It starts when we’re born. Accessories. “My daddy is the best” and “My mom is better than your mom” on our shirts, iconic pacifiers, hair bows in more styles and colors than Baskin Robbins has flavors, complete ensembles of coordinated clothing, all in large quantities. When did babies become fashion statements? Aren’t they cute enough already? I see a lot of people talking to parents with small babies and hearing more compliments about the clothing than the kid wearing them.
It continues through adolescence, expanding to toys and games. I have boys (thank you God) that don’t care much about fashion and will probably need future therapy for their lack of stylish clothing options. They do however have accessories. They have Nintendo DS’s that have lots of games, a universal charger, a fancy light sabre stylus and headphones, all packed inside a custom case. Society says, “You need more” and we respond by buying more.
Into adulthood now, and I’m not exempt from this. I might not have a lot of fancy, trendy clothing but I do have some nice things in my house. Most from eBay, craigslist and thrift stores, but nevertheless, lots of things. Accessories. I have decorative things that serve no purpose other than to sit there and look nice. Now I’m an artist of sorts, so this is an important topic. I love to create things, but with a purpose. Much of my art is chaotic, but has meaning and purpose behind it. The vase sitting on my shelf, not so much. I’ve been sucked into the American vortex of more is better. I created this photograph several years ago. This has many meaning for many people, but I see it as how we become background fixtures in the sea of stuff we own.
I seem to be self-motivated by imposing challenges on myself, ones to better my artistic ability, to make positive changes or to just do something I feel is worthwhile. Sometimes we get so bogged down with life that we don’t make time for the really important stuff. A friend of mine has been struggling with not making time to be artistic, afraid that if she creates something, it will be “sucktastic”. Okay, I love the word, but I hate what it means here. Half of the crazy art I make is sucktastic, but it comes from my heart so it still has meaning for me. I might not ever post my sucktastic art, but the artistic expression used during the making of it is a much needed emotional release.
Sometimes we have to be sucktastic before achieving fantastic. I was listening to a talk radio show about success and failure in our school system. They spoke about a pendulum, with success and failure on each swing. The pendulum theory, as I like to call it, basically means that you’re allowed to succeed as much as you’re allowed to fail. I have had many failures in all areas of my life, and sometimes it’s hard to get back up, brush yourself off and try again. Allowing for big time failure can bring big time success, the sky being the limit. If you allow for a little failure, you can achieve a little success. This often feels like being in a box or being grounded, and sometimes we don’t even realize we’re in this position. And the worst case scenario in this theory? Non-movement or no room for failure. This creates a vast black hole of nothingness. Sometimes this is us being paralyzed with fear, sometimes it’s lack of motivation, but the important thing is identifying your issue and finding a way to move past it.
What does all of this have to do with Trash Society? A lot. Sometimes I loose sight of why I’m doing any of this. Is it really making a difference? I’m not in this for the money, obviously, as if I were to place a financial statement on it, it would be in the red. I could use my blogging time to do freelance work. I have a passion for what I’m doing, but I do sometimes lose sight of it. Trash society is to make a difference, hopefully in less waste. If you apply the pendulum theory to you and your talent, and if you’re not allowing yourself failure, then your talents are being wasted. Where are you on the pendulum swing?