On Aesthetics and Wanting
Honestly, I cannot afford my ideal aesthetic.
I am a person who chases a certain vision, a particular look, even when it is constantly changing.
If I had my way, I would take rugs and mantelpieces from Anthropologie, fresh roses and coffee for endless daily Instagramming, updated kitchen counter tops, good lighting in every room, the perfect capsule wardrobe, shoes that magically didn't smell. I want those things.
Sometimes I go out in nature and forget about wanting all these things, and I am overcome by this rustic, perhaps more earthy vibe, that is content with dirty fingernails and the crack of leaves and the warmth of sunshine. I am okay with messy hair and blemishes because I forgot that they were there in the first place.
But I keep coming back to wanting my life and the perception of it to look and feel a certain way. I crave beauty, and I believe that it comes from a spiritual place of longing for infinite things, but in my earthly mind it crosses paths with material things that confuses how I long for it.
Material things like beautiful socks and gorgeous photographs and vintage blouses and floral notepads are good. Materialism, the temptation that things satisfy, sneakily creep into these good beautiful things and nag, just the tiniest bit: whispering that accumulation will fill the aesthetic void.
They do not.
I have been trying so hard as of late to savor the ordinary beauty to counteract this notion that stuff satisfies. That morning coffee is really good. That photo is really captivating. That painting is really pleasing.
Because we are supposed to savor these things. We are supposed to harness that savoring and allow it to turn our glance upward and inward. Inward, with a sense of gratitude. Upward, with a sense of yes, this is good, but You are best. As Plato spoke of the forms, it is encouraging to think of the beautiful things of this world as having meaning that points to something greater and beyond, and not intrinsically tied to our basest inclinations.
We are supposed to rebuke the lie that the next latte, the latest dress, the pretty things, that they will fill us up and nurture contentment. I remind myself: I have an ache for more, and this is not a problem.
My desire for the beautiful is good, and acknowledging when I see it in pretty little things around me is okay. I am giving myself permission to savor.
So no, I actually cannot afford my ideal aesthetic. My truly ideal sense of beauty is yet to come.