Consumed

Last night I dreamt about amorphous blob creatures called muffies.  They laid, thoughtless, purple, clam-like yet motionless and unclothed on yoga mats making moaning and sucking sounds with eyeballs connected to no thoughts other than to be fed. I spent the dream trying to manage their slimy groaning needs while actual work scenarios rushed up and down peripheral hallways; suicide, rejection, bullying, broken families, child abuse, abandonment, staff complaints. It’s been a weekend of similar dream-themes; life crushing lives, children with huge heads full of malice, disabled spirits clawing towards mattering, demanding not equal but special treatment so as to defeat the consuming fears of being unwanted, no good, disposable. Is that it? Those are our choices? To lay shell-less and comatose or become hateful and hurtful? Let’s see.

In the opening scene of Father of the Bride Steve Tyrell sings about his self-proclaimed humility and love for mashed potatoes while the camera pans a street lined with sun dappled maple trees and quaint mansions cresting modest, evergreen lawns. The movie features two white families celebrating the six figure union of their classically attractive, able-bodied,  career-bound children who met while studying abroad in Europe. This simple life came with swans waddling along a tulip border and a histrionic, albeit entertaining wedding planner. Can our life be song-worthy if we can’t afford swans?

Alicia Silverstone wrote a book declaring there was such a thing as kind food and nasty food and teaches us eating, shopping, thinking and living by certain rules could make us a superhero. Apparently a superhero eats Mochi waffles drizzled with lemon-walnut rice syrup for breakfast. (I don’t know what Mochi is and neither does my Word dictionary) Can I still be a kind superhero if I eat Ego Waffles? 

Jessica Alba has a company called Honest. From what I can tell it’s mostly baby products deemed ‘cruelty free’ which is good because no one should be cruel to babies. For $169 plus shipping you can get the Honest Everything Tote to hold all of your honestly cruelty free gear, vitamins, feeding, diapering, personal care, cleaning, sale, gifts and more products. I’d been under the strange notion that honesty was an intangible value we begin cultivating around the age of 2, but clearly I was mistaken. You can also buy Honest deodorant to cover up your true smell for just $9. Oh.

Bruckner Chase is a former marketing executive turned All Good athlete whose platform is Ocean Positive. It’s ok if that sentence doesn’t make sense to you either. Bruckner enjoys testing his emotional fortitude by swimming across the world’s mystical and wondrous oceans. I’m told my parents conceived me high on cocaine at a nude beach somewhere between Massachusetts and Rhode Island. I think the beach was called Moonstone; that’s a pretty mystical and wondrous sounding place but somehow I think Bruckner’s All Good is deemed better than mine.

How about keeping it Real Simple? The lifestyle magazine has a product partner called WayFair. Fairness sounds good. WayFair sound even better. At WayFair you can by an Etagere (What the Bruckner is that? Who knows. Who cares. It’s WayFair.) from Eric Church’s Highway to Home collection for $1,066.00 on sale. Sounds heavenly but it might be out of my price range. If I can’t afford it does this make me complicated, sinful and unjust by exclusion?

If you really want to sparkle with True Joy and Pure Love that path is paved with Brilliant Earth ethically sourced diamonds. They even give back 5% of their profits to the little black boy featured on their webpage shown to represent the oppression of an entire country, nation, race and people. That almost makes me feel as exquisite as one of their exclusive and nature inspired designs, but mostly it just makes me sad, frustrated and hungry for change.

Image result for it's all lies

photo source unknown

The media, t.v, film, ads, billboards, newspapers, internet, even music, messages to us products, attitudes, services, lifestyles, brands and choices they qualify as good for us. Rather than actively question we pursue it with all our might and all our money. Jean Kilbourne has been educating, writing, speaking and lobbying against destructive media messages since 1969. She has 60 hash-tagged posts on Instagram. Kylie Jenner, best known for her surgically enhanced face and sold out lip-kits, has over 5 million. Coke and McDonald’s both have huge ad campaigns hinged on Love. Their love can be purchased starting at $1. Buying our values, wants and needs is not an act limited to a particular class, it just seems the higher up the socioeconomic chain we go the more vicious we get. Is this what immobilizes us? Believing we can’t out buy the next guy? No one feels very impressed or socially threatened by my Diet Coke, but people will straight up murder you for a certain pair of sneakers. Why? Because we all want the good, simple, honest, pure, kind, authentic, fresh, loving life. Buying it, portraying it, wearing it, aligning ourselves with ‘it’ is so much easier than cultivating those values from within and living them out. Corporations are very happy when we choose to fight, judge, blame, steal, shop and kill ourselves in attempts to keep up and compete.

Vengeance and judgement don’t make very approachable teachers. Everything we do or avoid comes from our desire to be loved and feel included. We’re biologically programmed to care about and want to belong to one another but instead of looking for belonging within ourselves and our relationships we look for it in our posts, likes, ‘what about me’ quizzes, channels, selfies, designer diapers bags and t.v characters. Which brand of pants we’re wearing, the color of our skin, how much money we make, which sports teams we like, which gender we call ourselves, the place we sleep at night, how we acquire our essentials, whether or not we have children, our marital status, the food we eat, the shapes of our bodies and faces, none of these external things determine our value as human beings. You’re already priceless.

Anyway. Dear muffies, I love you. Think.

Exchanging glory for shame 

7 thoughts on “Consumed

  1. Lovely. I think ee cummings made similar observations on society a while back, do you ever read him? It’s always good to see these things put into words. It stops them from *hiding*. It encourages people to think for themselves. I re-read “As Freedom is a Breakfastfood” after reading your post. Appreciate him more the longer I have been around.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Indeed, haha! 🙂 I’m glad we got ee on our reading list too. – I’m re-reading things on my way through in chronological order, and this is still fabulous! I just *had* to read much of it out loud and we were laughing at the way you called a spade a spade here. I was also thinking it’s incredible you have the same criticisms of that American consumer la-la-land and the common movie portrayals as we do (and indeed it’s not just American consumerism that’s like this, but somehow it looks like the epitome, even now that Australia has overtaken the US for most unhealthily overweight population, the biggest resource and energy users per capita, the biggest McMansions etc – I think it’s because of how America sells it somehow intertwined with patriotism) – even though you live within it and critique can be easier from a distance. But then I thought, in a way you didn’t live within it, the US is a very split society, with the well-off living side by side with what is essentially a Third World country in the very same place, and you grew up in that poor side and therefore could more easily see the ironies in how America likes to portray itself and the humbug the mainstream is supposed to aspire to…

    And really it’s the same theme as in dysfunctional families, but on a national level: The cover story versus the reality being covered up… and the way the majority agree with the cover story and hate whistleblowing… oh the parallels.

    I like writing that makes me think, and yours certainly does! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for laughing! As to the international parallels the more I learn about other westernized countries the more clear it becomes that capitalism functions the same all over; exchanging values and connection for services and products (lifestyle brands). Sad to hear of the harm it’s done in Australia. I remember Russia going mad for Levi’s especially, but any denim in the 80’s. I think America has mastered the art of selling herself. Somewhere her forefathers are rolling over. Where did we go wrong? Bravo for remaining open to thinking! It’s scary to look at ourselves through certain lenses usually because it means we might see something that requires a change or initial loss. Growing up outside it as you mentioned did allow for a different view, particularly working in the service industry for very wealthy people. I got to look back from where I’d been, forward to what society said I should want and realized there could be a better way. I was fine with seeing we were both wrong. One of my favorite observations is how the most dangerous drivers on the road are those in very fancy cars and very shitty cars; opposite extremes carrying equal amounts of distraction, hunger and fears of worthlessness. Here’s to love. Thanks again for laughing. ❤️

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