I’m a Scorpio. Every horoscope I’ve read describes me as strong willed & bullheaded. I believe the alignment of the stars may be at least partially responsible for one of the most challenging lifestyles I’ve ever subscribed to. Also, the sea turtles. But let me rewind.
It all started with anxiety. The sound of my breathing was leaving me anxious, a strange side effect of my Cochlear Implants. It was like Chinese water torture – sigh, sigh… sigh. I’m fully aware of how ridiculous this sounds. Talk therapy was a moot point; it was completely rational to hear your breath, yet impossible to relate for all but a small group of people. Yoga & meditation helped, however it was around this time that I found AN ARTICLE CONNECTING CLUTTER WITH ANXIETY. So, I decluttered a little bit.
I’m a massive fan of documentaries. Lisa Ling’s “Our America” is a personal favorite, shining light empathetically onto any subculture you could be curious about. Gay Rodeo? Mail order brides? Check & check. So it came to no surprise that Netflix decided to point me in the direction of Morgan Spurlock’s “Inside Man.” I was hooked & opinionated. Season 3 of this show features an episode entitled “United States of Trash” during which Spurlock traces his waste from curb to landfill. Enter BEA JOHNSON. Her home was minimalist & beautiful. Her closet was simple & chic. Her Zero Waste approach? Attainable.
I grew up with a lot of reusable products while living overseas. While we didn’t shop out of bulk bins, I vividly remember bringing reusable bags to the store, finding most of our food in cardboard instead of flimsy plastic. When we returned to the United States in the summer of 2000, we assimilated without question. I stopped bringing bags to the store. My parents stocked the pantry with all the cool & popular American packaged foods. Once I hit college, I chose the brands with eco & green on the label. I was dutiful & I neglected to question the process because according to everything I saw & everyone I talked with, I was doing okay.
But then, after seeing Bea’s gorgeous home & her Pinterest worthy kitchen, I started down the google rabbit hole & discovered more information than most would care to read.
Did you know scientists have found A CURE FOR SEVERAL TYPES OF CANCER, FOUND IN THE GREAT BARRIER REEF? However, it’s being DESTROYED BY CORAL BLEACHING, caused by climate change & waste.
And then there’s THIS.
Honestly, it’s depressing & consuming. A lot of the articles feed off of the fears of their readers, which is unfair & accusatory. I’m not naive enough to think that I alone can save the world or that the waste I choose not to make creates a huge deficit in the landfill. On a smaller & more local level I hope that maybe my hometown is just a little prettier because my wrapper didn’t accidentally blow out of a dump truck. As a runner & a hiker, I don’t want to look around & see trash – but I do & it steals from the beauty of the trail.
I’m very aware that this is my own chosen lifestyle & challenge. Most of my close friends as with my husband are not Zero Waste, although they have found some great resources for their own lives because of my zest & enthusiasm just as they have rubbed off on me. We do have trash cans in our home – I just try not to use them. I recycle more than other Zero Waste bloggers who opt for refusing store bought condiments, however I stick with glass & metals because they are INFINITELY REUSABLE. And I do have exceptions – health & relationships – which I’m sure I’ll write about sometime in the near future.
After the soft glow of the Google search fades, my Zero Waste lifestyle has changed more than just the way I take out the trash. While buying my groceries the other day I realized that I don’t feel my breath caught in my throat anymore; my anxiety is gone even though my life has more stressors. It’s become rewarding to point something out in a cute upcycled honey jar, knowing that I made it through trial & error. It’s empowering. It makes me feel like I’ve come home when I walk in the door.