Why I fell in love with the hippie lifestyle

Why am I a hippie?

Sometimes, I look back on the past four or so years, and wonder, out of all the aesthetics and lifestyles I experimented with, why was this the one that spoke to me the most? What separated this one from all the others? Why this, and not goth, or nerd, or art student?

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As a child, I never really fitted in, but in primary school, that doesn’t seem to matter. In primary school, or at least, when I was in primary school, kids enjoyed one another’s interests, no matter how strange, and celebrated them, in a sense. In secondary school, though, things were different. Not fitting in was a social death sentence. I had no idea about the ‘in’ clothes or music, and I was painfully, toe-curlingly shy. Not an ideal personality for that environment. So, for a while, I did my absolute best to fit in – I wore the same thing as everyone else, I tried to hide the things I enjoyed. Of course, it didn’t work, and I never magically became popular overnight.

At sixteen, I finally dyed my hair for the first time, I developed a personal style and stopped caring what people thought of it. The dark hair and the questionable anime t-shirts are long gone, but it was at that time that I discovered Pink Floyd – and I fell in love with classic rock on the whole soon after.

I joined Tumblr, and became a fairly recognised member of the ‘Classic Rock Fandom’, as we called it, by the time I was 17. I started learning about the 60s, and fashion, and the politics of the time. I made friends with some people who were hugely into vintage fashion and jewellery – two girls, who I sadly have all but lost contact with – and they very much influenced my fashion and makeup. I still own and regularly wear all the things they inspired me to buy.Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 22.38.38

In the summer of 2014, I spent much of my time listening to classic rock (the albums I listened to the most are, I think, largely listed on this post), and watching movies set in, or made during, the 60s and 70s – think the Boat that RockedQuadrophenia, and A Hard Day’s Night. One in particular, which is still one of my favourite films, was Across the Universe, and it was really the one which introduced me to the ‘reality’ of the 60s, so to speak (I know, I know, it’s not exactly a proper representation). I studied the Vietnam War protests, and the flower children, and I joined CND – overall, I guess I started to see what it really stood for – why it all began.

That was the turning point, really. It was when I adapted the ‘hippie mindset’, so to speak. And, for me, seeing myself as a hippie, someone who loves the 60s aesthetic, gave me a sense of identity. It was something I was that other people weren’t. Now I’m out of a secondary school environment, I love standing out, and I love being true to the things I like.

I soon began to meet and encounter people who shared my interests – I now follow a range of people on social media who regularly inspire me with their clothes and their adventures. I discovered that I absolutely adore wearing colourful clothes, and clashing patterns, and lots and lots of accessories. Before I really discovered this style, I’d wear fairly dark clothes – as in, I wore blScreen Shot 2017-04-06 at 22.39.01ack every day, pretty much. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, if it’s your thing, but I found that I was so much happier wearing lots of jingly bright things! I really don’t know why, but I always feel more confident when I’m wearing something colourful, or patterned, or just a bit different.

Furthermore, I’ve always had an interest in crystals, and that side of it. I’ve been collecting crystals since I was probably about ten, and I’d been interested in learning tarot for about six years before I actually bought myself a set. With hula hooping as well, I found that the hippie community was one which was welcoming, and full of love, and appreciated differences. I never got on with a lot of people at school, but I made friends quickly and easily when I became involved in the flow arts circle in particular. The hippie ideals allowed me to explore my interests, too – especially those which my mum deemed ‘nonsense’ (fair enough, but she refused to allow me to learn tarot because she thought it was a waste of time). And, surprisingly, I found that a lot of other people were actually impressed with the things that I’d learned to do. Finding myself this sense of identity allowed me to explore things I’d previously looked upon with admiration, and have a chance to take them up for myself.

Viewing myself as a hippie, and surrounding myself with the things influenced by this interest, has given me a sense of self which I’m so much more confident with. When I think about why it resonated with me, it makes so much sense. It gave me a chance to be myself, to meet new people, and to love the things I love. I finally found the person I wanted to be throughout my teens. I learned compassion, I became aware, and I discovered that the world has so much beauty if you look in the right places. I didn’t have to look a certain way to feel accepted, I didn’t have to keep my interests a secret. I could be the real me.

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And, to think, it all started when I listened to Pink Floyd’s Pulse one windy morning on the Welsh coast…

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Liz Robinson

Twenty-year-old trainee teacher, hippie and weird jewellery collector living in Brighton.

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