Tea and sympathy

Monday, March 21, 2011

Vintage advert via Adore Vintage via Pinterest
On Saturday, I went to Glasgow for a fabulous lunch with my fabulous friend Yvonne. Since we met during our first week (first day?) of university nearly ten years ago, she and I have lived together, travelled together, and read Penny Vincenzi novels together. She was the first of my friends to get married and her wedding is still one of my favouritest ever (the ceremony music included both a communal a capella rendition of Crazy Little Thing Called Love and the theme tune from the Disney cartoon version of Robin Hood - need I say more?). She has am amazing collection of vintage dresses and she sends me links to random Royal Wedding paraphernalia (like this). I'm very fond of her, to say the least.

We went to Fifi and Ally for a 3-hour lunch, culminating in a huuuuge meringue. Yum. We browsed the Le Creuset shop and lusted after their new coastal blue range, then tried to counteract the depressing middle-aged-ness of that excursion by going to the Vivienne Westwood shop and lusting after the Lady Dragons (I've seen them all over the wedding blog world, including on the gorgeous Aisling, but never in real life - it was an exciting moment. I can confirm that they're dead comfy and smell like My Little Ponies). I love Glasgow almost as much as I love Yvonne so, all in all, it was a good day.
Vintage Japanese postcard via lunaticpandoraxd
However. I am conscious that there are countless women just like Yvonne and me in Japan, at this very moment, for whom the thought of a carefree lunch and a gossip with a girlfriend, an afternoon of idly admiring overpriced cookware and pink plastic shoes, must seem like some sort of cruel joke. A parallel universe where earthquakes and tsunamis and nuclear meltdowns and snowstorms and water shortages and economic collapses only happen on TV, to other people, and certainly not all at the SAME DAMN TIME.

Several bloggers, in a bid to raise awareness and funds for Japan, marked Friday as a Bloggers' Day of Silence. As you may have noticed, I didn't blog on Friday either. However, I feel morally bound to admit that it wasn't because I was intentionally participating - I just didn't have anything to blog. I didn't actively choose *not* to participate (although I think people are pretty aware of what's happening in Japan already, you know, with it being on the news 24 hours a day, and there are suggestions that as a wealthy, developed country, it doesn't actually want the money). I was simply too busy, and too tired, and too lacking in inspiration to think of something worth blogging about. I tried to write a post about how I felt about Japan, but the words wouldn't come - what is there to say that hasn't already been said?

I do believe, though - and this goes for life as well as blogging - that there comes a point where you have to pick your battles. For example, I was delighted and honoured to take part in In Her Own Words as part of International Women's Day, because I think raising awareness and educating and sharing our stories is an important part of the fight for equality, and until that fight becomes unnecessary I will keep on supporting that cause. It's great to see bloggers transcend their own little corner of Blogland and join together as part of a bigger movement.

Vintage snapshot via elegant ladies via design is mine
While I admire and respect the bloggers who did just that by organising and participating in For Japan With Love, it just didn't feel like the right way for me, personally, to respond to the awful events there. I have so much sympathy for the people of Japan, but I tend to agree with Meg that deliberate silence in the face of so much tragedy is not necessarily what they need (although, short of sending trained rescue dogs, I accept that it may be all we have to offer). Please don't get me wrong - I think it's wonderful that so much money has been raised (even if ultimately it goes to a different, equally worthwhile cause) and that people have come together to try and DO something, to overcome our powerlessness in the face of such incomprehensible disaster.

A blog that is entirely dedicated to raising awareness and funds for all the myriad issues that blight our world would no doubt be fascinating and worthwhile and generally awesome, but I am neither qualified nor, honestly, inclined to write it. There will always be causes that need our help. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was deeply moved by the videos shown during Comic Relief on Friday - you could write about a different issue every day and never run out. So, like I say, you have to pick your battles.

All of which is to say, even though I didn't participate in this particular project, I am of course thinking about Japan and wishing so much that things were different, that every woman in Japan could have had a fun, carefree Saturday afternoon like I did. I know it will be a long, long time before those days will come again for so many of them. I also can't help but feel extremely grateful, if a little guilty, that I and my family and friends are safe, and together, and able to partake in and appreciate all those little pleasures - meringues, pretty shoes, spending time with the people you love - that make life so precious in the first place.

{As Rachel so wisely put it, it is up to each of us to decide whether to get involved or donate money. If you would like to donate money, you can donate to the British Red Cross and other charities here}

6 boats moored

  1. ohhh, you know i think you would also like this: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/429/will-they-know-me-back-home

    Act two especially. though it might make you hate American's (wasn't me I promise)

    this is more to do with your International Women's Day post than Japan though... i agree with you and meg... I want to reach out and help but would rather wait until i knew that what I was doing was actually helping.

  2. Great blog Kirsty.
    I am now following Adore Vintage too! Thanks

  3. Very well said - thanks for this Kirsty.

  4. Aw thanks all, for some reason I was really nervous I would get nasty comments on this post (maybe because I got Fin to read my first draft and he said it could be construed as me not liking Japanese people which was obviously NOT my intention! See the value of tone-checking...)

    Lauren, I will check that link out, but don't worry, nothing could make me hate Americans (well, not ALL of them - just the mean ones).

  5. It's hard to know how best to support causes, isn't it. I read some compelling posts for and against the blog silence. I figured that I could do more in raising awareness by participating. Glad you had a nice weekend, your tea and shopping sounds very relaxing. :)

  6. You're so right Rachel, it is hard. I thought the way you did it was just right. And it was a lovely weekend, although I have been googling Vivienne Westwood shoes ever since, which isn't looking promising for the bank balance...