180: Want freedom? Avoid these two traps…

180: Want freedom? Avoid these two traps…

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As more people step away from the mainstream and seek a life of freedom, I think it’s important to talk about two traps I often see folks stumble in to on this path:

  1. They step away from the “mainstream” but get sucked into something just as restrictive as what they left, and/or,
  2. They spend their time flaunting the fact that they’ve chosen something different

Let’s break these two traps down.

The first trap: different… but not actually

I see this on social media. I see this in in-person groups. People don’t like the way something runs—for whatever reason—and so they break ties with that thing… only to end up involved in something that is similar in restrictiveness or ridiculousness or whatever as what they left.

How many people have left a certain social media platform only to end up on the “new and improved social media platform” that has similar issues, packaged differently?

How many people have been caught up in the excitement of a group that boasts we’re gonna start our own thing! We’re gonna do better! We’re going to create something that works with less rules and no one is gonna tell us what to do! But then they discover that the group is really just an excuse for someone who doesn’t like to be controlled to start a thing where they can be in control of other people?

You know. It’s that local person who wants to start a group to fight against the system because they don’t like the system’s rules, but then ends up having a whole list of their own rules in order to join their group, and they run it dangerously similar to the system they want to leave …

I’ve heard people who have had experiences like this with groups like Freedom Cells. That’s nothing against Freedom Cells, and also isn’t to say that that is how Freedom Cells are supposed to work. That’s just to say that some individuals have had less than awesome experiences in their individual Freedom Cells because of the people involved. If we’re honest, we have to admit that sometimes the ideas of “fight the man” and “go against the system” attract people who actually want to work together to do a thing, and sometimes it attracts people who just want to make their own equally restrictive system.

You have to watch out for that and make sure you’re not getting sucked into it.

In your quest to do something different, make sure you’re not just doing more of the same.

The thing about restrictions

When seeking a life of freedom, we often want to step away from something because of restrictions. But sometimes restrictions doesn’t mean “here are the rules you have to follow”, as in you can’t have a garden here or you can only have six chickens. Sometimes restrictions takes the form of, “here is how the group acts” or “here is what the group does”.

If you have joined a new system because you wanted more freedom, but now you’ve got a list of things you won’t say or do because you are worried what people in the new system will say or do if you say or do those things? You’re not doing anything different, you’re just doing more of the same in a new surrounding.

I remember being told that homeschooling was all about freedom and doing what works best for your family. And yet, I also remember being part of homeschooling groups where if you admitted you let your kids watch Spongebob Squarepants, they’d probably shun you from the group. So was it really about doing what works best for your family or was it all about just conforming to another set of rules and expectations?

I think on freedom a lot regarding conversations about the Covid vaccine, but not in the ways that most people think. When we talk about the jab, we’ve got people who think freedom is being against the shot and telling people they shouldn’t get the shot. But isn’t freedom allowing that people make their own decision regarding the shot, whether that’s to get it or not get it?

If you believe in freedom, it means you believe other people have the right to do something you don’t necessarily like and might not do yourself. But there sure are a lot of people out there talking about freedom and wanting to create groups and communities that revolve around freedom, and yet they’ve got an awful lot of things they require or expect or want or don’t like or won’t allow in their freedom based group.

Changing your list of approved and allowed actions to the opposite of what the mainstream approves and allows doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve created anything different.

Let’s imagine it this way.

Let’s say we all live in a fictitious world called Vegan Country, and Vegan Country says you have to live a vegan lifestyle. Now, someone comes along and wants food freedom. They break away from Vegan Country because they want to have a steak or a brat or fry their zucchini noodles in some lard, and they decide they want to start their own country. And that’s great.

But what often happens is that someone will break away to start their own country and instead of requiring that everyone is a vegan, they will now require that everyone lives a completely carnivorous lifestyle and because it’s different from Vegan Country, they will say that’s free!

But, y’all, that’s not free. Free is deciding I want to be a vegan or a carnivore or live on bacon ice cream and BBQ potato chips and it’s me being okay with my friend deciding to eat the same or differently as me. Free does not mean blasting Vegan Country for all the reasons they are “wrong” and then starting Carnivore Country.

To be clear, you are free to start Carnivore Country. But it doesn’t mean that Carnivore Country is any more free than Vegan Country was. You’ve just changed the restrictions.

Do you see what I’m saying here? Make sure in your quest for freedom that you’re not just trading in one set of rules and expectations for another.

The second trap: loud and proud

Stepping off the line and away from the crowd is exciting, and sometimes you just gotta talk about it. I get that.

But some people really like to talk about how far outside the system they are.

Some people really like to talk about how different they are.

Some people really want you to know they’re not doing it the same as everyone else.

Do you see what I’m saying here?

Listen. Do what you do and move on with life. For instance, if you don’t want to vaccinate your kids, then don’t vaccinate your kids. Do what you need to do to bypass that requirement—in my state it just required having a form notarized—and then go on with your life. You do not have to tell every person you meet that your kids aren’t vaccinated. You don’t have to blast it on the internet. You don’t have to bring it up at the next holiday dinner. Make your decision, execute that decision, and move on with your life.

I was at a gathering a couple months back where someone was incredibly proud of how “prepped” they were , and they made it very clear they believed that no one else in that room was anywhere near as prepared for the doom and gloom times as they were. And as they went on and on about how the rest of us needed to get with the program and up our preps, I just thought, “what makes you think you’re the only one here who is prepared? What makes you think you’re so much further ahead in this than anyone else in this room? What are you basing that on?”

Not everyone broadcasts what they’re doing. Not everyone flaunts it. Not everyone walks around carrying a billboard that says, “ta da! This is what I’m doing!”

Share it all!

We live in a world where we can broadcast anything and everything. We have an opinion, we share it. We have a thought, we say it. We disagree with the way something is, we blow about it. And I think with that, comes an expectation that when we make a decision to step off the line or away from the pack, we’ve got to talk about that, too – to anyone who will listen, whether they agree with us or not.

It’s a fine line, because you want to find community with people who have also stepped off the line, and in order to do that, someone has to be saying something. But there is a difference between information… and being right in people’s faces about the fact you’re different.

We could expand that last sentence to comment on so many things in modern society, but that’s for another day.

When my husband and I were first married, we lived on main street in a small town. Chickens were not allowed in town. However, there was a gal two blocks down from us who had a high fence around her tiny backyard—and she had chickens. But if you didn’t know she had chickens, you wouldn’t have known she had them. She didn’t flaunt it. She didn’t make a big deal about it. She sold eggs to people who knew she had them, and she probably paid a couple of her neighbors off with free eggs to “keep quiet” when they figured out she had chickens. But she wasn’t flaunting the fact she had them.

So many times I think we get concerned about the “underground things” we are doing because we think everyone is watching us and everybody knows what we are doing. Y’all, if you don’t draw attention to yourself, why would anyone be watching you?

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

And I know some people will say, “I should be able to talk about whatever I’m doing, that’s my right!” And you’re right. It is your right. But in blasting and flaunting every non-mainstream choice you’re making, ask yourself: what’s your point? Is it to educate people that other choices are out there?

Or… is it something else?

But Amy, isn’t that hypocritical? You have a website, podcast, and YouTube channel that pretty much talks about living a non-mainstream life.

Yep. You’re right. I do. But I guarantee you there are things I’m doing at my farm that will never make it onto the website, podcast, or into a video. Anything I talk about here, I know I have to answer for. There are things I’m not going to talk about here because I don’t necessarily want to draw attention to them. You have to understand that once you talk about something, you’ve put yourself on the map. And you have to be honest about what that means, and if you want to deal with what comes along with that. Sometimes you do. Sometimes you don’t.

Where the issue is

Where I see the issue is people who say they just want to step away and live a quiet life and be left alone, but they are constantly checking to make sure that you know they’ve stepped away to live a quiet life and just want to be left alone. 

See what I’m saying?

Where I see the issue is someone who makes a choice to do something different and it’s not about what they are doing, it’s about that they’re doing it.

Where I see the issue is when someone makes the choice to do something different, and talks about it constantly, but doesn’t understand why other people respond negatively or ask them a million questions or second guess what they are doing. For instance, I have an acquaintance who complains that her in-laws don’t like the fact that she carries a gun. But if we’re honest, the acquaintance has to admit that she also finds a way to work the fact that she carries a gun into every conversation she has with her in-laws. 

Y’all, stop doing that. And if you are doing that, you need to ask yourself what’s behind that. Why are you doing that?

Looking for freedom?

If you’re looking for freedom, it’s important to not let yourself fall into these traps. They waste time and energy that could be going towards your ultimate goal of living a more free life.

Because that is the goal, right?


Maybe that’s something we need to ask ourselves.

— Amy Dingmann, 1-18-22

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