Lately I have found myself becoming more and more unreasonable about the recycling in my home. I can feel the annoyance rising in my husband. I have banished plastic bags from our house. We just spent twenty dollars on a beeswax bread bag. I am pushing us to move toward getting a food co-op membership, in the hopes that the co-op will offer products with less packaging. I am also looking into doing composting to reduce our trash. I can see that he doesn’t get it fully.
On a recent trip to Target, I explained to him that where others might see shiny new fun things, I see something different. I see products made off the exploitative labor of people who live very far from me. I see systems that make things built to breakdown so that they must be replaced. I see single-use products that lead to pounds and pounds of waste in land-fills.
When I see our trash and recycle piles, all I see is my part in destructive, dangerous systems. More and more I see my part in systems of oppression and greed.
I am getting obsessed about my recycle and trash I think because these are systems I can potentially remove myself from. If I can get us down to 0% trash, I wouldn’t be contributing anymore.
My obsession is mostly driven by the systems I don’t see a way out of. I don’t know how to remove myself from the system of racial injustice and white supremacy. I don’t know how to remove myself from patriarchy. I don’t know how to remove myself from the systems, my privilege blinds me from seeing I am a beneficiary of. Within these systems it is hard to see a way out. More and more I see the ways I am complicit within them. I see the ways that I benefit from their existence.
It feels like every day I am getting paid in blood money. I don’t know what to do with it so I put it in the bank. It’s guilt filled money that feels more like debt than profit. A debt that keeps growing. It grows so high that I can’t see a way out. It has been accumulating since I was born.
Even if I worked every day to acknowledge my privilege and de-colonize my everything, it wouldn’t change that I still receive those privileges or that the poison of colonization runs deep. The only true way I see out is for radical community change. The system has to be dismantled in order for the payments in privilege to stop.
We are all complicit. The question is what are we going to do about it?