Another What Do You Think? post. It just happened to fit with world events…
When you grow up in Northern Ireland especially during the 1960 -1980s, you instinctively learn a certain diplomacy when abroad …when meeting strangers (or visitors) for the for time DO NOT talk about: religion, politics, racism, apartheid, bigotry, sectarianism, equality, feminism, football teams, horticulture, annual holidays… kinda leaves the conversational topics a little light – hence the reliance on the weather to initiate and sustain conversation and thus avoid offence!
A very long time ago, in another life, I was once married to a guy from South Africa. Separately and unbeknown to each other, we moved to London at about the same time and fate intervened. We got jobs at the same company, we worked the same night shift. Instead of dinner we went out to breakfast at the best hotels in London. We had a laugh. Both of us away from home, alone, both from very segregated communities that we weren’t particularly comfortable with. We bonded. We fell in love and one day we were sitting in a pub at London Bridge doing the tourist thing and a guy sat down beside us: in his typical “Hi, I’m American” you-should-talk-to-me-thing, we introduced ourselves in rather simple terms; “Hi, I’m from South Africa” ( height of apartheid), “Hello, I’m from Northern Ireland” (1980s Troubles). The poor guy just looked from one to the other, to the wall and thought ‘ Why did I sit here?. Can’t talk about religion, can’t talk about race, can’t talk abut about…..???’ Conversation stopped. Poor guy. Oh the irony, we did laugh about the pub incident later but I was reminded about it earlier today.
Sometimes, when blogging I feel the same restrictions – and probably rightly so – this is not a political arena, it’s all about sewing.
WARNING This does not make for easy reading – there’s conscience, guilt and developed world advantage – quite possibly some politics……
This week the world’s most powerful nations met in Northern Ireland – ya ya big deal.. and what’s this got to do with sewing and stuff? Wait and see…
This afternoon, totally unrelated to the G8 Summit, which let’s face it, turned out to be a damp squib thousands of FBI, CIA, police and security personnel – 2 arrests! Count ’em 2!
Anyway, while the 8 richest, most powerful countries in the world did their thing, I sorted out my summer clothes. Fearlessly I ventured into the attic to replenish the working wardrobe with cottons, linens, T-shirts, short-sleeved dresses etc; put away the suits, the trousers, the wool jackets until next season. I do this every season, what’s different? Well there just seems to be more and more stuff every time I do this. Some stuff doesn’t even make it out of the attic and lives in boxes in the dark permanently; this time was gonna different.
The rule was simple – if it isn’t in the wardrobe then it goes out! No more storing for another year in a box.
No more – maybes..
No more – when the sun shines…
No more – what if”s….
I was ashamed to photograph the clothes I sent to the Cancer Charity shop today. So much! So Much! I actually have so many clothes that I can wilfully discard, give away, and not worry if I never see them again – and I will still not be naked! And I know I am not alone… so many of us could do what I did today and really, not notice the impact.
Whatever happened owning to a good dress, a good pair of shoes, a good coat. Notice the singular?
After ruthlessly cleansing and sorting – and I really mean ruthlessly, I was brutal today, I still happen to have: 14 dresses, 16 skirts, 15 trousers, no idea how many shirts/blouses, untold tops & T-shirts, a few jackets and miscellaneous jumpers/sweaters.
What’s scary, is that I gave away 4/5ths of my summer clothes today and it will not impede me one ounce in my everyday life. I have not suffered physical nor psychological harm – in fact, I might actually have emphatically benefited from the activity and no doubt helped someone else along the way too.
I’m so glad I was born and raised in the Western world; actually, you have no idea how grateful I am to be born as a woman when I was. Sometimes I could weep with gratitude: I have had access to free education; to do as I wish without prosecution (within reason); to worship whatever god I wish (or not); I have access to open and transparent justice; I can vote and more importantly it counts (thanks Emily); free and uncensored access to the internet. I have freedom of speech and protection from harassment. More than anything, I’m so thankful to be alive at 50, to modern medicine, because, really, I should have have been dead by now.
And I worry what I wear……..! OK, maybe a glass too many – in vino veritas.
So.. How important is a a summer wardrobe?
How important is it to have stuff? How much stuff?
What’s more important in the grand scheme of things?
Did G8 solve world hunger? Did they think about this when eating rare steak with artichokes?
Did they think by taking off their neck ties they’d look like one of us?
East or West; developed or developing; obesity or starvation; rags or fashion; Hard and uncomfortable questions, I’ll admit to that. I don’t have the answers – Hey, I’m a girl of the western world and from the 20th century to make it worse – no consideration for the world at all for those 100 years!
Good ol’ Vivienne has not discarded her desire to help the world – God luv ‘er.
And tomorrow, I’ll be on Vogue’s website buying up patterns before the $3.99 sale finishes.
I have some beautiful birthday presents to enjoy and wear and spend – that’s my world.
But gosh aren’t we lucky?