Discover Challenge: Radical Authenticity

“Plastic People, Oh Baby Now You’re Such a Drag!”

*Frank Zappa

I will never forget how much I disliked the hippies back in the 60’s and yet everyone considered me as one.  A child born in the 1950’s to actual Beatnik parents, dad a musician and mother an artist, I was who I was.  Thankfully this “hippie” thing came around by the time I was a teen or I would have really looked like the “loser” I felt like.  Obviously we did not have much money growing up as my father was never able to hold a job for very long between his brain surgeries and playing gigs on the weekends here and there.

So “Po’ Girl” was born, for real.  My sister and I never got a haircut growing up, we both wore one long braid down our back until I started Junior High and my mother decided we needed to be “scalped” and permed.  That’s about the time that the long straight look was in.  I let my hair grow back slowly and my mother, with her obsession to make me blonder, always lightened my hair with peroxide and later shampoo in “Summer Blond.”  (That’s another story.)

I had sewn my own clothing since I was about 8 years old and by my teens made much of my own wardrobe with help from my mother and grandmother with fabric selections or repurposing of older clothes.  My sister and I both loved putting our own spin to our store bought patterns and creating unique, one of a kind clothing.  Some thought we were cool because of this.  I really wish our family had taken more photos growing up so I could actually see pictures of how long our hair was at one time, no one did this.  I wish we had pictures in some of our really cool outfits as well.  Mostly I just have my memories of better days.


Me and dad.

If the hippie thing had not come along, we would just be the weird family, which we were to some anyway.  We were “gypsies” which I think I mentioned in other posts.  People love to label you and we were not the average “anglos” like our neighbors were.  We are mostly white for sure but both parents had other heritage what gave them darker skin and hair there really were not much ethnic people around once we moved to the burbs from Detroit.

My sister and myself, me still bleaching my hair, trying to be models!

My sister and myself, me still bleaching my hair, trying to be models!

My father taught me to play the guitar and I smoked with his blessing by the time I was 16.  He rolled his own, and I don’t mean doobies, but he did drink, sometimes too much.  His family had a tobacco farm many years ago in the south, where he was from.So here I was in my natural habitat with dad jamming all night, my mom in the next room painting and I would sometimes have friends over laughing, drinking our coffee or coke and smoking all night.  I also played the guitar and sometimes joined them.   I was authentically me, whether I liked it or not and never changed for anyone.  Mostly because I didn’t know how to.

Meanwhile I tried hanging around with other “hippies” but realized that most were the plastic, weekend kind that were not the free spirit I actually was by nature.  They were mean, selfish and always wanted to get high on drugs.  The drugs were the selling point for most of them.  They were not spiritual but thought they were while they were high.  I got into a big debate one evening at some Christian coffee shop, of all places, with an older guy, maybe early 20’s, I was 17 at the time.  He kept trying to insist he saw God when he was high on LSD.  I proceeded to tell him that he did not, he thinks he did, but that God would not show himself to someone that was “out of their mind.”  I told him that he would see God maybe in prayer but not tripping.  That was just my humble opinion and who knows,  maybe he did.

I look like I'm pretty high in this picture but I just have a strange expression on my face.

I look like I’m pretty high in this picture but I just have a strange expression on my face.