Tonight a good friend and I are going to a Braid Bar. What’s this? It’s a night where you learn to braid hair, essentially. The idea is to inject a little more spark and life into your everyday, I suppose, and it’s being run by the Blog Society and Christina Butcher, she of the Hair Romance fame. There’ll be girls and goodies and champagne and best of all, time with my good friend. Hooray! Time with women I love, alone time, is so rare and I cherish it like a bar of salted caramel fudge all to myself. I cannot wait.
Except… Last night while I was sitting with my boys during their bath, chatting and refereeing and cleaning, I was also trying to catch up on the days news (multi-tasking is a disease…) and there was a gaunt face of a Syrian child and an appalling headline to match and I’m going to a braid bar tonight. And my kids are safe and clean and happy.
Not to say that just because there is suffering elsewhere that there is anything wrong with our safety and cleanness and fun… But.
But there were awful bushfires in our state last week (and more to come, no doubt), and homes lost and people lost and we went out for burgers and had fun with our family.
I’ve finally decided to buy some sneakers. Like, the proper kind. I’ve never owned name-brand ones before, and I figure if I’m going to take this exercise thing seriously, I should probably go all out on the kind designed for athletes (or distant relatives of athletes). Except, do you know how hard it is to find ethical sneakers? So hard. I’ve done the research, and there’s a compromise in every direction. Whether it’s performance, labour, materials used, how the materials are gathered, other questionable activities by the producers in other areas of their companies… I’ve also bought socks from the supermarket without a second thought as to how they were manufactured.
So I make conscious choices, or some conscious choices, but not all conscious choices. Does this make me a hypocrite? This question has been floating around in my head, and being pushed down and squashed by my unease, and temporarily forgotten until it niggles in my side again. I got that niggle again this morning after reading a post from Emily, at The Beetleshack, lamenting (amongst other things) how she could not be all things to all people and asking if the small changes she did make we’re nullified by what she did not change. She was feeling judged. She was being judged. And so we wonder…
I struggle because I’m not all things to all of me.
All of my standards and wants and beliefs.
We use raw milk for many things, but I also buy that big block of Colby from Coles. We use cloth nappies, and the environmentally nasty ones. We make a point to make purchases that can make a difference in people’s lives, like a chook or a goat or clean water, while in the same beat adding to the growing mass of Lego in our home. We buy second hand clothes and (gratefully) use hand-me-downs and spend bucks on the oh-that’s-a-pretty-dress-in-that-shop-window…
I know that small changes are sustainable changes, but this doesn’t make the conflict in my head or gut any easier.
It’s not like the parallel lives of joy and suffering are anything new, it’s just when it gets down to the moments where we see this, the little choices that remind us, the clean and happy and healthy child in front of you next to the picture of one who is not that it seems so… beyond our control. Helpless. Frustrating.
And I’m not convinced there really in an answer. I don’t think there’s any way to make right that which is essentially not right.
How do you reconcile the two in your head or heart? Are they even reconcilable? Is an ease with both of these things living in our heads necessary? Is the unease what’s necessary? Keeping us alive and attuned and pressing on?
So I keep making steps, I keep looking for ways to be better, do better. And I also go out for burgers and look forward to things like the Braid Bar.
How do you live with all the pieces that don’t fit?