I am a spoiled brat

My 4-month fast from Diet Coke and clothes shopping to raise awareness and funds for http://www.love146.org ended a few days ago. Now that I have enjoyed both of these things, many thoughts are swirling around my mind. Here are some things people asked throughout and at the end of it:

Did I miss Diet Coke and clothes shopping as much as I might have thought? Not nearly as much. I surprisingly missed the drink more than the shopping, I had got into the habit of grabbing a DC as I ran from uni to work or when I needed a ‘lift’, and this psychological craving did indeed last the 4 months. I sometimes saw clothes that I would have liked to own, but overall, once I got out of the habit of clothes shopping, I didn’t miss it.

What did I do instead (if anything)?
I found carrying fresh fruit and a water bottle in my bag gave me the same kind of lift as DC and broke bad habits related to it. I was lucky in the sense that the fast began just as my new life in Canterbury began, so patterns that I had established during my undergrad years did not automatically come with me; this made it easier then to start afresh without these things.

What did this experience teach me?

Not buying clothes was a massive lesson: I rarely shopped out of true necessity (no matter what I told myself), rather I shopped out of habit. Others who fasted from it have said similar things, we had simply got used to spending Saturday afternoon/Thursday night/whenever shopping, shopping when we felt ’emotional’, shopping when an event was coming up (when we still had unworn things in our wardrobes). It was a great lesson to ‘make do’ with the vast amount of clothes I have, finding things I hadn’t worn in months or years, re-working old outfits, etc…

I realise that making the act of giving up these things into a blog post is almost paradoxical to the nature of the fast – that is, to fight human trafficking – as these things are luxuries that I do not need or deserve and did not suffer from giving up. This very thought was constantly in my mind…if I wanted a DC, or took a fancy for a new dress, I was reminded of those who do not have these things, and so much more. What right did I have to ‘drug’ myself and be ‘hooked’ on DC when women are drugged into submission to violating acts? Or how could I have come to expect and accept that it was ok for me to have far too many clothes, that I have chosen, when little girls are given one pair of heels and a skimpy dress that they should never wear and sent out into darkness…

Shamefully, what I enjoyed most when our fasting time was up was the knowledge that I had the ‘freedom’ to enjoy a cold glass of DC or hit the sales after Christmas. Wait…the freedom?! I am a spoiled brat. What about the freedom I take for granted every day…that of waking and living where I like, that of being able to walk around freely and indulge in going for coffee, going shopping, going for a walk, going to a gig, going to see a movie…that of choosing the people I spend time with, that of choosing what to study and which career path to go down, that of sitting here typing in a warm living room with the Christmas lights on and my sister reading a book next to me, of having plans to see family and friends tonight…the list could go for so, so long. Perhaps as you read this, you might take a moment to ponder how different your life could look, so easily. Anyone can become a slave. A frighteningly increasing number of people are becoming enslaved in our neighbourhoods, offering services that have become the furniture of our society.

I am not one of them. You are not either.

It has been an honour to have had a little glimpse, through this fast, of how blessed I am. It is my hope that the money we have raised will serve as a drop of water in the ocean of the fight against slavery. There is so, so much more to do. But this is a start.

7 thoughts on “I am a spoiled brat

  1. Very good blog Gemma, impressive how you point out things. It opens my eyes to certain behaviour. Press on!


  2. Hi Gemma, your blog popped up on facebook wall. Fantastic writing! You have really made me think.
    Hope you are well.
    Love Suzy
    Ps. Ironically and sadly at the end of your post about fasting for human trafficking, there is a Google Ad for “Single beautiful women from the Baltics”. Any way you can stop these ads popping up on your blog?!

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