Before we begin, let me say that I typically didn’t rebel solely for rebellion’s sake–I had a reason for it.
- In what ways have you rebelled against your upbringing? The biggest one is probably religion. I was raised Catholic, and although my mom’s not super devout or super religious, there was a level of expectation for me to follow it and it didn’t happen. I remember losing interest in middle school, and the older I got, the more boredom shifted into distaste for a lot of the church’s teachings and policies, continuing up to now. I remember in high school, interestingly enough, that we used to do these AIM chat rooms in the summer to keep in touch–before social media really existed–and I mentioned once how I didn’t foresee myself keeping up with Catholicism as an adult when my mom couldn’t force me to go to church, and Leah did accuse me of doing it out of rebellion and not because of my actual opinions. Wrong. I think my dad also had this hope of raising two Republicans, and that failed. He also tried to get Brandon and I to be super prepared, like preparing clothes and things the night before, and neither of us ever really took to it.
- In what ways have you rebelled against your schooling? I went to Catholic school until I got to college, so it was very similar to my upbringing. In fact, I think Catholic school kind of helped turn me off of Catholicism because the teachings and reasons for them didn’t make sense and really started to feel like they were designed to control rather than uplift and enlighten–not that religion tends to always do that. Funnily enough, Paul once was a tad buzzed at an auction at my high school and started talking to our freshman religion teacher, telling him he knows a lot of people who came out of Catholic school abandoning the religion and he didn’t, which he felt was due to that teacher. I do have to admit he was one of the best in the school and went farther than just telling us what the church taught–we had real-world applications and discussions on why the church believed some of what they did and why they might be wrong. The problem was that teaching didn’t continue throughout, and it became very easy to say, “This is ridiculous. I’m out.” Another thing was the fact that I majored in writing–math and science were pushed heavily in elementary school and although English was valued much more in middle and high school, it’s not exactly something people want you to try to make a career of. In a way, this was a rebellion against my parents, too, because very few people want you to major in writing, really. I’ve said before that people want you to be well-read and articulate until you want to do it for a living.
- In what ways have you rebelled against American culture? Majoring in English, which is the double whammy of not just choosing a slightly unconventional career path but also choosing one I loved (and the added bonus, though this doesn’t count as rebellion, of actually knowing that’s what I wanted to do within my first year of college). I’ve also been really drawn to countercultural things since my early teens, which is more subtle now, but it still tends to manifest itself in what I like to read, listen to, watch, and even how I like to dress. Not that I dress super weird (most of the time), but even jeans and t-shirts aren’t what girls tend to wear. My youngest cousin, when she was little, once asked me why I dressed like a boy because I wear jeans and t-shirts and her sisters were a little more girly and and a little more mainstream. I’m a vegetarian, too, which is especially frowned upon in rural Pennsylvania. And I swear a-fucking-lot, which seems common yet frowned upon. And so help me God, when I’m in a position to dye my hair pink or purple…
- Is it possible to rebel against yourself? I don’t know that I’d call it rebellion, but I think self-sabotage is very real. I think as far as actual rebellion goes, it’s probably more like people trying to change or do something different and struggling with it. I think it’s highly possible to lash out against something you’re doing or thinking, but I think a lot of this stems more out of unhappiness and frustration then anything else.
- What’s your favorite song about rebellion? Probably either Bowie’s “Rebel, Rebel” or Green Day’s “Minority,” because it’s so damn catchy with great attitude. And I don’t think this really counts as a song about rebellion, but I really love Bob Geldof’s “The Great Song of Indifference.”