In order to rebel one has to have something to rebel against.
The action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention.
In my childhood that thing wasn’t so much my family as society.
And yes, society and I had our problems from time to time.
My family was conventionally un-conventional. By the time I reached the biological age that facilitated easy rebellion (mid-to-late teenager hood) it was clear to me that my mother was doing more than enough for the both of us and by the time I was 17 divorce was in progress and I basically just had to get on with my ‘growing up’ plan to give me the tools and resources to make my own way in life. It all worked out well and to be honest that time of crazy upside-down family dynamics probably benefited me more than it stung.
My rebellion with society started early and has persisted in one form or another to this day. I guess many would have called me spirited or wilful or even obstinate at times while growing up, although my good manners and shyness saved me from tipping over into socially unacceptable often enough thank goodness!
I remember feeling angry about many things as a child – from why I had to wear tights and a skirt to wanting ONLY to wear a skirt because people thought I was a boy if I wore trousers and that bothered me (short, blonde hair and a few facial bruises from my tangles with the pavement) .
Why can’t society accept a girl in anything other than a skirt?
Why can’t a girl be rough and tough and a little bruised around the edges?
I was angry at having to go to bed at a time not of my choosing and that I had to wait for an adult to get up before I could eat breakfast .
Why don’t adults wake up at 5am?
Why can’t kids have more say over their lives. Am I not an individual?
I was angry at how in the early readers book section Jane was so pathetic and it was Peter who did all the cool stuff?
Why does society hate girls so much?
Later I was annoyed at the school rule that said we couldn’t climb up and over the wall that divided the two playgrounds. I did it anyway, quickly, nimbly when I thought nobody was looking and then pretended I knew nothing about it when the teacher on duty questioned me……
Why must schools be so risk-averse and have such fun-squashing rules?
And before long I was annoyed about politics.
I remember being particularly annoyed that, in our last year of primary school the school (and presumably other schools too) had become rather pre-occupied by which newspaper our families read, what TV stations we watched, what occupation our parents had and what we did in our spare time. I never felt that my answers were the ‘right’ ones and I was annoyed by that as I could see they were using this exercise to fit us into boxes and I wasn’t sure I liked the box I was being fit into.
Why must society try to put people in a box?
Then there was a conversation I had with my dad about consumerism, a conversation I had on more than one occasion that angered me beyond belief and still does to this day if I’m honest. I didn’t know I was angry at neoliberalism but on reflection I was. My dad would tell me proudly that he had done better than his parents (financially) and they better than theirs and that I would do better than him. I disputed this, not because I didn’t think I could do better – of course I knew I could – but because I didn’t feel this was sustainable ad-infinitum. I just didn’t have the exposure to other like-minded people with which to better shape my argument and as such spent a good deal of time feeling like ‘she who rages pointlessly against the machine’.
Why do we HAVE to keep on wanting MORE like Oliver with his begging bowl? Who exactly are we begging to and how come they got that job?
And so it went on, me getting angry and the world staying sane. Well, sane? I’m not so sure about that. In any case, whichever way I look at it I seem to have come out a rebel and I’ve no plans to change that.
Well, hang on a minute….
No plans to change that?
So I have a choice about my rebellious nature do I?
I Choose to rebel?
I guess so, yes. At least when it comes to my choice to act.
I’m not so sure where the feelings that stir the choice to rebel come from though being as though they have been simmering up in me for as long as I can possibly remember, maybe even before birth – I was 2 weeks late, how much more rebellious can a fully formed baby get?
My relationship with my rebellious mind is, at times tense but is becoming increasingly easy. I have, to a large degree accepted that I do have an ‘interesting’ way of seeing and interpreting the world. I say interesting because I’m not quite sure what else to call it but I do know it is never dull. Some days I wish I could be one of those people who can live for the day, to gain immense pleasure from a new outfit without even stopping to think about the factory that turned that cotton into thread. To enjoy both that ‘I’m getting drunk’ feeling and the lazy, hazy morning after. Wish I could just accept what people tell me without analysing it for motive or deeper meaning. But that wouldn’t be me.
I am a rebellious daughter.
It’s in my genes.
And if this book is anything to go by a rebellious daughter is bad.
Well stuff society.
As Emmeline Pankhurst once said:
‘I’d rather be a rebel than a slave’