Sunday, January 13, 2013

In the March 1989 issue of Seventeen, I read an article entitled “Confessions of a Bloodthirsty Flower Child.”  Almost twenty-five years later, the content of that article still resonates with me, and has, in fact, inspired me to create a blog.

My heartfelt gratitude goes out to Ms. Jennifer Davidson of Alpharetta, Georgia, the sixteen-year old girl who wrote the article. I wonder if she ever realized the effect her words would have on someone she would never know. And the effect they still would have all these years later. Crazy how that happens, isn’t it? All this is to say that I cannot take responsibility for the (extremely cool) title of my blog, for I must give credit where credit is due. So, Ms. Davidson of Alpharetta, Georgia: I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having inspired me. You wrote words that I read at 18, and now, today at 42, I still remember them clearly. In fact, I still have the original article. I ripped it out and have kept it all these years. You wrote in your article that you “wonder[ed] if there is anyone else like me out there.” You have a kindred spirit somewhere in the world, even if you’ll never know it.

What Ms. Davidson wrote about back in the late 80’s was the two sides of her personality. The peace-loving hippie side and the sharp-tongued, heavy-metal-loving angry side. For as long as I can remember I’ve bounced back and forth, wondering how to reconcile these two sides of me. I even have tattoos on my arms that demonstrate the opposite sides of my personality. On my right arm, I sport a beautiful, peaceful hippie with flowers in her hair sitting atop a lotus, while my left arm is adorned with a tattooed (yes, my tattoo has tattoos) bad-ass chick on a bright red motorcycle. I got this artwork to illustrate the two sides of my personality, which are often at odds with each other.

I spent years trying to psycho-analyze myself, wondering how such opposite forces could exist within the same body. The Bloodthirsty part wasn’t that hard to figure out. Being raised in the Boston suburbs by a Republican cop father that grew up in the 1950’s; learning by silent example that to be anything less than tough was a sign of weakness, and therefore, unacceptable; being taught to shoot a gun at 7 years of age; it was inevitable that there would be at least some small part of me that would fall under the category of Bloodthirsty.

The Flowerchild, on the other hand, was not as easy to solve. Even though most outsiders think that Massachusetts is a very liberal place because of “The Kennedys,” I was raised in a pretty conservative environment. Dare I say, even sheltered? I come from a blue-collar town where everyone was conservative, white and Catholic. I can count on one hand the kids “of color” that I graduated with. I remember my brother having one Jewish friend in grammar school, and marveling at the strange and unknown world he must have come from.

Although my mother’s side of the family is mostly Democrats, it was almost as if that were a silent part of my upbringing. I was never told about Conservatives vs. Liberals, or even what to think or how to live or vote or be. And although both silent, the conservative force was somehow much more present in my young life than the liberal one.

When I was a teenager, I loved to listen to music that was way before my time: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones. And when I went to my first Grateful Dead show in high school, oh my….bare feet, cutoff shorts, a tie-dye shirt that a fellow classmate Steven had made me…I was hooked. What other way could there be to live?  My mother used to joke with me, telling me that I was born 20 years too late. I felt such a strong connection to the 1960’s; the culture, the music, the way of life, the Freedom. But I was never taught or exposed to any of this, I kind of just happened upon it.

Even though my mother was a Democrat, I still always considered her quite conservative. By my standards anyway. She definitely did not encompass the Republican ideals that my father did, but neither did she listen to the Grateful Dead or burn her bra in protest. Where the hell did this hippie side of me come from? Whose child was I?

At some point, I stopped trying to figure it all out and just accepted the fact that this is who I was. I am thankful for both of my personalities: the Bloodthirsty part of me has taught me to be a strong, independent person who is not afraid to speak her mind and fight for what she thinks is right, while the Flowerchild part of me has instilled in me a sense of compassion and love for everyone and everything in the universe.

And so I begin my blog. I have a lot of opinions, and a lot to say. On occasion, I will witness a random act of kindness that I feel the need to share. I believe these random acts of kindness are good for the human race as a whole, even if they are only heard about, and not witnessed firsthand.  And then there are times when something makes me so angry that I just want to stab someone in the eye with a sharp object. Sometimes it may seem as if you are reading writings from two different people, but alas, it is only I, the Bloodthirsty Flowerchild.