Saturday, June 12, 2010

In Awe

I am writing this in awe of the amazing comments I received on my last post. What I thought were some general statements - random thoughts I needed to write down because they were present in my mind on that morning - turned out to resonate with so many of you. I appreciate all the support, encouragement, resources and additional thoughts you posted. It is a great conversation, one that I hope we can continue over time.

Almost immediately I went to the nytimes website and downloaded the femivore article. I read it with a fervor that I haven't read anything in a long time. Then I e-mailed it. To my husband. And I started talking about it. With everyone (well, every adult that is) I sat down with for more than 5 minutes. While being appropriately critical, the article also identified a growing movement - among women, mothers, feminists - that is supported by a unique and broad spectrum of people. I fancy that I am on that spectrum somewhere.

And I agree with all of you about choice. I also agree that in exercising choice I have to be careful to not trip over the trope of privilege.

Lastly, there is a statement about consumerism in all of this musing - I think Mary Frances pointed it out most succinctly. I started to feel this tension, as it relates to my knitting, around the beginning of the year. Maybe it was the constant shopping: for food, for the holidays, for three growing girls (and the serious lack of garage sales in Wisconsin in January), or maybe it was simply a recognition of all that I already have. But the decision to not buy yarn for a year has been a small exercise in acknowledging my own self-indulgent conspicuous consumption. The very act of buying, or not, is a part of this for me too.

Now, don't get me wrong. I shop the non-union grocery stores, I sporadically feed my kids non-organic frozen pizza and cheetos, and you will find me mindlessly pushing my cart through the aisles at Target. But we also have a CSA, thrive off our local thrift stores, and I often bake my own bread. So I think that each purchase has to be balanced between necessity, desire and value - whether that be struck in favor of what is the least stressful, the most enjoyable, the most community-focused, or the most economical is up to each of us. Again we return to choice.

I will return to knitting shortly, but wanted to write this post in appreciation of your comments and consideration. At the very least I'm really, really happy to know I am not alone in my thoughts. The photo is of my youngest daughters hand, stained red from picking strawberries yesterday. I imagine it is also my hand outstretched as a welcome to all of you.


Rebekah said...

I think I need to try out Mary Frances' non-consumption idea for a while now. I have been feeling so bogged down with my stash. It's becoming more of a chore to keep up with it than a joy to have a hobby to fill my time when I please.

mama-pan | mary frances said...

thanks so much to you, Beth, for provoking and hosting such a great conversation. really glad the "femivore's dilemma" article resonated--it did for me, too, maybe with an emphasis on "dilemma," but that's why it's so great to talk these things out.

and rebekah, I think you may have misattributed the no-more-yarn-stash year, which was Beth's own... and a great one.