A Rebel’s View

I started on my crooked, twisting path some 20 odd years ago.  After growing up in the country, I was living in T_______, married with my first child. Things that I thought were going to happen didn’t so I found myself dealing with the prospect of living in the city for the rest of my life. I tried to adjust to the idea because I loved my husband and wanted us to be happy but instead I fell into a deep depression.

We had our second child, bought a cute little house with a huge yard. That is when I started getting into organic gardening. Well, not so much gardening as tending the wild plants that volunteered their beauty in my flower beds. No poisons could enter my house and home. I loved my yard. I loved my house. I loved my kids. I loved my husband. I should have been happy but I wasn’t. It frustrated me because I had everything that I had been told should make me happy but the American dream eluded me.

As my depression deepened, I started blaming my husband. It was all his fault in my mind. My anger grew as hopelessness enveloped me. As depression turned to despair, I had a mental break down and was hospitalized for 5 days. I started going to therapy. I was diagnosed with this, that and the other thing, I was officially crazy. I did what my therapist said. I took the medications I was told to take. Things only got worse because the problem wasn’t in my head but in the way I was living.

That is when I started looking into organic foods and the idea of cultivating health as opposed to treating illness. At the time the food seemed too expensive so I couldn’t go all out and become totally organic, but I did what I could. I also dove into spirituality. I felt empty and listless inside so I tried to fill the hole up with God. But God had other plans for me. He sent me messages to change my life that I didn’t understand because I was trying to live my life like I had been told by society was the way to be happy. The messages went ignored and my own prayers unanswered.

As time went by, my marriage deteriorated beyond repair. It is hard to be loving toward someone who has been depressed for a decade. It is also hard to be loving toward someone who doesn’t understand why you are so depressed even if you don’t understand it yourself. I continued to blame him but I stilled loved him and we tried through marital therapy to make things work but nothing could work because no matter what I did, I couldn’t be happy in that cute little house with the big yard and the family I loved. I didn’t feel as if I belonged there, I felt like I was held captive in someone else‘s life.

After my husband moved out and I could make my life what ever I wanted it to be, I continued to follow the modern society’s diagram of happiness. It was a no go, the depression remained and my anxiety intensified to intolerable levels, so much so I was drinking a bottle of wine most nights to try to drown it all out. About this time, the notions of Peak Oil, Catastrophic Climate Change and Global Economic Collapse entered into my consciousness. They changed my life forever. I started looking at the way we live, how disconnected with reality that lifestyle is, how irresponsible to the earth it is. I began to understand that the depression that I was struggling with, and the majority of the nation is struggling with, has a deeper cause then we were lead to believe. I started to intensely ponder the possibility that what we were told was a good life was false. I started to understand the craziness under which we labored. The message being, pop a pill and keep the status quo. I realized I HAD TO GET OUT!!!!!

Fortunately for me, my parents have lived a little outside the norm for awhile. They bought 20 acres of woods with a creek when I was in second grade. They have tended and nourished that little plot of land ever since, listening to the wisdom of Ma Nature. They just recently were able to add another 10 acres, with an abandoned house and cabin. They were also willing to allow me to move onto their property and turn the rat infested cabin into my home. I ran to it, to find sanctuary from the craziness that was once again building inside me and constricting my soul.

It took time to make the transition. It hasn’t been easy. I have had to let go of many notions and had to take leaps of faith. Cashing out my retirement fund in order to get enough cash in hand to make this move was hard. Suddenly I had no nest egg to fall back on when I get old. The accountant guy argued with me, basically told me I was nuts giving up half my money to taxes and fees for early withdrawal, let alone having nothing to draw from in the future. I told him that I felt it was nuts to work our entire lives in unsatisfying jobs so we can save up for retirement and freedom from the daily grind only to be too weak, frail and old to enjoy it then die shortly there after. That is fucking insanity!

Another major mind adjustment was knowing that when I quit my job to move over here I would also lose my medical insurance. We have come to believe that our bodies are ticking time bombs and that when they go off without insurance we are fucked. The only way to make sure they don’t explode is to have them tested on a yearly basis or we worry incessantly about the tumor that is probably growing inside RIGHT NOW! In short, we are afraid of our own bodies AND we know that if something goes wrong in the normal events of life, such as broken arms and dog bites, the medical vampires will suck away all our money leaving us not only penniless but in debt so we will be penniless for years to come. This is a scary prospect.

The hardest thing I had to accept was leaving T______ meant leaving my kids. They grew up there, that is their home. Not only that, they don’t want to think about Peak Oil and the End Of The World As We Know It. Their lives are just starting. I knew that I couldn’t make them come with me. I knew I couldn’t stay. That left me in an awful spot that has torn me up for the last year. I miss them every damn day. But I knew if I stayed, I would have lost them anyway because I was becoming a truly horrid person, my depression and drinking were not easy to keep in a box. My rage would break out at odd moments. My emotions were a bipolar, a rollercoaster of extremes. I was not pleasant to be around. My son has a couple of stories he likes to remind me of every so often that tears my heart out but reminds me of the necessity of my leaving.

So, here I am, a year of grieving behind me, coming to terms with what I left and what I have chosen to do. I can’t go back, though there were a few times I wanted too because the pain of grief and fear of the unknown were so intense I was willing to forfeit my future life for the comfortable numbness of the old way, surrounding myself in the cotton of alcohol and depression. Luckily, my daughter was doing so well in her new life that I felt wrong imposing my sorry ass on her! The pain has receded, my kids still love me and seem to understand why I left them, the guilt remains but it is soften by the memory of the mess of a human being I was and the improvements in my inner landscape I have made. Now, I am ready to go to work on all the fleeting ideas that have crossed my mind in the winter dark of my cabin and over all those years of struggle to fit in. It is time for me to release the Rebel that languished inside me as I tried to conform.

Now I take up the role of that Rebel, creating a life that is outside social and conventional norms of this particular time in history. I have chosen to dispense with television, running water and being tied to the grid. I have decided to take my life back from the dark beast of consumerism, choosing instead to live in flamboyant poverty which frees my time from long hours spent at work for someone else and allows me to start making the switch to a home based economy. I am not on any public assistance, I feel it would be ethically wrong to make others pay for my own choice of lifestyle. I contribute labor on the property to pay for “rent” also my parents like knowing that I am here to help as they move into their golden years.

My desire is to find a new way to live that takes in account the realities that plague our world at this time. I am hoping to build a sanctuary for the people I care about to ride out TEOTWAWKI. I want to build community with my neighbors and friends so we can help each other ride the wave of economic and environmental uncertainty. I want to find a way to live life well and share those ideas with others in hopes of gaining even more insight into what that really means. I welcome you to join me, give me shit about my hypocrisy which abounds and kudos for my efforts. Laugh at my stupidity and applaud my success. Or just observe silently, as you shake your head at my foolishness. I don’t know what I am doing so it is sure to be a comedy of errors guaranteed to amuse all, but I do hope that when the laughter dies down, I will have managed to make you think a little differently, or at least question the idea of blind faith.

July 2012

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