I’ve been sitting in front of my laptop for a little while now, trying to come up with something to write about. I didn’t sleep very well, I have a headache, and I’m cold. I’m tempted to drag my blanket and hot water bottle to the couch and watch crappy TV all day. It feels a bit odd, to just to sit here and write about the little things when so many big things are going on in the world. When two grown men have entered a pissing contest to see who can piss the furthest while seemingly forgetting this one minor detail that their little game could end up wiping out part of the world. When in Sydney homeless people are considered a nuissance by the government and are having that which has brought them a sense of community and safety destroyed. When it’s not only our addiction to single-use plastic that is poisoning our oceans and therefore marine life and our bodies, but also the fibres in the clothes we wear without most of us ever having considered this. Today, I’m a five year old who wants a cuddle and someone to stroke my hair and tell me it’s all going to be ok.
Well, that was depressing. I actually felt my mood sink even lower as I wrote that paragraph. I’m tempted to delete it because I don’t want it to do the same to you. At the same time, it also shows the powerful effects of thinking about big bad things on my sense of wellbeing. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about them – on the contrary! It’s so important to know what is going on in the world, and we can’t just hide and pretend everything is perfectly fine. It should, however, not result in the kind of paralysis that makes us want to crawl under a blanket and never come out again. These are big issues, too big for anyone to fully comprehend, which often means that we feel powerless. We can’t just pick up the phone and call one or two little boys and tell them to stop it. We can’t make every single person reconsider their buying habits and their love of cheap fast-fashion. We can’t conjure up an invisible protective wall around the Martin Place tent camp nor bring down Sydney housing prices and fix the deeply rooted gender and other inequalities that are the root of the problem.
I’m not doing too well shifting the mood of this post to be non-depressing, am I? Let’s try again…
What we can do is craft a life that reflects our values. A life that, on a very small-scale level, constitutes a protest against the big things that horrify us. A life that, in very minor ways, helps us to resist the paralysing effects of the ‘too big to comprehend’ and the ‘too messed up to be able to do something about’. It’s important to know and to be reminded that this is something we can do, even though it feels pointless and self-absorbed. What I’m really doing here is reminding myself. Telling myself not to drag my body, my blanket, and my hot water bottle to the couch and lie there all day watching crappy TV. (A cuddle would still be nice, but I know that’s not going to happen today so I’ll just have to learn to live with that.) I care about slow and about simple, about people and about caring, about creating and about learning. I know this, yet too often the things I do and say don’t reflect these values. I get swept away by fast and easy, by my own emotions at the expense of others who don’t deserve some of my responses, by laziness and complacency. Once again, writing a blog post here is about reminding myself of what is important to me and about setting intentions.
This weekend I don’t have a jumper to crochet anymore. I finished it last Saturday night. That makes me a little sad. That said, I’ve worn it every day this week and it’s perfectly imperfect, it’s warm and soft and feels like wearing a giant cuddle. I’ve been working on a blanket for a couple of months now, which is a great mindless project, but I want to work on something more challenging too. I found these little squares stashed away in a bag. I crocheted them when I was first learning and had forgotten about them. I might see if I can make them into a cardigan, even though I doubt I’ll have enough yarn for it. Focussing on the process of making and creating, not on finishing. Slow ‘fashion’ and all that. Reminding myself that clothes are valuable items, take time to make, and shouldn’t just be bought nor thrown out with little consideration.
The lip balm I made last weekend is excellent. Even though I always used ‘natural’ store-bought lip balms before, I had to apply them several times a day. With this one, once or twice a day is all I need. The recipe is ridiculously simple: one teaspoon of beeswax beads, one teaspoon of coconut oil, and one teaspoon of shea butter. Melt it all together and pour into small containers. I also added a few drops of peppermint essential oil to the mixture.
I almost didn’t bake the cake I said I was going to bake last weekend, but jumped into action on Sunday night. I’m glad I did – I’ve enjoyed a slice of pineapple pound cake with my coffee for breakfast every morning. It only took 10 minutes to whip up and shove into the oven, but it’s been such a wonderful start to the day!
There were moments, however short, of lying in the sun. Feeling the wind stroke my face, the grass tickling my fingers, the warmth filling my body. Squinting to try and take in my surroundings, but ultimately deciding to just let it be, close my eyes, and drift off.
Earlier this week, I found some cutoffs from a very thin white curtain in the back of a drawer, and I’m going to make it into produce bags. I’ve never really used the plastic bags at the shops for fruit and vegetables except for small items like round beans or Brussels sprouts, but it’s time I stopped doing that too. It’s simply not OK. I considered buying produce bags because it’s easier, but ultimately it doesn’t make sense to pay for something I can easily make myself, and to justify the production of more material with all its environmental consequences when I have fabric lying around that’s not being used and that is perfect for what I need.
In other single use plastic-fighting news, I started carrying a small metal pencil case with a fork, spoon, and cloth napkin in my bag so I can refuse plastic cutlery and paper napkins when I need to get some food on the go.
This one is going to make me sound completely insane – but before you send over the nice people in white coats, please bear with me. On Tuesday, for some reason, I got very annoyed and agitated when I opened the mirror cabinet in the bathroom. I don’t have a lot of stuff in there – I don’t use all that much, and one of each is plenty for me – but somehow it felt like the labels on every single one of the items I have in there were screaming for my attention. There were so many different colours, each one brighter than the other, so many different fonts, so many flashy names. As some sort of possessed lunatic, I got to work and tore off every label that would come off. The end result: QUIET. I walk into my bathroom now, with or without opening the cabinet, and I’m overcome by a sense of calm. It’s an interesting feeling, and it’s made me wonder about how the rest of my home influences how I feel.
I’m still struggling to shake my ‘wake up – check phone – waste too much time before even getting out of bed’ habit, but I have been reading before going to sleep every night. I’m currently reading Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller, and while it’s nothing earth-shattering, I do like it and there are some absolutely beautiful sections. I’m also listening to the audiobook version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. I thought I would hate it, but I don’t, which is quite shocking. There are parts where I can’t help making a face – she’s
a little way too floaty at times – but her thoughts are the gentle and caring kick in the bum I need.
In terms of music, I’ve been slightly obsessed with Judee Sill. I heard one of her songs on the radio a couple of days ago and haven’t stopped listening to her music since. Her life was short and what you’d call tragic, and it’s a little strange her music hasn’t made more of an impact. There are the songs like the one below, but also much more intimate songs like Emerald River Dance. All equally beautiful.
That’s it for my week, my mood, my thoughts. A lot of words for someone who didn’t know what to write. You might be bored out of your mind by my ramblings, but it’s been good for me. I’ve regained some sense of purpose. Let the big boys piss. I have my own toilet to clean.