As a white, borderline-middle-class, gainfully employed 30-something woman — my life is filled with luxury. While I may complain about the fact that I can’t afford to buy the skirt I want this month, or that my my fuel bill is too high — the fact that I have a car at all, or new clothes in the first place, is a rarity in the much larger world that rarely infringes upon my daily consciousness. Now, I’m not a huge supporter of guilt or shame, but I *do* think that it’s extremely important to be aware of privilege. I wonder, however, just *how* aware of what one has one can actually be — unless one has had the opportunity to live without it.
I’m beginning the social experiment of SansLux.Com as a way to explore my relationship with the word “need.”
Throughout the experiment, I hope to come to terms with my own classism — but as a personal aside to this adventure, I am hoping as well to explore the concepts of freedom, stability, comfort, and safety (or the illusion thereof) and to put the phrase “the things you own, own you” to the test.
How much is luxury, or are the illusions of safety and security, making me apathetic in my life, or keeping me tethered? In what ways are all these modern comforts I surround myself with making me soft (mentally, physically, politically, spiritually) and keeping me from having life experiences that would otherwise radically shift my perspective, impact my activism, help me grow stronger and braver and bolder in the world?
SansLux.Com is an experiment in living without. Each week, I will be giving up one common luxury and writing about the experience. The luxuries I give up will be a mix of the vapid and the extreme — from pedicures to privacy, from haircuts to homelessness. At the end of the week, I will decide to forgo the luxury indefinitely, to bring it back in moderation, or to continue the habit as I had before.
Ideally, by the end of the experiment, I will be a profoundly changed person. Or at least more aware of what I take for granted. If you have suggestions of common luxuries to remove from my life, please hit Contact and send me a line!