Living in a Van & Resisting The Man: Corinne Loperfido’s Zero Waste Life
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Living in a Van & Resisting The Man: Corinne Loperfido’s Zero Waste Life


I identified as a
person that cared about the environment, but then, when I was at Spirit Weavers
a couple of years ago, I took a class and
at the end of class, everyone had to go around
and say what is one thing you’re going to do to be
better to the environment, and at that time, I was making
this like Plexi jewelry, and I was like, I have to
stop making this jewelry. I’m literally buying new
plastic and making this stuff out of it, and she
said this phrase, “What are you willing to risk? “Are you willing to keep
going to Starbucks every day, “and risking that we
kill all of the salmon? “Are you willing to continue
to buy things on Amazon “and risk that we cut down
all of the old girth trees “because we need to have “more cardboard to
buy more products?” Thinking about that, what
am I willing to risk, and what am I willing
to do about it, I was like, I need to
think about the end of life of all the items. It was like, okay, cool,
you want this dress. Well, where did it come from? Who made it? What kind of dye was used? Where was the fabric grown? Who worked in a sweatshop
to make this thing? Now, my policy is,
it has to be used, and it has to be compostable. That’s kind of where
I was coming from, with this trying to
live a zero waste life, I was like, okay, you need
to stop creating trash, because everybody needs
to stop creating trash, we have to do
something about this, and we have to get
really creative, and we have to do it now. Obviously, I drive a van, and
so, I’m using fossil fuel, but I’ve restructured
the way that I travel. Instead of just going
out for one thing, I’m trying to do as many
things as I can on the way, and being as strategic as
possible about what I bring, and where I travel
and how I travel. I was living in Los Angeles, and I was really
missing New Orleans. I had moved out of there
to be in a relationship, and I missed the life I
had, and the creativity, and how affordable it was. I didn’t have a
vehicle for 10 years, and I definitely never
thought about getting a van. My friend said to me, “Who needs
a man when you have a van?” And I was just like, oh
my God, she’s right, ah! But really, what that meant
to me was you don’t need to rely on a man to do the
things that you want to do in your life, you
can just do them. I was like, wait a minute,
if I get rid of my house, get a storage unit,
and get a van, and then, only have a
room during the winter, when I actually need a room, then, I would be able
to see my friends more, do all these gigs, way easier, and it would cost me less, and
that’s how I’ve been living for the past year and a half. This is like
extremely plush to me, because I’m like, oh my god,
I have most of my clothes, multiple towels,
and I get to sleep in my own bed every night. And so, I feel a lot more
free, a lot more mobile, and a lot more self-reliant. I knew that I wanted
to have enough space to be able to sit up. I found a woman that
knows how to weld, ’cause I wanted to
give my money to women, in the process of doing this. We took the seats out, and then, built this frame,
which actually comes out, and is my bed when I live in
New Orleans in the winter. I basically was like, okay,
you have X amount of space on either side of these
things to put the clothes, and so, then, it was like,
each category got a bag. It’s like, tops, you can
only have however many tops fit in this bag. This is the drawer
that I open most often, and so, I’ll have stuff
that I access all the time, like my tools, my jewelry,
my computer stuff, and like, bathroom stuff. I got this cool
box for my jewelry. This was definitely
an old sewing box, and then, if I
want to do my hair, I tack up my little thing. So when I was doing the
project of not buying things, you know, well, first of all, I stopped going
to thrift stores, I stopped going to
the flea market, I just, I stop going
into any establishment that was about shopping
or buying things, and also, I wasn’t tempted
to get stuff for that quick happiness fix, I was
allowed to buy food, I was allowed to buy gas, and I was allowed to buy
things that helped me live a better zero waste life. So for example, I got this
bag at the thrift store that is made out of trash, so there’s really no
more upcycled thing than a thrifted bag
made out garbage. These metal lunchbox containers. Like I still use
toilet paper for poop, but as a woman, like I used a
lot of toilet paper for pee, and so, now, I don’t
have to do that. I can just wash that on hot
with my towels and sheets. Instead of a Kombucha
or a tea or something, I have a little glass, and now
I just have a cutting board and a knife and
a lemon squeezer, and I’ll make lemon
water, if I really want a delicious drink. This little thing was
the bottom of a skirt, and I cut it out, and
then, added a ribbon. So this is just a little
upcycled accessory thing. These earrings I made. One of my roommates
in New Orleans has this rope jewelry line. He saves me the scraps. It’s so much more meaningful
to me to have things that are made out of
things that would otherwise go in the landfill,
that I can now be like, this is a beautiful piece
of powerful jewelry. Well, I’ve recently been
trying to get rid of pants. A friend of mine, a
couple of years ago, came over to my studio one
time, and she was like, Pants are a tool
of the oppressor, like they block our
flow, like the energies, and I was like, oh
my God, she’s right. Pants, shorts,
that was my thing. I was like, skirts are so
girly, like I don’t know, I just was caught in
the gender paradigm in all these different
ways that we all are, so then, it’s been a
couple years of me, now, trying to do that. Living in the van,
it can be annoying to get dressed sometimes, and so, having things, I
feel like I wear more dresses because that’s how long
it takes to get dressed. But kind of about the
whole thing, like, yes, it’s more work to
bring your own containers, it’s more work to be prepared, and all the things about
living a zero waste life. There are things about van life
that are mildly inconvenient like the fact that
I can’t stand up, but you know what? Life goes on. And I figure it out. Sometimes, I have to lay
down to put stuff on. I just always gravitated
towards weird clothes and bright colors and busy
patterns, and you know, my parents were definitely
not excited about it. They wanted me to kind of be
more normal looking, I think. I never cared about that
stuff, because to me, shame was a very stupid
and impractical emotion, like why, this is what I like. I’m wearing it, it
makes me feel good, so why am I going to change
the way that I want to be, to please what someone
else might think? Like that just never
made sense to me. I was just happy being myself, I knew that me being myself
wasn’t hurting anybody, and so, I never tried to
put myself into a box. I started this project coming
up on two years ago now, where I was like, I’m just
going to wear all red, every time I’m on my period, as like a protest towards shame. A lot of times, people are
like, you look amazing. Where are you going? I’m like, I’m on my period,
and then they laugh, and they’re kind of like, whoa, like wasn’t
expecting that answer, but then, they’re also
like, right on, okay. The patriarchy doesn’t
want women to be empowered, doesn’t want us to
be self reliant, and to love ourselves, because
when we don’t love ourselves, we’re easier consumers,
because we are filling that void of self hatred
with products and objects. We are told our bodies are
sinful, periods are gross, men won’t want to
have sex with you, you shouldn’t let anyone
know you’re on your period, you should hide it, and it
should basically be a secret. I am letting the world know
that this is happening to me, and if I saw someone and I
knew they were on their period, I would be more
gentle with them. You need to move slower,
because you’re releasing, you’re reflecting. Capitalism doesn’t want you
to move at a slower pace, ’cause it wants you to be a
productive, contributing member, spending those dollars,
making those dollars, like getting it in the
system, and so, by being like, no, I’m actually
going to love myself, and celebrate the fact
that I’m on my period. You are transforming the way that we interact
with the system. I definitely was not
stoked about being a woman, and then, learning
more about my body, and learning about my anatomy, and learning about what
it means to be connected to the Earth, and to operate
from more of a yin place, the feminine, instead of the
yang, fast, masculine place, which is what our
culture is dominated by, that’s what the patriarchy
is, it’s just that, the male energy is
the dominant energy. It’s like, we’re just out
of balance, and we need to integrate more slowness
and more self awareness and anything that
naturally happens, by suppressing those,
that’s what leads to disease, dis, ease. Why is it that women
don’t have as many orgasms and what is it about the
way that we relate to sex that’s stopping us from being
able to be as fully expressed as men, which I don’t think
that men are as fully expressed as they can be, because
they’re not operating in this kind of mutual exchange. It’s that same
attitude of taking. I want, I desire, I want
the woman to do this, like I want the Earth to
give me all these resources, so that I can have these things, and when we kind of
back up, and we’re like, what does the Earth need? The Earth needs me to
let go of all this shame so I can stop buying all
this crap I don’t need, and I can actually start
to take care of her. That’s been definitely
the biggest lesson of all of this, is
just reconnecting to what really matters, and
reconnecting to my humanness, and just reminding
people, like yo, being a human is an
incredible experience, and it’s an immense
responsibility, because of these opposable
thumbs and what we can do, and make cars and
planes and trains, and the internet, and sex dolls. We have to ask ourselves,
should we be doing this? Is this the best use
of our time and energy, and what happens when
the Earth is filling up with our pad and tampon waste
because we don’t want to deal with cloth pads or a Diva cup, or something reusable,
because that means we have to face the blood. Instead of being like, ew,
gross, throwing it away, and not look at it, and
not looking at our bodies, all these ways that
we’re disconnected from who we really are. My vision for the world is
that people would realize that we are not the most
important thing on this Earth. We’re not above nature,
and we’re not below it. Our ancestors lived for
hundreds of thousands of years without electricity,
Starbucks, Zappos.com, like all these things
that we now are like, oh, that’s life,
it’s just like, no. That is absolutely
not what life is. If you think about it,
trash is only, as a concept, a couple hundred
years old, and yet, in just a short couple
of hundred of years, after burying our
poop in the ground, growing our own food,
foraging for nuts and berries, and being in communication
with the seasons and the cycles of Earth and
our bodies and all of this, we now, overnight, in
the blink of an eye, in the human history, have
totally destroyed the planet, and we just keep doing it. What I want is for people
to take a look outside of their immediate environment, and at the environment at large, quiet yourself and listen to
the sounds that are beyond the manmade sounds of the city, shed in your mind,
like your clothes, your role in society, how many
Instagram followers you have, and just be like, I am Earth. Like, this is me. How can I move
through this world, given the fact that we
are in the patriarchy, capitalism is raging on,
and if we want to create something new, we
can start doing it. Really get clear on
what you need and want, hold sacred to you,
what matters to you, and find a place where you
want to put your energy for the betterment of the
planet, and for all people, and the more people
that can do that, the better that we’re
all going to be, because we’re not going to
be mindlessly just going about their little program. – Thank you for tuning
into this week’s episode of our Closet series,
featuring Corinne. Hi, I’m Lily. – And I’m Elisa, Lily’s mom. – And we’re the
creators of StyleLikeU. Do you want to talk a little
bit about our sponsor? – Yes. So we wanted to say, from
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viewers 20% off their products for the next month, after
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code, STYLE at checkout. And if you are inspired by our
message of self acceptance, it would be so amazing if you
could help spread the word by subscribing to
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sharing this episode. – And don’t forget
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movement for acceptance wouldn’t be happening. – Bye everyone.
– Bye. (blowing kisses)

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