09 February 2012

Uncool


People cite many reasons for not choosing the big family life. The reason few people are honest enough to cite is what I guess we must call "style" or "popularity" or "anti-loserishness".

Because, let's face it, big family people are dorks. They look like they just came from the last hour of a garage sale on Doublewide Drive, or the super weird ones even dress up like they're Amish or something. They can't shut up about homeschooling and &$*% breastfeeding and #$^&@%#$#$@ homebirth. The wives always end up looking like heaps of hairy blubber and the husbands are just creepy hagbait with giant guts (must be all those kids, ha ha ha ha ha). They have to drive those Baptist church vans to fit all their spawn in, how is that Lutheran, ha ha ha ha ha? It's fine that some people have a lot of kids, but . . . dorks!

It would sound pretty shallow to engineer one's family on the basis of coolness, though, and the myriad other reasons couched in terms of responsibility and stewardship sound downright mature. But the truth is that skinny jeans and makeup and generally not being a loser are a surprisingly big deal to a lot of people who ostensibly left high school a long time ago.

Little children, grow up. We know very well that all that cruel snobbery we can just say was a joke if we get cornered is a spiteful caricature we have based on a few people we didn't like. Coolness is the extremely silly wealth of a too-wealthy people, and our Lord has nothing but warnings for the rich man.

Of course we'd all totally die for Jesus no prob, but of most of us he does not make so straightforward a request. Most of us he asks merely to be despised and rejected even as he was. Which is to say, among other things, uncool; renouncing in large part the clothing, entertainment, demeanor, speech, and camaraderie of the World around us. Would I give up my edgy hipness for a meek and quiet spirit? Would I stop making a point of denouncing badly dressed weirdness to make sure everybody knows I'm not one of those losers even if we do all go to the same church? Would I risk appearing to be allied with (or at least refuse to speak ill of) that annoying hippie and her annoying hippie friends* who happen to be my sisters in Christ? Would I give up the ax I've been grinding so long on the backs of badly dressed weirdos to do right by the husband, the baby, the children, the church, the neighbors God has given or would give me?

I don't like being a weirdo. I have, idiotically, been jealous of the cool people since the time I was old enough to perceive their exclusivity. Although I'm getting pretty old and crusty, there are times when I hate knowing that I, with my six kids and my pragmatically determined appearance and my six-kid-centric lifestyle and my boring hangup on the same, am the loser the cool people are still sneering at. Little child, grow up.

*And this one is really dangerous, as I have been terribly embarrassed to find the hippies much kinder, humbler, and more accepting of others than I am. Organic jerks, making me feel all bad and stuff . . . .

15 comments:

Marie said...

Sometimes I think that if I were cool, I'd be doing a service to the whole 'Lutheran quiverful' movement. I'd actually make it look good to have tons of kids, like it's an easy and desirable life. Except, most of the time it's not. So, really, if I were cool, I'd be lying=)

Anonymous said...

Am I out on a limb? (I'm used to it...) but it seems to me that, as Pr Weedon blogged today, happy or blessed, sometimes it comes down to that.

jeni said...

I've often wondered, what does it mean to be meek and have a quiet spirit? What does that look like?? Is it exclusive then of "edgy hipness"? Not that I'm edgy or hip. Or meek. Or quiet in spirit. A misfit I guess?!

Heather said...

In the same way that you despise assumptions made about your "kind," you are making assumptions about those who do not have large families. I find it really demeaning that you call those unlike you "little children," especially when your attitude of poutiness and "poor me who isn't good with babies" largely overshadows any joy you express about your family. If you find joy in them, it is not nearly evident enough. We all tire of the monotomy of housewifery, but the theme of "I'm so different" and "look at me, the weirdo" just smacks of arrogance and, truthfully, depression.

Rebekah said...

Marie, the cool have received their reward in full.

Jeni, "edgy" and "hip" are difficult to quantify. Once someone told me I was edgy, and I wasn't sure what to make of it. I think she just meant that I say "crap" sometimes. :D I guess all I've got is that we should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way. Even THAT dorky neighbor.

And dear, dear Heather. Please look again. I have not made any assumption about someone who does not have a large family. I have made an argument against "fashionability" as a reason for deliberately not having one. I have in the last paragraph called myself a little child for committing this very offense, and I am the only real person whom I have accused of it. I express joy in my family at a private blog where it cannot be misunderstood or ridiculed by outsiders. Of arrogance I am absolutely guilty, but I am not so sure about the telescopic depression diagnosis. Perhaps a post I drafted this very night will comfort you regarding the state of my psyche if I remember to put it up but I'm about to go do something else right now. Thank you for your concern, and please forgive my arrogance and many, many, many other sins.

Melrose said...

Rebekah, to all us dorks in dork land: you are the epitome of cool. :D does that make you feel better?

Rebekah said...

Melrose, I am really excited to be cool in Dorklandia. :D

And Heather, I got that post up for you. However, I must add one additional response to your comments. I have friends who have suffered greatly with clinical depression, and I resent your cheapening of their pain by using depression as an explanation for views and a personality which you do not like. I really am this bad. It really is terrible. This is why I go to church, and especially to confession. I am sorry to have troubled you, but please leave the technicalities to my father confessor and my doctor (the latter of whom so far has remained irrelevant to the discussion).

Elizabeth said...

Rebekah - regarding what Melrose said, I agree. You are also way smarter than me. :) Or at the very least, far more articulate.

Heather said...

"It would sound pretty shallow to engineer one's family on the basis of coolness, though, and the myriad other reasons couched in terms of responsibility and stewardship sound downright mature. But the truth is that skinny jeans and makeup and generally not being a loser are a surprisingly big deal to a lot of people who ostensibly left high school a long time ago."

Here's the thing: I think it's shallow to assume that their desire to be fashionable is actually the reason why they don't buy into the PP premise. There is a lot more fear, self-doubt, insecurities, and unintentional ignorance behind the makeup and designer brands than one might first suspect. Things are always more complicated than they appear, and it's not simply a matter of high school immaturity and a need to "grow up." I get that you're wrestling with your own sin, insecurites, and emotions with all of this. We all are. I just found your approach a little demeaning.

Gauntlets said...

Heather: Gently now: this post wasn't for or about you. Your offence is entirely assumed. Your decisions are complicated and your cross is personal and yours alone. So why read here and borrow more sadness?

Christ is arisen and you, too, shall rise. You are free. This post didn't resonate with you. That's fine. Walk away from it and never think of it again.

But please: there are folk who reject God's call to procreate based on the presentation of those who obey that call. I'm so glad you don't know anyone who feels this way. I do know them, as I have been them. Now that I'm on the other side and my fashionability is toast, my pride hurts all the time. I'm shallow. I'm vain. I'm so, so sad that my personal pretty is entirely in the eyes of the wonderful man who loves me, and completely elusive to everyone else, which also means I'm the dumbest. So this post was for me, see? And I'm not offended at all.

Melissa said...

You. Funny.

And that's not just a cool way to say things now. Incomplete sentences.

pekoponian said...

I like being uncool. I always have been and I'm really good at it now :-P

Cathy said...

This is a great post. I have been every single person you describe, at one time or another. I mean it. Seriously. Every single one. (Except for skinny jeans. I'm too old for that. But I we had our equivalent.) I love where you said, "Now that...my fashionability is toast, my pride hurts all the time." It's the funniest thing--every once in a while our pastor asks us in church, "Look around, I mean, who are you trying to impress?" and we look at eachother, and just have to laugh, because we're all such losers. The hymn line, "I pour contempt on all my pride" (along with my fashionability being toast), gives me great comfort. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

There was a time a couple of years ago that I would have been offended by this post. I don't take it personally though. I understand that though I (we) are not CSPP, this wasn't aimed at me. (In fact, if it were up to me, we'd have a lot more kids, but I am not the head of the household.)

The point I took away from this is that people sin against God and sin against their children, etc all the time for many reasons and two of them happen to be selfishness and vanity. Even if you think 2.2 children is the perfect family size, you don't have to look very far down the block (or outside of your own house) to see people sinning against God and family in the name of selfishness, vanity and pride.

I don't agree with everything on this blog. I hated this blog for a long time, but deep down I loved Rebecca's honesty and writing skills (you're cool too, Reb Mary and Gauntlets), so I kept reading. I'm still not a CSPP-er, but I have come to realize what a blessing children are no matter how many you have and I do think more is good if you are so blessed. I have just talked my husband into a third finally! (Seven weeks preggo. Yay!)

Susan

Rebekah said...

Susan, whoever you are, thank you. You just made my day. God be with you and your new one. :)