Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Plastic Living

People keep asking me: “How’s the writing going?”

To which my brain responds: Sorry, err, what writing?

After all, how can I write about trying to live without plastic when I haven’t been trying particularly hard to do the actual living without plastic part?

“Shock! Horror!”
Or so readers may say. “You’ve stopped watching your plastic intake? How could you?”

I haven’t actually stopped watching my plastic intake so much as watched it increase instead of decrease. I could say that I don’t know how it happened, but the truth is I do know. And there are two main reasons - whether they are good reasons or not, I don’t know, but they are my reasons.

1. I’m lazy and I like yummy things to eat. Most of the plastic in my life comes from food - takeaway sandwiches, yogurt, ice cream. Things that I gave up a couple of years ago have crept back into my diet (and, unfortunately, onto my waistline). And when I’m on my lunch break and I’m hungry and I have half an hour to consume enough food to get me through the rest of the day, popping to M&S for a salad or sandwich is quick and easy.

2. Boyfriends are difficult. When I first started my plastic kick, Bron was completely supportive. But, whether he intended it or not, there are, unfortunately, limits to his support. Mostly in the form of whether or not a change I want to make impacts on him and his lifestyle, his habits. And when you live with someone, there is only so far you can go before everything you do impacts on the other person.

Catch 22.
When someone is resistant to change, do you:
(a) try to force the change you want on that person and risk making them either unhappy or resent you for forcing them into something they don’t want? Or,
(b) try to appease them, to maintain the status quo. The risk here being that you wind up resenting them from preventing you from being the person you want to be.

Thus, after two years of studying for my MA and a year plus of that trying to significantly reduce the amount of plastic coming into our house, I was well aware that Bron was reaching the limits of what he deemed acceptable change. Solution: give it a break, have a treat or two, and stop trying to change his plastic habits. I - perhaps rather blindly - hoped that this would go some way to solving the little cracks I worried were forming under the surface of our relationship. Of course, the problem with relaxing a bit on the plastic front is that ‘a bit’ leads to a bit more, and then a little bit more again. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the plastic floodgates had opened, rather that they developed a bit of a leak. So how could I continue to write a blog about reducing plastic?

And now? Well, now everything is different. Those relationship cracks I mentioned? The act of not talking about plastic every day doesn’t actually act like polyfiller, no matter how much you wish it could. Especially when each crack needs a different type of polyfiller. And so, after five plus years of living with Bron, I now find myself back at my parents’ house.

You never can tell where life will take you. And the irony? If I thought Bron was hard to ‘train’ in the art of not buying plastic, my parents (as much as I love them, and as much as they are totally spoiling me right now) are a whole different level...

Welcome to 'A Life Less Plastic', stage 2.

1 comment:

  1. Isabel Hon, I'm so sorry to hear that things have not worked out with Bron and that your valiant efforts to shuck the plastic life that envelopes us all have been stalled.

    What you have been attempting is incredibly difficult, yet has been inspiring for me and others. I hope that somehow you find the energy to try again, if only to keep seeking ways that the rest of us can learn from and implement in our own small ways (like the cellulose cloths).

    If you are still being buried under mounds of parental plastic, perhaps you should suggest they purchase this little invention from Japan: