By the author of Be Ready for Anything and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted
Today, I’m coming out of the closet.
No, not that closet.
I’m coming out of the hard-nosed, bad-to-the-bone survivalist prepper closet. Because I think a lot of folks have some misconceptions about what being a prepper really means. It certainly isn’t the same thing for everyone. And our rigidity as a community can scare people away who want to be better prepared.
First, a dozen of my dirty little secrets.
You want to hear a few of my confessions? Here they are, in no particular order of dirt.
- I really enjoy going out to eat. Sure, homemade is delicious but not when I’m always the one making it.
- My favorite food in the entire world is vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. Nope, that wasn’t a typo. I didn’t mean “kale” instead of “cake.” Kale is revolting. Cake is life. #SorryNotSorry
- I read at least 3 novels a week. Bring on the psycho serial killers, criminal masterminds, or post-apocalyptic settings. Fiction is my friend.
- I hate camping with an abiding and fiery passion. This isn’t to say I am incapable of camping, but given the choice, I really would much rather sleep on a nice squishy bed than a sleeping bag. On the ground. In the dirt. With the bugs.
- I love going to the movies. Bring out the popcorn and the 3D glasses, because the big screen is where it’s at. Also, the more explosions, gratuitous violence, and car chases, the more I’m going to like it.
- Peeing outside is really not for me unless it’s actually the end of the world. Don’t get me wrong. I love hiking and nature and stuff. I just pee before I go and when I get back.
- I’m a nomad at heart. I’m not happy unless I’m checking out new places, growing veggies in them, and getting to know the local scene. But don’t think I’m going to settle down because, in a year or so, I’ll be heading somewhere else to learn about another cool place.
- I’m not a right-wing conservative. I know, crazy, right? If I had to choose, I’d say I’m a libertarian with views from all sides of the spectrum. I’m anti-war, anti-tax, and anti-meanness. I believe in compassion, liberty, and the power of people who will stand up and say “no” to injustice. Probably, if I shared all my political thoughts about the laws I believe are totally unnecessary, no one would ever speak to me again.
- I’m a single mom. I’ve been a single mom for 15 years. A lot of folks think I’m a widow, but actually, I was divorced for several years before my children’s father, unfortunately, passed away.
- I cuss sometimes. I try not to do it in front of grandmas and small children, and I don’t do it on my website because I don’t want my message to be lost. But it would be pretty hard not to swear once in a while after spending 10 years working in an automotive shop with a bunch of dudes.
- I am a Netflix addict. I know. We preppers are supposed to eschew all things popular culture but there’s nothing like a good binge-watch at the end of a long day of work.
- I super-love Starbucks. Horrifying – but YUM. A road trip would not be complete without a gigantic coffee frappuccino in my hand. If it helps, I flout the gun-free zone by quietly carrying my concealed firearm in there.
Wait! Don’t leave! Let me redeem myself.
Despite these quirks, I’m still a prepper, and a pretty darned good one.
Those of you who are more typical of the prepper mentality may be wondering why on earth you ever came to my website in the first place. Those of you who guiltily indulge in some of the things I just confessed to may be breathing a deep sigh of relief, glad to hear that you still get to keep your prepper card.
Shoot, I know preppers who:
- Get weekly manicures
- Regularly go on cruises
- Drive fancy cars
- Live in New York City
- Travel to Europe
- Work in show biz
- Voted for a Democrat
- Send their kids to public schools
- Live in California
- Wear suits to work every day
- Dine regularly at 5-star establishments
These aren’t necessarily the things that I do. (Although I did live in California for a while.) But none of those things mean that they aren’t prepared and that they don’t want to take care of their families.
The point of this whole confession is that I think it’s really important that we in the prepper community open our arms to all the people who are interested in being more prepared, not just the ones who fit the typical stereotype. I’ve been guilty of this myself, by poking fun at the “snowflakes.” (But, if you were offended by that, stick around, because I make right-wing conservatives mad too with my opinion that gay people aren’t the devil.)
Anyway, I’m sorry for making people feel unwanted in this community. I’ll try to do better. I really want to see you become better prepared and I want to help.
One thing I’ve learned from my Facebook group recently is how incredibly broad the range is when it comes to preppers. We’re rich, poor, single, married, Christian, not Christian, men, women, conservative, liberal, straight, gay, country dwellers, city slickers, frugal, not frugal,…but there is one place where we all come together. That place where we all want to be prepared, no matter what happens. We all have things to add.
We don’t all want to live on 40 acres in the boondocks where we have to climb a tree to get a phone signal. (More power to ya though, because I’ve done that, minus the tree, and it’s HARD WORK.) We don’t all want to raise every bite of our own food. That’s also hard work. We don’t all can and preserve our food. (But try it! You’ll be amazed at how satisfying it is!) We don’t all live without any form of popular culture, like television, current music, or radios. We don’t all have the same political beliefs, religious beliefs, or social beliefs. We aren’t all wilderness survival gurus who could live off the land indefinitely, or ex-military snipers, or camo-wearing rednecks. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that – we just aren’t all that way.)
You can prep no matter who you are or where you are.
All it requires is the burning desire to be self-reliant and take care of your family come what may.
And I’m here to help you.
Our divisiveness, exclusionary network, and smug superiority don’t help. They isolate us, make us seem like weirdos, and shut out the neighbors who’d also like to be prepared but feel far too intimidated to approach the community. There is no “typical” prepper. We’re all unique.
I’m not asking anyone to change their own political views, religions, or ways of life. I’m just asking you not to be so critical of the choices of others. That’s the beauty of being in America. We get to pick.