so to continue what I was thinking about last week — although it feels like such a long time ago to me — I’ve been searching about for people whose lifestyles and philosophies may serve as an inspiration. unfortunately, for all the hours I’ve spend casting about, I’ve not come up with much.
like everyone who’s got internet access, I get lost down the rabbit hole sometimes. and sometimes it’s for the better and sometimes it’s for the worse. I’ve been casually following a couple of female vegan vloggers — YouTubers? — and it’s interesting to notice what I think about and how I feel after watching their videos. I feel the worst after watching Freelee, who has good intentions I think, and means the best, but whose approach is too rigid — it makes me uncomfortable. also, I think there’s a good amount of unconscious privilege in her outlook and actions. sure, you can give up make-up and wearing bras (and clothes!) — you’re a light-skinned white woman. you can move to the Honduran jungle to live off-grid with your boyfriend on a plot of land that has freshwater streams on the property and buy solar panels for your house and encourage others to quit their jobs and do the same as you have — you have no kids as far as I know and no family members that you’re responsible for.
but how possible is that for most people? and from what little I know of current events, Honduras is a failing democracy and one of the most dangerous countries in the Americas. there’s got to be some white privilege in renting or buying up some land there and living with no effects of the Honduran dictatorship in your life. sure, she’s living a life with lots of personal freedom — and lots of personal responsibility — but how possible, and how plausible is it for the rest of us?
I’ve also been watching Sweet Potato Soul and Cheap Lazy Vegan. these women are more my speed, living with a lot of personal freedom and responsibility and their choices are a bit more possible — and plausible. that said, sure, veganism is a lifestyle that can be a bit rigid and difficult, and if anything the self-imposed limitations may make a person feel less free rather than more free, but it’s nice to see variants of the vegan lifestyle — women who eat more or less processed foods (I’m talking peanut butter and soy sauce, tahini and cocoa powder) and who can spend money and time differently to make plant-based foods. they also incorporate different levels of the vegan / eco-friendly lifestyle into their own lives, like purchasing second hand clothing, not using a car, finding and using cruelty-free and food-grade beauty products. but again, depending on your background, time and money situation, as well as ability to change your lifestyle drastically, this may or may not be possible.
so what am I saying? well, first of all — and I feel weird writing this since I’m online doing it — it’s best for me to stay away from YouTube and other social media (I’d venture to say the internet in general!) unless I have a clear and constructive purpose for using it. essentially the internet is like a portable library, and why did I go to the library when I was a kid? I didn’t go most times to randomly browse, or to learn from strangers who were lingering about the building, spewing their ideas backed by varying levels of education and expertise. I went with a purpose — with my own questions in mind, searching for my own answers, and with the goal of hopefully finding literature and essays to read by educated, experienced, thoughtful people who could share their ideas with me so that I could grow in my own education and expertise.
and for me that’s another step towards being free — freeing myself of the distractions and empty attractions of the internet so that I can focus more on my actual life, the one I’m living in my heart and head, the one that I will look back on and hopefully remember fondly, with cherished moments of living. because what purpose is there in sitting in front of a screen, endlessly accessing content? use it as a tool — a tool to create more knowledge and self-empowerment — not a tool of distraction and unconsciousness.