THE VOLTA WAY: DEAR LOIS
ALL ARTICLES WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED
BY LOIS VOLTA
AND PUBLISHED IN GRID MAGAZINE
DEAR LOIS, HOW DO I OVERCOME GUILT ABOUT MY LIFESTYLE?
Violence causes so much turmoil on our planet. People in powerful places enable corporate plundering, war, greed and exploitation—and we are all caught up in the mess.
We buy things online and shop at chain stores. It’s impossible to adhere to a moral code with every purchase.
DEAR LOIS, HOW DOES THE CAPITOL RIOT REFLECT HOW REFLECT HOW PEOPLE LIVE AT HOME?
When we live in a world where we feel we can do whatever we want, whenever we want, we succumb to a spiritual plague. It erodes the fabric of cooperation and equality, as well as the symbiosis that allows for us to have safe, healthy living environments. When we look at those trying to dismantle our democracy, we can see ‘doing whatever, whenever’ as a symptom of a bigger problem that is chipping away at the health of our government.
DEAR LOIS, HOW DO I CHANNEL THE ANGER I HAVE INTO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE?
"In terms of domestic life, I think a lot about what angers me. As a cleaning lady, I’ve had clients who’ve pitied me, and others who’ve barked orders at me while offering me their scraps. I’ve had those who’ve stiffed me. Those who’ve looked down their noses at me. And those people made me mad..."
DEAR LOIS, IN AN AGE WHERE I'M ALWAYS LOOKING AT MYSELF, HOW DO I ACCEPT MY REFLECTION?
"I find myself looking in the mirror more these days.
I’m noticing the bags under my eyes. I see the lines on my face, telling me that I’m starting to age. The targeted ads that I saw at the beginning of the pandemic were preparing me for this moment..."
DEAR LOIS, MY KIDS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY. IS IT ME OR THEM?
"Over the summer my girls—ages 11, 13 and 14,—and I did a deep cleaning/purging of the house. We reorganized furniture, cleaned out the basement, addressed the backs of closets and set up online learning spaces while we gracefully swept up the settled dust after my husband (their stepdad) removed the last of his things..."
DEAR LOIS, CAN COMPASSION BE A PERSONAL AND POLITICAL ACT?
"We are all human and are going to make mistakes, both large and small. We aren’t always the best versions of ourselves. We have the capacity to cause damage to the people in our lives and to the planet. It is far easier to see faults in other people..."
DEAR LOIS, HOW CAN I SHOW CONSIDERATION TO SANITATION WORKERS?
"The first people who see our dirt, mess and trash are cleaning professionals and sanitation workers. They know more about you than most of your close friends. These workers see your choices: your spending patterns, how environmentally friendly you are, and more than that, they know your habits..."
DEAR LOIS, HOW DO YOU CLEAN UP YOUR EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL MESSES?
"Everything is a mess. I need to remind myself, consistently, that I am strong enough to be part of cleaning it up. In a world that seems to be falling apart, I am experiencing many low moments. With the feeling of being trapped at home, I’ve decided to take a good look at the personal, internal trouble..."
DEAR LOIS, HOW MUST GENDER ROLES IN THE HOME SHIFT IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19?
"In a rapidly changing world, the work of the home has been revealed for how challenging it is. Gender inequality in housework has also been exposed more than ever..."
DEAR LOIS, HOW ARE YOU DOING?
"Like so many, my small business has been closed since mid-March and I am finding myself contemplating how my identity had become so woven into my work. When my business partner and I first decided to close, we burst into a creative frenzy..."
DEAR LOIS, HOW CAN WE REIMAGINE OUR HOMES NOW THAT WE SPEND SO MUCH TIME IN THEM?
"From our homes, we can be a light.
I am not on the front line of this pandemic, but in my own quiet way, from home, I press on. Being at home has been a blessing and a curse for all of us..."
DEAR LOIS, I AM UNMOTIVATED AND I DON'T FEEL LIKE DOING ANYTHING AROUND THE HOUSE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
"If I were to make a sweeping assumption, I would say that everyone feels like this at one point or another. It is natural to feel overwhelmed, and being a productive, hyper-motivated person is not always the healthiest mode of operating for most people..."
DEAR LOIS, I'M ALWAYS FIGHTING WITH MY HUSBAND ABOUT CHORES. IS GENDER EQUALITY IN THE HOME POSSIBLE?
"I consider myself to be someone who promotes mutual respect, gender equality and adequate maintenance of the home. However, ask any woman, anywhere, if these ideals are realistically attainable, and the answer is a resounding and emphatic “no"..."
DEAR LOIS, CAN A DIRT-AND-CLUTTER PROBLEM BE SO BAD THAT YOU SHOULD JUST MOVE OUT AND MOVE ON?
"Taking a backseat in our own lives and homes is a choice. Cutting and running leaves a multitude of problems and ultimately asks someone else to clean up the mess..."
DEAR LOIS, DO YOU EVER CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR FRIENDS, OR DO YOUR FRIENDS EVER CLEAN UP AFTER YOU?
"Marie is spicy, clever and tells you how it is. This combination of traits pairs especially well with a dark, self-deprecating sense of humor and a healthy amount of gumption. She knows how to pick me up and dust me off..."
DEAR LOIS, CAN WE DEFINE "SELF-CARE" IN A WAY THAT DOES NOT PUSH US TOWARD CONSUMERISM?
"In my work as a home consultant, I see firsthand the need for reducing and rethinking our use of “self-care” products, and this means addressing the immense social pressures involved, especially for women..."
DEAR LOIS, IS IT POSSIBLE TO TRANSCEND THE DOMESTIC WORKLOAD OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON AND LIVE OUT OF THE HEART?
"My favorite part of Thanksgiving is ironing the tablecloths and napkins, setting the table, arranging flowers and falling into quiet, meditative actions. It’s the calm before the social whirlwind ahead—my chance to think about my family members and curiously anticipate their arrival..."
DEAR LOIS, HOW CAN WE BRING THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD INTO OUR DOMESTIC LIVES?
"With the chilly weather upon us, our homes will reveal the seasonal obligations of closing storm windows, packing school lunches and having a functional hats-and-scarves bin. Every change of season gives us the opportunity to address habits that we’ve carved out over the years and possibly over a lifetime..."
DEAR LOIS, WHAT IS A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF CLOTHING TO HAVE?
"It’s all relative. For each person, there is a different set of needs that a wardrobe must fulfill. The landscaper’s wardrobe will be vastly different than the ballerina’s. A better question to explore is, “How do I maintain a healthy relationship with my clothing?”..."
DEAR LOIS, CLEANING FEELS LIKE A NEVER-ENDING WASTE OF TIME THAT KEEPS US FROM DOING WHAT WE REALLY WANT TO DO. WHAT'S THE POINT?
"It isn’t easy to accept that our dirt and mess are important. Why would we want to? Many of us feel there are bigger, better and more exciting things to do with our lives than to vacuum and dust the house..."
DEAR LOIS, WHAT IF THE PEOPLE YOU LIVE WITH DON'T CARE IF THE HOUSE IS A MESS? IS IT ACTUALLY POSSIBLE TO FIND BALANCE IN THE HOME?
"There’s no right or wrong way to run a household, so balance in the home means something different for everyone. We all come from our own places, have our own intimate, ingrained domestic habits, and generally don’t like being told what to do..."