Clever tees have been an attraction for quite a while now. Less generic, and more fun mashups. This one is an example from a few years ago.
Once, when I wore this while out in a group, one kind soul complimented the design. Another person in the group immediately commented that people wore such tees to send a “look how smart I am” message. My views was that at least for me, it was less vanity/personality and more a means of expression and identity, which served as a conversation starter, given my less-than-gregarious nature. But it did stay with with me, and make me wonder whether he had a point.
Some of this tee taste has rubbed off on home decor too, and I have at least a few posters which are pop culture mashups of the #getit kind. The biggest example is the Star Wars canvas, literally! When we have folks over, they do spend time looking at these, and sometimes we have interesting conversations around them. A few days ago, when D and I were discussing additions to these, I remembered the tee conversation, and asked her what she thought. I added that the same concept could be extended to our photos of the places we have traveled to, or the books we read, or the souvenirs we have and so on. We figured that it was really difficult to nail the intent when analysis of the self was involved. Objectivity is nearly impossible.
So, as I have written before, it is possible that there is some self image intent involved. But I found solace in these lines from “Why we need to create a home” which I can extend to the other things too.
The quest to build a home is connected up with a need to stabilise and organise our complex selves. It’s not enough to know who we are in our own minds. We need something more tangible, material and sensuous to pin down the diverse and intermittent aspects of our identities. We need to rely on a certain kinds of cutlery, bookshelves, laundry cupboards and armchairs to align us with who we are and seek to be. We are not vaunting ourselves; we’re trying to gather our identities in one receptacle, preserving ourselves from erosion and dispersal. Home means the place where our soul feels that it has found its proper physical container, where, everyday, the objects we live amongst quietly remind us of our most authentic commitments and loves.
I can completely relate to that. When I walk around my home, these tangibles serve as a starting point for memories, thoughts and perspectives that were/are most key to my identity. I have also noticed that when viewed through the lens of hindsight, they are less about self image, and more about self awareness. A humbling showcase of my evolution.