There’s a horrible feeling that grips at me from behind the neck at times. It’s like a sucky monster that latches on when I do something seemingly counter to my (often vocal) ethical stance on something. And it whispers in my ear, ”Sarah, you’re a double-standard, Pollyanna-ish flake”.

Image via off-with-the-faeries.tumblr.com
Image via off-with-the-faeries.tumblr.com

Does he hang about your dowager’s hump too?

Anyway, I figured it’s a topic worth exploring…the contemporary angst that emanates from trying to keep up with modern life while retaining basic values – environmental, humanitarian, ethical and so on.

Here are a few of mine, some of which I’ve resolved via a bit of research. Some of which I’ve seductively rationalized to myself.

Perhaps you have a few solutions you can share for the others, or – better! – moments of your own in double standard Pollyanna flakishiness.

* I get my hair coloured to hide my frothing of grey hairs…but I claim to avoid cosmetic toxins (read my posts on why I ditched foundation and how to buy toxin-free cosmetics) I, frankly, don’t have a watertight solution for this. I’m getting very grey and my base colour is dark and I have to present on TV and I’m still in the dating game and trying to cling to some youthful looks so as to not come over all Mrs Robinson and….

For now, I keep things toxin-free where I can. A bit of an 80:20 thing going on.

* I get parking tickets pretty much whenever I drive a car (thankfully, not too often)…but claim to be frugal. This one was presented to me by someone on Instagram once. I have to say I have a rational answer for this. I’m into conserving resources, not money as such. Sure, there’s the paper the ticket was printed on, and the officer’s time, and the admin expense, but it’s not the same as buying shit you don’t need, or wasting stuff mindlessly.

* I use a dishwasher…when I promote mindful resource use. I’ve looked into this. If you stack a dishwasher properly, and put it on when it’s full only, it’s more sustainable than washing up.

* I eat chocolate. A lot. My rationalisation (I don’t think it’s toooo seductive) is that this is how I choose to take in my sugar quota. About 2-3 teaspoons of my daily added sugar count comes from chocolate. Here’s some info on how to eat chocolate so that it’s actually good for you.

* I live in the most densely populated suburb in Australia…but promote clean living. Light and shade, fast and slow. I think for some of us this is how we have to navigate the modern life/old values divide. I struggle with it, often. I should also highlight that city living can be more sustainable than country living.

* I don’t tear the windows out of envelopes before recycling. And I’ve been too lazy to look into this one…anyone want to comment?

* I’m probably about to buy a car…but I’m feeling guilty about it. This is a tricky one and is very current – possibly the motivation behind this post. Cars are huge, hulking mounds of infrastructure. This is the real issue for me, as opposed to the on-road emissions etc. (I’ll be explaining this more later, I suspect). I’ve lived without a car for years now, making do, riding and walking anywhere within 10km (which I’ll continue to do), catching public transport (which I’ll continue to do). Share schemes are great and hiring a car works well a lot of the time. But my life circumstances have changed and I’m increasingly finding it… inconvenient to not be able to jump in my car when I need to. Yes, inconvenient.

This is my moral quandary – at what point does inconvenience to me justify stamping my foot with a bunch of CO2 emissions?

Indeed, this is the quandary at the heart of all consumerist v ethical decisions.

A car will enable me to do the things I love most, more (currently bushwalking and surfing trips can be limited by transport issues) and to conduct my business with a little more ease. But does this justify the heavy foot print? I’m not sure…

* I allow makeup artists to pile on the slap…when I promote not being caught up in vanity and image. Tracy Spicer’s proactive stance on this has totally inspired me on this front.  A year ago she began deconstructing the beauty myth, and has since been weaning herself off “extreme grooming“. I’ve reflected a lot on this. I don’t feel I need to take this stance, as a priority. I think growing up as I did (parents who never ever referred to what I looked like; being a beyond-awkward-looking child… I mean, an EYE PATCH!) meant I learned to define myself away from what I looked like. And so today, I’m not too affected by image. Putting on makeup, smiling a certain way, achieving artificial “rich girl hair”…it’s like a chef putting on an apron. I put it on to do a job. Then I slip it off when the shift’s over.

* I am anxious and frenetic and let it overwhelm to the point of hurting people…but bang on all Zen. I’m on a path. And the ugly bumpiness of it keeps me there. But I can always try harder.

I think that this is what writing this post is about today. Mia culpa.

Have your say, leave a comment.