Were You Raised by Wolves?*
* Hippies! I mean were you raised by hippies. Because I was, and I think that might be why I’m like this.
Remember that scene in My So Called Life when Jordan asks Angela why she’s “like this.” And she says, “Like what?” And he says, “Like how you are.” Great scene! And a fun question to ponder.
As such, I’ve been thinking lately about the genesis of my passion for all the stuff we talk about on this site—the clean living, the health writing, the concern for our tiny burning planet, the love-yourself-the-way-you-are-but-always-try-to-be-your-best-self stuff. And I wonder how you guys got this way, too.
So here’s what I came up with: A list of the things that inspire me to live as cleanly as I can. I can’t wait to hear yours in the comments.
1. My hippie mother. A few years ago, I wrote my mom a thank you note. She’s the original natural beauty, as far as I’m concerned, and she raised me with certain values that I’m really, really grateful for now that I’m an adult. She’s athletic and rarely wears more than a pretty Ilia lipstick and some mascara. She’s never dyed her hair (I have!). When all my friends started shaving their legs and I didn’t yet have any leg hair to speak of, she discouraged me from starting the habit early. (I did it anyway, behind her back, and I still have a scar to prove it.) When it came to meals, our foods were whole, and we ate lots of vegetables and fruit. We didn’t have a microwave or a snack cupboard filled with boxed and bagged treats, though I wished we did. You get the picture. My mom was a hippie. Once the ’80s hit she didn’t look like one anymore, but she was in her heart. And that sort of rubbed off on me.
2. The fact that people get sick. Nothing like cancer to remind you of the delicate nature of the human body and make you care a little more about what you can control, like food, and exercise, and what you put on and in your body. There are a lot of things in life that aren’t fair, and some of them hurt like hell, literally and metaphorically. So I believe in doing what you can. I’m not perfect, obviously, and I still have my vices. But being reminded of the gift of life and the gift of my physical body is a source of inspiration for sure.
3. My lazy thyroid. Back when I was 22 and thought I would live forever, I was diagnosed hypothyroid. This is seriously the least big deal in the world to me; it’s incredibly common and easy to manage at this point. But it was a reminder that, as I just said, the body is delicate, and lots of things can happen to it that you can’t really do much about. So when you can do stuff about it, maybe just do it? So goes my logic.
4. My love of beauty products. Tis true! As I’ve mentioned before, I wasn’t much of a makeup person before we wrote the book. Alexandra and I used to tell people we met at parties that we were beauty writers as a joke. (She did it first; I stole the line and ran away with it.) But I’ve always loved products and DIY (check out “What Was Your Very First Beauty Product?” and weigh in, if you haven’t yet). We used to have beauty sleepovers when we were kids. These were the highlight of, like, life.
5. The community thing. I think this is something women do incredibly well, and we always have. We learn things, and we share them. That’s why so many successful efforts in the developing world, for instance, target women: Whether its sanitation solutions or juicy gossip, we spread around information like nobody’s business!
6. Our swiftly burning planet. Cue the sad trombone. I care about this thing and I worry about it. I know we need big-picture solutions to fix it, but I still think everything we do counts. Care for the world around you as you care for yourself and want to be cared for by others. Or at least try your best?
So that’s me. We’ll make Alexandra do this too, don’t worry. Maybe Rebecca, too. But for now: Why are you like this?