A Rebel Mama Meets Her Match.
I am 43 years old. I have been a rebel my whole life.
Just ask my parents, who were all but evicted from their apartment in my first months, because I just wouldn’t stop screaming. Colic? Maybe. I think I was just raring to go right from the start.
Now I have kids of my own. My kids have only ever known me as mom, and that word, that title, is rife with ideas and images so evocative and compelling that I barely know what hit me. My kids never knew me as the out of control, in your face, rebellious, non-conforming, punk girl I once was, and thank goodness for that!
They have seen some photos; big hair, shaved hair, nose ring, combat boots, crazy makeup, outrageous clothes, but the details are too sketchy, and well… maybe I will share at a much later date, like when they are, I hope, established firmly in their own adulthood, or maybe never.
The point is that I have changed. I am still a rebel, but I have moved from anger and fear to compassion and love. I channel my powerful warrior energy into creation instead of raging destruction.
I have done some hardcore healing work, faced my wicked demons and dug into the deepest darkest pits of myself to excavate the light, and that is some fierce and truly epic rebel shit.
I still like edgy music, I like to dance as wild and unleashed as ever. I still think the system sucks and art rules. I have gone from no faith, no spirituality, to a total immersion in a spiritually rooted life, but per my style, I have gone unconventional. I have parted ways from my culture and upbringing.
I believe in magic and miracles, I follow a yogic lineage and study shamanic practices as well. These are the realms I am drawn to, and I follow my heart. I have always stood up boldly. I have always been a fighter for myself and what speaks to my soul.
My kids are pretty clued in to the fact that their parents are into some interesting stuff and aren’t marching to the same drum as most of their friends’ parents. We talk to them about our beliefs.
We have raised them to have very strong moral compasses and to treat others always with respect and compassion, but we have not insisted they believe in what we believe in either. That has had an interesting result, but that is a whole other post.
My daughter Avery has recently had a bit of backlash around my weirdness. She has started calling some of my practices mumbo jumbo. She will say, You know mom, you are into so much mumbo jumbo. You really believe in that stuff? Avery is 14 and so I know better than to try to convince her that I might not be totally wrong here.
I have taken the let it go option.
My style has also retained a bit of its former funkiness, and I don’t much care about dressing to fit current trends, and I certainly do not care one iota about dressing my age. I am in Yoga clothes most of the time, but I still rock my combat boots and play dress-up sometimes.
I also like to do different things with my hair, and I am currently in a shorter and shorter hair trend. I keep my color fun, and add blasts of bright and bold hues. I like it; I have always liked to keep it off the beaten path, my style is no exception.
I recently told my daughter, Avery, I was thinking of getting a faux-hawk-type haircut and she completely freaked. She told me that I am just having a midlife crisis. She said if I get my hair cut like that she won’t go anywhere with me, she would just die of embarrassment.
She said no one her age should have to have a mom who is walking around trying to look like a teenager, and why would I do something to look like Miley Cyrus, she is so ew, and not a good role model anyway. And then she cried.
My younger pre-motherhood self would have told her to shove off, or worse, and gone running to the nearest hair salon to show her what’s what and that no one tells me what to do. Actually, I would probably still do the second part if anyone else challenged my choice, but this is my child.
My kids are the only people for whom I am willing to tone myself down in order to please or make them more comfortable.
I am the fierce rebel protectress , the mama lion of these cubs, and I see that I must make space for Avery to be front and center now as the teenage girl coming of age in this house.
I will roar for her and cheer her on as she finds herself, and even as she breaks away. This is her rebel age, and I will respect that and take the backseat a bit. I don’t need that new hairstyle as much as I need her to feel that I am on her side.
I love watching her find herself inside and out, she is beautiful and capable, so very different from me and yet so much like me. She dyed half her hair purple last year and she likes to paint, play music and dance.
She also does lots of sports, is disciplined and well behaved, oh and definitely popular, which is the antithesis of me at that age, and I love that about her. Most of all, she stands up for the underdog and courageously promotes kindness amongst her peers. She is a rocking rebel in her own perfect amazing way. I honor her.
I am honored to make way for her.
I can wait out her discomfort and continue our conversations about all things in life and heart, share our unique outlooks and our connected souls. I remain a rebel, but I am a mother first.
I clear a path for my kids, and I do it with fierce love. Anyway, hair is one thing. I might get a new tattoo instead.
Jean Jyotika Skeels is an expat mother living in China and soon moving to Taiwan. She is a Yoga teacher, conscious dancer, artist, writer and life-adventurer. Jean believes in the power of love to surmount all obstacles. She is a nature-lover, poet and inner explorer. She believes the best way to meet each day is with an open heart and an open mind.