Divided attention and personal beliefs

May 13, 2008

I now think people who find it hard to pay attention may be paying attention to too many things. I have neglected my blog for one day too many as I was focused on work. I have probably been neglecting BFF and to a lesser degree Partner as BMF has been in staying for the last few days. It has been an enjoyable weekend though, full of vegetarian fair and though provoking nattering.

One thing, that I was having a proto-thought of before, that I think may help me would be to consider and write down things I believe. I’m a very apologetic person and any time anyone even hints that they might be questioning one of my actions I immediately make the most dismissive excuse for it. For some reason I love to undermine myself – a destructive behaviour that I have no need for.

I believe:

– in trying to be an ethical shopper. I have started by getting a veg box and by buying fair trade. I have no idea whether fair trade actually helps but I feel it is important that shops know that I and the others who support the concept want to be ethical consumers. The organic veg I buy as much for my health as for my belief in supporting the local economy, with reduction in airfreighting coming third. Clothing I find to be a difficult issue. I like going to small shops that stock clothes made by self-employed designers but this is both rare and sometimes expensive. I have no qualms about using charity shops though if you’re looking for something particular they aren’t always ideal (charity bookshops on the contrary take all my money when I go near them). My problem at the moment is needing clothes smart enough for work, cheap enough for my budget, natural fabric enough for my comfort, and non-evil enough for my conscience.

– that western society is still based on deep-rooted prejudices against any minority group (including women as well as ethnic/religion/lgbt groups). I do not know what I should do about this. I recognise that it exists and when I am feeling brave I question what friends say if I feel it to be inappropriate, such as when one of the housefolks expressed a desire to put his penis in Gwyneth Paltrow’s mouth because it was the right shape I asked if that was because his penis was particularly wide and flat. This embarrassed him in a good-natured way (I hope) and made him think twice about what he says in the house (I hope). I understand that he works in a male-dominated profession and probably picks up bad habits from work but I also think it helps for someone to point out that being lewd isn’t always funny.

Also on this topic I went to a local feminist meeting, mostly to see if I could make some intelligent women friends. The meeting went two ways. On the one hand they all knew a lot more about the issues than me, were well up on the terminology and were sensitive to behaviours I might have disregarded. On the other hand they were very focused on the issues they were passionate about, whereas I am a more holistic person. At the time I went I was reading Tescopoly and had just read the section on the effect the corporation has on the lives of women in the third world. Before reading the book (but since leaving uni) I avoided the store as I thought it cheap, nasty, anti-competitive and anti-community. Now I vow to never go there again. But after the meeting one of the women I’d been talking to went right in without hesitation. I know I am judging her harshly, and having found her to be very friendly to me as a newcomer I am probably being unfair, but this is the clearest example I have to show the difference. Each member of the group had a passion – one of them worked in a refuge for survivors of domestic abuse, one of them was campaigning against strip-clubs as they increase the rate of sex attacks in the surrounding area, one of them puts subversive stickers on lads’ mags. I suggested looking into finding female run businesses we could support or female owned cafe’s we could meet in and they looked a bit blank. I’m not sure how I feel about this group. Personally I like to support the positive, create positive reinforcement for positive actions. Of course I understand the need to campaign against things that are bad, but I also want to promote things that are good. In that sense I try to live positively in every action. That’s probably a very idealistic statment as I am prone to reluctance and apathy, but step by step I think I am getting somewhere.

What a huge meander. I may have to find more things to believe in tomorrow.