This post has been a LONG time coming. It’s been a topic of discussion for me and pretty much anyone else who would listen to me talk about it for over four months now, and has been a stress factor for me for over six weeks or so, as I have sat down multiple times to write this post until I had to give-in to the truthful, yet anxiety provoking, “You-should-be-studying-instead-of-doing-this” dialogue in my head.
However, now that my counseling exams are over (PRAISE THE LORD), I finally have the time to tweak it and finish it, so here you go.
Here are my totally random thoughts on the Fiddle Leaf Fig (yes, the indoor plant) and the person who made it cool. (Random, I know, but just hang with me for a bit.)
During the months of May, June and July, I was on the hunt for the perfect Fiddle Leaf Fig. (I would call it hunting, but my husband might call it obsession.) I knew we needed a little something green to add some more color to our overly navy and cream living room, and I knew I wanted that green to be in the form of a plant, but I also knew that we weren’t really “plant people” and that anything we bought would die, so I bought a fake one – one that looked really good online but in person was puny and crooked. (I mean, look at the picture.)
That night, as I was expressing my feelings of Fiddle Leaf defeat to my husband, my husband looked at me and simply said, “You only want this plant because someone, somewhere decided that the Fiddle Leaf Fig was THE indoor plant to have. Someone, somewhere decided it was cool.”
And then it started happening.
From that moment on, I began noticing that, in fact, every interior designer that I followed on Instagram ALSO loved the Fiddle Leaf Fig. It was on my feed constantly, and it seemed to be everywhere I went including a trendy new restaurant in Dallas, a boutique hotel we stayed at recently, and at the nursery – where it was severely over priced.
I mean, check this out…
And my favorite…
My husband was right.
I didn’t creatively think of the Fiddle Leaf Fig. I just followed the current trend right into obsession – and it was all because someone, somewhere decided it was cool.
As I’ve been reflecting on it, I think this is the way most any trend is, regardless of category. Look at fashion, for example. The mid-thigh short (for men) has come back full-circle since the ‘80s. In the realm of home decorating, mid-century modern is “in,” just like it was in the middle of the 20th century (wink, wink), so everyone is redecorating. Oh, and remember the word “tight” or “tite” when it was used a synonym for cool? It’s not really a cool word anymore, but “basic” is. It’s a synonym for boring…and it was trendy as of a couple of months ago. (Sigh.)
As I’ve been reflecting on it, I’ve decided that my husband’s observation has kind of ruined my life. Everywhere I look, I now see people wearing the same things and instead of seeing a “cool trend,” I see the influence of Someone-Somewhere. And it’s really been bothering me.
For example, the other day I was walking around Target when a group of young adult females walked in. Instead of noticing their pretty smiles or admiring the fact that they seemed completely surrounded by friends (a good thing in most situations and the things that I would have noticed before this Someone-Somewhere realization), I only noticed the striped shirts and the white sneakers.
And I felt defeated and thought to myself, “Someone-Somewhere is a really powerful person and when did we start giving him or her so much influence in our lives?”
I guess the answer is that we always have.
I mean, let’s just look at our recent “hair history.” When I was in middle school, it was cool to wear butterfly clips. Every day, I would spend 20 minutes delicately placing pieces of my hair into them and then I would spray the heck out of them with hairspray – so much so that the clips would stick to my fingers when I went to take them out of my hair at the end of the day. Gross, right? But, Brittany Spears was doing it. In high school, all of the girls “scrunched” their hair. For those of you younger than me, that means you would lather up your wet hair with gel and literally scrunch your hair as much as you could until you had a crunchy mess on top of your head. Totally weird – but it was totally “in.”
There’s also a reason why people used to get married in bright blue polyester suits and ruffled white shirts but don’t anymore.
So why am I so annoyed?
Well, first off, I think I’m just annoyed by what my new perspective means about me, personally. I think I used to equate trendiness with creativity (*see note below), but now I’m seeing trendiness as the opposite. And if I wasn’t wearing black distressed denim, a camo t-shirt, and some white sneakers while writing this post, I could simply sit back in judgment of others and laugh (just kidding, obviously) – but no. I’m wearing things that might be considered “trendy” – things that Someone-Somewhere heavily recommended – so, in reality, I’m simply a follower, and, worse yet, a copier. And I hate it. I mean, really hate it.
Secondly, I’m annoyed because all of the ways I have tried to justify listening to Someone-Somewhere have failed me. For example, a few months ago, one of my friends told me, “Hey, it’s okay. I think it’s important to wear things that make you feel comfortable with yourself.” Yea, but then why am I no longer wearing the Jincos that made me feel comfortable (especially the ones that I LOVED and spent $100 of my own money on) in middle school? Or why can’t I bring myself to wear the dress I bought for a formal eight years ago to the fundraiser I’m supposed to go to next month? It just doesn’t add up. The other common thing I have heard is this: “It’s important to feel pretty because then you will probably perform better, and, in fact, you’ll be setting a positive first impression which can go far.” I can handle the second part of this statement, and I simply chalk it up to “just the way things are,” but the first part of the statement still bothers me. Why did I used to feel pretty wearing butterfly clips in my hair, but, today, those same clips would just make me feel dumb?
Ultimately, all of my rationalization has led me to this conclusion: I still deeply care about what others think about me – especially when it comes to the way I look. AND, in fact, I find some of my worth there.
How do I know that? Because I’m not going to stop wearing “trendy” things. I’m not going to wear a neon windbreaker suit unless it comes back in style (please…no), and I’m going to keep wearing my white sneakers even though everyone and their dog wears them because I have to be considered “cute,” “well-dressed,” “fashionable,” or whatever because if I am not considered these things, I will probably feel worse about myself.
So, why am I sharing this?
I actually don’t know all of the reasons. I know part of this rant is because I believe that motives are important and that we can get lost in our pursuits unless we examine them often. But I think another reason is this: I need a change of heart.
As a believer, I know the rightful location for my identity is in the Lord. It’s not in having a house that’s well decorated or having a certain type of jeans, but the struggle is definitely real. I know, too, that my worth is not determined by how I look. I mean, God pursued me when I was trying to completely run from Him. He led me to the truth of the Gospel – that He loved me and that He wanted me to be His, that He sent his His son to die on the cross because there was absolutely nothing I could do on my own to earn salvation, and, yet, He wanted my sinful self to know Him and to experience life with Him. He led me to Himself so that I might experience His love. He found me – and you – worth all of that.
So, why do you wear what you wear? Why do you buy the things you do? What is Mr. or Ms. Someone-Somewhere trying to sell you? Are you buying it? Does it make you worth more?
OH, and by the way, I abandoned my quest for the perfect Fiddle Leaf Fig. Instead, I bought a faux palm. My friend, who has some inside sources, told me they were going to be the “new thing.” And I love it and stare at it often.
* I do think there CAN BE creativity in trendiness. For example, Someone-Somewhere who decided that we should wear faux leather pants is probably a truly creative person. I’m just questioning my own creativity in following their lead. I also think that you CAN take creative liberty in following someone else’s lead, which would also fall into the creative camp. These are the moments when I feel most okay about the influence Someone-Somewhere has on me.