Consumerism and finding direction.

I always had a hard time understanding what I wanted to do with this blog. And it’s because my interests are so divided that no “box” would have me.

How can I explain that I am highly critical of leftwing beliefs, every form of sociology, progressivism, etc, yet I am interested in environmentalism and liberalism?

How can I explain that I am critical of unemployment among women, religion, racial segregation, etc, yet I am focused on traditional and tribal communities?

I am too rude and blunt, too traditional, too forgiving, too irreligious, too deistic, too maternal, too workaholic, too offensive, too liberal, too capitalistic, too easygoing, too unapologetic to belong to anyone.

I want to write about cooking and foraging, babies and freelancing, budgeting and crafting, fitness and diet, relationships and philosophy, whatever strikes me as curious or fun or new.

I guess the one thing that ties every aspect of myself together is my hatred for consumerism and the structures around it. I genuinely despise them. I don’t necessarily hate all the humans involved, but I hate the actual sin. Advertising is offensive to the eye and mind. Minimalism is a lovely goal when it isn’t commercialized and impractical. Poverty can be entirely your own doing without you being responsible for the stupid decisions that caused or preserved it. And I really don’t care what people do in terms of faith, diet, community, surgery, or shopping, so long as it is increasing the wealth of the system or removing themselves from the system, rather than sucking it dry.

So everything I do, my budgeting and DIY, my advocacy for traditional relationships combined with working women, my refusal to accept systems and structures that exploit the workers and enable the dependent, my entire self, seems to be held together by that.

It would be nice to have a community of extreme-leaning centrist, anti-consumerist, realist, relaxed, unemotional people to share this with more closely. But for now I suppose I’ll just continue being offensive to everyone.

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There isn’t one me, and that’s OK.

A post at Hearthrose’s blog got me thinking about something recently.

Although I take pride in being pretty independent and happy to be alone, like all people I try and craft myself a story which minimizes conflict, which allows me to appear more congruent, to fit into the group.

But the thing is, although I am functional, stable and happy, I am not a sane, balanced, “one story” sort of a person. I’ve done a lot of stuff, a lot of stuff has happened to me, and my refusal to adhere to one group means my outlook on life isn’t from the same vantage point as any given person I am talking to. I have been on welfare and among the elite at the Oxford and Cambridge club. I have spent time in churches and posing nude for painting and photography groups. I have been paid to write liberal essays, but I have also intentionally associated with Marxists and feminists. I have lived across countries, incomes, social boundaries… And between that and the randomly flicking light switch which is my hormonal balance, I am not sane or balanced, there is no “one story”.

I find that with the way my head works, it’s hard to reconcile many different aspects of myself. I learned from a young age that people as disjointed and random as me aren’t “real” people, that I needed to simplify myself in order to be “genuine”. Although no one person has mattered to me beyond Jon, I’ve still tried to minimize conflict by wedging myself into one story and hiding anything which didn’t quite fit.

Pregnancy has given me some time to think about this though, especially about disorders like bipolar and disorders of shallow affect. I know they’re highly heritable. But I don’t want my son to end up like my father: a bipolar alcoholic unable to reconcile all the facets of his identity into something pleasant and superficially genuine, which people might find easier to swallow. I want my son to be able to be weird and disjointed, to not commit to something unless he needs to or wants to or believes it makes sense, to not force himself into an indentity or a group without reason. I don’t want to make him think he has to find a community he can perfectly blend into and fade into the background. Because that is what happened to my father and it doesn’t work.

I don’t care any more if I’m a bit too sweary or immodest at times for the traditional spheres. Or if I’m not racy or flaunty enough for social media. Or if I’m not religious enough for small communities. Or if I’m not abrasive enough for my age group. I don’t care that I read anything from the KJ Bible to Deadman Wonderland, that I’m an anime nerd, that I can’t hate the sex industry, that I prefer to be alone most of the time, that I’m self-absorbed, that I like to do traditional tasks, that I hoard money instead of using it.

I’d rather get on with being me, doing what I must do in order to succeed at what I want, accepting the different sides of myself and not hiding them in order to fit in better or appease someone. If something needs fixing, I’ll fix it, not pretend it isn’t there to give a better impression. And if I lose a few people along the way, then they’re not part of my story, are they?

4 Things I Learned From Twitter.

Been a bit exhausted following leaving work, especially so considering I basically removed a year worth of mess from a friend’s house. People seem quite pleased about this whole “nesting instinct” thing!

But that means I’ve been able to go through my Twitter patterns of the last month or so. And here are 4 lessons to learn from Twitter.

1: Finding data matters. Research matters more.

Twitter is great for grabbing links, facts and stats. But every single one needs to be investigated. With all the fake news hysteria and mass media being as fake as fake news, it’s important to check our information not just against various sources, but against sanity itself. And if it doesn’t matter: then don’t file it as fact or fiction, file it as a random anecdote which does not matter.

2: Writing succinctly is a skill.

I’m finding my writing is clearer and more succinct from using Twitter. Forcing myself to fit long essays into 140 character shouts is expanding the vocabulary I use without making me sound like a massive nerd who uses words nobody understands.

3: Exchanging ideas is great, but you need space.

Twitter is amazing for swapping ideas, provided you can get on the same page and sum up your points. But you will always need to take some time out to process your thoughts. Most of the people I know who blog well and use Twitter have their own form of meditation where they set time aside to think through new ideas and formulate them better. Talking is wonderful, but we have to think too.

4: The wittiest, most liked stuff is also the most useless to you

Seriously, the stuff that gets the most favourites will be stuff that people agree with and are comfortable with. Being snappy and witty makes you more popular and puts you in contact with more interesting people, but don’t confuse that for personal growth, achievement, or important material. Instead, look to the things you talked about more and were recognized for less. That is where your ideas are developing, being challenged, growing solid. That is what you need to work on.

That said, I probably need to quieten my Twitter habit back down a little. Not entirely sure yet where this new activity fits into my old #NoNothingNovember challenges. What do you think?

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

You’re not “Nice”.

Everyone wants to be “nice”. Some people go as far as to say “I’m a nice person”, “be nice” and will affirm they are “nice” if you ask them whether they think they are. But it can be hard to pinpoint what they mean.

“Nice”, as per the dictionary, means “giving pleasure or satisfaction; pleasant or attractive”. There is no popular definition that denies this, there is no requirement to being “nice”, it is just “something pleasant”. This gives us a problem: you can’t decide whether you are nice. Only other people can decide whether or not you are nice.

If you call yourself “nice” you can mean only two things:

  1. You are pleasing to yourself, you approve of yourself. Which means nothing as all healthy humans, and many unhealthy ones, enjoy themselves and approve of their own behaviour.
  2. You seek to please others and be approved of, and believe your behaviour is pleasing and worthy of approval. Which means nothing as you don’t get to decide what other people enjoy.

And there are two motivations behind calling yourself “nice”, both of which can result in either of the two meanings.

  1. You are ignorant of what you are saying and responding to how you were educated. Your parents told you “be nice”, meaning “appease and please” and you did so. All you mean is “I want to make others happy” or “I’m doing what I think is right”.
  2. You know that niceness comes from others and you are demanding their approval or, in the case of “be nice”, that they should act as you want them to. What you mean is “you should agree with my morals” or “you should appreciate that I’m not actively hostile”.

Quite simply: you can aim to please others and garner approval, but you cannot make yourself “nice”. How nice you are is not up to you.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

As a side note, Twitter really has improved my succintness.

Love is a Limited Resource.

It seems to be assumed by many that because we can feel love infinitely, we can also give love infinitely. In principle, the idea that love (the feeling) is infinite is not all that harmful. But love is not a feeling. Love is a verb, an action. You can claim to love someone even when you do not support it with your actions, and everyone will agree that is not love. Therefore, in reality, love is the act of loving, not the act of feeling love. And the act of loving is a limited resource.

This is evidenced by people who claim to love infinitely.

Parents of many children claim to love every child, but eventually hit a point where their children are suffering the compression of their homes and their days.

Radical vegans claim to love all animals and to wish harm on none, but will cause another human vast amounts of pain for not agreeing with them.

Animal hoarders claim to love every animal they own whilst simultaneously making all of them ill and even killing some of them.

Polygamous people claim to love many sexual and romantic partners “the same”, but will readily reduce their exposure to all their partners to accommodate a new love.

Hippie types claim to love all people, but will distance themselves from people who are violent, the very people who would most benefit from their world view.

Humans simply cannot love infinitely. Our love is a limited resource. Why? Because the ways in which we show love are physically restricted.

Time.

Our time is limited. If we have six hours a day to dedicate to socializing, then every person we add to that list reduces our ability to socialize with the others. There is a reason we value having a few close friends over hundreds of distant ones. It is simply easier to love and be loved by someone you see and talk to for an hour a day than by someone you see and talk to for an hour a month.

Resources.

We show our love also by sharing resources with others. Whether it’s taking someone out for a fancy meal or simply feeding our children the bare basics they need to survive, the more mouths we add to our list to feed, the less we can feed each of them. Whatever you offer someone as a token of love, every person you add breaks it in half.

Energy.

And we also only have so much energy to invest in people. Maybe we do have six hours a day to dedicate to socializing. But that also involves the energy expense of moving to see people, engaging in actions and, for introverts, just putting on our social faces. The more people you deal with, the less energy you have to deal with each of them. So you could theoretically throw a party every night and socialize with a hundred and fifty people per night. But it will drain you.

Quite simply, we have so much to give. And we need to be aware of that. Otherwise we end up in a family of fifty with nothing to eat, or hurting a friend to prove we love an animal, or adopting three cats into a deadly environment, or seeing our partners rarely to keep face with other partners, or pushing away people who need our help to encourage good feels.

Our resources are limited. We cannot love everyone. Instead, we need to allocate some of our love to everyone of value in our lives and prioritize who gets the most of what we have to give. Otherwise we end up with nothing left to give and nobody to give it to.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

How To… be better than your man.

Confused? Let me explain.

If we aim to be excellent homemakers, we are therefore aiming to improve ourselves. And in this improvement we should find that in some areas we begin to surpass our partner. After all, the breadwinner, even if they are also working on self-improvement, will be excelling in other areas. They may have been a great cook to begin with, but we aim to be an excellent cook. They have no interest in gardening or DIY but we are mastering them both. In short: in some aspects we will be better. And there is a right way to handle this. We will use budgeting as an example, as it is a personal one I have more knowledge on.

1: Acknowledge each other’s abilities.

Regardless of what your relationship dynamic, acknowledge and accept that even if you are great at budgeting, this does not make you superior as a human being. First of all, your superiority in this area does not mean they are no good at all at budgeting. And secondly, they are better in other areas which at other times may be more important.

Key here is also that they acknowledge your abilities. To say you are great at budgeting in no way takes away from the fact that they can handle their budgeting when they need to, nor does it cancel out their own abilities.

2: Acknowledge your own limitations.

Likewise, we need to accept our limitations. Just because we are better at budgeting does not make us absolute experts. There will be nuances they are more familiar with, or the situation may be one that you have not handled yet. It is impossible to know everything.

Again, your partner is likely aware of their personal limitations. They know that you have an edge in most areas and are unlikely to be being stubborn when they refuse your help. It is more likely that the nuances and your limitations concern them.

3: When a decision involves you both, talk about it first.

Regardless of how expert you are at budgeting, or whether or not your skills are superior, do not make decisions that involve them without talking about it. It is one thing to offer advice from experience or to make a final decision when it is up to you. It is another thing entirely to walk up to your partner and declare you’ve moved your life savings into a form of investment. Even if the end decision is exactly what you expected it to be: don’t assume, ask.

4: When they are struggling, offer help.

When the final decision is up to them, do not attempt to wrangle it from them or undermine them. Instead, offer your advice and let them listen to as much as they want or need to. If the decision affects you both, your partner will be willing to hear reasonable input. And if they are genuinely having a hard time, they may welcome some help. But the key is to offer, never to force.

5: Do your best, but know when to back down.

Sometimes your awareness of the specifics is not good enough to carry you through. Sometimes they are determined to make a certain decision even though you fear it. Know when it is not your place to try and control your partner and back down. If you need to, take action to safeguard yourself. But do not turn an offer of help into a “do what I say or else”.

Quite simply: don’t try and control your partner’s life just because you have more knowledge or skills in a highly specific area; but also do not let them make you act against your knowledge or best interests. Communicate, be kind, be humble.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

It isn’t wicked to be an enabler, just misdirected.

It is often too easy to see the flaws in a behaviour and not the healthy points at the root of it. Enabling is one of those behaviours where the healthy components are often overlooked.

When we call someone an enabler, we usually mean “a person who encourages or enables negative or self-destructive behaviour in another”. However the primary definition in the dictionary is not that. That part comes second. The primary definition is “a person or thing that makes something possible”. And that’s something important to bear in mind.

An enabler, at their core, is someone who wants to give someone else what they want. The enabler may enable an alcoholic by buying said alcoholic more drinks when the alcoholic’s state is too bad to get out the house. The enabler will do this because they believe it is good, as it makes the alcoholic happy. They do not want the alcoholic to suffer or do badly; if they did they would be a saboteur: “a person who engages in sabotage”, to “deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something)”.

The problem therefore is in what they are enabling. They are enabling a negative habit, which in the end will cause more harm than good.

And therein lies the problem. An enabler is not a wicked person. They simply need to learn that what they are enabling is a wicked thing, that temporary happiness and praise is not a sign all is well, and often they will adjust and make efforts to enable more positive traits.

Enabling, once redirected, is a marvellous and powerful thing. Housewives and the home guard enabled healthy men to go to war when it was required. Kelly Ann Conway enabled Trump to portray himself well to the media. General Curtis LeMay enabled the Berlin Airlift. Objectively, in all cases everyone involved benefitted from their enabling.

So don’t fear being an enabler. Just ask yourself if you’re doing it for the feels or for the results.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What things have you enabled in the past? In what ways have you been enabled, for better or for worse?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.