Saturday, December 10, 2005

melancholy

I think I've been having a bit of culture shock returning to suburbia. I was going through Wal-Mart today and just all the aisles and lights and clothes and "stuff" and people, and I was just like bleh, what am I doing here? The other day I was thinking I want to get some more green products and create a more environmentally friendly home. I don't know exactly what - just some things that are cool, functional and environmentally-friendly like things made with recycled content or soaps and cleaners that are green or who knows. Just visible reminders or who I am and what I believe in. Any ideas? Post a comment!

I admit I shop at Wal-mart regularly and I have no rabid opposition to them unlike some people I know. But on the other hand they don't represent what I am and what I believe in, which means supporting companies that do positive things and create products that actually help people as opposed to just creating cheaper stuff so we can all have more stuff that we don't need. On the other hand the one thing that I do "need" is candles. And maybe flowers... When I moved out into my own apartment I promised myself I'd create a home that made me and the kids feel safe and at peace, a haven from the world. I knew I'd need it. I love fire, so I decided I'd burn candles again regularly because I like the way the flickering flame reminds me of the light of life. I also like the scent of candles. Anyway so I bought some candles today - even though money is super tight, there are some necessities... It may seem an odd choice but it's a commitment I made to honor myself and the shelter I'm trying to make our home.

Part of my melancholy of late is fear. I talk about fear a lot and it's not like I'm sitting around "scared" - by all means, no. What I call fear is a primal feeling that is semi-conscious. It's the feeling that we cover up with busy-ness, or that manifests as anxiety, or that people cover up in various ways - I try to be vigilant of the fear so it doesn't sabotage my life by my denial of it. I try to address it head-on. I believe it's in everyone. I laughed when I read in Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled and Beyond, "The absence of fear is not courage. The absence of fear is some kind of brain damage."

Anyway my fear today comes from my little girl growing up. I just got home from her birthday party. I have a close relationship with her, but I also see the seeds of struggle as she starts to grow up. As a tween she is back and forth between wanting mommy and being fiercely independent. I see her as so intelligent, so gifted, so wanting approval and so wanting to be herself. It's a tough role to be a mom. I have terrible, terrible fear of her growing into a young woman. I know from experience what an awful, horrible time that was for me and I pray so much she does not have to go through what I did. I mean, I had the most traumatic teen years I can just about imagine. Well I can actually imagine worse, but not to underestimate, it was full of hell and drama and denial.

I want so much to believe I can help my daughter live a life where none of that bad stuff happens, but I honestly don't know for sure I can. I know I'm not a perfect mom and yet I feel I'm a good one. I don't know what my daughter will think when she grows up... :) When I get scared, I sometimes want to just run away and live in a cabin... I love to be alone. I love my children so fiercely and sometimes I feel I have failed them so much by my inability to be more present with them. It seems no matter how much I try, I just keep saying when I make more money or things settle down or I finish this project... but it keeps getting worse in terms of the busy-ness factor. There's less money so the pressure to work feels constant. I think I need to time-budget...

Anyway so I was talking to Daline and this is what I need to do - to get my financial and time budgeting in line with my real priorities. This will be my goal for next year.

I mentioned a few days ago what Daline did on her birthday - here is a post she made to the random acts of kindness foundation page. Read her story - it's so cool!

http://www.actsofkindness.org/members/board/viewtopic.asp?t=498&f=2

5 comments:

Lisa said...

Wendee, how do I respond to this post but to simply say seek God in all you look forward to, the delight of your life as a mother, and all that you fear, whether or not you are a good mother. God will provide you the comfort and peace you seek. Only you can do your very best. God will do the rest if you let him. Seek him. Be at peace.

Sus said...

You might want to check out these sites:

http://www.gaiam.com

http://www.uncommongoods.com/

Uncommon Goods is a really cool site as most of their products are by independent artists and the prices are typically pretty respectable.

daline said...

Hey Wen,
About your views on Walmart, I was wondering if you have seen the new Walmart movie or researched their practices and impact on world economies and people. It doesn't seem like something at all in line with your values.

About green items, tons of sources are available. Seventh generation has a lot of household items. Coop-America puts out a national green pages directory that can lead you to any kind of product you could want including green and socially responsible investments. My sister, Jackie, just bought me a bday present from the globalexchange online store which features all fair trade items and you might want to check out the Ten Thousand Villages store in Rice Village for gifts - the whole store is fair trade. I have shopped at the one in Denver- lots of crafts from around the world.

I can definitely relate to your wanting more cohesion between your values and actions. I have been on that mission since I left Colorado several years ago and can say that it feels really great. Every little change matters and they add up quickly. I think it is important not to beat yourself up about what you don't do yet, but to rejoice in each small change that you are able to make. And you don't have to try to do it all at once.

It can be more expensive, but the joy in knowing that by buying fair trade chocolate, you do not bear any responsibility for child slavery practices in the Ivory Coast where 40% of the cocoa comes from is worth a lot.

we should chat about this when I see you soon, can't wait!

Wise Crow said...

Wendee:

There is a lot of talk recently about how evil Walmart is. Everyone seems to forget that Walmart gave $35 million dollars to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation this year - a dollar for each acre of land developed by the company. From the NFWF website:

"Wal-Mart's, “Acres for America,” will conserve critical wildlife habitats for future generations. Wal-Mart has committed $35 million for the next 10 years to conserve at least one acre of priority wildlife habitat for every acre developed for company use. This new program is one of the largest ever public-private partnerships and the first time a company has tied its footprint to land conservation. ."

I hope the San Jac Coalition will explore this source of funding.

Bill Eley

daline said...

I have to comment again about Walmart. I think that the program Bill described about land is great. However, they do much harm. This positive action doesn't negate that. I hope this is a trend and the increased public pressure including refusal to shop at their stores will make them be accountable for their actions and they will change their policies.

About the land program, is that going to include acreage for all of the stores they currently have or just new ones? And what about ones that they open and then close to open a new one a few miles away to not have to pay the local communities sales tax? Or that they close after they have forced the local competition out of business?

I believe in being open minded and don't want to be swayed by propaganda on either side, but let the facts speak for themselves. And I don't believe in labels like evil.