Curate. To me, it's a beautiful word. It speaks of meticulous care and thoughtfulness. But if we were all curators, what would we be curating?
Our culture tells us we need to curate our appearance. Industries profit by preying on our insecurities, and we are made to believe that we should look like an alternate version of ourselves. As people, we want to feel valuable and acceptable, so we set out to achieve the standards our culture has defined. Yet, the standard of beauty changes, and we find ourselves spending time, money, and energy to the cause of looking as though we belong. Our mindset changes too. Because this process makes us increasingly critical of ourselves, we develop a harsh and objectifying view of others too. Instead of noticing our fellow humans and wondering about their lives, we evaluate their bodies and the way they present themselves. Placing so much importance on the way we look defeats the purpose of why we set out to "fix" our appearance in the first place. We feel more insecure, misunderstood, and unworthy than before.
What if we decided to curate our lives, or our souls? Shifting the focus to our personhood means that we choose what we value, instead of allowing the culture to define our values. Our self-worth becomes nurtured and secure. We begin to think more about our inner lives and less about our outer lives. We encounter the space and freedom necessary to think about meaning and experience. We stop seeing ourselves as a bodies moving around this world and begin to live as humans interacting with the world. Life becomes fuller and freer with decisiveness.
For me, it came down to this: Am I living the life I want - or the life I was led to believe I must? There is not one process by which we reexamine our values and determine our own desires and passions. It is as unique privilege to do so. We are the curators, even if our culture seems to be a powerful force. It's our life. We decide how we spend our days. May we choose well.
If you are in need of some anti-diet, liberated lifestyle inspiration this week, here are a few favorites I encountered:
- 50+ Reasons to Divorce Diet Culture by Summer Innanen
- "I Just Want to Feel Good in my Body" by Rachel W. Cole
- 44 Compelling Reasons to Stop Dieting Now by Melissa Fabello