Change and ‘The Power’

I’ve been feeling pretty rotten over the last couple of days. Had episodes of probably what is vertigo, essentially, dizziness and that run down- bleurgh feeling. Feeling sea-sick as I woke up at 6:45 and as I tried to get out of bed the, ‘why am i doing this?’ question came to me and I got back in and emailed to say I wasn’t coming in. I have spent most of the day reading ‘Power’ by Naomi Alderman. I finished it. And i’m quite confused by how I feel about it.

I’ve had a look at other reviews of the book to get some other insights.

It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting and I gorged on the first 100 pages or so because of how inventive it was . I think as the story developed it did lose some of it’s realistic appeal to me. Yes, the story is pretty fantastical but I feel it wasn’t supposed to be just that.

I really enjoyed the first 100 pages because I really felt a lot of aspects were covered by Alderman. It felt like there was a lot of clear messages to be taken from it. How different people coped and reacted to the changes that happened. I think it wasn’t what I thought because it wasn’t actually as nice and successful as I’d hoped. I think the idea that women are more powerful than men, to me, would mean that greater, fairer things would happen. This wasn’t the case and my naivety has been put to shame!  It isn’t power over another that is successful… Ever. It’s not dominance and submission (oi oi) but being on the same level and this is what this book shows. Too much power in any hands can be a bad thing.

The particularly poignant part in the book is quite early on and it is when women start rioting and cannot be controlled and are feared because of their power. There’s a dialect something like “what do we do?”,  “we kill them.”,  “But we can’t kill all the women in the world”

At this point it very is man vs woman. Which actually is totally pointless because both need each other.

And  it makes you think about other riots and wars. And you think, this is pointless too? We are at war against each other. It’s pointless. It’s power not wanting to be lost. But what are we actually fighting for? Those at the top already, what are they actually defending that’s worth defending anymore? Are we asking to be heard or asking to take over and be in charge?

Most minorities just want to be heard and to have fair treatment. That’s what the women’s marches, the LGBT marches that i’ve been on have been about. They were for me anyway.  How can humans be so anti-eachother? Just seems like such a daft concept when you take a step back and look and what we’re doing now and what we’ve done for ridiculous numbers of years. And for what?

I dunno, all I want is to achieve a couple of things that I’ve always wanted to achieve. Do good where I can and use what I have. Power has never been something I have been after so I wouldn’t know! #simplebutcompletelife 

I lost the flow of the book by the end. I don’t think I quite caught the point of some of the character’s stories, maybe I haven’t digested it well enough yet. I thought the book was very honest and fair. There wasn’t an agenda to the book I think apart from a look into power and where we are at the moment. I think I wanted Alderman to talk more about the injustice in parts of the world but she didn’t go into too much detail. Having read a book recently which I reviewed a lot of the countries talk about – India in particularly the reactions really resonated.

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So I’m moving out this weekend back home for the year. I’m on placements all over the UK and in other countries come next week so I’m pretty much going to be living out my car, Betty.

I’ve been in this little room for two years and It hasn’t dawned on me that I’m saying goodbye to it yet. I was reading and it’s been raining all day and with my cup of tea I saw a photo opportunity. My phone never sees what I see but it got close enough.

I’m half packed. It’s going to take a couple of trips. You can see the magazines i’ve yet to read and leaflets about jobs and careers on the side. You can see flowers that Rosie bought me. They’re probably past their best now but i’m not ready to let them go. There’s a half empty box for packing, my keyboard which was fun to play for the four weeks that it fitted in with my routine. My wooden post from one of the marches I went on. I intend to use it again at some point.. It did have a poster on it..

I do and don’t like the idea that I don’t know where I’ll be in a years time. I think I am naturally a home maker and I do want a home or nest of my own. My own nook. Makes travelling all the more special because you have something special to come back to. 

 I suppose I have just been in so many places that I’m just looking forward to not having too much upheaval for a short time. Until I get bored and a wandering eye ;).. 

Rebecca x 

 

 

 

My completed Plastic Free Month!

This month!

I have to say, this month has been fantastic. I would never have been so strict or researched so much if it wasn’t for doing this for charity. I wouldn’t have felt so bad when I made the mistakes either though! I don’t think food or clothes shopping will be quite the same again. It has been really hard, but would have been boring if it wasn’t! I’ve seen a change in myself and even my friends in what they’re buying too…. and sending me photos of ridiculous packaging.

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I am looking forward to having my spice rack back… but I’m googling where I can get them in bulk/fresh in the future etc.

I have realised that I need a lot more space than the one freezer drawer I have at uni to help not needing packaging. Picking up fresh herbs and freezing them has been fantastic this month and would be great to have more space to freeze more.

I’m still getting used to shampoo and conditioner bars, I’m either using too much or too little and having to deal with the consequences. But it’s a no brainer that I’ll  be sticking with them. Shops like Lush are pretty much all around me so I have no excuse to be going back to liquid forms. They’re also easier to carry with me and are probably (though will need to do more googling)  gentler on the environment too. They aren’t particularly expensive and mine have lasted well over a month so far.

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Above is a photo of my deoderant and toothpaste & brush. I bought them from Boobalou. I really like the deoderant, worked really well for me. And the tin, when finished will come in handy for carrying my conditioner bar when i’m not using it. The toothpaste, i have liked. It took a while to get used to it and my teeth feel clean after it. I am hesitant to use products like this long-term in case they aren’t as good as the standard toothpastes. So i think I’ll do some more homework before re-buying it but i would definitely be happy to otherwise. My bamboo toothbrush is great. Again, it’s soft and took a bit of getting used to but would definitely buy it again. The deodorant and toothpaste i have been using for over a month too… just to show that they have lasted a really decent amount of time.

Washing up liquid. I’m going to trial around. I generally wasn’t very keen or impressed with the homemade washing solution. Left all of my stuff feeling grubby. But it’s definitely worth considering for the benefits. It made me clean my dishes straight away or use the power of boiling water a lot more…. So swings and roundabouts.

I have rediscovered my love for creating and baking my own things. Baking bread and making humus in particular. When they’re created by someone else they will always, to me, be loads nicer, but that could definitely be more of a treat than rather than how regularly i was buying them in before.

As long as I can get to a wholefoods/bulk buy shop I will definitely try to buy dried foods and pulses from there. Really it’s a no brainer again, when I already have containers, why not? It’s just the practicality of getting to the shop. The prices were not bad at all.

Eating out. This is where plastic free becomes impossible really. You have to assume that in a standard restaurant your food would have been packaged in plastic at some point. But arguably perhaps it was packaged in bulk.. So not as bad as buying the ingredients individually if cooking for yourself? I don’t know. But fast food is definitely something I’ll try to keep avoiding though I do have a massive craving for Pret’s herb wrap. If only they could come in paper! But equally, I bet I have saved a fair chunk of money by eating before I head out anywhere or bringing my own lunch. And healthier almost certainly too!

There were impractical things such as pens and highlighters that I really needed this month so I have used them occasionally but also had pencils to hand for when I could use either.

Drinks – I have made the mistake twice of turning away at the wrong moment and my drink been poured into a plastic cup or a straw being put into my drink. Pure, pure accident and so annoying because it was so unnecessary.

Reusable water bottles. Easy! Definitely worth it. Bring one around with me all the time now.

Medicines. – I doubt I can get around buying ibuprofen / anti-histamines differently. But certainly some come in less packaging than others so maybe it’s compromising and finding what does the least damage.

Clothes – I was able to get shoes without plastic in the end! Excellent. Its just the little tags you get in clothes. I read an article (link below) about the problems with polyester clothes. Subtly terrifying!
I think what I have learned is that actually stripping back and being able to only use the bare basics can be really liberating. It’s been quite fun thinking of alternatives.

It’s been so much simpler to basically say..

“well this is what I have, so this is all I can do”

and so rather than getting everything I want I have to make the best of what I have.

Not wearing make up has been easier than I thought. Not that I really wear a huge amount anyway. But any time that I need to look reasonably presentable I would normally wear something. I have missed it in a way but definitely something I’ll use less often… To make the occasion.

So what I’ve taken from this month is that it’s almost impossible to be totally plastic free unless you’re totally self-sufficient.. BUT, you can do so much to reduce what you do use! It’s just a simple seconds thought to look around in a shop and think what else I could use instead? Or if I could make this myself etc.

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated this month, all the money will go to HIS-India and I am planning to do more things this year to raise a little bit more. And I want to thank everyone for their support and not finding it all too weird!

Below are some articles that I found throughout the month that I found to be worth a share

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40498292

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/commentisfree/2017/jul/07/plastic-free-july-cutting-down-single-use-plastics-is-easier-than-it-seems?CMP=share_btn_fb

A lot of people end their ‘giving up for charity’ month with a selfie of them having a drink, or eating the chocolate they had given up. I don’t think it’s quite appropriate in my case!

I know it’s going to be difficult without the encouragement to not just buy everything in plastic again, especially when time is short or i haven’t had to chance to get organized. But I hope i keep it up from now on and remember the impact it has and why I did it in the first place.

Definitely recommend giving this challenge a go!

Thank you,

Rebecca x


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To the older me 

Rebecca,

Lots of aspects of your life will change in the next few years. You have no idea what you will see, do and where you will end up. But the way you think now feels right and fair but still you have so much to learn and figure out.

Remember that you will never be able to second guess someone else’s story. Before you go to judge and put them into one your ingrained default stereotypes talk to them, learn about them. Realise how similar and different you are.

Remember where you grew up and what you saw. Remember the people you met and the situation.

At the end of each month, ask yourself if you’ve helped anyone, volunteered or donated your time or skills or donated money. If not, why?

Remember how you still want to change the world and still think it’s possible. Remember that you can still be settled and curious and explorative. Remember that if you are not happy with something you can change it.

Remember that you can’t just look out for yourself, you need to be able to see the bigger picture. Not everyone is in your position. Remember to practise being in other people’s shoes.

Remember that the world is not finite and that you simply can’t have everything you want. Compromise is good and healthy.

Remember to do the things you love and inspire it in others. Remember that you don’t have to be pushy or competitive. Grow at your own pace and don’t over do it. Take breaks and analyse.

Remember to be the best person you can be, because then your time will never be wasted.

Rebecca x