>The other night at dinner, we were discussing the feeling of passivity and how there is a daily fight to be conscious, mindful, decision makers participating voluntarily in the activities of society. This is harder to do in America then one may think.
Here, we have news that comes in sound bites, advertisements that tell us what to do with our free time, our bosses that set the example that to be successful you have to give more of yourself to a company that couldn’t care less about you or your development when they are grappling with budget cuts.
We are told that we are not pretty enough. I mean, we are pretty enough to be worthy in the latest spring trends, but we are not quite pretty enough without our 1,000 max lash plumper and anti-aging cream under our eyes. All of this just stresses us out: the demanding hours at work, the unresolved misunderstandings at home due to our negligence, the long few minutes in traffic, and that 30 second wait time to get on the Internet. And as for not being pretty enough – that is the most exhausting. I dont have time to watch the news or be “political”. When we are asked to vote, we dont feel “political enough” to mark a ballot and put it in the postal mail. It is all so frustratingly a waste of my time, because we have too much to do with too little time.
I wonder, how can I feel better and prettier and richer? I know! I will get a make over! I will reinvent myself and it will make my morning commute a new experience. It will change my life. I will feel beautiful. I will feel better. It will make me feel seen again. I will go shopping!
Life in America. Sounds like an absurdly disproportionate amount of privilege, doesn’t it? It is.
These observations is where my anti-consumerism diet began: March 14th. For those of you who missed my last blog, I decided I was not going to buy anything – NOTHING – except for groceries and gas. Of course i have to pay my bills, but not superfluous shopping sprees or making plans around window shopping, a quick stop at the mall, to see the sale, or see if there is anything I would like to buy just for fun. For something to do.
Passivity. It is hard not to be a passive participant in the American life. I have to fight in every moment to reject the distraction on the television and I don’t always win. Angelina Jolie seems to always call my name whispering to me that I could have her luscious lips if I bought just one more slightly different shade of $26 lipstick.
This is a life of privilege. I dont want to punish myself, dont get me wrong. I want to be aware of this privilege I have – see it, know it, name it, and own it. Today I pledge to re-sponsor a Palestinian child orphan through Islamic Relief instead of buying that $26 lipstick. I do not accept a life of distraction. I fight for my right to stay informed and choose. This is what my anti-consumerism diet is all about. Anti-consumerism is the new pro-choice.