Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Justin and I settled into our new place a few months ago, and while it is a bit bare, a bit hand-me-down, a bit too white on the walls, I love it anyway. I can hole up in Chicago's negative degree weather and light candles down to their wick and look around for a second and think, "I don't need much more than this."

Of course the feeling doesn't last long. Justin and I wake up most mornings, him mumbling, "I wish I could climb" and I think, "I wish I could write" and then we pull the covers off and get on with it. 2017, I hope, will be the year of waking up to write, at least before heading for the bus.

Some other thoughts floating around as of recent: I wish my hair was blonder (why didn't I ask my stylist to go blonder?); How do I stop getting UTIs?; Am I saving enough?; When will I stop feeling so defeated that Trump won? Of course not all of my thoughts are worries  there is my recent obsession with Adriana Ugarte in "The Time In Between" and Acure shampoo and "Umami," a little wonder of a book by Laia Jufresa.

This year has, as many have already noted, been a rough one. As Ta Nehisi-Coates put it, this year "confirmed everything I knew about my country and none of what I could accept," and now there is the daunting task of figuring out how to move forward. I donate, I call my senators, I show upthough it rarely feels like enough. Before Christmas, I took a look at my bank account, for the first time wondering if I could buy carbon offsets to assuage my guilt for all of the air travel I've done this year and lamented over the fact that I don't think I have it in my budget.

(Or do I? I always think of C.S. Lewis who pointed out,"I don't believe one can settle how much one ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words ... if our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.")

It's rare to hear someone make a case for sacrifice these days, and rare too to hear anyone acknowledge that the desire to travel (fly) goes against one's concern for rising temperatures. I don't know what to do about this, finding it hard to pinch or hamper myself in this way, even though I know the privilege of it all and how I should probably refuse a trip or two. In many ways though, I think we need more space to lay this out, to acknowledge that it's hard to live conscientiously, that we will always find ourselves hypocrites, but so what? That comes with the attempt. To twist the words of Roxane Gay, better to be a bad environmentalist than no environmentalist at all. 

I don't necessarily like to admit my faults, or many other things I have confessed in this post, but I think it's important to add some authenticity along with the photos. I feel like it is a bit of a gendered thing to want to appear perfect ‒ women are well-versed in waking up every day and covering blemishes ‒ but I find this practice lacking substance. So instead, I guess the truth I've been trying to get at with this post, this blog all along: I make attempts to live better but often, it's hard. And I think it's helpful to talk about the nuances, the contradictions, the messiness.

Buy anyway, that's all for now. Happy January! And yes, my Christmas tree will be coming down soon.

1 comment:

Celia said...

My mind is such a weird mix of very trivial and completely huge worries these days. And then, happiness mixed with completely huge worries. Ahhhhh. Excited to see you soon.