Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My name is Caroline, and I am a ...

What I'm about to write is not necessarily a popular topic to discuss. It makes many people squirm a little. I write this not as someone who is saying that I am superior to anyone else or to make anyone feel guilty. Rather, I am sharing my own inner conflict, thoughts, and the dialog that takes place within my heart.

I am a consumer. Whether I am openly flaunting it or guiltily denying it: I am a consumer. As much as I want to say, no, I'm not affected by advertising, by social pressures, by blogging, I am. I buy, I throw away, and eat, I waste. I look at my 96 gallon trash can that is full every week, and I feel helpless. I feel trapped. I spend money on so many "necessary" items that in actuality, aren't necessary at all. I don't need seven pillows on my bed. Nor do "have to have" matching this or that. 

I love decorating. I love remodeling. I love creating my nest. It is my creative space, my outlet, my room of my own.

But, in doing so, am I feeding the greedy monster of materialism? 

This is me accepting it. Acknowledging it. And sharing this inner turmoil with you. I know that I'm not going to stop consuming. That is the reality. But, what I can do is be more conscious about it. I need to critically analyze it, and not go about my daily life in denial. I need to make small steps daily...whether it's buying used instead of new, revamping, re-using, not using disposable, re-thinking life as I know it.

That's where I'm at. My  name is Caroline, and I am a consumer.

12 comments:

michelle b @ every little thing said...

great post! it's nice when there is more in your recycling bin than the garbage...hard to do with a baby who wears 6-8 diapers a day tho!!
its a mind switch, living greener...
love your acknowledgements...
xoxo

Sarah @ Dream in Domestic said...

Great post! I feel the exact same way. I feel so greedy but don't really know what to do about it. I packed up most of my stuff to move back to my parent's house for the summer before college starts up again and have been living without most of my stuff for a week. How could I live without all of my stuff I keep wondering, but I can live without it because most of it is stuff I don't need. I love decorating, too, and although I've been shopping at secondhand stores I still end up picking up things because they are cheap not because I really need them. I really want to start being more conscious about what I'm buying. Thanks for opening my eyes!

Nicole Maki said...

This is such a great post. It is near to impossible to not be a consumer in North America. We live in the land of plenty and anything less than everything feels like you're missing out.

We used to be really bad about spending/shopping/consuming and then we realized how much it was costing us, the environment and our peace of mind. Since that realization eleven months ago we've paid off all our debts, learned to live on 50-60% of our income and our family of five (including teens) fills about a quarter of our trash can each week - sometimes less.

Now our debts are paid we are going to Europe. So when I see something cute I want to buy, I just ask myself if I'd rather have an extra day in Tuscany - the choice is simple.

Good luck with making whatever choices are best for you and yours.

the thrifty ba said...

me too! now lets go to our group meeting-it is at target in an hour!

tessica said...

I know exactly how you feel! I never want to be owned by my things but find that I am often not the one owning them.
I have started to try to do more re-purposing and up-cycling. I like this because then am I not only investing a smaller amount of my hard-earned money I am also keeping stuff out of landfills.
Now, I just really need to learn how to let things go! That's one of my hardest things to do!

Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic said...

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem ;)

We all are consumers, at least I'd like to think so. Making a effort to consume less is where it's at.

I've started making rules for myself. You can't buy new shampoo unless you use all of the old shampoo. Same goes for Make-up etc (issue with my make-up is that i use so little that often times it goes bad before I can use it all and I have to buy new anyway - but at least I'm not just letting it pile up.

Nothing burns me more than fresh produce that goes bad - drives me nuts. But I always feel like I have to buy the whole store.

Start small - before you know it you'll be on your way to consuming less and being less of a consumer :)

Christopher And Tia said...

Recently while watching America: The story of us, I got angry with how awful modern day America is. I felt so grossed out by all of our waste. I took a vow at that moment, to make little improvements within myself and my family, beyond the changes I had already made reguarding this, and I'm getting to a point where I'm satisfied with myself and the way that I handle our house.

If you're happy with the way that you do things, keep doing them. If you think there is room for a comfortable improvement, then improve?

Either way, you admitted what a lot of people tuck under the bed.

And even though I've made changes. I'm still a consumer, in many many ways.

Pam said...

Well said!
Pam

Lacey said...

Hi Caroline!



You are right - so very right. I try my best to lessen our impact on both the earth and our budget, but sometimes you get distracted and find failures all up in your garbage can or Goodwill donation bag.

I, like you, will make it a point to be more aware. You should post when you would've done something, but stopped, analyzed and did something else - something better. It would really motivate readers to do the same.

Licia said...

great post. i think we all are consumers at varying levels. like you said, we can consume more responsibly. i'd also like to add something i've just started thinking about which is how we dispose of what we no longer want. some people's garbage is a treasure to others...

Momma Rhyne said...

Ditto... and that is why I have limited my purchases to Craigslist, LOL.

suzannah @ so much shouting/laughter said...

this is something that i've been mulling over a lot over the last 18 months. my example is my younger sister, whose home is lovely and is beautifully dressed--but she buys almost nothing new. she is a savvy thrifter and has her own totally unique style.

little steps truly add up! stuff saved from landfills, goods not purchased that are made unethically/unsustainably, creativity nutured, and more money in the bank. all wins:)