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Being Different, Not Normal, End of the Day  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Being different is difficult, and doing things that are not "normal" are hard. I had not realized just how so emotionally difficult this can be, until now. And I am struggling to not become a porcupine and tell other people, "Well, stop gawking and move on with your life, would you?!? Unless you have a genuine interest and question about what I am doing and why I am doing it, fuck off!!! I don't want to hear anymore stupid or inane comments, thank you kindly!"

And so, throughout the day, I have to remind myself that (here's my new favorite phrase) "At the end of the day, all that matters is (insert thing that keeps you going)"
For me, the thing that keeps me going and perhaps makes me a bit of an asshole, too, is that remind myself that all that matters at the end of the day for me is:
-that I have honored myself (that's it. I do not have to honor anyone else or anything else- just honor and respect myself and my well-being)

I am trying my utmost to go with the whole inner-peace thing and be as kind as I can to people, so that I can get plant seeds into people's minds to get them to slowly change their perspectives. But it is just so hard to not just want to yell, "Well, fuck off already, would you?"

So, what do I usually get gawked at or shit for from family or people at college:
-acting on knowledge I have obtained myself and carefully considered (thinking and acting independently), instead of referring to "experts" or majority-will
-eating healthy
-enjoying the simple things in life (walking barefoot, getting dirty)
-reading a physical book
-participating in acts of creation (crochet and knitting being mine) (I don't really receive shit for this, just a lot of attention, which I don't like. I enjoy being in the background unnoticed)

What are things you do that are not normal? How do you cope with not being normal?
 
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Normal is only a concept, depending on your perspective.  Knowledge is learning something new, every day.  Wisdom is letting something go, every day.  Don't believe you are an asshole, it is not who you really are, only a thought.  Thoughts become words, words become actions.  Change your thoughts and everything else will follow.   This is what I have learned and it helps me to understand the world around me.
 
pollinator
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Dave - love what you have to say here. Mostly, I just keep to myself and ignore people who embrace the dominant paradigm. If they are interested, I will talk to them, but otherwise it's just wasted breath. I think one of the hardest things for me is not having anyone who is really excited about the things I care about. Some of my kids are excited about some of the stuff, but mostly not. I'm not really a joiner, I like my life cafeteria style. I pick and choose what I believe in and don't just whole hog agree with pretty much anyone. Sometimes I get lonely, but I'm not willing to compromise my beliefs for anyone.
 
pollinator
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Three cheers for freaking the mundane. Right on brother. I can feel your pain. Have an apple.
 
Dave Burton
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Stacy Witscher wrote:I like my life cafeteria style. I pick and choose what I believe in and don't just whole hog agree with pretty much anyone. Sometimes I get lonely, but I'm not willing to compromise my beliefs for anyone.



This really resonates with me, I read, listen, and watch many things and try them out. Then, I keep whatever works for me, which, yes, ends up being stuff that most people are not doing.

And I have very much considered just inventing my own religion, because it also upsets me and pisses me off that people will give more credence and respect to the reply "it's my religion" or "it's my tradition" than if I explain the detailed rationale and motives for why I am doing what I am doing and how what I am doing works. And maybe this would be a solution, maybe not the best one, to just be able be left in peace.

Ed Belote wrote: Thoughts become words, words become actions.  Change your thoughts and everything else will follow.



Yes, and that's why I'm filling my head with as much good, decent, and useful information as I can. And boy, carrying around and reading "The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved" by Sandor Ellix Katz for the past two weeks has gotten me about equal parts grief and genuine interest. Someone commented on it when I was reading it "It's the miracle of Wonder Bread" (b/c the book has a bread loaf split in two on the cover- one half packaged factory bread and one half homemade bread), but then I have also gotten some people who actually want to know what the book is about, and those are good conversations.
 
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Yep, I get the same sarcastic remarks and sneers from some family members who live the archetypal western consumerist lifestyle, and generally have no hobbies or interests other than ‘family things’, which I usually find shallow, extremely mundane, and somewhat trivial.

As a consequence I keep things private to avoid scepticism and criticism: ‘stop with all those negative vibes, baby’!

However, this just makes people think I’m a lazy, bad tempered, pain in the arse who’s preoccupied with career. NO, I am a bad tempered, pain in the arse who is preoccupied making very solid and detailed plans for retirement away from most of them!

There’s a few who can appreciate and somewhat understand the ‘alternative farming’ (Permaculture) thing and the interactions of soil, plants, animals, weather, etc (basically nature). With those family members I have meaningful discussions, although it’s obvious they aren’t willing to step outside of their comfort zones.

Like you, I’ve often lost the plot and told people to f—k off and much worse, but try very hard to simply keep intentions confidential – alcohol in moderation is a great relaxer when SHTF!

Ironically, Engineering and Planning colleagues at work are very accepting of the ideas – perhaps it’s because we tend to think outside the box on a daily basis, and many have nerdy hobbies like making coal fired stream engines, testing pressurised steam boilers, rebuilding antique cars, etc. Also, environmental engineering is a major component of projects these days, so they appreciate the science behind problem solving.

Being ‘normal’ is relative to those who share the space near you, so, it seems being on a Forum like this one, with those who have similar interests, makes you ‘normal’ by association!

Trying to explain the intricacies of anything to people that find the topic uninteresting, or, are incapable of grasping the concepts, can be exasperating and is usually futile.

To maintain sanity when surrounded by naysayers, I think it’s necessary to isolate oneself away from the negativity, for a few hours a day, just to get shit done and stay sane.

That place may be in the ubiquitous man-cave, out in the garden … even in a café or public library with a laptop!

(If push came to shove and it all got too much: a corner table in a pub, with a fully charged laptop and a beer is a damn good space to be!)

 
gardener
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Bravo, Dave! I love this thread you’ve started. For me, coping with being “not normal” wasn’t really actively using coping mechanisms or anything, but learning to not care what others think, and that came with age for me. Now in my early forty’s, things are much easier. I think part of it came from a realization I had a year or two ago, and I thought “statistically, I’m half way through my life; do I want to keep thinking like this as I age? or still be worried what other people think when I’m 80?” That simple thought had an effect on me. I recall being at the grocery store right after my musings, and I was just observing the other shoppers. It seemed to me that day that everyone there worried about what others think, evidenced to me by their fancy cars they drove, the designer clothes they wore, expensive wristwatches & jewelry, etc.. I think at the end of the day none of that matters. To me it’s all just “keeping up with the Joneses” or fitting in with american culture. I think it’s silly.

I also think it’s great you mentioned reading a physical book for getting gawked at. I was doing just that the last time I had a vehicle serviced at the dealer and also waited for a flight at the airport. It got me more attention than I desired. Maybe it’s because I was reading about farming, and not fiction by some popular nationally recognized NY Times best-selling author. Something I have in common with you is I prefer to be in the background, unnoticed.

 
Dave Burton
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F Agricola wrote:As a consequence I keep things private to avoid scepticism and criticism: ‘stop with all those negative vibes, baby’!



Yes, and that's kind of emotionally taxing. There's so much to discuss and so much more to be done.

F Agricola wrote:
However, this just makes people think I’m a lazy, bad tempered, pain in the arse who’s preoccupied with career. NO, I am a bad tempered, pain in the arse who is preoccupied making very solid and detailed plans for retirement away from most of them!



Haha! Oh, dearie! And just, yeah, damn right! I so feel this way, because, oh boy, I got plans! And I am surely putting them into action!

F Agricola wrote:There’s a few who can appreciate and somewhat understand the ‘alternative farming’ (Permaculture) thing and the interactions of soil, plants, animals, weather, etc (basically nature). With those family members I have meaningful discussions, although it’s obvious they aren’t willing to step outside of their comfort zones.



Paul says a lot in his podcasts, as I am listening to them, about how the government says, "thou shall not innovate" because there is risk of failure. Hell, I have fucked quite a bit up here and there, and I most certainly will continue to do so (just making sure to try to always make new mistakes). But golly, there's also resistance that I sometimes get for just trying something or doing something and not knowing the outcome. And yes, I have my comfort zones, too, but I don't exactly enjoy staying in them. And hearing people say, "that looks like work" makes it even more difficult to tolerate others, because, "Yes, yes, yes! It is work, and it is such wonderful and good and enjoyable work!" It's hard to not feel a bit angry that anything requiring a little bit of (or a lot of) effort and learning being seen as "tedious".

James Freyr wrote: For me, coping with being “not normal” wasn’t really actively using coping mechanisms or anything, but learning to not care what others think, and that came with age for me. Now in my early forty’s, things are much easier. I think part of it came from a realization I had a year or two ago, and I thought “statistically, I’m half way through my life;



Eeeh, yeah, I'm still trying to get that not care attitude. Right now, it's very much, "yes, I'm different, and I ain't fucking changing myself for you!". Was there anything that helped you embody your realization?
 
pollinator
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I am by my very nature anti-social.  What I mean is not so much that I'm socially awkward but more that I'm not interested in small talk or socializing.  If I have a common interest I love to talk about ideas but I'm not interested in gossip or talking about other people.  There seems to be a tremendous amount of that.  I Just

don't care to participate.    I get my energy from within and I find that crowds and small talk drain me.  As I get older I find it very difficult to grin and bear the whole, "keeping up with the Jones, mentality."

    Live and let live doesn't really work. You are expected to act a certain way and if you don't there is blow-back.  Very few people examine their own existence let alone read a book. 

If you live in suburban America you can walk out in your yard, talk to a neighbor and you are having the exact same conversation wherever you are.   It just bores me to tears. 

Then there is the issue of give an inch take a mile.  Start out friendly and you have people opening your back gate, walking into your yard and knocking on the sliding glass window as you stand there in your underwear. 

Because I keep to myself I tend to attract gossips and facts finders.  Ugh.   Life circumstances make it impossible for me to move to 20 acres with a farm-house but that is definitely where I belong.

Socializing for business where I come and go at my discretion is one thing, but my home is my castle.  I guess I need a mote.

As long as you aren't hurting anyone do your own thing.

"What other people think of me is none of my business."  Wayne Dyer

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." Eleanor Roosevelt

 
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Dave Burton wrote:Being different is difficult, and doing things that are not "normal" are hard. I had not realized just how so emotionally difficult this can be, until now. And I am struggling to not become a porcupine and tell other people, "Well, stop gawking and move on with your life, would you?!? Unless you have a genuine interest and question about what I am doing and why I am doing it, fuck off!!! I don't want to hear anymore stupid or inane comments, thank you kindly!"



Have to admit when I started reading this I thought you must have a really serious disability (i.e. Tourettes) or disfigurement to have people "gawking".

I don't think anyone is "normal" and believe what other people think of me is none of my business (I just saw the poster above me said the same thing!). I live in a very conservative Southern county where most everyone is married, has kids/grandkids and identifies as Southern Baptist. I am the odd single woman that lives all by herself with a bunch of dogs on an isolated dirt road (I can just guess what some of the rumors were....lol...I moved out to this area after I lost interest in men/dating and now live happily as a hermit). Even worse I am "not from around here" (originally from California). I know I am seen as odd however people around here a friendly (and armed to the teeth), no one makes negative comments unless there is a darn good reason too and as such people always assume even "odd" comments are meant good naturedly.

I edited my comment since I read all the followups (should have done that first). Sometimes people make comments not to be hostile/critical, but just for conversation! Like the wonder bread comment in response to the book you were reading. I would not have interpreted that as critical at all, just taken it as a comment/conversation starter. It could also be a cultural thing.

Hate to get all pop psychology here but....if you dislike most of the people around you then perhaps you interpret their innocent off the cuff comments as them disliking you?
 
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I do not fit in for several reasons:

I'm an Aspie

I'm a Permie

I'm an artist (poet, comedian)

I am enthusiastic and happy (oh yes, happy is a problem for some).

According to the level of sleight, I am hair trigger intolerant of bullies and BS after a lifetime of it.

If academic types try their pompous nonsense with me I will bash them over the head with hardcore science, incessantly if they tried their nonsense in public.

It is nobodies business that I 'collect' nitrogen at times. Why even bother having that conversation even starter permies largely don't want to know. Unless you are there for reasons like rejecting society outright, or running from something, it's a graduated path. I keep some stuff to myself because why fight battles you don't have to.

I can merely use a phrase like global warming or sustainable to shut many people down these days as they know we've messed things up... If your general populace is still climate denying it should only be a matter of time for the shift as it has occurred here only recently for the majority of folk, before that, we the fringe. Thing is, they know you're probably right, and they look like schmucks, and nobody likes feeling like that so they'll either leave you be without insults needing to be traded, or try very hard to project their inadequacies onto you.

Respect goes two ways. Be aware the assholes are typically just afraid.

Some people are simply not worth the effort, however, and as teachers are taught, wrongly, 'aim for the middle of the class'.

People want answers. People know their governments are largely corporate pawns. People want change. The only ones who don't are the ruling class or the culturally depauperate e.g. proud white trash. But media has you (us) carved out as a feral pack of modern hippies and everyone is looking for someone to hate. When the world's a mess it is difficult to realise the change starts on your own doorstep. What! Plant a garden Are you crazy? Surely there's someone we can burn!!!

I find that through silently working away people are attracted to the work and some even want to know how it works. The only one's attacking me now are those threatened by my existence. The extractors, the financial types, the landlord types. Why am I a threat, I'll call them out anytime. Not afraid anymore.

But, I got sick of having gut feelings and random readings to back my stance so I went hardcore on education. I needed a biological vocabulary as badly as most men need an emotional vocabulary.

Today I got a pack of degrees to back up my stance.

Come at me now!

I am sorry you've been minimized by ignorant people.

Saving your own corner of the planet can seem pretty lonely, but look up around you, we're all here too.
















 
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Dave, everybody who I consider to be a friend of mine is some kind of "oddball" — otherwise we wouldn't be living on-the-land, we'd be working nine to five in the city or suburb with little or no thought of doing anything different until "retirement".

By the way, given the little description of who you are & what you like to do (opening post), why don't you think about posting on the "simple pleasures" thread?  That's one of the places where people's wonderful individuality is being expressed here. https://permies.com/t/67524/simple-pleasures-day-add
 
Dave Burton
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Lucrecia Anderson wrote:
I edited my comment since I read all the followups (should have done that first). Sometimes people make comments not to be hostile/critical, but just for conversation! Like the wonder bread comment in response to the book you were reading. I would not have interpreted that as critical at all, just taken it as a comment/conversation starter. It could also be a cultural thing.

Hate to get all pop psychology here but....if you dislike most of the people around you then perhaps you interpret their innocent off the cuff comments as them disliking you?



*sigh* you are probably right about this. At this point in time, I have quite a lot of distaste for other people. So, thank you, I will see how just listening, without my distaste, goes.

Joel Bercardin wrote: By the way, given the little description of who you are & what you like to do (opening post), why don't you think about posting on the "simple pleasures" thread?  That's one of the places where people's wonderful individuality is being expressed here. https://permies.com/t/67524/simple-pleasures-day-add



I will most certainly post here! :)
 
Mike Barkley
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Might I suggest getting out of Houston for a while? It's a rat race with too many rats in the cage. Camping at Inks Lake or New Braunfels/Guadalupe River always worked wonders for me. But keep flying your freak flag proudly!!! Ya'll.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Mike Barkley wrote:Might I suggest getting out of Houston for a while? It's a rat race with too many rats in the cage. Camping at Inks Lake or New Braunfels/Guadalupe River always worked wonders for me. But keep flying your freak flag proudly!!! Ya'll.



^^^ This!

When I lived in metro-Atlanta (in a burb that was going downhill) I really started to hate people. Grocery store rage was something I struggled with (idiots blocking the isles, being intentionally rude etc...) Watching my back when in parking lots and the like was a regular habit.

When I moved to to the country with no nearby neighbors and a nice small town things changed. I actually *like* most all of the people in this county. Folks are helpful and polite, it is very low crime, there is no need to watch your back when you are in public. When you don't see and hardly ever hear your neighbors they don't get on your nerves. If you have a car problem on a dirt road you can just flag down the next car/truck that comes by and they WILL help you. It is a totally different environment.
 
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Forgive me for posting without reading all the responses first. I'll do that after I have written enough to ensure I'll need to stick my foot in my mouth.

Wow, we're living in a troublesome time. It is obvious and publicly acknowledged that to survive long-term as a species, especially to do so while maintaining a pleasurable quality of life, we need to change our corporate behavior drastically. But, human beings are a species which, in the context of civilization, has survived these thousands of years primarily by imitation and cooperation, rather than innovation. It is actually quite rare for a true innovation to be accepted by society... and usually when it is, it's the offspring/beneficiaries of the innovators, who were allowed to survive and/or prosper BECAUSE of the innovation, who actually accept it as part of their daily lives. I'm talking innovations like written language, folkways, food processing and preservation, ship building and navigation, steam engines, not clubbing your mate and dragging her to your cave etc.
This ties into the discussion we're having in another thread, about people starving because they see the food available to them as gross/low status.
Take heart! In order for our successors to survive and be happy, we need to be the "weirdos" who get looked down upon, ridiculed and ostracized. If we succeed, history may see us as heroes, not that I'm really gonna care when I'm six foot under. But I'd like for people to be able to know about and do permaculture after I die, on account of my efforts. It doesn't even have to be permaculture, that I pass on to posterity, as long as it's something that helps people be kinder, more thoughtful and adaptable people. Modern institutions are all about instant gratification and making people dependent, rather than giving people tools. This is pretty disastrous when it even applies to education. We've already lost common knowledge of how to survive by living off the land and treating our own illnesses with herbs etc., entire languages and cultures which developed over thousands of years to adapt to specific environments are lost, so we're primed for another dark age. Wouldn't it be nice to be ready to pass on the knowledge (information, skills and attitudes) to be able to live without being umbilically attached to the grid and to wal-mart?
I've never actually needed acceptance/affirmation from other people, so in that I'm a little strange, but it didn't keep their cruelty from harming me. But the upside of being an emotionally injured human being, is being able to connect with other emotionally injured human beings in a meaningful way. It is up to you to decide whether the personal cost is worth it to you. I try to forgive the lemming-people for heeding nature's call to conformity, but I'm also trying to figure out ways to direct the head lemming away from the damn cliff.
 
Mike Barkley
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to be able to live without being umbilically attached to the grid and to wal-mart? 



Are you saying there is life beyond wallyworld? Blasphemy .... she's a witch.

Seriously. Excellent insight Sarah. All we can do is keep trying our best to teach folks there is a better way of doing, well, just about everything.
 
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Nice to see a comment from another Aspie! We have one advantage, in that we have a lifetime of practice in being different and not caring. I mean, we Aspies CAN'T fit in even if we wanted to! When another commentator wrote about neighbors knocking on the glass door when you're in you underwear, my thought was, "Who cares?" They don't want to see it, they can stay away; I don't mind one way or the other.

I have probably gotten more askance looks and behind-my-back comments than I am aware of. Aspies are often oblivious of such things.
 
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From my perspective, you are perfectly 'normal' Dave

I think the reality is that there just isn't a standard for 'normal'.  All these folks who react to 'different' think they are normal but take a closer look at their lives and there's all kinds of weird going on.

The biggest problem for me has been feeling self conscious doing what I do...off by myself it's no big deal but when there's other people around I start seeing things through their eyes.

So, two generations out from your age, my advice would be to just work on being comfortable in your own skin and don't put a lot of effort into trying to change anyone's way of thinking...

I left college in '72 for many of the reasons you mention, but mainly to get away from people, period.....hitched to arkansas and lived by myself in a tent for awhile, then slowly found 'my tribe' and my spouse and for the most part have lived the life I wanted.  

Now that we've moved from the woods to this small town full of eccentrics and independent thinkers I still have my shaggy lawn, pour the pee bucket on something in my FRONT yard each morning...invite the neighbors for our potlucks...etc...slowly infiltrate their way of thinking...

And here's the thing, I really regret any time I wasted worrying or feeling angry at those who criticized my ideas and how I wanted to live and what I saw as important.  This included my parents and other family.  An aunt and uncle visited us once and told everyone how sad it was that I was happy living how I was...does that even make sense

Permies is a great place to vent this kind of stuff... a big bunch of misfits of all different flavors in one place.....



 
Dc Brown
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@ Jason. Aspies Unite!

To be fair, I've only been diagnosed recently... I've done an awful lot trying to be normal. I learned body language, attended all manner of courses from how to be a winner to how to talk to girls... I was taught to shake hands properly age 26 while on tour I'd meet folk and stare at the floor...

I'd wag school and go to the library to read (plants, fungi). I've done voluntary rehab (plants, fungi), involuntary jail (plants, fungi), university (plants, fungi)...

I got drunk for a decade. That helped except my liver left me for another man. I'm also a very good actor, so can slip under the radar for extended periods. I imitate others very well so can appear normal. Then all of a sudden I'm 'dishing out feedback' and they're like WTF this guy?

It wasn't till I was researching ASD that bells began to ring for me. Now my life makes perfect sense. I know now when I need time out. I know I need to slow down and think twice. I know being kind is better than always being right. Before the diagnosis I thought I was just phukked so confused I tried so hard for so long... just defective and or/people were shit.

I can greatly improve my racing head and negative thoughts via probiotics (I use kefir) and prebiotics (get lots of fibre you'll cover it but esp flaxseed, pears, rhubarb, oats). If you don't crush the flaxseed you'll poo it out whole. I use ground seed mixes like PSA (Psillium, Sunflower, Almond) in Kefir Smoothies. I can go from NUTS to sane fairly quickly if I watch diet carefully. Gardening is another lifeline. Some contractors came in and bulldozed my garden once it took two years for me to leave the house and try again. Likewise when a star joined my promotions company ("I love what you're doing") to dissemble the competition (me and my performers). I took three years dithering to bounce back from that and couldn't go back to the same industry till he died. Really got to watch for that (dithering) it can sidetrack our lives.

With a diagnosis I'm learning not to care about ignorant folks rapidly. It's life changing.

Variety will get us through times of change while rigidity will not. We are an integral part of human evolution. Amidst the chaos we find the patterns. Rejoice!



 
pollinator
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Being yourself, even if others think it’s weitd, exposes those others to new ideas and experiences. The more exposure they receive, the less weird it will become.

Some years seeds don’t take root but the next year they might come up. So just keep being yourself, accept that we are all different and that some people can’t handle the truth, and over time those seeds may sprout!
 
gardener
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I currently work for the railway, where men are men and anything that bends over is nervous.  I worked for 8 years as a support worker with Mentally Challenged Adults before this.  Most of my foreman on the railway gangs that I worke on, when the found out my previous occupation said, "Perfect.  You will fit in great here."   Most of the guys I work with have half my IQ and double my weight at the minimum and will likely have a heart attack before they retire.  I grow garlic and sell it to some of them.  Maybe it'll save one of their sorry lives.  Not that IQ means shit to me.  Just be a decent person.  That's all I ever expect of anyone.  I'm not planning to stick around in the company long enough for a full retirement, though it's tempting to last until I'm 55.  But fuck that.  I'm 48 and this has been one of the longest 4 year periods of my life since I started with them.  It's alright pay, but it's such a bureaucratic nightmare that you can not imagine.  But the management is nothing compared to the 'culture'.  I show up in a $300 1986 Pontiac 6000 and park it amongst all the fancy new pick up trucks, or I drive my beat up 85 Ford F 250.  My bicycles are worth about 30 times more than my vehicles, and they are paid for too.    I paid for my 40 acres in 8 years and I live in a school bus, and those dick heads are mortgaged to the hilt and have a finance plan on both their vehicles and all their fancy toys, and everything you do costs money or eats their brain.  My life involves climbing trees and creating charcoal for fun.  If I explained that I spent 6 hours this weekend digging a hugulkultur trench that will first serve as a biochar fire trench/kiln, and then spent all day filling it with char, and spent a full day voluntarily helping at a work bee to completely build a yurt... they would be completely without words because none of that is in their vocabulary.  And, as much as I would like to infect their brains with some of this shit, they are generally too stuck in their lives of video games and beer to consider any of it.  I don't need to ride a $17,000 snowmobile or quad to get my kicks.  I climb my mountains by foot, BITCH! I grew up a smaller than average kid with snaggle teeth, glasses, an artificial foot, and a pretty high IQ. Braces helped me later on, but I went through some serious crap in school before I figured out that I just wasn't' going to fit in.  Then finally, when I'd pretty much given up, I found real friends.  Holy shit!  And we are all still close friends and we don't bother going to the Class Reunions.  I've worked dozens of shitty hard jobs and some that were pretty cush.  I enjoy diversity rather than monotony.  I don't mind routine, but it has to have something that is switching it up and making life interesting.    I've travelled by backpack and thumb and by bicycle, and I've seen some shit that would blow the minds of many people that think they can judge me.  Fuck them.  I've dealt with enough adversity to know that if you don't make something of yourself via your own rules, it just doesn't feel the same.  I make my own rules.  I'm an anomole in the economy.  I don't give a shit what anybody says.  Actually I do give a shit, sometimes, but I try not to because it just never seems to matter in the end.
 
Joel Bercardin
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Roberto, there's a lot in your post I really resonate with.  I've had jobs, when I needed them, among guys with the same patterns of values, interests, investments & pastimes.  Sounds like you've sorted things out well, developed effective attitudes, and are managing your life well. 👍
 
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It is hard! We get A LOT of looks and comments and my family thinks I'm insane. Maybe I am but I'm ok with living like that. A few understanding friends would be nice though.
 
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I relate with all of our collective struggles.  My work/public/family/private life all offer resistance the more open I become about myself.  However even though I experience similar interactions with all of you, I find an overall better time overcoming their disdain.  I find being openly enthusiastic and beaming love of the world and how I fit into it, that even the most aggressive detractors will respond.  I by no means turn people's ideas around, I explicitly try not to.  But I do wax poetic about my interests and values.  I show how those things make me feel so good and tuned into a vibrant life.  If these people are not far enough along their own journey to respect others lifestyles, they will at least understand it can cultivate a happy fulfilled life in someone who can.  And THAT is more enticing to a persons curiosity than any one specific detail or practice in that happy life.


     My deviations from normalcy are . . .  Permaculturial ideals and the resulting values.  That tied with my irreverence for material possessions and what is truely valuable, leads me into conflict with people about using "garbage" and "broken" things that I find beautiful and deeply filled with purpose. 

I do not own a car and use a bicycle as my primary means of transportation.  To me people sound lazy and self defeated when they give me their reasons why biking year round is crazy.  But I only express how much I enjoy watching the world around me and the wonderful scenery while feeling the wind , and dare I say rain, on my face.  I share how it builds excersice into my daily life, without actually having to "do" anything extra.  How I run into more people, and have more conversations with my community. 

I don't own a microwave either.  Or use fluoride.  I cook from scratch (80%  Of the time), only use cast iron, don't use soap.  Most of these smaller choices I make, I just change the subject.  No use focusing on details with people who can't grasp the big picture yet. 

And my most gawked at personal choice is being Poly.  I've been poly my whole life, openly for 7 years now.  And have more people tell me that my love and relationships are not real, than I can count.  Aside from true haters who just make their remark and walk away.  I usually tell people that I get to love and adore anyone who stirs my soul in that way.  I can love my friends more deeply, I can experience romantic bliss and not fear about finding more than one woman who ignites my soul.   This usually can get people to admit that it sounds nice, even if it would " never work for them".    If I need to break the tension after talking a bit with a person, I like to joke that " no one tells you about your three partners tag team nagging you and planning your chores!" It gets a chuckle . 


So my advice is to find your joy and love in your life.  Express that to the world, don't tell anyone what to do.  Don't place blame on anyone but yourself when preaching, be it global warming, ethical meat, people's love lives.  Practice compassion in the people who challenge you the most.

I also recommend reading "The Song of the Bird" by Anthony deMello.   i read it a few times a year.  It reminds me of the peace and beauty that I have if I am my true self.


Phew thanks for reading that blob of text.  Cheers Permies
 
master steward
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I've been dealing this for a long time. I've known and embraced that I'm "weird" since at least Jr. High (which is when I found synonyms of the world "weird" for every letter of the alphabet. The dictionary and thesaurus were my main assistants...though my friends were quick to tell me that the synonyms "kinky" and "queer" had other meanings that my 1972 dictionary did NOT offer me...). I'm also probably an aspie.  Basically, my philosophy is three-fold:

  • For the general public, look like a boring blank slate. Don't attract attention, anger, lust, or sterotyping based upon appearance. Clothing seems to be people's first impression, and I'd rather their first impression not be, "Why's she wearing a medieval gown in the grocery store?!" or "Why's her son have long hair held back by a rainbow hair clip??" (kid likes long hair and rainbows, but I'm positive that the combination would result in conversations with/condemnation from random strangers that I don't want my son to deal with when he's four) or "Look at her tatas."I just really, really don't want to get in a discussion, or have people judge me, or lust after me, or whatever. I'd rather go unnoticed. So, I dress normally and modestly with jeans and bland plaid. Nobody stares at my chest or wonders if I'm making a statement. I'm a blank slate.
  • For those who I'm meeting but will be seeing a lot of, like at church, or my new neighbors or at a work place, I look normal and slowely get a feel for who they are and introduce them to parts of myself/my weirdness that they agree with or at least don't hate. I then slowely introduce them to things they're likely to agree with and stretch them to being more permie. So for the hunter, talking about preserving open spaces. For the vegan, talking about care of animals, etc.
  • For those I know closely (i.e. family and close friends). Thankfully, they're mostly weird in some way, and so I just be who I am. For the few family member who are very conventional, I just act like them like I do toward people in group two.




  • Anyway, I wanted to talk a bit more about being a "blank slate" in the public, and why I do this. There's a few reasons.
  • So I don't have to talk about things I don't want to. People won't probably start a heated conversation about stuff if I have nothing on me to make them think of it.
    [list]So I don't have to deal with people sterotyping me and hating me for things I don't even believe. For example, If I had a "Save the Environment" shirt, my Trump-loving neighbor would probably hate me... He'd probably put me in a "Stupid Liberal box." But I don't introduce that to him. I just talk about hunting and growing food and survival and preserving the open spaces he loves. Conversely, if I had a "Guns and Bacon" shirt, my more liberal neighbors would put me in a "Trump Supporter" box and think I wanted to burn the world to make some pennies. And any vegans I meet would probably start hating me instantly, whereas without the shirt, I can tell them--when the time is right--how I raise my own animals in a humane way, etc.
  • So I can slowly, when the time is right, introduce them to weird aspects of me, if I think they'd be receptive. Once people hate you, they're not going to learn anything from you, and dealing with angry people is soul-sucking for me, and not easy. I also have a much harder time figuring out how to respond to those social situations. So, I don't invite controversy or anything that would make them hate me.
  • So I don't get attention I don't want, and don't have to talk about things I don't want to. Conversely, I can bring about things that I do care about, or don't mind talking about.  My hair is tailbone length, and I'm proud of it, so I wear it long. Another is example, from Jr High through college I carried my little bible with me everywhere. It was my way of saying, "I'm a Christian." It probably also worked as a great deterrent to a lot of conversations. Random guy looking for a one-night stand was probably NOT interested in conversing with the modest girl reading her bible. While, people who wanted to have theological/philosophical discussions wanted to talk to me. I liked deep discussions, and didn't like people wanting to bang me, so this worked for me.



  • Basically, if I have a weirdness that I don't want to talk about, I hide it in the general public. I try to look normal in that aspect, so as to reduce the social-situations that are so overwhelming. I don't go walking around town with my pants tucked into my socks, even though that's how I walk on my property to keep my pants from being wet, because I don't want people thinking I'm weird and sterotyping me in some way. I don't put bumper stickers on my car, for the same sorts of reasons.
     
    Roberto pokachinni
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    HI Joel. 

    Sounds like you've sorted things out well, developed effective attitudes, and are managing your life well. 👍

    I'd like to think so, but sadly that is not completely the case.  I just got back to work after a four-month LOA because the guy I work with one on one 45+ hours a week was destroying my brain.  As a welder on a two-man crew, and his subordinate, I was being micromanaged to break protocols.  I brought this up to the management with no effect.   I tried to bid a carpenter job on a bridges gang, and then found out I'm locked into this position for 4 years.  I became an insomniac and then wrote off my car in January in a pretty serious accident.  I had a week vacation time at the end of May, planted my garden, and then my brain melted down just before I was due to go back to work (call it an anxiety based nervous breakdown or something like that, but I caught it before it got absolute and completely out of hand) -and I called the Employee Assistance Program and talked to a counselor, and then went to the doctor for a note.  I've had to battle the insurance company, which originally denied my claim.  I wrote a 5-page appeal that looks like a legal document.  It's still up in the air if I'll get any money from those vampires.  I went back to work last week because a position was posted with the other welding foreman, who's helper retried.  I couldn't post a bid on the position while not being on the payroll.  Turns out the company had not fully paid out the retired guy's vacation pay and the job posting was canceled.  So I'm back to work with the idiot that I had before.  I found out from my local supervisor (a really nice guy) that the upper management wants to discipline me for taking a leave (since it wasn't covered by the insurance company, they figure my case had no merit).  I wrote an email to the Master Steward of the union detailing the situation, and forwarded an attachment of my appeal for the insurance claim and stated that I'm sure the media might be interested in the story if I don't see some action from some angle sometime soon.  I'm pretty pissed off and motivated now that I have reset my sleep schedule and got my brain balanced out of the burnout, but I guess, considering the epic levels of male cattle excrement that I have been dealing with, I am managing alright.   :)  Thanks for your vote of confidence.   
     
    Roberto pokachinni
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    I had dreadlocks for 7 years.  I shaved my head bald for a couple other ones, and will probably do it again soon.  Right now it is a shoulder length skullet.  I had a mohawk for a few years, but that option is now gone thanks to some inherited frontal baldness factor.  It's remarkable what comes out of people's mouths simply based on what my hair looks like.  And that's just the idiots that expressed their shitty opinion. 

    Sometimes I wear a kilt.  I wear shorts a lot.  I have stickers on my prosthetic leg.  I mean, people are going to stare at the thing anyway, might just as well give them something to read!  I've had protest bumperstickers on it.  I had one that had an AK 47 on it (there was a peace symbol beside it).  I currently have one that came extra with the new crane for my welding truck.  It has a graphic image of a person's body being twisted up, and it says "Danger Rotating Shaft Hazard".  This all harkens to my Anarchist punk days, I guess.  Maybe I'll never grow up.  But I'd rather stay weird and free and youthful than stagnate in the homogeneity of being 'normal' (  <--WHATEVER THE F%@K THAT IS !! I dare you to define it without saying that it means culturally acceptable <--because it's not my culture).  

    I guess that's maybe the crux of all of what I see that this thread is really about.  There is an entire 'culture' that has been created to keep a cultural norm in place that may not exist outside of the conservative few that completely believe in it in the first place.  It's sort of a catch 22, a self perpetuating nightmare that is propped up by everybody assuming that the other's believe in it whole heartedly.  I think the majority of people do not like to feel the pressure to look or be a certain way, but they do it simply to conform so that they are not excluded.  They are not doing it so because they believe that it is really right and true to their heart's feelings.   
     
    Stacy Witscher
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    Roberto - sorry to hear about your struggles in regards to working. I was able to find a way out, thankfully in one sense, not so much in another.

    Nicole - I understand about being discreet with some aspects of your beliefs. I have struggled with this. Years ago, when I was in a dark place, I regularly wore my heart of my sleeve, literally. I had all kinds of t-shirts with slogans. My favorite was "I see dumb people". You wouldn't believe the number of people who came up to me and said "I don't get it". I would just point at my nose.
     
    Dc Brown
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    Wow I'm learning a lot here about myself and fellow humans.

    I've had too much unwanted sexual attention over the years as well, the most recent was, fairly recent... When I look at where two careers went sideways, predators in power. AND, my inability to recognize my rights at the time. I wonder if that's why I often allow myself to get quite feral even though I don't like it as a look. Armor.

    Roberto, we had a saying you probably know, was it Rollins who coined it? "Charged with possession of an offensive haircut". 

    I opened for Rollins once, yes, I was that cool (good at wearing masks in this instance poet).

    I am also (an aging) punk. Mohawk years, so much crazy fun. Protests, parties and gigs. So many antics... A wee side trip to jail all for the cause! I was in the stupormarket today three kids with a punk/goth look had found the large plungers and were having a ball on the concrete floor, pock pock pock, pock pock pock hahaha. Can't have been real goths having fun like that. 

    I really struggle not engaging with ignorance, which is pointless but oh so enticing... today it was a contractor next door with a backpack full of glyphosate.

    It's tempting to sue him privately just to get the word out to contractors everywhere to think about what they're doing. How would I do it? Got lawyer mates from uni. My knee jerk reaction is to find a spot with no neighbors (Antarctica? )

    But if we all head for the hills and leave the cities to fend for themselves, we're really screwed.

    I like the concept of being a quiet example of how to conduct my affairs. It's idealistic however. Put stupid in my face, I will engage till I'm sick of myself, then withdraw indefinitely.

    This pattern has to stop for me to be an effective catalyst for change. There's nothing wrong with a good rant Mollison's a personal hero, but when the whole world is ranting, we certainly need more calm.









     
    Dave Burton
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    Nicole Alderman wrote:
    For the general public, look like a boring blank slate. Don't attract attention, anger, lust, or sterotyping based upon appearance. Clothing seems to be people's first impression, and I'd rather their first impression not be, "Why's she wearing a medieval gown in the grocery store?!" or "Why's her son have long hair held back by a rainbow hair clip??" (kid likes long hair and rainbows, but I'm positive that the combination would result in conversations with/condemnation from random strangers that I don't want my son to deal with when he's four) or "Look at her tatas."I just really, really don't want to get in a discussion, or have people judge me, or lust after me, or whatever. I'd rather go unnoticed. So, I dress normally and modestly with jeans and bland plaid. Nobody stares at my chest or wonders if I'm making a statement. I'm a blank slate.



    I mostly do this, appearance-wise, but doing this behavior-wise is where I run into difficulty, now. I used to be a blank-state with how I looked and how I behaved, because of similar reasons to as you described- me getting to fully control their first-impression, being able to go unnoticed, getting along with more people, and only having to discuss what I want to discuss. This wasn't as much of a problem for me before, because I wasn't feeling all of my emotions as strongly (long story for another time), but now that my emotions are harder to conceal because they're stronger, being blank behaviorally  is so much more difficult. And with that, too, I feel so much more strongly compelled to act upon my beliefs and upon the knowledge that I have gathered and understand to be useful, good, and actionable knowledge. And to not act on what I know and value- which is so different from what other people know and value- would be antithetical to the very essence of my being. 
     
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    Lucrecia Anderson wrote:....if you dislike most of the people around you then perhaps you interpret their innocent off the cuff comments as them disliking you?



    It took me much longer than it should to figure this out, but I find I get back from the world exactly what I put out most of the time.

    That said, I do my own thing most of the time with my partner and our animals on our land.
     
    garden master
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    Roberto pokachinni wrote:...
      But I'd rather stay weird and free and youthful than stagnate in the homogeneity of being 'normal' (  <--WHATEVER THE F%@K THAT IS !! I dare you to define it without saying that it means culturally acceptable <--because it's not my culture).  

    I guess that's maybe the crux of all of what I see that this thread is really about.  There is an entire 'culture' that has been created to keep a cultural norm in place that may not exist outside of the conservative few that completely believe in it in the first place.  It's sort of a catch 22, a self perpetuating nightmare that is propped up by everybody assuming that the other's believe in it whole heartedly.  I think the majority of people do not like to feel the pressure to look or be a certain way, but they do it simply to conform so that they are not excluded.  They are not doing it so because they believe that it is really right and true to their heart's feelings.   



    I gave up long ago attempting to be "normal" it's a waste of time, I swear I have ALIEN stamped on my forehead. I can be dressed right, makeup and all, and everyone still knows I'm an alien being. So I be me, I'm much happier that way. The interesting thing is when I'm wearing something that looks neat, but is SO not in style (long full skirts with matching sun hats and pretty jewelry, or grubby camo and a camisole and a sun hat), or doing things that are not usual (fixing other people's cars in the autozone parking lot, or teaching someone exercises for their pain in a public area) there are often people, mostly women, who tell me they envy me not having to conform to the norms. They wish they could quit conforming, but they do not dare. It's sad, really. They can see that they are in a system they dislike, but they can't handle the idea of not being in it either.

    I have asked them "so what IS normal, that you have to be?" and they can't answer that question. I wonder, if you can't recite your values and reasons for what you do, do you have any? How do you make decisions? It's an interesting thought. If you can't define what you have to do to be "normal" how do you know if you are?

    And Dave Burton (OP here) hang on, you are at a bad age right now for this, it WILL get better! Both you will quit hurting from the feeling of not conforming, and you'll find a niche where you thrive. And people who thrive make their own niche :) Society is changing (slowly!) too, and more of the alternative thinking has moved into the mainstream. You may not be aware of how much it has, but us older folks can tell you it HAS. I first went vegetarian for health reasons in 1978, when I was in high school, backslid a few times, and quit backsliding in 1983. For years I was the only vegetarian I knew. The only person who took vitamins. Now the world accepts that easily, it was hard then. The stuff you are thinking is becoming more mainstream, you are on the high end of the curve, that we all hope will become standard soon. At that point, you will be ahead of your peers, and hopefully thriving!  I never got a tattoo, I knew I'd outgrow them, but there's one I still write on myself sometimes, 40 years after I first wrote it: And this, too, shall pass.   Sometimes I need to remember that, and I hope you remember it too :)

    And you have us, people who understand where you are coming from. I envy you that, wish I had had that support when I was young! All I got was "WTF is wrong with you?"  
    Stay tough, sir, you have friends here that are rooting for you! :)
     
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