Monday, April 11, 2011

Is Green Ever Embarrassing?

--A suburban Greenmom has an unexpected encounter with a different kind of green-eyed monster…

Okay, this is sort of weird. And I'm not sure why I'm feeling like this.

Later this week, the chorus I sing with is going on tour. Which is supremely cool. The timing could be better, and I’ll miss my family desperately for the three days we’re gone--but on the other hand, three days in NYC with my singing girlfriends (and guy friends too, but they won’t be who I’m hanging out in bars with) without meals to cook and kids to get to school, and getting paid to do it, is hard to complain about, you know?

But there’s this weird little nagging voice in my head that is making me a little twitchy. It’s an easy voice to ignore, but what twitches me is the realization that it’s speaking at all.

The main question this twitchy little voice is asking: “If your urban polished ‘normal’ girlfriends knew the weird little green things you do every day, would they think you’re weird?’”

I’m not that bizarre. And in day to day life I present as fairly normal. And most of the slightly left-of-normal stuff I do—culturing my own yogurt, cleaning the toilet with vinegar and baking soda, buying 90% of my clothes and shoes secondhand from ebay or Goodwill, smearing yogurt and coffee grounds mixed with honey onto my face (OMG, you must try this!) to tighten and moisturize it—I do in the privacy of my own home, and even when I blog about it no one has to actually witness it. But. In lot of ways, especially where personal hygiene stuff is concerned, I’m probably a little…weird.

I don’t wear makeup, unless I absolutely have to. A little tinted lip gloss is all, even on stage (it’s a chorus of 100, for Heaven’s sake.) I don’t put product in my hair, except for a little hairspray to hold it in place when it’s falling in my eyes or more in need of a washing than I’d like.

And as far as that goes—I only shower every other day. On the other days I get clean, of course, but I don’t go full-body under the spray and I don’t wash my hair.

My deodorant is a mixture of cornstarch, baking soda, and essential oils that I pat under les pits every morning. It has not let me down yet. And I use the exact same little jar of powder to dry-shampoo my hair on the off-days, just to keep a little more oil from appearing.

My facial moisturizer is a little bottle of grapeseed oil from my kitchen, with some essential oils added. My body lotion is in a little re-used jar, also homemade in my kitchen blender.

I’ve started doing the raw green smoothies thing for breakfast. (I’ll post on this at some point too…)

When I get a cough or headache, I reach for the herbal teas and homeopathic remedies and little jars of homemade herbal tincture.

I am fairly militant about bottled water—I’ll go without rather than open a plastic bottle.

I think on some level this is tapping into my grade-school-on-up desire to have people Not Think I’m Weird. Which is silly, because, honestly, I am sort of Weird and always have been, and a big part of my growing up and finding my place in the world has been about embracing who I am and not apologizing for it. But maybe because I will actually have a roommate (whom I totally like, by the way, she’s awesome) for three days, or maybe shadowed by my 25th year HS reunion coming up this fall, I’m finding myself on some weird under-level wondering “will this make people not like me any more?” I’m thinking, “Will they think I’m judging them because I do things differently, and thus preemptively roll their eyes and blow me off?” I’m hearing those Mean Girl voices from eighth grade going, “OMG, she’s so weird—do you know what she puts on her armpits every morning?” It’s completely irrational, I know my singing girlfriends better than that, but…the voice lingers.

Dopey. But I need to name it, process it, and move on. And of course, now there’s the double helping of shame—because at the same time as I’m feeling embarrassed at some of my off-the-wall green behaviors, I’m also now embarrassed to admit to the Green Sisterhood that I have this shame at all. Which also needs naming and processing. And hopefully, purging.

So, can I throw it out to y’all now? Anyone have any experience with this, any similar little nagging voices? Am I the only one who has dealt with this?

--Jenn the Greenmom

Who probably won’t be hanging out in bars too much anyway, we’ll be working too hard and I’ll be too exhausted. But it’s fun to think about…


Illysa Izenberg said...

I have a feeling your roommate is going to ask for the recipe for your skin cream, etc. -- I bet you look fantastic and she'll want to try it!

Good luck and enjoy New York. I hope you get a glass of water before you go on stage :-)

Candice said...

I am definitely NOT as green as you are, or as I should be, but I am considered the hippie among my very polished, suburban friends. I've gotten them on some of my bandwagons (like green juices), and on other stuff (like giving up shower gel)they just find me amusing. If they love ya, they love ya no matter what!

Enjoy your trip!

Summer Kinard said...

I used to have a friend who was grossed out by the thought of my flannel monthly pads. She freaked out when we started researching composting toilets (we settled on efficient dual flush, but still). We had other differences that led the friendship to break up, but I was always surprised at how strongly she disliked some of my green ways.

I don't think anything you've mentioned is weird enough to bother even the most conventional woman, though. Way to go on showing how easy green can be.

CallieK said...

Having toured for a living for years I can tell you that everyone has their quirks, even on the road. You will probably want to pare down your regular routine a bit- you don't want to be carrying a ton of bottles and such. It's only 3 days so try to find travel size containers for what you can't do without- no one will blink an eye at mini sized unlabeled containers no matter what's in them. Personally I don't always behave the same on the road as I do at home. Like you I rarely shower more than twice a week at home but I tend to shower more frequently when I'm touring although I still only wash my hair about once a week. One of my biggest issues was my cloth pads- I decided not to bring them on tour because the mess factor is too much to inflict on a roommate (and I didn't relish the idea of having to drag them around in my suitcase used if I didn't have the opportunity to wash them properly)

Jenn the Greenmom said...

(Callie, fortunately THAT issue will be over with by the time I have to leave town!)

A couple of my friends were really skeeved out about the culturing my own yogurt thing, in the "OMG you're growing bacteria on your counter ON PURPOSE!" vein of things...I think that may be where the insecurity started!

Along with this isn't so much that I'm afraid I do anything TOO weird yet...but I'm begining to seriously examine the no-poo life, as soon as I can find a stretch of 9 days when I won't have to look respectable...that would promote severe skeevage if I got into conversations about it. As would my desire for backyard chickens.

Thanks for the support, y'all!

Frances said...

Yes! I get embarrassed over things that people have given me a hard time about. Like reusable grocery bags. Yes, I want my milk and my chicken in the cloth bag. If it leaks it's washable. Still, I make up excuses a non-green person will comprehend like, it's easier to carry. I'm going on a trip as a youth sponsor and will be rooming with high school girls. I'm hoping the bathroom will afford me some privacy as far as my morning routine, but what if I need to soak my menstrual pads? I guess I can always hide a small container in my suitcase and keep in under my clothes to and from the bathroom. I'm more concerned about being a good example though. It's hard when you're traveling.

Five Seed said...

This perfectly describes my beauty routine. Heck, I even use cloth TP and sometimes I shower every THIRD day. I used to be really nervous about how this would make me look to others, but after two years, I don't much think of it anymore. Just keep doing what you're doing and don't worry about the rest! You rock!

@Frances and others: Try the Diva Cup for traveling. It is super easy to clean, so comfortable and no one will ever know! I'm in love with mine.

Condo Blues said...

Girl, please _everyone_ has quirks especially when traveling. I doubt anyone will comment on your green beauty routine unless they are showering with you. If anyone sees your homemade products and asks you might be surprised that they compliment you on how to find products that are more TSA friendly. Most of the time the only comment on my travel coffee mug is "cool mug." A few times, I've been complimented on how clever it is that I bring a stainless steel water bottle with me so I'm not without or paying through the nose for air port drinks. In other words, relax you'll be fine. Break a leg!

Anonymous said...

I don't think any of your items are strange at all! Even the simplest of requests such as asking our guests to remove their shoes gets raised eyebrows in our home. One thing I *do* remember to do is flush the toilet when I know we're having guests over, since we practice the "if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down" routine. Other than that, I can't say that any of my eco-minded routines or habits get snide remarks or comments, people have grown accustom to them.

Jackie @ Crest Cottage Creations said...

I don't think you are weird at all. Truth be told? I only shower once a week in the winter. In the summer, I need to do it more often, but that's only because we don't use our air conditioning and I am covered in sweat (NJ in the summer is 85-100* and HUMID!). I am going to a workshop/conference for work this summer in Arizona and have the same concerns you do since I will be rooming with my boss. I use coconut oil as a moisturizer and deodorant, make my own shampoos, and use few products other than that.

Good luck in NYC, I'm sure you will be GREAT!

On the topic of traveling, any tips on how to bring coconut oil on the plane in carry on?

Lisa Sharp said...

Maybe it was from being homeschooled, I dunno but I like being weird lol. Seriously I love when people ask me why I'm doing something green.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're weird. If you weren't (and if I weren't) our initial college roommates wouldn't have dumped us. Where are THEY now?

And look at how fabulous we turned out?

Oh, by the way, when you get a chance - I need some help with my skin care stuff. This cancer medicine is going to be loooooong term and my rash is something fierce in this Florida heat.

The lady who runs my local herbal store isn't just weird, she's kinda crazy. She thinks I can cure my cancer by only drinking alkaline water and doing biofeedback.

I'll just stick with weird, thank you...

Love, love, love,

ps. my word verification for this post is "torker" - how funny is that?

eco-friendly gal said...

Well I guess being green is only weird because not many people do the things you do - but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be done. Kudos to the "weird" green folks who continue with the advocacy despite being different.

Jenn the Greenmom said...

Hey sweetie!!

I'll do some research and get back to you! (Unless anyone here on the Booth has any suggestions...Maria is taking a medication which specifically attacks her kind of cancer cells, and it's being successful but giving her a nasty rash...I'm thinking calendula and lavender and jojoba and stuff, but anyone have any other thoughts?)

love you!--Jem

jenilee said...

I don't think you're weird at all; in fact, I'm aspiring to be more green & your tips & experiences are blazing the path for me (as well as many others I'm sure). I get all kinds of eye rolls & odd looks especially when it comes to what my kids do or more often don't eat or use. We do the vinegar/baking soda/etc. for cleaning & it horrifies some of my family that we don't use bleach or other caustic products. I'd love to learn more about what recipes & alternative solutions you've found. Everyone has their own little hygiene habits & it just so happens that your habits aren't only better for you, but the planet as well & thus better for your friends-even the ones who may raise an eyebrow! ;)

Holly said...

Maybe it will be good to "come out of the closet." Depending on your reaction to their reaction, it could be a good time to make a positive impression and help someone else make a green change. A response like "See how good it works, you never knew otherwise..." Maybe a follow up post to tell how it went?
But quite honestly, you will probably come back with "and I thought I was weird..."


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