Okay, the truth is, I am a pretty dull person. I don’t get into barroom brawls, have a secret heroin addiction, cross-dress, carry a concealed weapon, or plan to overthrow the government in my spare time.
Still, I haven’t lived my life in a cookie-cutter kind of way, and have always hovered proudly outside the boundaries of authority and tradition. I suppose being a lesbian puts me there automatically, but that wasn’t a rebellious choice; rather a core part of who I am, who I have always been. As far as choices go, I dropped out of high school, went to a small alternative college where classes were held in circles and we called the professors by their first names. After graduating from college, I was determined to be a poet, which I guess is its own sort of rebellion. I refused to settle down into “a career”, choosing instead a string of jobs ranging from house painting to delivering pizza (I once even got paid for dressing as the Easter Bunny) to support myself while I wrote.
These days, my little acts of rebellion are small and quiet and hardly count as rebellion at all. I buy local, try not to shop at huge mega-stores, eat organic food whenever I can, and avoid television as much as possible. I use one of those old fashioned reel lawnmowers that go on muscle power, not gas and oil. I walk to do errands when weather permits. I make it a point to occasionally send real letters and cards to people instead of the oh-so-easy email.
But you know the thing that I do that makes me feel most like a rebel; the most like I live on the fringe? I write. I don’t do the nine-to-five, get-dressed-up-and-go-to-the-office thing. I stay at home in my ripped jeans and make my own schedule. I get a coffee break whenever I want. I am in charge of my productivity. (Well, me and my two-year-old, anyway…)
And you know when this, Oh, you rebel you, feeling hits me the hardest? When I tell other people what I do for a living.
There is often a blank look of total confusion and disbelief. “A writer? You write books?” (Said as if staring at someone whose skin is bright green and is wearing a strap-on space rocket thingy on her back.)
Then, once I tell them more and they’ve had a few seconds to settle into the idea, people are usually pretty amazed. And maybe, just maybe, even a little jealous.
I mean, how many people are lucky enough to get to stay home and make money doing something they really, truly love?
So I’m all for not conforming, for living the life you choose rather than one chosen for you. Be a rebel. It’s not always the easiest path, but there’s no question that it’s the most rewarding.