Though, to be fair, this is more blowing off steam, because Anni mentioned something in one of her videos the other day that really irked the hell outta me. Overall, it was a great vlog — I love the feel of these, of getting to feel like we’re visiting even if it’s one sided. And, it wasn’t anything that Anni did that got me all hot under the collar, but rather that someone decided to challenge her on something so very silly, like having paper towels on her counter.
It hit close to home because, briefly, for a bit, I was that judgy sort of pagan. Oh, do your religion and your spirituality however you feel called, but how could you used ‘disposable’ items so freely? How could you purchase things packaged in plastic? How could you eat such processed things? How could you, how could you, how could you?
The thing is, we’re pretty much set up to be this way. Our society is not set up to encourage reuse, to live a different way, etc., and while it’s all very well and good to focus on those sorts of changes, those who can do so are often coming from a place of privilege and/or wealth. I’ve lived in places where access to good groceries stores required a car. The ability to use cloth napkins and spill-rags rather than paper towels is dependent upon having reliable access to a washer and dryer, and using them means more water usage and laundry soap.
We use a ton of paper towels in our house, as we have a dog who has accidents (diuretics and a stubbornness about peeing outside if it’s dark or wet), and in Beth’s store, as curing incense and candle making requires them. We go through a lot of disposable pee pads. For a while, I was using towels instead, but that required laundry every day, and our water bill went sky high. I don’t buy organic, because instead I live in a house full of people on medication, and my insurance won’t cover my pets. We use a lot of trash bags. I don’t always get the best and most humanely handled meat (although, this above all else we strive for because it’s just better all around).
The sorts of changes our society needs to make, to be sustainable consumers, cannot be tackled by the individual, and it is utterly deplorable that anyone would expect — demand — that those already struggling to get through their day add the burden of ‘greening’ their lives, to boot. Beth has a business that’s doing well enough that she doesn’t need another job. I’m working full time in retail for just over minimum wage, and I can’t afford to find another job (which will just be the same sort of job anyway) because I can’t afford for us to lose my health insurance — and we are *still* only living paycheck to paycheck. And compared to many people I know and love, we’re doing pretty fucking well.
You don’t know what people are facing. You don’t know that what they’re giving up to get through a day, you don’t know how their lives are barely tolerable, you don’t know that that one fucking cup of tea in a disposable cup is their one bright spot of the day, you don’t know that whether facing a sink full of dishes will be the last thing they can’t handle, that makes them convinced life isn’t worth living. You don’t know what brings them joy, and if you’re just policing their actions without offering any help or wanting to even know them as a person, you are only adding the problem. So fuck off.
I am tired of the tearing-down of people. Can we please, please focus on building up? Be the change you want to see in the world, and mind your damned business otherwise.