Prayer does not change God,
but it changes him who prays.
This may be a long & wordy post. Let me warn you off the bat- It's not going to own an ounce of fashion, and I am deliberately not putting my stylish image here. This, is NOT an outfit post. This, is NOT an escape from the realities of the world that YOU and I are lucky to share. So, you may want to skip it, and if you do, I'll understand. I lured you here as a reader of a fashion blogger. And today, I'm writing as a world citizen.
Yesterday I started off a discussion regarding acknowledging real world events in the space we use as bloggers. Quite frankly, I was put off by the incessant tweets about, in the context of what was happening, the most inane posts. I was astounded that while in real time, news was being published on Twitter about earthquakes and the subsequent tsunami that was devastating Japan, among other places, people were actively ignoring these latest developments. The timing seemed a bit off. For me, it reinforced the stereotype others have of the fashion industry and fashion in general- that it is superficial. I expressed hope that as fashion bloggers, we would insert more context into our experience.
I wasn't demanding people POST about the earthquake, or stay home in their pj's and be depressed; my intention was to remind myself and others that sometimes the best reaction to SOMETHING is to acknowledge, and respond, even if that means keeping silent.
I guess I'll come right out and say it- perhaps the best moment to shill your outfit post ISN'T when news is breaking of an earthquake in Australia, or Japan. For me, the best response may have been a momentary silence. Perhaps a later time might be more fitting to share your awesome pics of your latest trip to F-21. To put it bluntly: if death and devastation doesn't remind you of proper priorities, I guess nothing will.
I was surprised by the reaction of people who HAD been respectful and not at all the people I had been referring to, who seemed to take offense to my opinion. I was sincerely surprised by the knee-jerk reaction from a handful of whom I DO consider to be women of substance and mystified that they would feel put-off by my post. I'd prefer to think that I wasn't articulate enough, and was misunderstood, than to think they are defending what I consider indefensible.
We are all aware that tragedies and political upheavals happen daily. I am not postulating that we don sackcloth and ashes, wring our hands and pull our hair. It is MY opinion that we are doing OURSELVES a grave dis-service to stay unaware of world events. I'm NOT saying that fashion bloggers become political bloggers or journalists, and blog about politics or natural disasters. But I'm going to challenge you to trade in your business-as-usual during these times for something that means something.
Fashion may be superficial but fashion bloggers don't need to be. A number of bloggers did NOT blog in a vacuum, and either chose to refrain from posting, or chose subject matter that came with a bit more gravity. Some even chose to acknowledge directly what was going on. These posts moved me the most- I guess I'm a sucker for context.
Many of the defenders stated that they'd been watching the news all day, therefore welcomed the trite escape of fashion posts. Fine and good. I'm just still surprised about the amount of defensiveness. I was addressing this to a rather specific group of folks who seemed clueless of world events and shamelessly voiced a lack of interest in the recent spate of burgeoning democracy, or the impact earthquakes on communities around the world. My point was aimed in particular to those that shilled mind-numbing nada in the midst of breaking news. If you still choose to defend or condone this reprehensible and blase behavior, well, you & I are going to have to agree to disagree. I don't condone the callow or the shallow, and if I lose followers for being vocal about it, I will take my lumps.
I beg that you keep your heart open to the sufferings of others, hold them in your thoughts and keep them in your prayers. While it is difficult to be reminded that we were born to a world of suffering, I'd rather live firmly planted in the world that I've been lucky enough to bloom in, even if it means my heart's destined to break over and over again. This life is precious, folks, and the price we pay to live it, is the pain that it accompanies.
One of the most courageous acts is to bear witness. Sure, you may feel helpless and overwhelmed, it is a hard thing to do. It is a powerful act- to feel helpless. It is a brave soul who is willing to see the world just as it is. But, I invite you to bear witness. It is the spark of the artist, the journalist, the freedom fighter, of those who seek justice. No positive change is possible without it.
To bear witness we must be willing to see what our world looks like- in all its beauty, majesty AND tragedy. You aren't doing this for the good of those suffering in Japan, you are doing this for the good of YOU, because it gives YOUR life context. And perspective is EVERYTHING.
If you want to help, please do so! I know our aid seems a drop in the bucket, but raindrops makes oceans. If you can't spare a nickel, I beg you to spare a prayer.
Here I offer you, not to a place to escape, but for a space for substance. Substance not made of grand gestures, but in small acts, taken from the infinity of moments that knit our day. No act is too small to contain a grain of substance, not even on a fashion blog.
And for the record, I don't feel helpless. I feel grateful.
If you'd like to donate to the Red Cross, please click here.
(photo credit: Kristy Elena of Full Time Fabulous)