The question is not “Can you make a difference?” YOU ALREADY DO. It’s just a matter of what kind of difference you want to make.
This blog has been brewing in my heart for about 6 months. That’s almost as long as it takes to gestate a baby, a whole entire human being. Why would it take so long to birth words? We use them every day, and I have PLENTY to say (just ask my husband :)). I suppose, for me at least, I’ve always had a hard time being transparent… I want to be liked. But sometimes, you know that there are things that are worth caring about more than caring about what someone thinks about you, or your opinion. (And let’s face it, we usually think people care more about us/our thoughts/our choices than they really do.)
So, that leads me to the “title” of this post… What difference would I make if I join a good portion of the population and put my thoughts, feelings, and opinions out there in a blog? My answer is this: I think the subject matter for this blog is important and it is my hope that what I want to say is worth sharing. This year has rocked my socks. Well, more than my socks…my pants, shirts, dresses, jewelry and accessories…and even my soul. Before this year, I thought I was a generous, rather well-formed informed person. I cared, for Pete’s sake, and that seemed like more than a lot of people do, quite honestly. But this year, it has gone from caring to feeling burdened. It’s kind of like a heartache. I can’t enjoy some of the regular activities I used to enjoy. I love shopping sales; buying shoes, clothes, jewelry; and purses! My word… I LOVE purses. If you don’t believe me, walk in to my 10’x10′ closet and see the fruits of my shopping! What’s weird now is that I feel guilty. Not only for the excess and the money spent, but also all the “made in ________” (fill in the blank with one of the many countries that do not have measures in place to ensure a fair wage is earned, reasonable hours are worked, and heaven forbid, a certain birthday has been celebrated before you hit the factories). These tags remind me that my dollars are going to support economies and corporations that practically enslave men, women and children.
Earlier this year, I was reading a great book, “7” by Jen Hatmaker. She writes this book as a “mutiny against excess” and gets some amazing insights while fasting 7 things (Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress.) I highly recommend it! As she is fasting clothes (meaning that she only has 7 total items to choose from for the month – not including underwear!), she realizes the sheer ridiculousness of having over 300 pieces of clothing (in her closet alone). She then estimates (quite conservatively) even at $10 a piece, she could have fed, clothed, and schooled a whole family in poverty for a year or more. She asks,”What if all my silly little individual purchases do matter? What if I joined a different movement, one that was less enticed by luxuries and more interested in justice? What if I believed every dollar spent is vital, a potential soldier in the war on inequality?” And so, my interest in fair trade has shifted to a near obsession.
The problem with something new is, as always, getting started. Fair trade had always seemed a little “hippie” to me. It was: smelling like patchouli oil (which has a very “earthy” smell), sometimes greasy hair, bare feet, no make up, an overall nonchalant attitude towards fashion, style, or even, in some cases, hygiene. And that’s just not me [see above mentioned closet and a shower full of personal care products]. While I know that clothes do not define me, I like to feel pretty. And the good news is: there are MANY fair trade options from jewelry, accessories, clothes, bags, and even shoes! No barefoot hippie here. So this blog will be a documentation of fair trade shopping with sensitivity to a cause, mission, and justice. Join me?