Joddle is a blogger and podcaster from London. Her personal aim is to reduce consumption and to waste less.
I launched wasteAM around a year ago. Writing articles and learning how to blog in general – that is, driving visitors to the blog – was instrumental in giving me a sense of personal achievement when I was otherwise encountering trying circumstances. After university and good, relevant work experience, I couldn’t get a paid job anywhere, and adjusting my expectations, from being a ‘winner’ to a ‘reject’ was a slow, difficult process.
But as I said, blogging helped me to feel good about myself again. Even as a child I would publish my own work in homemade books. I think now there’s something in my psyche that enjoys producing content. I am fairly prolific; having published over 90 articles about waste in general, recycling, waste policy, and consumerism since the blog’s inception.
Blogging about waste and consumerism has also been a learning curve. I’ve moved further towards the frugal end of the spectrum, I’ve stopped consuming meat at home, and I’ve radically altered my shopping habits to make progress towards a plastic free lifestyle. Although I hadn’t given population and global dependence on oil much consideration before my waste-blogging journey, I am now deeply concerned about resource scarcity will play out in the future.
Yet my absorption in the blog, and accompanying reordering of personal priorities came at a price. My total fixation with waste and blogging put a strain on my relationship with my boyfriend. I found I didn’t want to go out as much as I used to. My online life had eclipsed my real life, and in many respects it was more rewarding. I would turn down opportunities to do things in the real world, and blog instead. I would tell my boyfriend I’ll just be five more minutes, and then spend fifty minutes doing something for the blog. I’d be on the blog the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night.
My relationship recently came to an abrupt, unexpected end. Although not cited as a contributing factor, my blogging compulsion / obsession / drive (?) was surely hard to live with. And with hindsight, I can see I had been neglectful of the relationship for some months. In the end there were three people in the relationship – him, the blog, and me.
Dealing with the break up is hard but it is also an opportunity to take stock of what I have and what I want for the future. In the immediate aftermath, while reeling from the shock of it all, the blog seemed pointless. I looked at myself from afar – an internet, waste-obsessed hermit – and through the gloom my obsessional online pursuits loomed before me in hideous absurdity.
I’m now looking at myself with a kinder self-regarding eye. While it may be unconventional and eccentric, caring about wastefulness drives me to want less and to share my words with others. As our environmental concerns are niche, we are compelled to find an outlet to share stories and experience online. I don’t think I choose to opt out of real life for virtual life; I was in the throes of a creative spurt where I derive great fulfilment from producing content.
I cannot stop caring about wastefulness: it has enmeshed itself with my identity. To minimize consumption of material goods at all junctures is now a core belief and I don’t think I can undo that, nor would wish to. I can accept myself for who I am – someone with an obsessive tendency to order ideas and opinions into words, driven by the belief that too much is wasted, and not enough valued.
And at the same time, I can strive to achieve greater balance for the future. To make an effort to nurture and grow my real-life relationships, in addition to online communities gathered around shared beliefs.
(A special thank you to Joddle for posting for me while I’m out of town and for sharing such a deep personal lesson. It touched my heart and made me reevaluate everything. Thank you Joddle for your honesty and insight. May your heart heal.)