I'm reading Leanne Shapton's Swimming Studies. In a chapter called "Mom", she writes about shopping with her mother at Barneys, trying to get her to spend money they had on a gift card, though the price-tags were making her feel uncomfortable. She writes:
"My mother looks around at the hats and gloves as though she's lost something. It's a state of mild confusion and panic I recognize; I've felt it too. It's about looking for something you don't naturally want, for fear of missing out on what you think you do. Taken on, it's a heavy, absurd confusion—the feeling of not knowing yourself." - p.234
I find this description beautiful and resonating. The feeling, I too recognize. I recognize it when shopping, though less so of late. I recognize it in blog reading as well. I've asked myself recently why I've subscribed and unsubscribed and resubscribed to so many of the big blogs, over and over.
They have that same power over me, the power to make me feel, in a panicked way, that I want things I don't, that I'm missing out on something even though I know I don't want that thing. And that I'm not quite sure of myself.
I do not like this feeling.
I don't think consumption of anything (clothes or food, blogs or books) that comes from this place can be good, inspiring, constructive. That's not to say clothes and food, blogs and books are bad, but our responses and reactions can be.
Hila and I wrote our post about the manner of content creation. Arjun recently wrote about that too. But, of course, we're also talking about how content is consumed—the speed, the voracity, the sense of panic, the more-is-more proposition. It flies in the face of the noise we all make about slowness and quality, integrity and authenticity, hand-made and careful appreciation, saving up before spending.
And I feel responsible too. Should my posts be less frequent and more measured? Am I giving too much away for nothing? When I blog about a designer I find inspiring, or a Sunday best outfit, am I inciting that very same panicked sense of shoulded wanting? There are, of course, no guarantees that my intention as a creator matches up with yours as a reader...
I think about all of this.