Thursday, February 23, 2006

Breast Wielding: Yes, Hippy:No

Four or five years ago, a woman I knew from my graduate program said it always made her happy when I walked down the hallway because it always makes her happy to see a hippy. I hadn’t been aware of the fact I looked like a hippy, and I had never decided to look like one. I made a pretty solid effort to change my wardrobe. And even though I’ve been fairly paranoid about looking like a hippy since that day, it is true that about every two or three years I find my wardrobe has reverted back to something somebody might think is hippy-like. When I complain to my family and friends about how I might be looking a little like a hippy they look at me like I’m crazy: “What?” their looks say, “You honestly think you aren’t a hippy…?”

In the sixth grade, my best friend Holli was befriended by a girl named RR, who convinced her to hate me. One recess I found them both perched atop the monkey bars with some other popular girls, and I called up to Holli to ask why she, particularly, had decided not to be my friend. From her lordly, monkey bar embellished height, she looked down at me near pityingly.

“Let me give you a tip,” she said, in the way only a sixth grader can, “Nobody has worn their shirts tucked in since the fourth grade.”

I looked down at my tucked-in, knockoff Izod shirt, then I looked out at everybody else’s untucked shirts. I nodded my head in recognition of my error, corrected my shirt, squinted back up at Holli, shrugged, and said, “Okay?”

No. It wasn’t. Because Holli hadn’t been talking about my shirt, really. She was really offering up a detail that described a pattern of mine, one that seriously blighted my position within the sixth grade social order. “MaGreen,” she was actually saying, “you are totally and embarrassingly oblivious to what other people find obvious.”

If I am a hippy, I reserve the right to declare that I am definitely not a cool hippy that produces magazines like Plenty or Yoga Whatever. If I am a hippy, I am not a “hip” hippy, either, because if I am hippy I will not try to dilute the fact.

But I am not a hippy, so neither of these conditions matter, really. I feel like some obvious choices of mine randomly happen to be like the choices hippies make. I don’t wear makeup because it makes me feel fake. I am sensible and romantic, so I want to save the earth. I am interested in not destroying the planet and in not causing other beings unnecessary pains.

I am also very slowly getting around to how breastfeeding makes me feel very much like a hippy. I once heard somebody describe some hippy who whipped out her breast anywhere she went, no matter where. A hint of disgust in the tone of that observation. And I pretty much agreed with it. Something upset me about the whipping out of breasts.

But at the same time, once a houseguest of ours brought her daughter over and breastfed with the little girl under a blanket, and I felt horrible that the mother was so embarrassed.

AND it turns out, that now that I have BabyG, I breastfeed at coffee shops and restaurants and once I walked down the street while she breastfed. But again, at the same time, I still think breastfeeding is weird and hippy-like, and it doesn’t jive with my own perceptions of myself even though I actually love to breastfeed (a thought that seems hippyish to me).

The part of me that understands that sixth grade really never ends is baffled and put off by my breast wielding behavior; but the part of me that tucks in her shirt also whips out the boob about anywhere I go, and I only think to remember I think its weird when I see some old guy (my dad, family friends, etc) hastily jump up and remember they need to immediately leave the room at the site of my suckling babe.

So breastfeeding makes me look like a hippy. And it makes me feel like a hippy. Except when its funny. (Which is a whole other post.) And I guess my appreciation of funny is really what I think most separates me from the hippies, that and the fact I don’t want to be a hippy, I want to be a plain old Green Parent (which is another whole other post).


Marcia said...

Okay, I want to hear that "whole other post." In the meantime, we must meet (and breastfeed the babes, non-hippy style, of course).

GreenDaddy said...

Five other reasons you're a hippy besides breastfeeding in public:

1) You have a bumper sticker that says, "Art Saves Lives."

2) You know how to make fajitas using tempeh.

3) You chose a wedding cake design that was blue, purple, and green.

4) You own a kayak.

5) You planted wild flowers in your front yard.

(I guess I aided and abetted in the last four.)

sky said...

miah, thank you for what you and yours have been doing! I will try to leave more comments but rest assured that there are many people reading your site. keep up the good work and don't let them call you a hippy if you don't feel that you are one. I have the same problem except I also look like the unabomber if the light is falling just right.

mommy on the verge said...

thanks for leaving me the wine list! will definately use! better to be a real hippie person than a hippie-wannabe, those are the worst! cheers!

ani-mama said...

For me, breastfeeding seems a bit hippyish because it is natural in an artificial society. Our society does not value living green in any other aspect, we are told to value preventative health measures, only cures, that could cause serious harm, and we are told the new is better.
But to be a "hippy" is to really believe in all those things society tells us not to. That our bodies still nake the best and safest food for babies. The audacity to whip out brests, at the slightest hint of hunger from your baby does not make you a hippie, just a conscientious mom.
Hoorah for all of us us breast-wielding hippy moms making our world better

RLRP said...

So THAT'S what happens when you Google your own name...hi...Rachel Romney here. Yes, apparantly I was horrible in sixth grade, and I'm mortified that Mary remembers that so clearly. Mary, truly, I don't remember trying to get Holli to hate you. I remember being friends with you. And I remember a lot of great writing you did in high school. I guess we all had grade-school tormentors, and I'm sorry I ever played that role for you. I suppose the fact that I was eleven years old at the time means I don't necesarily need to be worried that I am still horrible at 33. Moving on, what a great thoughtful piece you wrote. I'm a mother of two, still nursing one, and really related to what you were talking about. Yes, I too am a breast-whipper. I don't think I was ever called a hippie, but I was definitely called weird and even A DEMOCRAT (no, not that!) in high school - and have often pondered my identity as I am perceived by others. Great piece. I don't know if you'll even ever read this because it's been since February since you posted and it is now November..but I wish you the best. Note to self: beware when Googling your own name. Cheers!

MaGreen said...

oops. blogger won't let me delete your name because of beta crap. but i'm trying...