August 16, 2015

What I Learned this Summer: I’m just a f***ing Hipster. {Adult}


{Editor’s Note: Adult Language Ahead}


Three months ago, I began my apprenticeship with elephant journal.

I expected it to be challenging, I expected it to be fun and I expected it to be lots of work.

What I didn’t expect is that it would call me out as a fraud.

I lead a fairly conscious life and make an effort to educate myself on issues rather than just accepting what is fed to me through mainstream media. I felt myself to be steps away from the average consuming crowd—giant freakin’ steps.

Oh, how arrogantly wrong I was.

Through the first few weeks of the program I uncovered piece after inspiring piece of writing from dedicated humans striving to make this world a better place. Articles informing me about what I can do to improve my impact on this planet, written by people who are pushing for change and fighting hard to leave the world a better place than how they found it.

And through this process of finding material to share with elephant followers, my own woeful shortcomings hit me hard.

Sure, I’m kind of mindful.

I meditate (sometimes).

Go to yoga (most weeks).

I eat organically, avoid chemically laden and GMO products, recycle, monitor my water consumption, car pool.

And all of these things do make a slight degree of difference.

The point that hit me like a ton of bricks is that I really don’t do anything that stretches me.

I do my small piece within my comfortable life with my steady income and secure job.

I advocate for social justice from my Peter Alexander pyjamas, which I purchased without querying where, or under what conditions, they were made.

I stand up for animal rights by sharing posts about animal cruelty while consuming my organic chicken salad.

I mindlessly flick a small donation to the crisis in Nepal whilst I plan out the details of my next overseas holiday.

While I might have believed otherwise in my own head, I am still a part of the chain that is consuming this world at an alarming speed.

Basically, I’m just a f***ing hipster staying on trend but not really helping humanity or the Earth.

Without the man bun and the beard, thankfully.

Here I thought I was making a difference with my existence. That I stood for important, valuable things; that I was different from the rest of humanity who doesn’t give a shit about the devastation in the world around them.

The truth (that I may make different decisions but they’re not really much better) was a difficult pill to swallow.

The only solace, like a lozenge for a sore throat, was learning that I’m not alone.

Being a part of elephant journal for this brief while, I’ve had a glimpse into what we all like, share and read. I’ve observed how the articles on relationships, sex, depression and astrology skyrocket, leaving the articles about animal rights, the refugee crisis and the devastation of our Earth in their wake.

We want to read all about traits of an empath, handling mercury retrograde and how to identify narcissistic behavior because the truth is that we’re all caught up in the drama of our own lives.

I have no doubt that the general readership drawn to elephant journal are just as enraged as I am about sweatshop fashion, that elephants will probably reach extinction during our lifetime and that refugees are treated as though they have the plague.

And yet, presumptuously perhaps, I hold high doubts that the majority are doing anything much about any of these huge world issues.

I’m certainly not judging. Hell, I’m right there on the de-activists couch with you, yelling my dissatisfaction with the way of the world without actually getting off my ass.

I think this kind of behaviour is encouraged.

We’re trained to be sheep, to go with the general flow without question or retaliation.

We’re fed a steady stream of “shut the hell up and get back to feeding our economy,” and often times we’re not even aware of it.

Discovering the origins of something is not encouraged. Where our food comes from, our clothing, our electronics—all of it.

Nobody openly tells us that our jeans were stitched together by a 14-year-old Chinese girl who dropped out of school to help keep her family fed, who works 18 hours a day in a shoddy factory with bad ventilation and cramped working and sleeping space.

That kind of information is bad for business.

What I’ve realized through my time with elephant journal is this:

We can stand for whatever we like. We can talk about what we believe should happen until we are blue in the face and gasping between sentences for oxygen. Unless we stand up and do something, nothing is going to change.

Belief and intention are nothing without action.

And no matter how insignificant I may feel, no matter how disheartened by the state of affairs and how far from contributing anything of any significance—my actions, my choices do matter.

Every small piece counts.

This is what I end my apprenticeship at elephant journal with, and it’s a learning beyond just social media training for which I will always be grateful.



Poor Envy: The Paradox of the Hipster Movement.


Author: Sarah Kolkka

Editor: Alli Sarazen

Image: Sean Davis/Flickr


Read 1 Comment and Reply

Read 1 comment and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Sarah Kolkka  |  Contribution: 2,720