A Fringe Offensive

I offended one of my aunts this week by posting one of those Facebook photos.  You know, one of those things that Facebook calls a photo that is really just a pretty statement, possibly with a photo as a background.

I have about a dozen aunts, but there are three who have each let me know, on more than one occasion, that I have offended them by my thoughts, words, and choices.  I don’t mean to be rude, insulting or obtuse.  I know that many of my choices (especially my parenting choices) are controversial.  I know that they fly in the face of how most Americans see the world.  I also know that when I broadcast my ideas, people are going to disagree or think that I am saying that they and their choices are wrong.  I am hurt by the thought that I might appear to be harsh and judgmental.

I am a fact and opinion collector.  I like to share what I have learned.  I don’t expect everyone to reach the same conclusions I do.  I once heard that in order to influence a culture, one needs to conform to most of the cultural norms.  According to that idea, I have no chance at influencing the culture.  But, perhaps, if I share and keep sharing, I can influence a little, or encourage someone who might want to do some little thing a bit differently than others.

I plan to have an unassisted birth with my next child (no, I am  not currently expecting).  This is not because I hate or fear the medical community.  I am grateful for modern medicine and for those who serve within it.  I just happen to fall into a strange little demographic that is underserved here in southern Illinois and my choices are to submit to a surgery that I don’t want, hire a unlicensed, illegal direct entry midwife, or simply have my mom and husband by my side while I labor and birth at home.  Each of my options have significant risks.  I can simply choose the one that I feel most comfortable with.

I have chosen to Unschool my children.  This is not because I hate formalized education or dislike teachers and administrators.  I know many wonderful, dedicated people who are called to serve in the education system.  I just feel that with the people in my family, our individual strengths and weaknesses, my children will be best served learning in an unstructured,  and less people-filled environment.

I breastfeed my toddler in public.  She has no notion of discretion.  When she feels the need to nurse, she jumps into my arms, turns herself into a comfortable position, and pulls up my shirt, all while giggling maniacally.  I can’t hide that with a Hootie Hider.

I like cloth diapers and the jury is still out on my opinion of the list of required/recommended vaccines.  I read too much and do too little.  I am low energy, need lots of sleep and am ridiculously frugal.  Politically, I lean towards the Liberatarians, though I tend to vote Republican.   Oh, and I am a Catho-Lutho-Bapti-tarian who believes that God is who He says He is in the Bible.

So, yeah, I am, in the fringe in most areas in which people hold strong opinions.  I am okay with that.  My aunts are much more normal than me.  They are intelligent, strong women.  I have no intention of degrading or insulting them by being different, or by posting thoughts and ideas that they find disagreeable.



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