Thursday, January 16, 2014

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It's funny how a person, devoid of any direct or personal experience, allows her perspective to be molded by others around her. She willingly reads articles, watches TV and adopts the language she finds in them, even if she doesn't fully understand the terms or the meaning crouched behind them.

"Oh, what a silly, presumptuous, arrogant person!" I suppose that's rolling around in your head right now?

So what images do you see when you read these words?

Uncircumcised (intact as we say it).
Breastfeeding toddler.
Herbalist, homeopath, naturalist.
Cloth diapering, attachment parenting mom.

It's a question for personal analysis. You don't have to tell me. But, from being around for awhile, I can take a light guess. You might conjure up images of women with shaved, dyed hair and multiple piercings. Women squatting in a yurt, no electricity, covered in tattoos as they chant in a satanic tongue while pushing out their babies. Those homeschoolers are out of touch with reality. Socially awkward. Misfits of all kinds. Pushy, judgy and unrealistic. Martyrs and extremists. Liberals, you mutter. Nutters, you roll your eyes. What weirdies. Fruity loops. Stupid, ignorant, outdated. Over controlling, over protective. Different and odd.

Not at all like meeee, you say.




Term Breastfeeder.


Maybe the worst category of the bunch is vaccination. The way people talk, why, they must think those who avoid vaccines are diseased-ridden zombies hiding in the dark swamp land, ready to take over the country at any moment. At night, while you lie in your germ-free home, safely protected by a shield keeping out all danger thanks to your vaccine schedule, we climb out of our lairs. We drag our rotting limbs behind us, intent on breaking into your windows to spread disease and filth (somehow with our evil power, we can do this, even though you are fully vaccinated...) We're fringe, we're rare, we're out of sight and detested by all.

Watch out. Here comes the horde. Homeschoolers, not circumcised, selectively vaccinated or vaccine free, cloth diapering, no diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, breastfeeding all over the place...including next door. To you.

Coming to get you. Coming after you.

Not all like youuuuur family.

Instead of buying into the fear and hate campaigns, maybe it's time to meet your neighbor. Maybe it's time you looked around the neighborhood and got to know real people, instead of spreading hate with misrepresented cliches from the media.

Who are we?

We're the vaccine-free, intact boys playing on your son's team.

We're the homeschoolers enjoying a field trip at the zoo.

And at gymnastics with your kids, tumbling away.

And showing some spirit at school.

We're the big, homebirthed, vaccine-free, homeschooled, intact, family you see every week at church.

And we're kids at the aquarium.

And we're shopping at Target with you.

And we're eating at the same restaurant, sitting at the table next to you.

And we're at the local hardware store.

And we're at the playground, even drinking from the SAME water fountain! The horror!

(For apparently being locked inside our homes, helplessly unsocialized, we sure seem to be out and about!)

You walk past our carved pumpkins on the way to our door when trick or treating.

Your kids join us to play outside.

We invite you to our birthday parties. With cake. :)

You hear about the way we live, our parenting methods and medical decisions and you decide how we look. You decide who we are, what we wear, where we live. But you've decided wrong.

At night, we read bedtime stories, too.

We celebrate like you.

We cherish special moments like you.

Our dining rooms might be for homeschooling and pottying.

And our bathtubs might get some extra mileage.

Some of us might look like the stereotypes you've been taught to hate or mock.

But here's a serious question: have you considered setting down your hate and judgment? Is it really so hard to stop yourself from painting with a wide brush? Is it really that hard to find ways to appreciate those who are different from you? Instead of the judging, wave to your neighbor.

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

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