Shop a Vintage with YeuxDeux – 15% off the whole shop!

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Op-Ed: Regarding Cancer and Making Personal Connections

My dear friends,

I’ve received so many amazing letters from people who read my blog or found me through another online channel like my Etsy shop, YeuxDeux Vintage, or on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook. They read about my diagnosis and my current life and find common ground, and I’m honored to communicate with people who were touched enough by my life to personally reach out. I appreciate their candor and I am especially humbled by the emotional outpourings of some of the communications I receive. Unnecessarily, their email begins with an apology for a “stranger” so openly sharing their experiences with me. But are we really strangers?

It’s impossible for me to conceptualize the idea of a stranger. If you believe as I do that we are all made of the same “stuff” the universe is borne from, then we are all part of a single infinite family. I’m very much Jungian in my spiritual beliefs. On the other hand, my father, who studied Freudian psychoanalysis and was an atheist, never appreciated much about my spiritualistic tendencies. Jung’s theory of synchronicity certainly supports my belief that we meet people when the right time and space collide, however our acquaintance comes to fruition be it virtual or face to face.

I’ve learned that the people I meet virtually share my own philosophies and align with my experiences far more frequently than a smaller circle of people in my immediate geography. Makes sense mathematically – there’s nearly 8 billion of us globally and only a few hundred thousand around me. I have also decided to lay bare my personal life on my blog. As a part of the confessional nature of my writing, my pain and my emotional turmoil make my the most private inner world available to those who were heretofore unknown. Some with cancer, breast or metastatic or other forms, some care givers to those with diseases of the mind and the body, some creative writers, and some lives carry emotional similarities to mine.

Anyone who decides to engage with me receives a very dear gift in my response. My words are wrapped with care and a certain kind of love that’s unheard of where I currently reside. Still, I find isolation in my life with cancer.

For instance, last week I could not stop thinking about my mortality. How could I find a way not to ruminate as my three year diagnosis anniversary in my rear view mirror and oncology appointments and chemo and other therapies in the windshield looking at the unknown duration of my life on the road ahead of me. I snapped at my husband for his glaring lack of celebrating life’s time markers with me. He instead ignores them as a way of ignoring what I’m coping with primarily alone. In fact there is no more time left to avoid celebrating cancerversaries, birthdays, and anniversaries. He’s very good at disguising his sadness with annoyance, using my disease, my side effects, and and my cash flow as excuses. Such bullshit.

We are both aware of his avoidance. He has yet he to open his heart, to enable his true empathy, or allow my state of being to enter his consciousness… without relying on such lame excuses. I too wonder if the overwhelming amount of crap piled up between us is surmountable, and the task ahead staggers my mind. I wonder if we can ever find new footing on which we can look through the same windshield from the same vehicle to make this trip together. Yet he cannot completely get his mind to wrap around a tremendous daily uncertainty. It’s all too much for someone who thrives on order.

This may provide some insight as to why I’m happy to find the better part of my human condition and to find connectedness where and when it presents itself. I find peace with all that life’s delivered on my doorstep, whether or not I order it from the infinite universal catalogue of “Oh My God.” There’s so much complexity to a life, irrespective of whether one finds themselves with a cancer diagnosis. By the time we reach 50 the explosion of our entire life’s plan is the last thing we expect.

My plans got blown to bits but heart remains solid. So, keep those cards and letters coming my friends, keep them coming.

With love,
Ilene
Head Driver
The CancerBus

P.S. Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. My minds been occupied with heavy things and I’ve tried to pay better attention to my relationship to insure it’s survival. As my friends, I’m sure you understand.

From Nifty to Niftier

In 2012, I was a “nifty” woman awarded the label of a top 50 women in technology on twitter by Webbiquity.com – hey that’s pretty cool. But today, my disabled body cannot find a way to arrive on time, maybe 50 minutes late, but not an award-worthy statistic. 2017 Nifty Fifty Flake. Making lemonade from the lemons that fall far from the tress and slooooowly attempting an ascension to the locally driven retail and internet word search puzzle grabbing customers to my Etsy site. I rise or try to anyway, to arise to the transcendent world of low tech ecofashion. I recently wrote a post on my Etsy shop about the waste in the fast fashion industry, which I had no idea existed until I researched the surface of what I’m trying to accomplish by selling vintage goods. I knew it was good for the environment but I had no idea about how good.

Here’s the post for your reading pleasure and feel free to visit my shop at http://www.etsy.com/post/yeuxdeux.

Hello, my fellow self proclaimed eco-fashionistas, please read on and give yourselves another pat on the back for buying vintage from a small purveyor. Your proud and your clothing says more about your real love of our planet and not just of great old fashion.
Imaging it’s about 7:30 on a regular weeknight and you walk from the offie to a working dinner with some clients. As you toss your 40’s baby blue crushed velvet jacket over your chair and sit down while placing a napkin over the lap of your favorite new old 50’s dress. You can also be aware of the ooh’s and aah’s, since we all know vintage when worn well brings us many questions and can be great conversation starters as well. And now you can also tell all those complimenting your gorgeous and unique, well fitted outfit the facts about today’s new “fast fashion,” akin to fast food, and the waste of the fashion industry since the second world war, especially in the United States.
Here’s some fast facts for you – and not just to make you feel good about buying good vintage, wearing it, gifting vintage and antique pieces, but about not filling our land with more waste from the now second largest polluter and waste maker of all manufacturing industries.
  • As much as 15% of fabric ends up trashed in the process of making clothes. (US EPA, 2016)
  • 11.1 million tons of clothing are thrown away per year and the average American trashes 63 pounds of textiles per year. (US EPA 2006)
  • The average T-shirt wastes 700 gallons of water in manufacturing (US EPA, 2017)

Petroleum-based polyester and poly blends comprise most garments manufactured today in fast fashion found in stores like Target, H&M and others. The fabric proves very hard to recycle without losing quality and therefore goes mainly to the dump along with 15% of the other wasted materials mentioned above, winding up on the manufacturing plant floor. We won’t discuss the overseas manufacturing of garments in China and the Philippines where blue jeans create a special kind of illness uno themselves to the human capital creating the tight pre-washed garments that make your ass look great!

And for the back pocket of your jeans, here’s the fast fashion facts you may want to take with you to continue that dinner conversation you started back in the introductory paragraph of this blog post:

  • US consumers buy 20 million garments per year
  • That means every man, woman, child, and not to mention pets in some cases buy 63 garments per person per year.
  • That means everyone buys at least 1+ garment per week.
    The US EPA 2017
Would you rather read an exciting new sky blue 1940’s jacket hand-made in gorgeous crushed velvet just came into YeuxDeux Vintage and is available for your re-use and environmentally savvy shopping – arriving in less than a week and ready for you to wear, or would you rather force yourself to get in the car, waste time and gas, buy something not quite so dazzling and at the same price, and chance that someone else at the table ran over to H&M for a cheap version of the same thing you ran over to H&M for at lunch to impress the customers at your table that evening?
More impressive is your still going to have this jacket in your wardrobe for years to come, and perhaps even have it for your daughter or niece or nephew to wear years from now when they steal it out of your closet?  I present to you the facts, my economically savvy and ecologically friendly favorite Etsy buyers. Isn’t that why we love vintage on another level – the real notion that we’re saving the future of our planet with fashion gifts from the past.