The last four or five months has been kind of nuts. If 2015 is any indication of the rest of my life, I think I'll be needing a permanent Vitamin B pump and a ginseng tube (or speed maybe?) Either way, I've been finding it hard to slow down and almost had a crazy nervous breakdown a few weeks ago from working/un-procrastinating about 100 hours a week.
Long story short, I'm finally there, dear readers. I've reached adulthood singularity and beyond me is this infinite expanse of bills, 9-5 jobs, sensible shoes, mom hair and screaming children. I have my dissertation done, my exams scheduled, my gown reserved and a low-paying research contract lined-up. All these years of moaning, finding excuses to procrastinate and talking endlessly about frivolously trivial things has amounted to... one big giant let down.
Don't get me wrong, I am glad I'm finally out in the real world and away from the life-suck of academia but the new exciting world just seems to be more of the same, except honestly, so much scarier. We've been saving for a bit and trying to buy a house that isn't about to fall apart at the seams and would fit a family of three and a dog comfortably while allowing for days where we want to avoid each other as much as possible. Three you say? Well, yes. My biological clock is ticking and my husband isn't quite as cynical or existential as I am and well, if I want to shart out a wailing piglet, I should best do it now before my creaking knees won't be able to withstand the extra weight.
I find it hard after all these years of blathering about quality vs. quantity etc. to come to terms that when you're an adult with a house and a family to think about, spending $600 on a pair of shoes is hardly justifiable. I was looking at cribs and goddamned strollers the other day and wasted time reading some stupid mommy blog about buying a Bugaboo. For a brief moment, I pictured myself in a pair of cloppity No. 6 clogs, a $500 Laura Manoogian sweater and pushing a $1000 stroller with a baby swaddled from head to toe in Nico Nico. That's me! I'm a cool mom.
And then I came to the realization that: (a) the baby would outgrow that damn stroller in three years (b) no one fucking cares if I wear a Laura Manoogian sweater or a Banana Republic one except that I'll be devastated when I have spittle all over the front of a hand knitted alpaca sweater and I'll feel like a moron and (c) mortgage, college fund, medical bills, hipster car payments, violin lessons, vaccinated trips to Disneyland etc. etc. would render me destitute and careworn.
Would a Bugaboo work better than a $150 Graco stroller from Target? I'm sure it would. Is it necessary? I'm sure if I'm still at the point where my source of validation is Instagram and this blog, it definitely would be. But my point is that in the grand scheme of things, as long as it works well enough and lasts a long time, it doesn't matter. I feel that I've tricked myself into believing all this while that "quality over quantity" crap is sustainable in any way for a regular human being. I mean, at some point in your life, maybe one starts realizing that having twenty Gap t-shirts that you can afford to have stained with applesauce might be more financially prudent than having one $125 Alexander Wang one.
I'm not sure where to draw the line. I'm not entirely sure if my mind hasn't already been so brainwashed by years and years of incessant marketing and being sucked into an Instagram/blog/La Garconne vortex of beautiful people in beautiful clothing with well-behaved children and supportive husbands who vacuum that has made me so blinded to the realities of life. It's hard to remember sometimes that for the six or seven L.A. bohemian mothers who remain at 90lbs after giving birth and living in million dollar mid-century homes, there are thousands and millions of other women dying in childbirth or struggling to balance finances with kids who have autism or military wives or just women whose lives are so much more than just brunching and talking about MNZ shoes.
I keep getting these comments or reading views about how no one wants to read about crappy things and that blogs are a means of escape - but isn't the whole point of a blog to be an online "diary" of sorts? At some point, blogs stopped becoming an interesting read about real life struggles and degenerated into rehashing the same glossy magazine material. I don't know about you, but for every two posts I read about buying some hipster crap, I want to read about the person behind the blog and why she buys what she does and what it means to her instead of every single post being a click bait or a giant advertisement.
It just seems as if the more I have to do or the more responsibilities I have, the less I find that I need to think about simplifying or buying less or consuming less because I have no time to actually buy anything. Suddenly there are a million of other things that seem so much more important for me to use my money on. I've come to the realization that all these purported things that make your life so much more enjoyable and luxurious like $80 candles (I hope you appreciate my ironically posted picture above) and handmade soaps and $40 tea in a can is an absolute waste of money. I don't know if I get that much more enjoyment out of a Cire Trudon candle than I would a farmer's market one. I don't know if Bellocq is selling me good tea or just the pretty tea canister. I don't know if Saipua soaps are worth the price when there's so many really great Etsy sellers making the exact same soap. My point is (and I realize I do a terrible job at getting to the point in any straightforward manner), I don't know if expensive or luxurious things and that whole buy quality over quantity schtick is valid anymore. I mean sure, I want to buy a bike that won't fall apart like a cartoon when I start pedaling, and I want some decent copper pots and pans, but all the seemingly unnecessary nonsense like cushions and shoes and bags and jewelry... it's all just so... wasteful.
Sometimes I look at houses on Instagram, and I think about how in the blue hell does anyone sit on such white couches with overpriced Kantha throw pillows. A blogger recently gave up her comfy couch for a cot. A COT! A fucking COT! A married woman whose husband is fine with this nonsense! It's like these people (women, always women) have their husbands' balls in a vice and makes them agree to never leave a video game lying around or disavow watching the TV and instead of drinking beer on Sundays, go out and plant hydrangeas while their wives brunch their lives and savings away. And the poor children, whose toys are always wooden and sterile and who are forced to live in this colorless void of black and white Pleasantville bullshit. For a while there, I sort of got sucked into this made-up world, and I think that realizing finally, that the more important thing to me instead of picturesque brass trivets and Japanese-turned bowls and white walls was the ability to not have to worry about money, to allow for some mismatched silverware and beer caps lying around, and to just fucking sink into a ratty old couch with my dog and my bazillion books and DVDs and tangles of wires from the TV and the iPad and the computer because it's goddamned exhausting (and frankly quite boring) trying to live the sterile, made up life.
I think some while ago, Moya left a comment about how after having a kid (beautiful little Severin), she couldn't justify spending hundreds of dollars on a dress. I've come to the realization that the more time I have to think about simplifying my life or whatever, the more I tended to shop to offset the items I have that I felt were mismatched or that didn't belong in my replica of a mental asylum. I think having responsibilities and a life that isn't completely based on false online pretense is probably the best way to avoid that whole consumerism black hole in the first place. Go read a book, go watch some trashy TV and think about your child's college fund. And if you don't ever want to have kids, go plan a holiday or save for retirement at 40. Anything is better than sitting around planning some bullshit capsule or rearranging your socks because at the end of the day, these things don't matter; what matters is not having to worry about anything.
P.S.: I'm not saying anything new here, but I just wanted to share some feelings that have been roiling for the last few months. I'm at my fifth month of not buying too much crap: I bought a Karina Bania art, some Heath Ceramics pieces during a Didriks sale, an Uzbek painting from Project Bly and some Simon Pearce glasses from Dara Artisans. I think I'll also be buying a new pair of shoes in the next few weeks. But yay for no random pick-me-up purchases!
ETA: My husband thinks it's very tiring to read meta blog posts about blogs, blogging and bloggers, so I'll shut up and not take things that bug me too seriously. I think he liked it better when I was raving about shoes... weird, no? Let me assure you that I'm really as insufferably whiny in real life as I am on the blog but there's also someone in making sure my stupidity & inadequacy isn't going to ruin my everyday functionality. Thank goodness for voices of reason.
Please buy one less item today and donate to the Red Cross' Nepalese Earthquake fund. All affiliate links revenue from Assembled Hazardly now till the end of the year will be donated to the Nepalese Earthquake fund. Thanks.