The Curated Life

First of all, let me state clearly that I hate the term “curate” unless you’re talking about a member of the clergy or someone who spent years in deep dive study and now works at a fucking museum. If someone says they’re a “lifestyle curator” or that they “curate” a certain aesthetic, they’re really just using a too many syllables to tell you, “I’m an insufferable twat with a singular interest, which is most likely myself.” Pretty much, these are people who want their lives to look like a Pinterest board and work hard to make you think that they live in one.

If someone says they’re a “lifestyle curator” or that they “curate” a certain aesthetic, they’re really just using a too many syllables to tell you, “I’m an insufferable twat…”

I avoided joining Pinterest until I was planning my wedding (shocking, I know). I always thought it was the internet equivalent of folding a fitted sheet – decent enough for those with time and space in their craniums to spare, but ultimately pointless. Of course, I was immediately sucked in. You can fall into a Pinterest hole very deep and quite wide rather easily. And I won’t say it doesn’t have its perks – I have been able to discern my own preferred style of decor from Pinterest, for instance. Apparently, it’s called “Atomic Industrial,” which is jackass for “I like to vacuum under my sofa easily and don’t like frills. Also, make everything gray.”

The mysterious source of their wealth?

But pretentious dickwads aside, my frustrations with Pinterest (and Instagram and Facebook and all the rest) are centered very much around the inevitably moving goalposts of consumerism. I worry that the same girl who spends two hours perfecting the frosting swirl on her cupcakes will never eat said cupcake for fear that her bodily aesthetic will be threatened by the very food on which she relies for social validation. Never mind if said cupcake even tastes good, she, and her cupcake must first and foremost look good. And I wonder about all the folks constantly remodeling their kitchens and baths, whether they’re indecently (this autocorrected from “independently” but I’m keeping it) wealthy in some fashion, or if they’re in debt up to their eyeballs. It only serves to heighten our responsibilities as citizens, really.

Our ’80s kitchen… WITH DISHES IN THE SINK! The horror! The horror!

No, I don’t mean “responsibilities as citizens” in regard to mustering community spirit, supporting your personal ideals through political activism, volunteering for those less fortunate. I mean buying shit. You do know that in our society, your most important and valuable role is that of willing consumer, right? Your worth as a participant in our society is tied directly to how much you can buy, how much you own, and how quickly you can acquire more stuff. If you’re a corporate employee (and sometimes even if you don’t work for a corporation), you are considered a fungible asset, regardless of whether or not you’re a good person, or if your wife has cancer or your child is a genius.

Bathroom with shit lighting, complete with recently used towel. Avert your eyes!

And so I wonder, when the style of kitchen moves from painted stark white and the pendulum swings to hardwood cabinets once again, will all those $20k kitchens end up in landfills? Will the granite we ripped out of the earth get broken into pieces, turned into landscaping fill (if we’re lucky!)? Sure, I want a new kitchen. Ours is large, but not well situated for people who like cooking as much as we do. There’s no prep space, and I am a klutz who whacks my hands and head on the cabinets at every turn. I also want a counter I can put hot pots on directly without worry. I want space to can easily, and Adam needs more room around the stove, and to remove the second cooktop/indoor grill (!!!) that a previous owner installed, I’m sure when it was the height of kitchen fashion. Financially, we’re years from affording this renovation, even though we plan on doing it ourselves. So for now, we will continue to use our functional, completely out of style kitchen. Because it works, even if not “perfectly.”

Same goes for our very small, singular bathroom. It’s a horrible amalgamation of the original 1960s tile and a 1980s update, resulting in a really unpleasantly tight powder blue and linoleum’d space. But it works, and we manage to successfully shit there and shower there and do all the other things that people do in bathrooms there. It’s no mistake that the two pieces of art I’ve hung in the bathroom complement each other.

Please excuse the mess, we lived here happily ever after
Closeup on my bathroom art. The canvas was a Courtney Original, thank you very much.

Life is messy and meant to be lived. I don’t always pick up my dirty clothes from the floor or make the beds or vacuum the tumbleweed sized balls of pet fur. Sometimes, I’m too busy living, and sometimes, it just doesn’t feel like a thing I want to do. And that’s okay. If your life looks like a Pinterest board or a pastel-laden Instagram feed, perhaps you are a curator and you’re just living in a sterile museum of your own consumerism. And that is probably not okay. All the bright white subway tile in the world won’t make a life well-lived.



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