Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the most entrapped by the confines of the constructed aesthetic of them all?
This was supposed to be a holiday post, rife with warm fuzzies induced by being enveloped in the warmth of family, home cooked goodness, shiny lights and a lot of general happiness, sponsored in part by Lindt. But I procrastinated, and the bright shiny twinkle lights quickly morphed into frenzied sale signs and general excess, still sponsored in part by Lindt. While I’m generally able to avoid the post-christmas affirmation of why capitalism still reigns, this year I had to tiptoe into the churches of Adam Smith, guided by the invisible hand and the not-so-invisible masses. My reasons for joining the chorus of devouts this year made me self aware of how much I buy into buying concepts/ personality improvements through “things.”
- organic, handmade shampoo: I’m kind of an “environmentalist,”
- Economist subscription: who is on top of current issues as a pseudo intellectual,
- amazing boots: while remaining fashionable,
- lipstick: and pretty too,
- cocoa powder: maintaining hobbies like baking,
- acrylic paint: and art,
- sheet music: and being generally well-rounded,
- ski goggles: even almost athletic,
- Puma tights: and sexy too,
- Victoria’s Secret: … but really.
There’s a great deal of irony in the paradox inherent in individualistic societies: be special but conform. And one of the most prominent ways we know how to do that is through our credit cards. My lifelong, low-dose exposure to that paradox and other fallouts of capitalism have made it so that I have to consciously compete with the impulse to buy my way out of feeling sad or mad or generally uncomfortable.
In some ways, I don’t think it’s all that wrong to buy things to support yourself on the journey of what you want to do and be and think etc, but when you fall into that bizarre cycle of constant retail therapy, shit gets scary, and you quickly develop a warped vision of what matters. The days post-Christmas are just such a concentrated dose of that vision that one can’t help but think about how much it affects us all on a more regular basis.
I’m best at resisting the twinkling promises of consumerist impulses (or rather not even feeling them) when I’m at my most comfortable and confident- the most “at home” in my own skin. But being far from people I consider home tends to compromise that strength. Given that it’s a new year and all, finding different ways to stay home away from home (i.e. centred and confident and comfortable) is going to be a priority, with perhaps the side-effect of giving my credit card some much-needed vacation time. Except for maybe for food. Girl’s gotta eat.
Sent from my iPhone. <– ha.