Ok, look- I KNOW I’m a naturalist. Ok ok, maybe a hippy. I KNOW I’m different.
I’m not different to be asinine. I’m different because I’m trying to practice more conscious living, which means that I’m thinking both for myself and wellness, and for that of others and the planet.
But let’s be honest- it’s not really a first-world habit to think about people outside of ourselves. We use more water, energy, and meat than other parts of the world. We didn’t really even start caring about Ebola until it came to the US. American’s, as a whole, tend to live in an elitist bubble.
What happens if you live in America and don’t ascribe to those values? What happens if you try to LIVE with someone, or around someone who is DIFFERENT?
Let’s start with awareness. This is an urgent call for mindfulness- community sustainability and collective responsibility to one another.
Here are some invasive habits that you might have and are not aware of how invasive they are. Granted, I know this might sound like a judgmental post. That’s probably pretty accurate. I think we all judge people who tread on the earth in a way that denies ownership. Aside from the fact that hippies get our own fair share of mockery, however, I think this stuff needs to be said.
1. Your air fresheners are literally air pollution.
They can kill small animals. Not only do they contain carcinogens, but they can trigger asthma and allergies. Fresh air and homemade food are the BEST smells for a home.
2. Other smelly stuff about your person is also air pollution and carcinogenic.
Perfume, laundry “soap” (and I use the term loosely), shampoo, body washes…all that crap is carcinogenic air pollution that offgasses into otherwise clean air. They also trigger asthma, allergies, headaches, and eczema. You’re not the only one smelling it- you smell like a walking perfume shop. That INCLUDES patchouli and nag champa. Let’s be considerate, eh?
3. Your plastic bags are SO 1990’s.
The only thing that says “I’m so lazy I can’t grab a bag from my back seat” MORE than, well, not grabbing a bag from your back seat, is someone who SNORTS at the idea and declares it inconvenient. Do you know what is less convenient than bringing your own bag? Dealing with a polluted planet.
4. You might be processing out loud, but really, you’re unloading, and my peaceful center doesn’t mean I can be your baggage check.
Americans as a whole totally lack stress management. They don’t get enough sleep, they eat crap, they don’t make time for themselves, and they are workaholics (undoubtedly because of a lack of a living wage). But that doesn’t mean you need to leech onto people who DO have healthier lifestyle habits. They are leading by example. If you are stressed to the max and you have a friend who always seems calm, ask them for some tips- but don’t unload. It’s toxic. See a therapist or join a community support group. Local places of worship have them for free and often have childcare.
5. Frying food makes your house, your stuff, and your clothes SMELL.
And it clogs your arteries. Gross. Fry food on occasion. But everyday is overkill. I don’t want to smell like McDonalds, and that smell DOES waif through apartment buildings. It also discolors your drywall and parts of your kitchen.
6. Your idea of cleanliness is not the same as actual cleanliness.
Febreeze anyone? If something smells, clean it. But chemicals aren’t CLEAN. They’re dirty. They’re just a different kind of dirty. There are all sorts of ways you can deodorize a mildewy or dirty smelling environment, from baking soda to lemons. And if it’s your person, WASH. Washing with soap is usually the answer. Perfumey chemicals are not- and that includes “dish detergent”- which is NOT safe to eat. Period. All those chemicals also pollute our drinking water.
7. You use a LOT of electricity.
It seems like a no-brainer to save money, but few actually realize how things add up. Close the fridge. Turn off electronics at night. Turn off the lights. Stop putting things in the dryer. Its not that hard. Using electricity contributes to pollution.
8. You make a LOT of garbage.
Pretty much everything you’re eating is in a package and we don’t get it. Perhaps even more baffling is that you’ve probably never read an ingredients label. But one thing at a time. If it comes in a package, it’s probably not real food. There are LOTS of ways around packaging, and if you start replacing packaged foods, you’ll notice your health improves.
Also, on that note, stop sending dye laden cupcakes to my kid’s school. If you want to give your kids red 40 and “juice”, that’s fine- but don’t shove it in MY kids face. Use some common sense. You know that stuff is crap. Maybe a “little bit won’t hurt” YOUR cheeto eating kid- but MY kid isn’t used to neurotoxins because we make daily conscious habits to avoid DRUGS. No one’s kids should be used to neurotoxins.
9. Speaking of which, no one litters anymore.
Do you poop where you sleep? Ok. Don’t pollute where you breathe or drink. It’s really that simple. You’re not an animal. If you WERE an animal, this would already be obvious.
10. Meat consumption is scary and feels like you’re handling a biohazard.
You’re handling a dead body where I put my food. I think that sums it up, but if you need specifics, most Americans eat factory farmed meat which is LADEN with extremely deadly bacteria. Not only are safe handling practices crucial, they require disinfecting with chemicals strong enough to kill the super bugs, so it’s one unhealthy habit on top of the next. From then on, meat is hazardous because it needs to be cooked properly AND it has to be stored and consumed properly. Very complicated, very mess, and very gross. It makes me sad.
11. You might be closed minded towards trying new things.
You think you’re right because you’re in the majority. But you know what? The Nazis had that mentality once. It just goes to show you that knowledge is VERY important before you make a judgement call. YOUR habits aren’t likely the result of thought and consideration, they’re undoubtedly because you learned them somewhere and everyone around you seemingly does the same thing. That doesn’t make it right or ok. If you think some of our habits are weird, there are ways to investigate why we do things by asking questions. “Hey, why do you wash your plastic bags?” is way more effective than “What the hell is THAT contraption and why are all these BAGS on it?”
12. Your judgment of other people’s lifestyles is deflection.
We know you feel bad when we point out how your plastic bags are strangling sea turtles. But the answer is to change. Not to continue to be in denial. We’ll try to be tactful, but don’t try to argue with us that you can’t live without bacon. Pigs can’t live without bacon. So don’t mock my dietary habits because I will be ruthless.
13. You consume a LOT of sex and violence.
Everything you watch on tv is pretty much entertainment, including your “news”- fair enough. However, it’s sexist- which hurts women and molds the minds of young people, perpetuating inequality. Watching violence on tv actually perpetuates adrenaline addiction, and for some can trigger fight or flight- which believe it or not, contributes to your stress load- and also passively condones community violence. There’s also a LOT of consumerism on tv, which is a whole other issue. In short, cutting back on sexist and violent media would help you find your center, and make you more conscious of your actual surroundings. It would also save your children from adult content that they are being exposed to. Sex and violence aren’t for children. Go outside, and get some ACTUAL hobbies that don’t include tivo. Come visit your hippy neighbors. They’re not watching tv either. We usually have some home brew going too ;)
14. Your cancer rate is ridiculously higher than ours and it WILL effect us.
We’re afraid you’re going to die a long suffering death. That’s why we’re pushing. And you’re polluting our planet. Please stop.
15. Fashion is stupid.
Caring for your appearance- win. Caring about MY appearance- fail. In fact, it can be argued that fashion crazes contribute to consumerism habits, which increase personal debt (which can effect your partner), and it also objectifies ALL people, not just women. We know the connection to fashion trends, the media, and eating disorders- haven’t we evolved beyond “fashion”? Wear what makes you feel good- not what is “in”.
16. Speaking of consumerism…you have a LOT of stuff.
Ever get off the phone with someone who is coming to visit and have to scramble around to clean up? It’s because you have too much stuff. Even if you have a really clean house, clutter is hard to organize constantly, and even harder to clean around. But a lot of people shop for fun. It’s time we re-define fun. We don’t need that stuff. It doesn’t make us happy. And when we live with clutter bugs trying to fill their emptiness with stuff, it’s stressful and suffocating. I’ve written at length about the benefits about being minimalist but YOU don’t have to be. Just be mindful.
17. Your poor self-care probably means you get sick easy and you’re exposing us.
Lack of sleep, and a Coke and cigarette diet mean a strained immune system. And while we do the complete opposite, we’re not superhuman. People who practice natural living understand the direct correlation between self care and wellness and we want you to start being an adult and investigate doing it for yourself instead of expecting us to suck it up. Ask for help NOW when you’re WELL :)
18. Let holidays be about something OTHER than plastic crap from China and food.
2/3rds of Americans are obese. And plastic stuff from China is not cruelty free AND it pollutes the planet and our children. Is that really worthy of celebration? No. We’ve got Labor Day cookouts late summer, candy holiday, gorging our face holiday, and then cookies and cocoa holiday. I strongly recommend experience based holidays. Have some health foods. Use moderation. And get thoughtful and sustainable gifts- IN MODERATION.
19. When we invite you to share our values, actually reciprocate or don’t partake.
I’m a HUGE advocate of sharing, pitching in on helping with someone else’s kids, carpooling, or checking in when someone is sick- those are my values as a sense of community. I want you to try giving back too. One person doesn’t make a community. Return my stuff- in good condition. And consider watching my kids every so often if I’ve watched yours for 4wks.
20. Your personal bubble makes me uncomfortable because it is HUGE.
If you’ve lived next door to someone for over a month and haven’t introduced yourself, you might be American. I’m not saying you have to hug me- I’m way into consent culture, but at least SMILE at me when I waive hi. I’m happy to see you. You’re my neighbor. You are part of the reason I choose to live here. We don’t have to be bff’s because you probably think I’m a fruity hippy. But I’ll be deeply hurt if I find out you had to take a taxi to the hospital one day and didn’t think to ask me to help you.
And that…is that. Apologies to the child that had a dialogue with my daughter about home birth and the mortified teacher who tried to tell her that “vagina” was not a word she could use at school. Additional apologies to the person who tried to give my son pancakes and had to show him how to eat them. We’re not from planet ‘MERCA :p In fact…we’re real, rebellious, free-thinking AMERICANS! It’s time for change- what part are YOU taking in the revolution?