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Advice for Holding onto Different Values When it’s Tough?

 
pollinator
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I think the real issue is being good with who and what you are inside.  I say this as someone who struggles with self image.  It doesn't matter if you wear rags, a designer suit, or nothing at all, there is always going to be someone who feels the need to be unkind.  If you are comfortable with yourself, it really does not matter.  If it concerns a friend or family member,  then maybe it's time to tell them they are hurting you.  Some times we let things go because it's not that big of a deal, but after a while it builds and becomes more important than it would if we don't keep letting it go.  Anyway I hope you find a way to help yourself feel better.   One of the things I like about permies is the requirement to be kind.  Life would be so much easier if this could be a life requirement.  My Grandma always said if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all. She was a smart lady.  Good luck to you.
 
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A thought about allowing others to be different.

Good fences make good neighbors.  There are many things that come into our heads that should not come out of our mouths.

My mom always said she didn't want to listen in or hear about conversations about her.  Her thought was that people are more likely to pick apart than praise.  Why make herself unhappy, especially when unkind things are sometimes said, but not really meant.

I occasionally will have someone try to force me to agree with their position when anyone who knows me knows their position is just opposite of mine.  Rather than let us interact in a friendly manner and leave the disagreement to the side, they get their feelings hurt and their nose out of joint by forcing the issue.  I don't like bullies, either physical or verbal.

If you have a view that you are pretty sure I won't agree with, either let it lie or present your argument, briefly and calmly, listen to my response and respect the fact that we can disagree.

It's generally considered good manners not to fart in a crowd, or pick your nose and eat it.  This is because a lot of folks find these behaviors offensive, even disgusting.  If you feel a need to force a discussion that others would rather not have, you are being offensive unless it's an issue that really needs to be addressed.

People often act like this is the realm of the 'churchy' people, it isn't.  It's the realm of the rude and/or insecure.

I get really irritated when some individual in the throws of selfrighteous PCness feels the need to either lecture me on my views or behavior that have no effect on them, or flaunts some behavior of theirs that I neither need or want to know about.  Once you try to force me to agree that ' booger eating is ok', it can be hard to not let it color my view of you.
 
pioneer
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This is an interesting topic.  I've always been particular about my appearance and hygiene.  My Mom used to pick on me when I was a teenager because she said I spent more time in the bathroom primping than did my sisters.  I've always been particular about my clothes and don't normally wear torn, worn, or dirty clothes.  I had to shave every day while in the Army, so now I may shave every day, or every few days, but always shave on Sunday before going to church.

I keep myself clean, but when I'm working on something I'm fine with getting as filthy, grungy, grimy as I need to get in order to get the job done.  If its hot out, I sweat until it is dripping off my shirt sleeves.  If I need to go get materials or grab something to eat, I just go do it.  That's a part of getting the job done.  When I'm finished, I clean up.  No biggie.

My wife thinks it is funny that for most things I'm particular about my clothing and appearance, but when it comes to work I wear jeans with stains, rips, and holes.  The shirts I wear are the ones that have become faded, threadbare, or have holes.  I have a hat with a very prominent sweat stain.  That's just how I'm comfortable.  I don't like to be judged on my appearance, no matter whether I'm spiffed up or in my grungy work clothes.  And since I don't like to be judged, I make a conscious effort not to judge how others dress.

Except for people who sag their pants and show off their boxers.  No need for that!  
 
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i'm a (progressive) mennonite and live in a place with lots of amish. i think about my identity within a larger community a lot, and sometimes i wonder what % of an aesthetic is affectation or just the -comfort- of being judged. If you know the enneagram, I'm a 4 that likes being different. That first impression judgement, (which is evolutionary by the way), is welcoming among your own and can be abrasive with the rest of the world.

I feel like i have a lot of expectations placed on me in a lot of settings. i'm a white male that's college educated and i come from a midwestern US upper middle class evangelical christian home. when i go to my parents church, i dress accordingly and my mennonite-ness or permie-ness is suppressed because the difference is overwhelming, but it's something else to take on when any sort of discussion or opinions arise, and they have to be given in love and with tact. a step back always has to be taken to look at myself and the other.

for some reason the amish are highly respected. Perhaps somehow the permies could embrace a new look that reflected their ideologies. I do have holes in a lot of my clothing, but i have been in the maintenance and construction work for 10 years where i'm on my knees a lot. I understand the waste not want not idea, but would it be even more ecological/energy efficient of me to use an old pair of jeans and patch holes as soon as they appear? (insert old idiom) I used to sew a lot more many years ago, but somehow i've become too busy lately. too busy is a misnomer. time is the best distributed thing in the world. perhaps we don't budget our time or stick to our budgets well. re-think our time constraints, re-think our ideologies, perhaps change clothes just a tad when we are going to socialize. these aren't terribly life changing things.

sometimes i think the dirty-hippy look is partially meant to be abrasive to mess with people. perhaps that's a good thing, but when it's accompanied by abrasive personalities, it's not very empathy inducing for the people its abrasing.
 
pollinator
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James Landreth wrote:.... A lot of the criticism I’ve received has been about dressing (I dress comfortably and second hand) and other personal aesthetics. It’s hard. I don’t shave as often or neatly because of time and energy, I don’t care if clothes match, etc. ....


Hi James.
Of course what you do and what you wear is your own business, you follow your own 'taste' and values. When I tell about my way of doing things, you don't have to 'do like I do'.
First of all I want to encourage you: your values are your values; don't change in a way that's against your values, only because 'people tell you so'. Whatever you'll try to do to adapt to 'other people', there will always be some who are negative! Like it's sung 'you can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself.'

Something about my experience: I always dress comfortably and second hand too, but I never get negative reactions, more often people I know react positive. They say things like "nice dress (or whatever piece of clothing) you're wearing! That colour fitss you very well." That's because I don't just buy any clothes, I 'go shopping' in different second hand stores to find nice items to wear. They have to be made of good quality natural materials and not be in a bad state. They don't have to look like new, a faded colour is no problem at all, but I don't want to buy clothes with holes (if I get holes later, I mend them).
Here in the Netherlands men with beards are considered fairly 'normal'. As long as the beard is clean (I mean: without stuff you ate a.a. in it) there isn't any problem. For women 'not shaving' (legs, arm pits, upper lip) is more unusual ... So I do shave now and then.
 
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Jen Fulkerson wrote:I think the real issue is being good with who and what you are inside.  I say this as someone who struggles with self image.  It doesn't matter if you wear rags, a designer suit, or nothing at all, there is always going to be someone who feels the need to be unkind.  If you are comfortable with yourself, it really does not matter.


And there is my issue. I have spent my entire life being told that who I am is defective/wrong/bad/unacceptable/whatever, makes it hard to be good about who I am. I'm comfortable with myself, I'm not comfortable with others being as I know I'm going to end up defective/wrong/bad/unacceptable/whatever.

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:  I always dress comfortably and second hand too, but I never get negative reactions, more often people I know react positive. They say things like "nice dress (or whatever piece of clothing) you're wearing! That colour fits you very well." That's because I don't just buy any clothes, I 'go shopping' in different second hand stores to find nice items to wear. They have to be made of good quality natural materials and not be in a bad state. They don't have to look like new, a faded colour is no problem at all, but I don't want to buy clothes with holes (if I get holes later, I mend them).


I buy my clothes second hand and modify them, or sew them myself. I have exact colors, styles, fabrics etc that I buy, and I match my outfits. Even my grubby camo work jeans have shirts that I wear them with.

My entire wardrobe is a toolbox of personas I can hide behind, as I know that who I am is unacceptable and it's just a matter of which way I'm going to feel unaccepted today, and I dress to hide as much of it as I can.  Clothes for me are camouflage, pretending I'm anything near normal. So picking clothes to wear out the door of the house, for me, is like picking through my tools, finding the exact correct screwdriver or wrench to do the task I need to any day. The task is to be dressed for what I'm doing, and be close to appropriate enough that when I'm getting in trouble for being me, at least it's not that I look bad too. I may be grubby etc, but I have my own style, and it all matches. Insecurity vs human contact. It's a hard dance some days.

 
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James Landreth wrote:I feel like part of living this lifestyle is breaking down current values and returning to or creating new ones. One example of this is turning lawns into food (valuing life, biodiversity, food, etc more than trends and aesthetics). Another might be going out of your way to produce something for yourself “the hard way” so you don’t have to buy it and contribute to an unethical production process.

I have faced near relentless criticism for living this way. I’ve received praise too, which is nice, but another subject. A lot of the criticism I’ve received has been about dressing (I dress comfortably and second hand) and other personal aesthetics. It’s hard. I don’t shave as often or neatly because of time and energy, I don’t care if clothes match, etc. Oftentimes I brush it off and continue about my business, but lately it’s been hard not to dwell on.

What are your strategies for coping with this? Do you turn to other permies and like minded folks when things get hard?



To put it into perspective for you: the current global culture is killing the planet by turning life into profit margins.  So, why would you want to be commended by people living in that?
 
pollinator
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Clothes for me are camouflage



For me too.  When I was in my early twenties and still exploring my own personal style, I learned fairly quickly that people treated me differently based on how I dressed.  I soon gave up the "free spirit" look as it attracted far too much hostility in public places from complete strangers.  Since I conformed, does this mean I gave up my values too (rhetorical question, answerable only by me).

I'm now in my late thirties and I dress conservatively.  I don't want to be approached by strange men in public;  in fact, I'd rather not be noticed at all, so I don't go out of my way to make myself attractive.  I dress like a nice, tidy person, maybe a bit boring, like someone's mother and a married woman (whether or not any of this is actually true).  It allows me to pass through society without criticism or unwanted advances.

I think young women especially, but young men too, are subject to a lot of scrutiny in their appearance.  As we get older, it's less of an issue in my opinion.  I think location matters too:  I grew up in the US, which is where I learned how to blend in.  I now live in the UK, where social standards don't seem to be as rigid;  people are still judged on appearances, but there is a wider range of what is considered "normal" I think.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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I saw some of you talked about socks. For me the quality and material of socks is important. There has to be a large percentage of wool or cotton in them (maybe silk would be OK too, but I never saw silken socks for sale here), otherwise my feet won't feel right. And if my feet don't feel right, all of my body doesn't feel right. But I don't do much about foot care, only cutting the toe-nails short. I have many pairs of socks, so I can change them often. That might be the reason why I can do years and years with them (only mending them a few times). And of course because I walk barefoot all summer, and I wear house slippers at home and shoes outdoors. But isn't this a little off topic?
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Pearl Sutton wrote: ...
I buy my clothes second hand and modify them, or sew them myself. I have exact colors, styles, fabrics etc that I buy, and I match my outfits. Even my grubby camo work jeans have shirts that I wear them with.

My entire wardrobe is a toolbox of personas I can hide behind, as I know that who I am is unacceptable and it's just a matter of which way I'm going to feel unaccepted today, and I dress to hide as much of it as I can.  Clothes for me are camouflage, pretending I'm anything near normal. So picking clothes to wear out the door of the house, for me, is like picking through my tools, finding the exact correct screwdriver or wrench to do the task I need to any day. The task is to be dressed for what I'm doing, and be close to appropriate enough that when I'm getting in trouble for being me, at least it's not that I look bad too. I may be grubby etc, but I have my own style, and it all matches. Insecurity vs human contact. It's a hard dance some days.


Wow, Pearl, this sounds so very much like me!
 
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G Freden wrote:I'm now in my late thirties and I dress conservatively.  I don't want to be approached by strange men in public;  in fact, I'd rather not be noticed at all, so I don't go out of my way to make myself attractive.


I hate to say it, but this is exactly me as well, just i'm a decade older. For a while I lived in places where looking different meant a security risk (i was in a place where foreigners can be worth money to kidnappers) and I got pretty good at "dressing as camouflage".
Here in Brazil I have been able to relax into my own preferences, with one exception: the wedding ring. I am by no means a stunning woman, never have been, and I'm no spring chicken. But I've had some men be very pushy/aggressive in a pursuing way with me recently. I've worked alongside men for years as peers, so I don't think twice if someone makes conversation with me in the market or the feed store. That does not mean anyone can touch any part of my body or assume I'm interested sexually, although these turkeys seemed to think just that. When I gave them the consequent verbal poke in the sternum the response was "But you're not wearing a wedding ring!!" Of course that got them a heck of a response, but after three times in a row I decided to just wear the damn ring, for blood pressure's sake.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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My aunt gave me advise once that had me rolling my eyes, so I can't believe I am going to pass it on to you.  Practice self love.  Look in the mirror and tell yourself 3 things you like about yourself.  Do this every day, and try not to repeat the same things.  
No matter what people think we are the only one's who can make us happy.  It is something we must create for ourselves.  You have value.  I don't know you, but being human I bet there are parts of you that are very good, parts you need to work on, and lot of stuff in between.  I tell my kids, and I'm going to tell you try  to recognize the good and be proud of that part.  Accept you are human and work on the parts you need to change,  without beating yourself up. The whole of life is an on going learning process so smile and try to enjoy it.
 
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Great thread, James.  Thank you for posting it.  So I have my judgmental clothing stories, too.   Like the time I was sent home from work on their announced "Casual Dress Friday" because my blouse didn't quite match my slacks.  But what I wanted to relay is my experience in San Francisco one May.  My 7-year-old daughter and I were standing at the street light when a group of about 100 men and some women marched by all naked.  A man asked me, "Aren't you going to cover your daughter's eyes?"  I said, "No, we run around nude inside our house, too."  I asked what was up?  He said that they have a march every year to maintain the right to be nude.  San Francisco allows it but there is pressure to change the ordinance.   I'm all for being free.
 
Mick Fisch
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My father in law used to pay himself on the back (reaching over his shoulder) when he did something well and quietly say 'good job, Chad, good job'.  He said he liked his efforts to be recognized, and people are a lot better at pointing out failures than good work.
 
pollinator
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> clothes are tools...

Pearl, that is SO true! I don't know if you've ever thought about it this way, but that is a highly skilled, respectable and important practice you have given yourself. And to see it clearly the way you do helps people a lot - it's a good way to think about it, I believe.

And I was speaking exactly above: It's major and complex skill set. On those occasions when you decide to "come out", I bet your skill can be used in aid and enlarge your own personal expression. Me, I have always just blended without much of a thought and I have about zero sense of appearance. I can't even figure out if I like a shirt until weeks after I get it and I discover whether I actually wear it or it just sits in the closet... Much less what anybody else thinks of it. Oh well.

Awareness is good. And it's even better when you have an actual feel and knowledge of stuff.


Cheers,
Rufus
 
Pearl Sutton
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Rufus Laggren wrote:> clothes are tools...

Pearl, that is SO true! I don't know if you've ever thought about it this way, but that is a highly skilled, respectable and important practice you have given yourself. And to see it clearly the way you do helps people a lot - it's a good way to think about it, I believe.

And I was speaking exactly above: It's major and complex skill set. On those occasions when you decide to "come out", I bet your skill can be used in aid and enlarge your own personal expression.


Yes. I have been paid to make costumes, I look at them a lot like my wardrobe, and can design some really neat outfits that totally fit what a person wants to express. I look for parts of their minds that don't usually get to come out, and that's what I costume. It's fun
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Jen Fulkerson wrote:My aunt gave me advise once that had me rolling my eyes, so I can't believe I am going to pass it on to you.  Practice self love.  Look in the mirror and tell yourself 3 things you like about yourself.  Do this every day, and try not to repeat the same things.  
No matter what people think we are the only one's who can make us happy.  It is something we must create for ourselves.  You have value.  I don't know you, but being human I bet there are parts of you that are very good, parts you need to work on, and lot of stuff in between.  I tell my kids, and I'm going to tell you try  to recognize the good and be proud of that part.  Accept you are human and work on the parts you need to change,  without beating yourself up. The whole of life is an on going learning process so smile and try to enjoy it.


So that was your aunt's advice? To find good things about yourself? That is a very good advice!
When I started to learn about the bible, one of the things I learned was: "love your neighbour like you love yourself", so you first have to love yourself! If you do not love yourself, you can not love others ...
That was an eye-opener!
 
Mick Fisch
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Self Love is important.  So is self respect.  If you don't respect and love yourself, it will definitely poison your interactions with others and spoil your happiness.  Our individual sovereignty is sacred and should be guarded carefully.  If you give it up, you feel it and begin to lose self respect, followed by a loss of self love.  Sometimes though, we are stupid in our resistance to outside pressures.  

A simple, obvious example I have seen in my own home is teenagers resisting showering.  When they were younger, they didn't need to shower as much because little kids don't produce the stink that we do after adolescence sets in.  They often don't realize they stink.  When it is pointed out, they take it as an insult and don't want to be bossed, so they don't shower and continue to stink.  Others are turned off by the smell, and they wonder why the girls don't like them.

Another was my teenaged brothers insistance on wearing 'cool' clothes.  The cool kids dressed like this, he was (or aspired to be) a cool kid, so he had to wear the uniform.  Never mind the fact that we lived in Alaska and the fashions were from California.  He just about froze to death several times during the winter to be 'cool'.  I see adults doing that all the time.

If you can find it, there is an old movie (or the book if you can find it) that illustrates this well, Cyrano De Bergerac played by Jose Ferrer (1950's).  It's a tragedy about a great man, it deals with whether you should change to 'fit in' or stand firm.

I suspect most people on this page are trying to live intentionally, (examine the whys and effectiveness of the things you do).  This is hard for me to do consistently, but I make stabs at it pretty often.  I don't believe 'the unexamined life is not worth living'.  Life is for living, it is it's own reward.  Animals are probably not given to much self examination, but I see they enjoy their lives sometimes.  I do however think that 'the unexamined life is probably full of wasted time and effort on things you don't care about'.

Most people resist change, especially change 'pushed' by someone else.  We tend to define 'who we are' in trivial, even stupid ways.  We are supposed to change and grow, even as adults. I read a while back that many people look on 'repentance' as a distasteful thing, almost as a punishment.  The greek word that we translate into repentance is a combination word.  Part of it means 'change', the other part is related to things like spirit, mind and breath.  So repentance really means something like being willing to change your mind, your spirit, even how you breath.

None of us is perfect.  Even the best of us may occasionally find themselves acting or talking in ways that should make us ashamed, or realize we are wasting our efforts.  As we realize we have a flaw, we need to try to repent (change) and find a better way.  Your not giving in, you are simply growing up.

Occasionally someone, (usually my better half) will suggest I change in some way.  My instinctive response is to reject such helpful suggestions as an attack on my sacred sovereignty or worse, an attack on my basic self.  Over the years I have become a little better at throttling down my pride and actually considering and discussing such a change.  Often I end up deciding to change (because my wife is pretty smart and doesn't make such suggestions lightly).  It is not a 'surrender' if I consider an idea suggested by someone else and decide to implement it.  I am still making the decision.  (If someone is pushy, but their idea has merit, I sometimes need to remind myself that I am making a decision, not surrendering).

Sometimes I decide not to make the change, for my own reasons.   The important thing is to examine, consider the pros and cons, and make a conscious choice.




 
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I don't actually have a knee-jerk disdain for aesthetics, so long as those aesthetics aren't rooted in classicism. My property is a purposeful wilderness, but its an attractive wilderness. My urban neighbors refer to it as my "art." I am also well groomed, well spoken, and sociable. I share my harvests. People will forgive and support all manner of eccentricity so long as you aren't behaving in a depressive, petulant and/or antisocial way. As a woman I've been raised to be hyper-conscious of how I seem or appear in every facet of life, and while I've let go of most of that conditioning, I do genuinely appreciate all forms of beauty. I think everyone could do with being held to a certain standard-- and men are allowed to cultivate a FAR greater amount of general disarray and subpar grooming than are women. Humans are a social species, and that's not an aspect of our core nature that should be held in contempt. We're meant to gather, and are unavoidably affected by those around us. Social grooming in particular is plainly evident in all other species who gather. It's about bonding.
 
Mick Fisch
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Humans are a social species, and that's not an aspect of our core nature that should be held in contempt. We're meant to gather, and are unavoidably affected by those around us. Social grooming in particular is plainly evident in all other species who gather. It's about bonding.



Jincy, I completely agree with your comment.  I've noticed most people who object to being judged have no hesitation judging others, although its usually by a slightly different set of standards.  (obviously a better set because the judger looks better in than the judgee).  I put it down to our desire to look better in our own eyes, as well as a fair dose of normal human hypocrisy (which, despite our best efforts, we tend to fall into).  

As a woman I've been raised to be hyper-conscious of how I seem or appear in every facet of life, and while I've let go of most of that conditioning, I do genuinely appreciate all forms of beauty. I think everyone could do with being held to a certain standard-- and men are allowed to cultivate a FAR greater amount of general disarray and subpar grooming than are women.  



Jincy, I agree this is definitely true in the appearance department, although after discussions with my wife and daughters, we have decided that men are held to pretty tight standards in other ways.  People are much more willing to forgive a lack of competency or ability in women than in men.  Some abilities or competencies are easily correctable, some aren't, just like physical appearance in women.  Generally, I think the men judge the men more strictly and the women judge the women more strictly.  I think we simply have different sets of standards we tend to hold each group to.  

(I read a survey a while back where some group asked what the average man wanted in appearance in a woman, it came out a few pounds lighter, but otherwise identical to the actual appearance of the average woman.  The women's standard was much more super modelish.  The men's self imposed standard was big and overmuscled, etc, while the women's desired man was pretty close to a normal guy, although with curly hair.  I attribute our very high standards for our own gender to advertising, at least in part.  No one could make money if we were all happy as we were.

Being an unemployed or marginally employed man is not the best way to gain the attention of 'desirable' women.  Today my beautiful 18 year old daughter was driving me somewhere when a guy walked past the front of the car at a stoplight wearing an odd hooded jacket with ears on the hood.  I asked my daughter about it.  She said he was a Bromie, I asked what that was, she said, at least partly joking "a man who likes my little pony, if you can call him a man."  Wow, harsh!  She is a sweet, kind, generous young woman, but in this thing she was quite comfortable judging.

We are all in competition with each other as well as in support of each other.  We generally want the most desirable mate, and men and women both go to some pretty crazy extremes in that pursuit.  We tend to compete for status too, in some pretty crazy ways.  Some folks get extreme in that area also and branch off into different specialties where they can compete more successfully. (You can be more goth, more artsy, or more green as well as better looking, richer or a better athlete).  We may decry these tendencies, but it is a basic part of our nature, maybe the dark side of our social side.  I think we've been trying to tamp this down, unsuccessfully for millennia.  We preach humility and non judgemental behavior, but as soon as we are humble, we get proud of humble we are or start judging others because they are WAY more judgemental than we are.  It's actually pretty funny in a kind of sick, pathetic way.
 
Mick Fisch
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I don't actually have a knee-jerk disdain for aesthetics, so long as those aesthetics aren't rooted in classicism. My property is a purposeful wilderness, but its an attractive wilderness. My urban neighbors refer to it as my "art." I am also well groomed, well spoken, and sociable. I share my harvests. People will forgive and support all manner of eccentricity so long as you aren't behaving in a depressive, petulant and/or antisocial way.



True words, Jency.  I've known lots of pretty eccentric people, but as long as they were sociable, reasonably groomed and well spoken, people didn't seem to have a problem with them.  It's the differences between us that make life interesting.  Willing to share a harvest is a definite plus.  There are a few people who can't stand anyone different from them.  They are not generally very interesting or much fun to be around.

As far as aesthetics, it just makes life a little nicer.  There are lots of kinds of attractive.  Some people are too locked in on one sort to see the rest.  It's a shame.  I'm not sure how much aesthetics is taught and how much is just the nature of the beast.  I remember when I was about 5, no one had to tell me my teenaged babysitter was pretty, I knew it.  I remember thinking some places were good to look at (or at least interesting) and others were ugly.  Maybe I'd picked that up by 5 years old, maybe it was just inborn.  I remember though that I thought parks were a waste of space.  Just a desert of grass, with no trees or rocks to climb on.  Maybe I was just looking for what had practical use for a 5 year old.
 
pollinator
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Pearl Sutton wrote:  The best is there's one type of older Amish or Mennonite guy, they will NOT look at me in the hardware store etc. I'm invisible. I asked someone why, she told me "you are a woman doing a man's job, that makes you an abomination."  Cool! I have never been an abomination before!! :D



Ha!  Claiming abomination status too!

Back in the 70s I saw two men quit when faced with female co-workers.  One was a newly minted Ag degree graduate.  He came to a training meeting for a USDA job and stood up and stated he didn't expect females and he would not work with them.  Left the room and the agency that day.  I wonder how his life has gone since then.  The other was a carpenter.  His wife made his life hell after the boss hired me and a friend as helpers.  We punked brick and mortar all summer, and the boss decided he didn't need to replace the guy.

There was a short-lived periodical back then called Country Women, and two poems published within that really spoke to me:

Sometimes in my dreams I still see
my Kentucky grandmother
thin, strong and hungry
holding her egg money
out to me
saying
buy land, Mary, buy land
buy land while it lasts,
they stopped making it.

- author unknown

and

I want to live to be
An outrageous old woman
Who is never accused of being
An old lady.

I want to live to have ten thousand lovers
In one love
One 70-year-long-lasting-love
There are at least
Two of me

I want to get leaner and meaner
Sharp edged
Color of the ground
Till I discorporate
From sheer joy.

by Julia Kooken

I feel fortunate to be able to live these poems to some degree.
 
The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers: http://richsoil.com/cards
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