"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Monday, August 20, 2012

Country Mouse In City Mouse

We had a spin at the fair this weekend and I was struck by how very out of place I felt. I put on my leather boots and my old blue jeans and I know all the songs playing over the loudspeaker but I feel like a little bit of an impostor just the same. It was so funny to walk around the fair carrying my baby in my Maya Wrap, such a normal part of my life and have people stopping me at every turn to ask me, "What in the world was that thing I had my baby in???" Several people actually said to me, "I've never seen anything like that before!" I live a different life from those folks, a different life from the one I was raised in and a I have to admit I am factually no longer a country girl. I live in a city and if half those people had any idea I came to the fair from my city home I expect they would have viewed my old jeans and boots with a bit more skepticism.

On some level this means kissing a part of myself or my former identity goodbye. I am a city mouse now. But lately I am learning more about how many facets and shades and sides there are hidden inside of any one person. There are things about country life that I am happy to let go but then here I am in my city neighborhood growing corn in the backyard, hunting mushrooms in the neighbor's maple tree, and letting my boys run barefoot in the mud. Am I one type? Nope. Rustic living is a real strand of myself: the can-do, the simple gifts, the homemade, and the scruffy edged-ness of it all but it co-exists next to the me that loves shopping in New York City, the me that loves living and eating off-the-cuff in a new culture overseas. It isn't something I once was exactly its part of me now...people are complex, full of all kinds of versions of themselves.

I have a friend who lives around the corner from us on our city block, goes to a salon to have her hair done and is edgy and chic and unquestioningly urban in many ways but she sometimes pops up surprising tastes and thoughts, courtesy of her upbringing in rural Montana. People are file-able but not exclusively. Labels are nice brain tools. They are short-cuts for our mind, a fast way to jump-start thinking about whomever we see in front of us but they are only short-cuts to beginning, not to completely knowing them. Observe people, including yourself. Don't tell yourself limiting stories about who they or you are or aren't, even allowing that kind of defining in can sometimes kill vibrant little strands of color we never knew were there. Don't worry too much about contrast or incongruity within yourself or the people you know...you are who you are...one of an infinite variation of people layered under the surface like rainbows with interests and preferences and talents that you may never suspect. Open your eyes and go digging and be brave enough to be honest with yourself about even the stuff people around you don't enjoy.

The rest of the night after I thought about this, I held hands with my computer man, smiled at my city boys, and went waltzing down the midway with my hippy baby carrier, happily taking in both the cow barn and the trick dirt bike show by turns, just airing out my layers. Be you! I'm trying.


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