This site was once a requirement in an undergraduate writing class. As a senior who was finally out of the dorms and into her own kitchen, cooking was the ultimate freedom and one my life’s focuses both inside and outside the classroom. With my mother’s amazing home cooking as my inspiration, I experimented with my own recipes and, as some of you know, documented many of those adventures here on The Concise Slice. Many photos, friends, foods, and fumbles later, I was still trying to blog the fun throughout my graduate career.
But as those of you who have followed me know, this was no easy feat, and in many ways a general failure. I didn’t realize how unimportant writing for fun would become when stacked up against reading and writing for homework, multiple jobs, wedding planning, being available for my family, and my thesis. People laugh when I tell them I feel like I have no personality left after grad school, but I feel in a lot of ways that it is true. Writing and reading for fun was done; cooking for fun was done; doing at-home projects for fun was done; and living the lifestyle I knew was important to me, my family, and the environment couldn’t happen because I lacked the time to research and execute the changes I wanted to make.
Luckily, grad school is over, my old self is coming back, and I can get back to putting other priorities straight. As a result, The Concise Slice will undergo an extensive makeover in the next few weeks. This site once served as a place where I explored how to make our diet more “concise” by cutting back on unknown, processed, chemical ingredients through home cooking. Now, this site will become A Concise Slice of Life, a place that represents a small piece of my life by focusing on all things homemade, homespun, homecooked, and homeconcocted. Doin’ it my damn self is just one of my interests, and I want to share that “slice” of myself with everyone!
What are the benefits of doin’ it your damn self (DIYDS)?
First, a sense of pride. When I make a double batch of hummus that floods over the sides of my new pedestal bowl and then, suddenly, is about gone at a dinner party or get-together, I know that I fed my friends well. When my partner tells me that I make the best ______ he’s ever had, and I know that it’s not only not store-bought, but also healthy and satisfying, I in turn feel satisfied knowing that I’m keeping him the best kinds of full. And when I notice improvements in skin, hair, energy, mind, and body because I’ve begun making my own care products, I feel so accomplished knowing that I don’t have to poison myself or the precious environment just to wash my hair.
Next is the fun that you have experimenting, creating, tweaking, and making. When I made pitas for the first time a few weeks ago and I flipped on the oven light to watch them expand, it was more entertaining watching them rise than watching television! And getting friends involved is always the best experience, whether you are baking your own tiramisu cupcake recipe (and then horking half the batch shamefully together) or scratching your heads over a homemade lip balm that doesn’t seem to be combining (and then sticking your finger through it while it cools accidentally…). Watching people smile when you hand them something you made for them, laughing and playing as you work together, and learning and experiencing new things are all part of the spice of life, and there is almost no better way to get that with such ease as doin’ it your damn self.
The last part of my “lecture” focuses on what I mildly term a sense of “well-rounded versatility.” Because, in many ways, my life feels contradictory based on what I do at home. In one sense, I am a strong feminist, and doing this kind of “homemaking” (even without an apron) often feels funny when I can almost guarantee my partner wouldn’t do the same thing. But, the rest of me also includes an opponent to consumerism, an environmentalist, a near-vegan, a clean eater, and someone who knows that what you do doesn’t have to define who you are. So, really, doin’ things your damn self ultimately ensures that no matter who you do or do not decide to share your life with, where you live, how you live, or what obstacles you face, you are equipped with a set of skills that won’t help you build a house or ensure your basic survival, but will nonetheless keep you comfortable, clean, clothed, and ultimately useful. DIYDS and this “well-rounded versatility” gives meaning to my life because I am creating things and keeping our household healthy and chemical-free; I don’t have to submit to the latest brands of healthy or “green” consumerism because I ultimately make my own brand; and I know that I can work both with my mind and with my hands, and that is of utter importance.
So, I can only recommend now to everyone: start doin’ it your damn self!
Also, remember that it’s important to support others who are doing it themselves. Sites like Etsy host all manners of craftsmen and women who make part or all of their living doing what they love, and it is so rewarding to work with these artists and cherish their products. Artists on Etsy sourced my wedding cake topper, bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts, gifts for our parents, our wedding bands, and even my bridal underwear! Keep others who do it themselves in mind when looking for things you just can’t do your damn self 😀