Pretty Things


I feel a slight revulsion towards very pretty things, which seems almost counterintuitive. They make me feel out of place. It’s why I bore my eyes into museum paintings for too long and why I ask “what’s their flaw?” right before meeting someone new and why I sometimes deliberately ruin good relationships and why I can’t re-watch certain movies and why new clothes give me anxiety and why I need to take a moment after reading something heavy and perfect and why I don’t understand the appeal of Instagram and why I keep the dead ficus in my room and why I am hypnotized by aquarium lighting and why I don’t take photos of my food and why I get uncomfortable watching sunsets and why I feel like crying on long train rides and plane rides and car rides and sometimes even walks.

I think because, very much like how I feel about writing, I never feel like I properly deserve these pretty things. I feel uncomfortable. There’s that thought all writers have where they constantly feel like they’re a hack — and I’m sort of proving my point by adding this, but I want to clarify that I’ve heard and read that most writers feel this way, I’m not trying to group myself in with Real Writers and seem chummy and say “oh, yes, of course weeeeee all feel like hacks.” But where is the line between being a real writer who thinks they’re a hack and just being an actual hack??? How can you tell which side you’re on? Asking for a friend.

I think this is why I like messy bedrooms (especially if/when the host apologizes for said mess, bonus points if they say something like “I wasn’t expecting anyone”) and watching people cook and really worn-in old, oversized t-shirts and unbrushed hair and mismatched socks and folding the corners of pages in books and seeing what magazines are left on someone’s coffee table and slightly damaged postcards and the contents of someone’s purse and people who tell me all their secrets and stories about relationships that are told completely out of chronological order with little side comments and shoes caked in mud and last minute handwritten notes and those actually very candid photos where your friend says “God, do I really look like that?” and you’re giddy and you think yes you do and it’s perfect and I’m happy this is permanent proof of you in this moment so I can never forget what you look like. These things are familiar and messy and probably why I will never actually get around to writing anything that’s considered pretty.