I didn’t write a Sunday best last Sunday because it felt stupid. World news often pushes into life in ways that make you pull up, take stock and understand what’s really important (and more often it doesn’t and that’s problematic too – how much we all ignore!)
All this style stuff we bloggers care so deeply can seem pretty flimsy when that happens. "All art is quite useless", as Wilde said. These are luxuries that outstrip our most basic needs for food, shelter, safety and health, and they are easily rendered silly when something assails those more basic needs.
But it's also a simplification to say that what we blog is silly. Because it also represents what separates mere existence from the fullness of life. My hope for the world is precisely that we’re all nourished and safe so that we can enjoy these things; make and consume art, imbue our daily lives with such beauty, enjoy food and decor/fashion in ways that stretch beyond just filling our bellies and keeping warm.
I think it’s important to understand that we can survive without these luxuries, that much of what we consume exceeds needs and expectations. But life ideally is not just about survival, it’s about love and joy and beauty. And so this is more a reminder of how lucky we’ve got it; how privileged a position we are in to have time and space and freedom to enjoy and care about and cultivate these things. But I don’t think there should be shame for enjoying… indeed, would that everybody had the luxury of living where the basics of survival were so secure!
Moments like these are also a reminder of the responsibility that comes with such privilege. Not to self-flagellate over it or take some ascetic oath, but to keep perspective on how lucky we are. Even more important, to fight for others to have the same luxury: the ability to live beyond survival. I made a donation this week. I read and reflected too. I thought (perhaps morbidly) about how I would want to say I lived my life and felt – yes! – I would want all this beauty I strive for to still be part of it.
Bloggers in general are often made to feel frivolous (and I think that’s also a problem for how “female content” is portrayed in our world). But sports, art, literature, cuisine, travel… they’re all similarly excessive to our needs. So, I’m not going to be ashamed of the fact I blog, or that I care about style. It doesn’t mean my life is shallow or trivial. In fact, it’s one of the things that deepens existence. And I believe that there are girls and boys among refugees who dream about a safe life that includes these things too. And there were lives cut short in Paris and Beirut and Nigeria that dreamed about these things too.
And that’s really a unifying thought in all this tragedy.
And in that way, I do believe that beauty – whether it’s sports or style or art and crafts – can change the world we live in. Sure, it’s light stuff… but we desperately need the light too. And sometimes it's easier to come together in that lightness.