1.17.2008

WE DO THE BEST WE CAN

Slayde writes:

It is overwhelming, especially since I'm worried about cost as well. Judging from this and the previous post, I should probably stop buying bulk Garnier at Costco, and the cheapest linens I can find that aren't complete crap. So much to think about. It is unfortunate that being concerned about cost AND things like the environmental and human impacts of products makes shopping such a stressful experience. I appreciate all the information you pass along, though, making the research part that much easier for me and others.

It is overwhelming. That's the truth of it. When we stop believing the lies that are fed to us by company after company, when we wake up from our dream of beauty and loveliness and everything-is-fine, we are confronted with horrendous greed, unbelievable greed, terrifying greed. Why would anyone make a decision that involves the poisoning of human beings?

For me it has become a sort of mission or quest to become more of a human being and less of a consumer. When I stop thinking in terms of things and think in terms of living, life, creating, I find it simplifies the choices. The other day I was reading a blog by a woman who has committed to NO plastic in her purchases. Wow. NONE. I went around my house and looked at ALL the plastic that we bring home. Again, it's overwhelming. But it can be done. Eliminating harmful chemicals from your personal life can be done.

We are taking the first baby steps when we are willing to look. We must look first. That is the beginning of undoing the brainwashing. I have stopped wearing make-up, coloring my hair and worrying about the shape of my body. I don't know if I could do these things if I was 25 years old. It would certainly be harder, but still it's possible to let go of someone else's idea of what is beautiful.

And the money part should get easier too. What if I didn't own anything I didn't make myself? What if I pretend I'm living in the distant past, when there weren't trucks to haul products all over the country? What if I have to make, or find someone nearby who can make, the things I need? There's another important word: need. Consumerism is all about want, as in The Real Housewives of Orange County. How impossible it would be to live that way once you've opened your eyes.

Dear Slayde,

I understand about the difficult choices. I'm driving my husband crazy trying to "do the right thing." So we compromise, tell ourselves that even a small change is better than none and that we will try harder each day to make the best decisions. What else can we do? And the same goes for you. You've opened your eyes, you're willing to look at the hard stuff, and you acknowledge that you have a bit of responsibility in this whole thing. What else can you do?

Respectfully,
Self-righteous

2 comments:

bartley said...

You hit the nail on the head, Self. Ours is a consumerist culture, and we act accordingly. What we think is beautiful is determined by how many products they can sell us to reach that beauty. I have no problem with the age-old human urge to adorn ourselves with good stuff. But we are being sold a crock of you know what! We have to stop poisoning ourselves with toxic products and demand that the manufacturers give us good products. That is how change will come. And you are part of that change.

Self-righteous said...

Bartley,
Yes, and the scariest part is that we are, for the most part, completely uninformed consumers -- we are so brainwashed that we think, if a product says "natural" on it, it won't hurt us. The big cosmetics companies know this and will play right into it.
Thank you and back atcha!