The simplicity of imperfection
My apologies once again for going almost a month without a post or update. I've been getting back into cooking more, with concentration on trying to lose the few pounds I've steadily gained over the last two years. I guess my insecurity about looking like a ballooning glutton explains why I haven't really been posting outfit pictures. I'm finding that cooking (like any hobby other than online browsing) is distracting me from my sartorial pursuits. In fact, other than trying on and returning a few items to replace my work bag, I've been steering clear of the usual suspects i.e. La Garconne and her ilk.
I've also started falling back into reading - something which I have consistently put off ever since I bought a lighter, more portable laptop. Other than the aforementioned 'To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out The World?' by Lucy Siegle, I've been reading some books on wabi-sabi and Epicureanism in hopes of finding more of what I want from and in life. The whole nihilistic part of me is constantly threatening to spiral out of control and I needed something to balance it out - to find some hope or meaning even when everything I read or work on is telling me otherwise.
The funny thing about the wabi sabi philosophy and Epicureanism and is that they espouse essentially the same thing: life is fleeting and that in order to achieve some sort of inner peace, austerity, simplicity and kindness are a must. Regardless of whether you're an atheist or not, I think the take home message of these intriguing doctrines is that in order to live fully, you just have to enjoy the simple imperfection that is the everyday life. Avoid clutter, avoid the overconsumption and avoid overindulgence.
I know a lot of what I've written above may come across as some hoity-toity, intellectual gibberish, but a lot of the ills of the world could be cured if we pared down our consumption and choose wisely the things we buy. Climate change, decimation of species, exploitation of women and children, and the destruction of nature can be traced back to human consumption and greed. In Lucy Siegle's book, she writes about the evils of things as ubiquitous as sandblasted jeans, leather, and wool. Even while I pare down on other aspects of my life, those are the things that I could never give up. Instead, I am trying now to sift through brands that offer me some sort of comfort when it comes to the ethical treatment of the environment, of animals, and of humans.
I am going to try, as an experiment for the next year, to only buy items that can be traced to its source (man, do I sound like the stereotypical elitist hippie from Portlandia). I'm going to try to buy as locally as possible - from the food I consume to the dishes I use to the clothes I wear. And if they aren't local or from the USA, it should be at least be from a company that I know has high ethical responsibility and manufacturing standards. I'm sure it would prove to be a very difficult and expensive challenge, but perhaps this will actually encourage me to consume less, to appreciate things when I actually do buy them and to marvel at the mere effort of finding something that will become a heirloom.
I don't really know what this blog will become without having something to show on every post, be it a new purchase or something fancy or something that encourages consumerism. Even the notion of a "wishlist" is starting to irk me. I feel that it it is my personal duty and responsibility, as someone who studies climate and environmental science but loves fashion and all things materialistic, to encourage others to consume more mindfully in hopes that I may still leave a sliver of the beauty of the world to the generation after me. It is a responsibility that we as humans ultimately have towards the earth.
Some really good recommendations for weekend reading are:
1. To Die For - Lucy Siegle
2. Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers - Leonard Koren
3. The Essential Epicurus - Epicurus (translated by Eugene O' Connor)
And if you have too much time on your hands:
4. De Rarum Natura (On The Nature of Things) - Lucretius
P/S: I want to thank the people who have linked to and recommended this blog on numerous occasions. Thank you for being such kind and patient readers even when I go off on obtuse and roundabout angles constantly.