Recently I've been watching some NatGeo and found myself completely engrossed in the program American Colony: Meet the Hutterites. There is an appeal to living in a community where everyone is close. But as an offshoot from Amish, Annabaptists or whatever they come from there are a set of rules and conditions for living that are so rooted in tradition that doing anything different is considered a sin in and of itself.
In the most recent episode one of the young men is having a health issue that needs to be addressed. Every person over 40 is overweight. The food is drenched in amounts of fat that would make Paula Deen's heart seize. And the cooks in the colony keep arguing that there is nothing wrong with the food. It is all meat and dairy fats. The veggies are drenched in butter and almost every bit of breadi s deep fried. It's the way they have been doing things for 135 years. So as this man is trying to do something better for himself he is being mocked for exercising. And he is being mocked for his food choices.
"Jiminy Yikes he's taking that health kick pretty far isn't he?" This from the man who is still pretty young and dropped out of school. He can not see more than a few feet in front of him.
When I was first out on my own I read a lot of Country Living magazine. I always enjoyed the issue on the Amish as it brought back the grand Summer days of reading Little House on the Prairie. I missed the simple days that I had as a child and thought that maybe a simpler life would make me feel that way again. And of course there were the dreams of my own Harrison Ford dancing under a bare bulb in the barn. I am watching this and seeing that none of those things that I was thinking about the Amish life is really how things are. And these Hutterites really amplify one glaring truth about myself.
I am not a colonist.
I won't stay in costume. Don't give me a uniform and tell me that I have to wear it 24/7.
Don't tell me that I can only do certain jobs.
Don't tell me that I have to check my brain at the door.
They eat together. They have their own houses but they cook communally. And everyone knows everyone else's business.
That is not for me. While I am watching this they are advertizing American Gypsies. While I have said that I am a gypsy... I'm looking at those people and thinking that may not be me either.
And that leaves me wondering: have I ever fit in? And do I need to fit in? Katherine Hepburn never bothered with what people thought of her. And according to my friend, it didn't matter than I didn't fit into a mould at school because there were plenty of people who would have followed me if I wanted to be a leader.
Do I want to set a trend and bring others with me? I do not know.
I only know that I am not a follower.
I am not a lemming.