This week I read Idle Threads, a fascinating article by Ann Friedman which explores women’s relationship with style and clothing. It also frankly reviews three books in the process and is thus sprinkled with references you might recognize and quotes you might relate to. If you’re interested in fashion and its societal and emotional impacts, I highly recommend the read.
This got me right in the gut:
Women have long been culturally saddled with the knowledge that they are how they look, and that therefore they are what they wear. The pursuit of stylishness is not something they opt into, but rather something they must opt out of at great social cost …If you can’t control the fact that you’re going to be judged on your appearance, why not derive what pleasure you can from conveying to observers how you wish to be judged? The inadequacy of clothes—their inability to express the depth and complexity of female experiences—probably explains both why women invest their wardrobes with so much significance and why their clothes so often fail to satisfy them.
This week I thought a lot about overstimulation. It’s nothing to be proud of, but it takes a few days of non-stop media and technology consumption before I start to feel like my brain is rattling uncontrollably from not having had a single pure, organic thought in its recent backlog. Not a couple hours…DAYS. But even I have limits and I think I might have hit it this week.
I’d spent almost the entire working week hopping between my phone and computer, imessage and instagram, work email and personal email, illustrator and photoshop, asos and shopbop, google and dropbox, excel and keynote, spotify and feedly, netflix and hulu…until all the voices in my brain were desperately roaring at me to
Just. Please. Fucking. Stop.
For one second.
Lest my head roll off into the dirty San Francisco streets.
So I finally did. And I looked out the window in silence as my bus drove across the bay bridge and had quiet thoughts that were just mine. They weren’t a reaction to someone else’s thoughts or to something I’d read or seen. They weren’t puzzling over why I couldn’t think of anything to write about or what to do about a work email or a favor I’d committed to or the next step on a personal project. They were just plain old-fashioned personal thoughts.
And sitting there in my own stupid silence reminded me, very suddenly, of my own stupid sentience! Of my existence! And believe it or not, I started having those pure, organic thoughts and ideas I’d so sorely missed. Authentic and creative ones based on my past and my present, on who I am, who I used to be, who I want to be. A little navel-gazey maybe, but original nonetheless. And the thing about media consumption rotting our brains? It made so much sense in that moment.
In that little minute.
My brain exhaled.
Then I instagrammed a picture of my cat.
Yesterday I bought two drugstore lipsticks because I was picking up my allergy prescription and was in the mood to fill my void with cheap consumer products. In the spirit of non-stop media consumption I quickly googled “thefrenemy drugstore lipstick” on my phone in the lipstick aisle because she knows her shit. She recommends Wet n Wild (among other things). Got it. Here is what I bought.
I’ve always loved the look of rubbed-off-lipstick which is fortunate considering full-pigmented lipstick lasts as long as breakfast on me. The upside of this approach is basically getting two shades per lipstick purchase. The downside is your lips will look like a shriveled up prune if they aren’t well-moisturized to begin with. Luckily Austin is a chapstick addict so those little blue things are scatted all over the house, available to me within arm’s reach whenever the mood strikes. He’s the chapstick to my bobby pins. Or more realistically, the chapstick to my water glasses, as both him, Kelsey, and everyone else I’ve lived with will tell you, I leave them on every surface imaginable.
That’s all. It’s Friday. Thank Bug. TBIF.