Alternative Ways of Being

I think that I have spent most of my life unsatisfied with society. This dissatisfaction has been a driving force in me. It caused me to do things that many people would never dream of- from moving to Guam on a whim, to working in a conservation corps, summers at summer camp until the age of 24, joining the Peace Corps, moving to Turkey, getting married within six months of meeting my husband- everything except the last little bit is not even strange to me, and it is the fact that I got married at all rather than getting married so quickly that surprises me. The people that I tend to surround myself with also live similar lifestyles- fast, hard, and a little quirky. I move around, and I keep trying new things because deep down I am terrified that the things I hate about life will never change. Now, I am not exactly frozen with pessimism over this. I realize that the only way a change can come about is if people act out the change they want to see, and voice their discontentment with the status quo, often and loudly. For change there need to be people who take risks, and go against the grain. People who may even do illegal activities, and try to build an alternative rather than just destroy what is already in place. I realize this and so I do my part, as best as I can. I am not particularly social. I am not a charismatic leader. But in many ways I am a revolutionary. In my refusal to submit to the social pressures to behave, and my constant questioning I am not only seeking a solution, but I am protesting, quietly, the things that I cannot stand. Now, I know that this sentiment will be accepted by most of my friends, and sometimes it is even supported. But it is a scary thing to vocalize and post on the internet. It is scary because once it is posted there is no going back.

There is a certain safety on being an invisible rebel. A weekend warrior for change. It is an important safety. It keeps you employed. It keeps you out of jail. It keeps you safe from the retaliation from the state. No, not just the state, but the conservative standards that people constantly adopt. People say that they don’t want to live in a 1984 society, and that capitalism protects us from that. Well, no, it didn’t do its job because your neighbors and friends are still willing to rat you out, right down to your room 101, rather than risk association with a deviant.

Ohhhh… that is what this is all really about. Deviance. Standard acceptable deviation. I am a deviator. The thing is that I KNOW many other people are deviators. In fact, I think that if everyone was honest about their feelings and desires for just a year or so, there could be huge changes in this world. Until that day, while we live in fear of self-exposure, nothing will happen.

I am taking a class on social change. It is depressing. We are studying a different form of protest and change every week. Last week it was co-operatives and surplus. This week it is primitivism. I am not sure what the answer is, and I know that nothing will ever be perfect, but I am sure that it is just going to get worse until people start talking, start acting, how they want the world to actually be. Otherwise, living, just wont cut it.

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