A couple of months ago I blogged about a wedding. Anna-Marie and Daniel got married in May and I was struck by the care and thought that went into their day. Nothing was done “just because that’s how it’s done” – everything that happened did so for a purpose and it was always done with others in mind.
So it’s absolutely no surprise to me that Anna-Marie would decide to shave her head just two months into the marriage. Random decision? Not a chance. It started for her as a fundraiser – not for cancer-related causes as is so often the case, but for a Mennonite Central Committee project in Bangladesh that supports women coming out of the sex trade, nearly all of them having been forced into it by desperate poverty. The project is called Pobitra and it gives women financial support, a caring environment in which they learn handicraft training (such as sewing or soap making – their Sacred Mark soap is sold at Ten Thousand Villages stores), and teaching on health, hygiene, mental health, human rights, peace and literacy.
So it’s pretty cool that Anna decided to sacrifice 64 cms of hair for this cause but it became much, much more. For Anna, this is a journey in contentment. I chatted with her before the haircut party and this is part of what she said.
I’ve always been concerned about the clothing industry in particular (as you know), and western consumption in general. I’ve gone through many stages of trying to opt out of the game, including only buying thrift for years, and not buying anything at all for several months.
Well, since I’m cutting my hair, I’ve been a little more worried about looking “feminine”. I don’t know if you noticed, but I don’t dress terribly feminine to begin with, so I was thinking about “revamping” my wardrobe, when I thought, that is totally not the point! So I’m taking it on: the haircut, and battling the constant pressure to “be” something that society decides, and consume accordingly.
I’m taking a year off of consuming; particularly of clothing, including thrift and hand-me-downs. I’m allowed to alter things I own and be creative. But it is also a practice in being content with what I have. I’ll think about not consuming other things as we go and keep track of what I’m buying into and why.
To Be and Not to Buy is the name of Anna-Marie’s blog, in which she will record her journey. I encourage you to follow along and to think about your reasons for consuming. Her first two blog posts have really got me thinking already.
How do you define contentment?