Decluttering

Today, when I sat procrastinating doing some Very Important Admin, I was watching some youtube videos of people’s apartments. Most of these apartments were white, pristine, clean, looking as though they were designed expertly for a high end magazine. It looks suspiciously like there was some artful lighting placed invisibly just beyond the camera angles. The plants were brand new, the sofas hadn’t been sat on, there was no clutter at all.

No coffee cups, no newspapers, no books out of place, no pencils and pens, no thoughts lying on open pages, no crumbs evidencing food was consumed, no clothes absently draped over chairs and no thimbles left to roll on a windowsill. Did these Youtubers actually live in these homes? Or did they pay someone to make a set so that they could get some fabulous content?

I know some people like to live as though they were in a magazine, with no clutter at all anywhere. My husband is like this, which is why he hates my books (which I enjoy accumulating because they bring me comfort). He thinks that if I read a book, I ought to give it away as soon as I am done, so as not to make this house more cluttered than it is.

Anyway the point is, it has now become a trend to declutter your home, and live as though you dare not own anything ‘tacky’ or have any personal taste at all.It has to fit an ‘aesthetic’. Currently the trend is large green houseplants, slim lines, a dark green or blue feature wall, plenty of white, and some rustic ruggedness that is also pristine and new. People on social media apologise for their ‘cluttered’ homes, which are just personal spaces filled with things they enjoy having, depicting their personalities and interests.

So if you have clutter, you get judged. Not me, just people who post things and people who comment things.

Now, this is a stale argument in my marriage, but I happen to think that some clutter is a good thing. A little decoration piece that you got 6 years ago on the edge of a river. A post-it note from your classmate who is now traversing distant lands, but which reminds you of times when you couldn’t control your laughter. A tiny gondola made from murano glass with its edge snapped off, but which reminds you of early marriage days and sweet innocent love. It differentiates you from everybody else who has a feature wall and large houseplants.

It also makes you realise who YOU are.

I read a sad thing yesterday, where a lady who runs a youtube channel and an instagram page said, as though everybody else thought the same as her, ‘I regret painting my wall blue to fit an instagram aesthetic. Next time, you should choose a colour and design YOU like, not what instagram likes‘. It seems like a lot of social media orientated people are doing this.

 

Taking pictures of food.

Someone once said to me, when we were eating burgers in a restaurant, watching people at another table stand in every position imaginable to take photos of their own burgers, that over half of millennials don’t get to eat hot food, because by the time they’re done taking photos of their food, it’s cold!

Wow. That was a whopper of a sentence.

Anyway. By the time I munched this chocolate cake, it was still warm, thankfully. Although my arm has cramped from trying to take a good photo of a mediocre cake!

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This cake is deceiving. It looks tasty but it actually has a strong olive oil taste to it. I think I added too much. Next time I will use less!

Why do we do it, though? Why do we take photos of our food? Why do we share it on social media? What is the psychology behind it? What do we hope to gain from it?

I admit, I do take photos of my food from time to time. When it looks good, when I am especially proud of it, or when I just am enamoured by the deliciousness of it all. I don’t always share it on social media, and when I do, I insert it into a blog. It is not informative at all. I have not shared the recipe (I will leave a link to it, however!), I am not posting to talk about its contents or reveal the decadent history of cake.

I am just posting to say, ‘Hey! I made cake! Check it out!

Is that so bad?

Is it so deplorable that an entire generation of people just want to share what their food looks like, to other people who will double tap that photo and nod to themselves, thinking, ‘I want me some of that burger. I wonder where they got it from.’

But whoops, they won’t need to ask, because the location is geotagged! Some great advertising right there! I will admit, all the restaurants I have been to in the past six months (well, three, to be exact) have been because one or other of my friends had posted a photo of what the food looked like there, along with a comment on the taste.

And because I am a glutton, I thought, ‘hey, I want me some of that burger.’

 

Are we a society of narcissists?

Lately I have been very disillusioned with society. Not just because Donald Trump won. I know his winning has caused global stress. Not just because of Brexit, or that 25% of voters in France are far right voters.

All I see are selfies every where.

‘Love your body’

‘Lose weight’

‘body image’

‘thinspiration’

‘looks amazing’

‘Wow you look so good’

‘Wow look at you stunner’

And the likes and comments pour in and in and in until they are drowning in comments about their looks.

‘You ugly’

It’s all about appearance. Don’t get me wrong, a selfie here and there is fine. But a constant stream of selfies makes one seem, at the very least, self absorbed.

And then people become so depressed because everybody seems to have such a good life but they don’t. And their compare and compare and all the heads are looking up at those who have more instead of those who have less.

‘Oh her house is nicer than mine’

‘Oh his looks are better than mine’

‘Oh how come he can afford such a nice car wth’

‘She’s ugly’ -she is actually stunning-

And the SELFIES. Instagram is the WORST. All my friends, constantly uploading exact replicas of their face at a particular angle with different coloured lipstick on.

‘Ugh look at my eyebags’

‘Feeling pretty today’

I just feel like society is all a ruse. Nothing is real. People are just projecting themselves out there, hungry for attention. If you look at those who don’t have as much as you do, you become thankful for what you do have. And you become more content, and less ravenous for those likes, for people to appreciate you, for more and higher and better and bigger.

The other day I was on the train and there was a man sitting a few rows ahead of me, blaring music out from his phone. Three people stood up and walked away from him, but he was oblivious. One man tutted loudly and glared at him as he walked past, and the offender waggled his eyebrows at him, and did a little shoulder shake. It made me laugh. I admit, I was a little annoyed with the music, I was tired and his music didn’t sit well in my ears. but I didn’t say anything. So, this guy was happy at 6am in the morning. Why kill a guy’s buzz? Let him be.

I don’t know why that situation depressed me so much.

The screen over the carriage door said, ‘This train is for Stanstead Airport, via Leicester.’

And I thought to myself, what if I didn’t get off at Leicester. What if I just skipped work altogether and went off to Stanstead Airport. Bought a ticket to Somewhere with whatever I had in my account, and escaped it all. But then I realised that wherever I go there will be humans, and humans just don’t make me happy.

They are just so self involved. I am so self involved. A lot of people are. Not all of them, of course. But so many people are.

I want to escape but I don’t know where I want to go.

Maybe I have SAD, now? It probably is that. Lack of vitamin D causes depression, apparently.

Maybe I need to be nicer to other people. Cynicism is not healthy.

So, what do you think? Are we all becoming narcissists? Is this ease of access making it simpler for narcissists to bud and grow, when before such ideas would be smacked right out of their silly little heads?

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Narcissus