible heights in junior high and later I attempted to straighten it into submission in a vain attempt to get my thick mop to look like Rachel Green’s later sleek styles. As soon as I had the cash to buy my own food, I bought Pepsi, Orbitz ( that psychedelic drink with colored balls in it), and bubble gum by the yard instead of snacking on carob ice cream bars sweetened with honey that were in our home’s freezer.
I enthusiastically left any remnants of my all natural childhood behind when I went to college and discovered the world of reliable indoor plumbing and cafeteria food. Here even the potatoes and eggs were made of highly processed powder and chemicals and within walking distance there was a Target where you could purchase impossibly cheap new clothes and dorm decorating items.
By the time I graduated and moved back to Homer five years later, I was a fully confident modern woman. I wore make up, heels, brand new cheaply made clothing and jewelry from box or online stores and proudly served food full of chemical and high fructose corn syrup without a second thought.
I don’t recall quite when things started to really change. It was slow at first; little insidious changes that crept into my psyche. Perhaps the first step was when a friend suggested clove oil for dry socket and it worked far better than the prescription drugs that made me sick and foggy. Perhaps it was the first time I tried organic ranch dressing and realized how much better it tasted. Anyway, ten years later I didn’t realize how far down the rabbit hole I had fallen until one day I found myself with a cart in the grocery store full of fresh fruits and veggies, Dr. Brauner’s Magic soap with hemp and almond oil, searching desperately for oxtail for my paleo Phö recipe.
My friend commented that I had turned into such a hippie. “Not possible”, I explained, stunned that they could think such a thing. I told myself that they had to be ludicrously mistaken. After all, I dress way too cool to be a hippie. My sandals are the latest style. Sure they are bought from a fair trade company that uses leather that is a byproduct if the meat industry, but that’s just not being wasteful. And yes, all my clothing is second-hand or locally purchased in small business because I don’t want to give money to large cooperation use factories with unsafe conditions and unlivable wages, but it is all name brand clothing. Plus, I wear makeup, and a lot of it. What hippie wears tons of makeup? Just because I make sure mine is made in the USA and not tested on animals and bought in a small business, doesn’t mean I am a hippie. And it’s not all Burt’s Bees after all (although he does make pretty good stuff).
And, I reminded myself as I loaded my groceries into the car, a lot of my purchases are meat. Hippies don’t eat meat, do they? Sure, I make sure to buy free range and grass-fed, but have you seen the cruelty of mass slaughterhouses or cage raised chickens? Not to mention the horrors of farmed fish. You may as well be eating gold-fish from an algae covered aquarium! And really, who doesn’t use coconut oil and raw apple cider vinegar as both a condiment and a cosmetic.
I’m just not that dedicated. I mean, I remember my mother grinding her own wheat to make home-made bread from sourdough. I would never have the energy or time for that. Plus, I don’t even eat grains. Most of them have far too many pesticides and are a GMO, and you know, if we don’t stop them, corporations are going to control the world’s food supply by trademarking GMO seeds, and then they will have all the power.
Seriously though, by the time I was putting away my groceries I had fully convinced myself that I simply could not be a hippie.
Now, if only I could figure out how to fit the farm to table salad greens on the same shelf as the tallow I rendered and the home-made kombucha.