Pretty v. real

by Sofia

I’ve been staring at this blog for, uh, too long today and I just can’t get over it. It’s too perfect: I want to be as pretty and happy and rich and clean and manicured as this girl. And I’m shocked at myself and wonder, when did I become so taken with pretty things? Since when do I buy in so much to things looking nice, when it comes at the price of blotting out so much else?

I spent a good chunk of my life being the ugly but smart one: the one who didn’t pluck her eyebrows but could tell you about calculus and Enlightenment thought; the one who saw all the attention put towards making things aesthetically pleasing an utter waste of time, energy, and imagination. And here I catch myself dreaming of how nice it would be to be a pretty housewife and have nothing better to do than decorate my house and myself, taking stylish pictures for all to see how perfect it is. Whatever happened to be good for something?

But I think it has to do with exactly the fact that I ignored this for so long. Only later when I allowed myself to see the value in things being beautiful did I begin to acknowledge the skill it requires. So I can appreciate the effort that went into construction this perfection.  I just need to remember not to forget that this is not what real life is about. Real life is about my little house in the Mile End with the slightly sunken floor and the dents in the wall. Real life is about the fact that what I would call a dump is a blessing for many people, and it’s not good to live in such a way that ignores the cracks.

As an aside, I thought a bit about how it irks me somehow that all this pretty neatness is connected to religion. This article makes mention of the fact that the Church of LDS puts a lot of emphasis on the need for women to be perfect mothers and wives, and that they put forth a happy face to the world. This annoys me because it means, like other observant Christian people I went to school with, that they’re doing well in school and neat with their things and fulfill the role of happy child in their families because they’re taught to and they’re being obedient. It’s that obedience that I find damning. I may have to do with choices I make in my life right now, or simply that it be my style, but I prefer and find much truer the adherent that does not fit this model. I trust more he who is torn between the world and God because he refuses to turn a ignore and blindly discredit either. It is the person on the fringes who did not sit still and take what was taught but thought as he saw fit and let those thoughts take him to wherever they had to, permitted by the clergy or not.

This is the character I most believe in. And this character does not live in a world that adds up perfectly and whose colours match or even has everything he needs. But his is a more important world to live in, at least to me. And if it comes with bad kitchen design, it’s still okay.

But I’m still going to make it look great. And maybe start wearing some lipstick. Maybe.