Are we really already moving into the second month of 2010? I haven’t even had a chance to tell you about my New Year’s Resolution. I sat down at the coffee table at Mike’s house on New Year’s Day, hungover and sipping on strong coffee (which is something I never drink so that in itself is an indication I was hungover). We decided to make our resolutions. We limited ourselves to 5. Among the normal goals of eating better and exercising more I threw a bolder one out there into the mix.
I vow to not buy any brand new clothes in the entire year of 2010.
Okay, so there are a few exceptions to this rule. Like underwear. I’m sorry but I’m just not going to buy used underwear at the Goodwill…ewwww! Pajamas might be another one of those things that can make it on the exception list and any other very specialized or intimate items. But the idea is to be mindful about what I buy, to not consume in a neglectful matter, and to only indulge in fashion that does not create more in this world but is rather something still in the cycle of existence, searching for a new home. There are plenty of great fashions at thrift stores and consignment shops and it is my goal to change the world one consumer at a time.
So how have I fared in the first month? Well I bought two brand new things. One of them falls into the pajama category so I am forgiven. The other, well it was a pair of really cute cargo pants on sale for $6 at Kohl’s and I must go to confession and say 100 Hail Mary’s and whip myself 20 times a day for the rest of the year. Actually, instead of doing something so useless and brutal as this I will just dedicate this year to my cause…the first manifestation of my cause will be a very exciting event that will bring the news of green consumerism to many people in my local community. Details of this event will all be revealed shortly.
Anyway, I do have to tell you though that buying that one pair of pants did make me realize a few things.
One, they were made in Vietnam. Meaning some poor woman or child probably slaved away making thousands of them for pennies a day for them to be marked up at an incredible rate so that corporate America could get rich. And the carbon footprint that it took to fly them from Vietnam to be at my local Kohl’s store in San Luis Obispo was probably not worth it either. I wish I had exact numbers for these statistics which I hope to eventually have once I do further research and read the library’s worth of books I have sitting on my shelf about consumerism.
Two, since I have owned these pants I have worn them multiple times a week so even though I did a shameful thing in supporting this consumer culture I did it mindfully. If I buy all of one brand new item a month, I believe it can be justified if it is something I know I will get good use out of. However, if it was just to sit in my closet gathering dust than I obviously was buying on an impulse and not due to the true appreciation of the fashion. This is a lesson to be learned…this is the idea behind mindful consumerism.
Three, I feel a little better that I bought them for only $6. Not only did I not waste my hard-to-come-by money on a pair of pants when I really have a plentiful number hanging in my closet, but corporate America probably didn’t make a huge profit either. This means my contribution to this psychopathic entity was minimal.
Even though I failed within the first month of the year, the resolution is not a complete failure. I mean how many times do people make a resolution and break it and make the same resolution once, twice, or multiple times over again. The fact that there is determination means there is consciousness of an important change. So I vow to continue being conscious and abiding by my resolution.
I challenge others to make this resolution (even thought it may be mid-year) and take the vow not to buy any brand new clothes for a year.
“There are those who see the world as it is, and ask, Why? And there are those who see the world as it could be, and ask, Why not?” - George Bernard Shaw
I just finished reading the most amazing book that I can barely imagine trying explain in words to make all of you understand the eye opening, soul awakening experience reading this book created for me. When I was finished I felt I was walking around in a blissful haze of both relief and excitement and I bowed down on the floor, enhaled the air with my sacred breath of life, and took it all in.
The book was the Third Book of Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch and the relief I felt upon reading it is knowing that everything I have ever felt about what is wrong with our world and everything I have ever felt about how this world should actually be is laid out so clearly here. It gives me relief to know I’m not alone in feeling this way, it gives me relief to have it written down so eloquently and spelled out so simplistically. It gives me excitement that I can actually do something about it, that the fact that I am not the only one makes the task of changing our oh so very wrong world not seem to be solely resting on my shoulders…there are others who see the way and are taking responsibility. I want to do my part.
What I loved most about the book is it took the political beliefs I have held for years (fyi, I’m a socialist of some sort) and turned them not into a political issue but rather pure common sense. I have always known this and it is this reason that I have always been an advocate for these principles. Yet I didn’t know exactly how to express to friends, family, etc. that the socialist way is not essential politically but essential for all of humanity to exist. It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with survival in the highest form. There is so little I can say to express to you what an amazing book it is because the book is filled with 377 pages of awe-inspiring messages, all of which you have to truly experience for yourself. I have come here today only to share with you the inspiration, beauty, and home I have found within this book and encourage you all to read it. I know my summary is not very detailed and may only make sense once you read it or once you know me and my ideals better but as I continue on this blog I may reference a lot of ideas from this book and draw from all that I have learned upon my journey of reading it. It has truly become the bible from which I will live by. Really, it is the bible I have been attempting to live by that I had not realized existed until now. If I had the money to buy it for everyone I know, I would, but I can’t so please, I encourage you all to go out and buy it or borrow it from the library.
Craft Fair / Trunk Sale - Clothing, aprons, accessories, jewelry, household items, bath products, stuff for baby and more!
Saturday, December 12, 9am-2pm
1068 Pacific St.
Hecho en SLO is a Creative Collective who’s aim is the creation of items using largely repurposed materials and encouraging the ideals of green consumer behavior while supporting local artists!
This blog is meant to be a place to document my journey of life. Although I am specifically using it as a place to root my pet project, my endeavor, my dream so that I can watch it grow, I know that it will include many personal anecdotes, learning processes, frustrations, bitching, and emotional blabbings as well. That is okay though, because you know what? That is all part of the process and even though it may not seem to be directly related to what I am trying to do with my idea of Homegrown SLO, it is all part of my journey, my story, and it all needs to come together to tell it.
So what is Homegrown SLO…this dream of mine? Well I may or may not answer that question in this specific blog because that is a story in and of itself. But I will tell you how my journey thus far has led me to the creation of Homegrown SLO.
SLO is my hometown. San Luis Obispo, CA. It is a small town that is so full of beauty in every corner that artists come here and dwell here because of the inspiration found in every quaint building, on each one of the hundreds of hiking trails that afford spectacular views, on each beach…from the very secluded of San Simeon, to the carnivalesque atmosphere of Pismo Beach…, in every row of vines in our wine country.
Believe me, growing up in such a sleepy little town was painful. At least I thought it was at the time. Oh, it was so boring riding bikes to the Elfin Forest and having picnics under the oaks, it was so boring kayaking through the back bay, so boring having off campus lunches watching the waves at Morro Rock. Poor, poor me! Luckily I had the opportunity to be brought to my senses by leaving and traveling the world. I always thought that I would live in another country in my adult life, that I would be the ex-patriot that my ideals lend me to be. And I definitely tried. I lived in Australia and Spain all before I was 23 and traveled extensively during and beyond that. The world is gorgeous but not as gorgeous as San Luis Obispo.
I realized that my senior year at San Diego State University. I realized the United States may not be conducive with my ideologies but I could at least find some comfort in San Luis Obispo being that it is a quaint little hippie town in some aspects. I knew Southern California was probably the last place on earth where I could get a sense of the people and atmosphere that could promote growth along my journey and could bring me happiness. The soil in Southern California is shallow. I needed a place where the soil was rich and deep…where my roots could spread. Ironic as it may seem, my hometown, the place I was born and raised, seemed the best place within the United States that would allow me to be the ex-patriot I always thought I would be without having to leave friends and family behind. And the lifestyle that one can have in San Luis is so ideal. It is the Europe of California, where you walk downtown to meet friends for coffee or beers, everything is walking or riding distance, where there is no commute so the majority of your life is spent living it, not driving to it. There is a sense of community. And I am not just talking metaphorically when I say that the soil is rich and deep, this place is an agricultural haven. It is the most expensive place to live in America with a population of under 300,000. That makes it so hard to live here but so worth while. It’s the simple things that give us pleasure. And you realize that those people who make the sacrifice to live here are a very special breed. Those who find beauty and worth in the rolling hills, the majestic oaks, the endless vineyards, and the rocky shoreline.
So I came back and began my life here. I, myself, was homegrown in SLO, I had roots here and through coming back as an adult these roots spread and took hold in the deep, rich soil. Ever since I have become a community member, working for non-profits, volunteering for non-profits, creating events, networking, making friends and connections and basically just building a life for myself. A very fulfilling life, actually. I would like to never have to leave this place if at all possible. Because it is a small community, opportunities can be scarce so that makes my goal of being a permanent resident of SLO not the easiest one to reach. Many actually don’t. It’s been even harder due to the fact that all this time I really have not had any direction. I got my Bachelor’s in Spanish, wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a teacher, like planning events, am passionate about animals, have a strong social conscious, would like further education but don’t want to leave to get it. There were so many and not enough possibilities all at the same time. One thing I did know, I loved doing crafts and creating beautiful items that people can wear and display in their homes and I felt very limited at my day job of not being able to use my creative efforts as much as I’d like.
The real journey began then, as I met with more people who enjoyed crafting, as I established my crafts as recycled and reused products, as I did workshops and learned more about the ideologies behind recycled crafts. More ideas flowed and goals creeped into my head. The roots were given direction, a purpose, and are sprouting just as my ideas are, and this is where I find myself now.
My old neighbor Sara, a kindred spirit, and I brainstormed and decided to begin a creative collective called Hecho en SLO (Spanish for “Made in SLO”). We have many ideas, many goals and are in the beginning stages. We had our first meeting today and we are getting ready for our first holiday trunk show next Saturday. All of which I will explain at another time. My friend Jenn and I who frequently do our crafts together went to an art fair at a local winery today and I was able to meet and network with some amazing artists who do recycled art as well. Jewelry and door hangers made from old silverwear, scarves made from old sweaters and candle holders made from old box springs. Other kindred spirits on the same mission.
There is still so much I have to learn about anti-consumerism concepts, of green consumerism, of why we are trying to live by a philosophy of “create more, consume less”. But there is a very basic idea of why we are compelled to do it. My credo is as follows:
“All of us who are part of a non-profit or who participate in activities with a social conscious are ultimately seeking one overall goal, world peace. Whether it’s trying to create peace by getting rid of disease, stopping domestic violence, creating an environment where all species can survive and thrive, the main point of it all is more peacefulness. It is a beautiful thing. Each one of us has a issue or goal that speaks to us very powerfully in this pursuit of peace, an issue that is very clear in our mind of how, if solved, peace would be more attainable. For me, that goal is creating more sustainable communities with more reliance on local resources and alongside that creating more consciousness of green consumer behaviors. It is very clear to me how peace is unattainable in our current greedy, consumerist society where over-abundance is the norm in part of the world while the rest of the world has little to nothing. Our over-abundant lifestyles come at the cost of these people, by exploiting their work and supporting the big brands that become rich off these destitute people. It is a long chain of exploitation…we exploit them by consuming, the big brands exploit them by making a profit and paying them very little, our government and their government exploit them by allowing this all to happen.
I also have to mention that although I say “bravo” to those people who promote and support “fair trade” this still is a far cry from creating peace. Because although we are no longer exploiting the people, we are exploiting our earth by using precious resources to transport these products to the point where we can buy them, by creating new products in a still over-abundant world, by consuming when we really don’t need to. It all leaves a very large footprint. Why not buy locally? It supports the local community and economy, it is green because the transport of the items is very short, and if the products are recycled you know you are not purchasing more product that already exists in a ridiculous quantity. Last but not least, consume consciously. Think about your purchases and only buy what you need.”
Homegrown SLO is this blog, it is me, and it is this journey and it is here so that you may share it with me and watch it grow into…who knows? A flower, a garden, or a tree!!!!
Peace to you all!
Be the change you want to see in the world.