On the Outside Looking Indian: How My Second Childhood Changed My Life

On the Outside Looking Indian: How My Second Childhood Changed My Life

From McClelland & Stewart:

"There's a phenomenon in Amish culture called Rumspringa, where Amish adolescents are permitted to break free from their modest and traditional lifestyles to indulge in normally taboo activities. They dress how they want, go out if and when they please, smoke, drink and generally party like it's 1899. At the end they decide if they will return and join the Amish church.

"I am 30 years old. I wore my hair in two braids every day until I was 12. I dressed more conservatively than most Amish, barely left my house until I was 18 and spent the last 12 years studying and working hard on my career like a good little Indian girl. The time has come; you are witness to the dawning of my Indian Rumspringa, a Ram-Singha if you will. But instead of smoking and drinking Bud Lights in a park while yelling 'Down with barn raising!' I plan to indulge in a different manner -- by pursuing everything I wish had been a part of my youth. Things I always felt were part of most North Americans' adolescent experience. I will learn to swim, go to summer camp, see Disneyworld, take dance lessons, have sleepovers and finally get the pet I longed for my whole life.

"This is the story of the ultimate New Year's resolution, more akin to a new life resolution. Will it all be fun? Will my friends and family support my walk down memory-less lane? Will it all matter in the end? I don't know yet but much like my young Rumspringaed-out counterpart, I will decide whether or not there is any going back."

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