It's easy for this journey to become about me..and I had a thought a few weeks back, that maybe I've become somewhat bonded to Fair Trade. Am I no longer free? Is this an offering or an obligation? Some days are harder than others, but if I'm bound to this, then it's really all about me....and pointless
Not that I ever forget about the people I'm standing for when I say no to all the stuff I want (why are there so many plazas in Florida? Seriously, do we need 3 DSWs within 5 miles of each other? and I love me some sexy, strappy sandals.I should get off their mailing lists..damn coupons suck me into going in and browsing and feeling guilt..) but the guilt. The guilt, which becomes pity, which turns back into guilt. Which does shit. And shit does nothing. (Except for Ted, haha, shit does a lot. Oh Jesus bless that lazy colon....)
But the guilt keeps me thinking about me. What I can't have. What I'm giving up. The beautiful things in the store windows. I'm familiar with their backgrounds, I know where they come from and I always question: Who put those straps on the heel of that shoe? Who runs the machine that stitches up the lace on that dress? Is she pregnant? Is she getting enough time to sit and have a snack? Is he bent over all day, breathing in cancer causing fumes? Are they going to school? So, I think of them. But I also think of me. I guess that's natural. But I wish it wasn't so frequent. I wish my offering wasn't so tainted. This summer has been hard so far. Ted started his internship (paid, close and working with other geniuses on issues like chemicals in dry wall which have poisoned tons of folks). Ted needed some collard shirts. The boy owned 2. Count em. And one we found in the free box at Westgate. (God knows we should wear gloves when we dig through there cause God knows, that box is rank.) So, he's about to start his first day at this awesome environmental firm and he's wearing faded pantalones and a faded, short polo (yes, mid-drift was showing. And believe you me, I like that six pack of his, but I'm the only one allowed in this relationship to be flaunting the summertime mid-drift. That is just not what a man with dreads should do. Or any man, regardless of hair style.) I'm like, Ted, you can't. You can't go like that. They'll think you're one of the hippies from the nude beach at Playalinda. (and maybe he is, but he's gotta try real hard to convince them otherwise.......SIDE NOTE: We put the patchouli away for the summer. I think our elderly neighbors have appreciated that, but I still sense their suspicion. Especially from Snowbird Chicago who came down to ask about the Navy military tags on our Jeep. When he found out the Jeep belongs to a friend of ours (we love you Waylon!) who is deployed and we are borrowing it, he immediately followed up with, "oh by the way, They call me the pool Nazi around here. No floats, no beer, moderate swimming in the pool." WOWSAS. Why didn't I lie and make up some shit, that yes, I was in the Navy. Yes, out of Mayport, JAX of course, in platoon #898. Oh yeah, I've saved lives. (which is true. I once saved the life of 2 turtles on US-1.) But, Snowbird Chicago probably knows the folks at HSA engineering. So we are trying to keep up face around here. I'm hoping this weekend's midnight pool party won't be too much of a problem for him. Maybe we should invite him... hmm, maybe not.
So, we are also on a tight budget. Although Ted is making more than me at his summer INTERNSHIP. (Brian and Jeff, yes, this is true.) (Brian is my boss. Jeff is Brian's boss) (They know about my blog and occasionally read it. Which I appreciate. But I told them to put on their liberal Christian hats when they read it. I put on my conservative one at work. I'm the only one who thinks gambling in moderation is OK, go figure. The entire room was silenced when I said, "what the heck is wrong with gambling?" If they only knew about my other sinful habits......muwahhhh....(keep imaging Brian and Jeff. hahaha) Because of this tight budget we could probably only afford 1 or maybe 2 of the polos from Tompkins Point Apparel which I found a few months ago. 1 or 2 are good, but again, this leaves Ted naked on Wed, Thurs, Friday. So, we went to TJ Maxx and then the damn outlets. To which we found polos shirts for $7 on clearance at Banana Republic. I felt like shit the entire time I was shopping, but justified it by thinking of how cheap the shirts were. I mean, are they really making a profit off of me? Hardly. I'm still supporting their lousy asses, but only $14 worth. Does it make a difference when the stuff is on clearance? Yes. But, again, I feel powerless in this. Clothing can be the hardest sometimes.... Probably because I love it too and it means more to me than other things that are easier to say no too. I can say no to Hersheys and Starbucks and Dole all day long. But a curve hitting, black strapless dress that would look killer with my green heels for my birthday party this weekend... that's hard. (if you find a dress like that, my birthday is June 19th. Gifts can be sent to Island Sound Circle, Estero, FL)
I can't be defeated though. It's a journey, Jesus knows it's hard. And I can't let guilt hang out with me too much or ever. I need to buy minimally, sometimes unfairly, so that my husband can be respected at his work, so that we can eat and so that ultimately, we can avoid becoming a slave to Fair Trade. Because if I do this out of obligation, then I'm a Pharisee. Doing it to make me feel good about me. And that's useless to God and useless to the people who really are in slavery. I'm praying that 27 will be full of offering and joy in this journey, once again.
Happy Freedom to me.
PS. Yours truly was a guest blogger with the Boston Faith and Justice Network. Click Here