I’m Meaghan, a homemaker who is getting kind of crunchy.
I wasn’t raised in a hippie-dippy household. I grew up with all of the mainstream bells and whistles. My family was fixated on sports and religion. We bought all the things that were advertised on TV – harsh household cleaners, frozen dinners, etc. We took prescription drugs without pause, and we didn’t fuss with organic food. I would say that roughly 30% of my diet was Red 40. My parents meant well. They got me the plastic toys that I wanted, and they allowed me to watch all of the kids shows on cable. I was happy for a spell. I was conditioned to be a good American consumer. I was like many millennials.
As I got older, I began to pay attention to how all of the trappings of western life made me feel. They did not give me long-term happiness. I spurned TV and soda in my twenties as I gravitated towards other things. I took college classes and conversed with peers who challenged and stimulated me. I paid attention to the physical and mental health crises that were skyrocketing in my country. I began working faster and harder only to have less and less in my bank account. I dutifully attended Mass for many years until I felt complete dread at the thought of it. Something was amiss.
I had friends who could not find recourse in anything that had held such promise earlier in life. Being a grown-up in the 21st century was not all that it was cracked up to be. The indifference of the corporate world, the dogma of religion, the side effects of medications, the lack of nutrients in food, the banality of songs and movies, the didactic words of professors and self-important public figures – all of these things converged to create a strong undercurrent of misery for me and others. Society had become a dysfunctional zoo, and I wanted to return to the wild.
I slowly began to amass a collection of self-help books. At first, I thought I would implement small changes that would make life a little more manageable. Perhaps my mild depression would be alleviated if I could finally set some goals that I had previously resisted. As time went on, I began to understand that I had the power to re-wire my brain and nervous system in a way that could dramatically change my reality. It was empowering and humbling at the same time. I was faced with the realization that I needed a personality overhaul. Although I regretted wasted years of unconscious decisions, I was grateful to have awareness and tools.
It is humbling to realize how naïve you were to have spent years hitching your cart to the wrong wagons and feeling mostly bored or frustrated in the process. I had always thought that if I just kept going to Mass, if I just kept plugging away at work, if I just kept adding to my wardrobe and home décor, if I saved enough money to buy a house, I’d finally cross some threshold and feel a consistent stream of happiness. I was living for an unguaranteed future, and I finally realized that I needed to relish the blessings of each moment.
Guided meditations became a cherished part of my morning routine. In my reverie, I began to share my new thoughts and experiences with loved ones, and I was met with lukewarm responses. It seemed like I was a lone traveler on this new spiritual path, and I made peace with it. I was drawn to different books and media about meditation, energy healing, angels, and other fascinating topics. Without hesitation, I signed up for an energy healing program that would change the course of my life. At 29, I learned how to meditate with a mantra, and I became more peaceful and content than I’d ever been.
I learned as much as I could about any and every healing tool out there – and it was apparent to those near and dear to me that I had turned into a ‘New Age junkie’. I accumulated all of the enticing oracle card decks and essential oils that called to me. I advanced in my energy healing program. For a few years, it was an exciting and novel journey.
Life took a very sharp left turn, and I experienced trauma and grief that I will keep personal. Many were affected by it, and it led to a great deal of turmoil. There were threats and betrayals, cops and lawyers, tears and despair, and deep wounds that now present as scars. I don’t know what I would have done without the healing tools that I had. They carried me through the worst year of my life.
I emerged from the ashes weathered and worn. I was not as bright and shiny as I had been as a 27-year-old visiting Zen temples in Japan. But, I was committed to healing, and I looked for the smallest joys in every day. Sometimes, I would force myself out of the house as an homage to my departed loved one. I did my best. I did not stuff down or deny my emotions. I allowed the waves to take me down, and I also allowed myself to be unapologetically happy on days when the universe was rather merciful towards me. I reached out for the help that I needed. I am proud of myself for that.
One day, the sun came up on a horizon that had been obsidian black for so long. I remembered what it was like to be healthy and hopeful again. I fell in love, got pregnant, switched jobs, got married, sold my house, and moved to a beachside town within an 8-month time frame. It was fast and unconventional, and it was also the right thing for us. After everything I had been through, I had found my match – the one suitable for this older, refined version of me – someone with passion and drive – someone who had overcome trials and tribulations and did not let it harden the heart. He and I planned the baby, and we conceived her immediately. She is the apple of our eye. She is the reason I went even further on my quest to find out what changes I needed to make to create the most enriching home for my family.
While pregnant in paradise, I stumbled upon “Crunchy Mom” pages on social media. Many of the posts about gentle parenting resonated with me, as did the posts about natural alternatives to mainstream necessities. I was fortunate to experience a happy and comfortable pregnancy, and I did not have any post-partum blues. Motherhood did not throw me any curveballs. Things went swimmingly with breastfeeding and cloth diapers. Co-sleeping allowed the whole family to get adequate rest. And baby-wearing made my heart soar. Kate was happy with it, too.
I became kind of crunchy – also known as ‘crispy’, or ‘scrunchy’. I also realized that many moms out there on the interwebs were incredibly judgmental and obnoxious. After getting what I needed out of those pages, I bowed out. In fact, I permanently deleted that social media platform for a growing number of reasons. I sometimes missed having that community. Life was tranquil, and I took some time to think about how I would share my talents with the world. I took two years to write a novel, and then I immediately began my next two.
I also decided to start this blog. I feel vulnerable putting my writing out there, but I feel like it could be a positive thing for some people like me. A lot of the material will be relatable to truth-seeking moms. I will never forget how helpful the online communities of crunchy moms were for me three years ago. There is a spectrum for crunchiness. I think it is all valid. I think that we can all support each other here as we hush our egos and operate from our heart centers.
I plan on writing about all kinds of crunchy things – essential oils, non-toxic personal care products, real food, nursing, cloth diapers, mama cloth, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and alternative schooling. I also plan on opening up about challenges and personal preferences when it comes to the crunchy spectrum. Am I a perfect homesteading, homeschooling, raw milk-drinking, hemp-wearing crunchy goddess sitting high up on a hill surrounded by elderberry trees? No. And I don’t discount the possibility of that happening one day. I am true to myself in any given moment. And as long as that’s the case, I think things will unfold beautifully for me.