The Organic Self

Though it would be appropriate given that it is Earth Day today, I don’t use “organic” to indicate the self is lacking in pesticides. Because…well…that would be a very strange dialectic. And I’m not high.

Do you ever take note of an interest, behavior or personality trait of yours and wonder, ‘Where did that come from?’ There seems to always be a few (if not many) personal characteristics that cannot be explained away by how one was raised or with whom one surrounds himself/herself. These are the facets of a person that really interest me because they seem to belong solely and unconditionally to that individual, which, in the cynical world in which I inhabit, is nothing short of amazing. True individuality and “spirit” are alive and well!

For example…

If you knew me in elementary school, I don’t have to explain to you that I was a geek. Chief among my unintentionally-humorous attributes were my choices in “fashion.” Much of this can be chalked up to the fact that it was the late-80s/early-90s, for which we should all be afforded some grace. But I wasn’t just your run of the mill scrunchy-sock-wearing, florescent-color-loving, side-ponytail-sporting kid…I was on a mission. I was going to save the world. I used to wear (quite regularly, if you want to know the truth) a bright red T-shirt on which my mother had so obligingly ironed on a montage of animals in a lush forest, resting beneath large letters that read, “SAVE THE RAINFOREST.” This (among other things) earned me the nickname “Rainforest Girl” from schoolmate Danny Zavala, who may some day choke on the plastic six-pack rings that I used to chase down and cut up with a fury. I’m just saying.

The whole point of this self-deprecating anecdote is to lay the groundwork for one of my own little idiosyncrasies: a life-long commitment to choices that improve my planet. I have maintained less ostentatious displays (thankfully!) of my desire to help the earth ever since then. But this “hang up” is all mine. Don’t get me wrong: my parents don’t go around dumping oil in oceans or mowing down rainforests. But I cultivated this little corner all by myself, all for myself. I am thankful to have found friends throughout the years who share my interest in the environment, and even the folks have listened to me rant a time or two about livestock conditions or side effects of global warming. Perhaps my interest is simply a side-effect of growing up in a small beach town with great schools and lots of funding for education programs with real-life implications. Who knows the reason? But that’s my point: for whatever rhyme or reason, some things stick and become part of who we are. We embrace them and incorporate them into our identity, no questions asked.

…But I still maintain that whales are scary as hell and shouldn’t be trusted.

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