Reflecting on the Role of Pinterest in my Life

I’ve been meaning to talk about Pinterest and how this social site is taking an incredible role in my life for a while now and yesterday, I read Maxwell Tielman’s piece on Design*Sponge called “The Pinnable Life: What do your pins say about you?”, where he discusses the role of Pinterest in the social life of individuals and it was fantastic! It inspired me so much!

I mean, I completely disagree with him (I’ll make my point later), but I loved how he picked apart various aspect of the social media life, the online life in general and the questions he asked. I had never though of Pinterest the way he depicted it, and that’s what’s most interesting thing to me. How one platform can be seen in such a different light by different people! (Read Maxwell’s amazing piece here, it will make you think, I promise!)

First of all: I’m an avid pinner. I pin everyday, I have pinned around 8,000 images and I do it usually at night, to inspire me for the next day! Ever since Pinterest came around, a couple of years back, to me, I’ve hear and read, really, all these theories and ideas about how negative this social site was to heavy users. How it created a new psychological condition: the Pinterest depression, where an individual would spend an incredible amount of time online and end up depressed by all the amazing images and feel like his/hers home is less than the other, or uglier in comparison to all the amazing, professionally styled images on Pinterest. There were plenty of piece in the media about the subject. I was always fascinated by it, the concept of “it’s always greener on the other side” was beign transferred online… I mean, it’s crazy and fascinating!
I also read a bunch of pieces written by men, in particular, about how they don’t get Pinterest and don’t care for it. I even had plenty of discussions with male friends about it. B., for example, couldn’t care less about the social site’s existence. In fact, he would love it did not exist at all and I did not wake him up with my cell phone light flashing on his eyes, because I pin at night for inspiration! So here is my question, how is it that mostly women re interest in saving images they find inspiring? Most men have never cut a page of a magazine at the doctor’s office because they saw a very cool pair of shoes and did not want to forget about them? Is gender really a factor here?
I don’t have the answer, peeps. I only have the questions!
When it comes to women, they all seem love it so much and recommend it to everyone! My girlfriends and I had various exchanges about Pinterest! Recently, when I decided that eventually we will have a baby, they all recommended various boards on pregnancy and baby clothes and diffrent nurseries’s styles and sanity-saving baby gear!

Here is what Pinterest means to me: 
1-) It helps me keep my computer clean. Before Pinterest, I’d save all sorts of articles and images. My computer was filled with things I wanted to remember and maybe I would never access it. Files and files, mostly disorganized, of cool images I’d find online. It was the evolution of cutting magazine’s pages and keeping thousands of magazines around the house. (I have to admit it, I still keep magazines around the house. Because of Pinterest, though, instead of thousands, I now keep  only hundreds, so, progress, you know…).
2-) It inspires me. Considering I live in a city  where I don’t know anyone, I don’t have any friends or family around and I work from home, I don’t get to interact with other human begins as much. Sometimes, I spend days without even seen anyone. My online life has an extremely high value to me and Pinterest is the tool I use to inspire myself when I need to think about different color palettes, or which flower arrangement I’m going to try next time to make our home pretty and smelling nice!
3-) I learn so much from it. Since when B. asked me to marry him, over six months ago, I’ve been confused about the wedding, the event in itself. I never before thought I’d ever get married (I’m a peculiar being), and I was sure I’d be alone forever. Naturally, I never bothered thinking about weddings. I’m not the girl who grew up dreaming of her wedding day, who can see exactly how she wants it. My alternative was to turn to Pinterest to see different styles of weddings and try to finally be able to visualize what a wedding would look like for me. What’s my style? I still have no idea. All I know is that I want something small and simple. Laid back. What’s important to me is that we have fun partying. But, I can’t see the style! A picnic, a backyard wedding, a city hall wedding? I don’t know yet. And I hope Pinterest will help me, at least, narrow down what I don’t want! (I’d go for the city hall wedding, I don’t want the hassle to plan something in NYC while I’m in Denver, but B. insists on a “real” wedding, and that makes me so confused…).

Another example is the baby stuff: I don’t know what babies need, what to register for, what to do with them really. I’m using this period pre-conception to learn. To research. I hate the old school baby stuff, and I’m discovering that it is possible to have more designy, modern baby stuff than I could have ever imagined! Pinterest a great tool to research new (to me) products.
I learned from Maxwell’s piece that people are also criticizing Pinterest because of copyright infringement. I need to read more on that, I had never even thought about it before! But, it seems to me that, these are the same Instagrammers that say, “do not copy my images”. Hey, lady, big ego much? I hate these moments. If you don’t want people to touch your shit, you really should not expose it online.
Pinterest is the evolution of cutting the magazine. Remember that?  People need to realize that the evolution of the world and the transition from the material world to the virtual world is something they can’t stop. You will die trying!

Personal Style: 
Naturally, Pinterest is an extension of my “personal style”. If I like a more laid-back life, I’m not going to pin pictures of mansions and extreme expensive rooms, for example. Also, interns of color preference: I despise, to a crazy extent, the colors pink and blue. It comes from hating the pre-determined gender rules: girls wear pink, boys wear blue. I’m in favor of some gender performances. But only some. If I have a boy, we will have a mini kitchen at home. And if I have a girl, we will have firetrucks at home. I think of the human begin as a whole, not as a contained person within a few gender possibilities. My baby boards will NOT feature tutus and pink dresses or blue t-shirts at all. They reflect my values and beliefs. 
I know that most people think of aesthetics and personal style only in terms of imagery, what looks good, without much background or thought. These are shallow and empty people. My aesthetics represent my personality, my story, my values and my beliefs. When I wake up in the morning and get dressed, I do so according to my mood. At times, when you see me using a lot of black and dark colors, you can easily associate that to the weather and my mood, I must be angry or depressed or just tired and pissed off.

A great proof of that is how I see happiness and how happiness reflects on my aesthetics in general. I never knew happiness in my life until recently. I was an extremely bitter and unhappy person my entire existence, really. After moving to Denver, my life changed 180 degrees and I finally learned how to be happy. B. brought a world into my life I did not know existed. And that’s reflected in my closet. Before B. : all black and leather and dark clothes. After B.: a very cheery and colorful closet.
Zombie Apocalipse: 
Now, I’m going to imagine what Maxwell suggested in the piece: “the entire human race (aside from yourself) has been obliterated by a worldwide zombie apocalypse. You are the last human being alive on earth.”  Ok, first of all, I’d NEVER be the only survival. I’m so afraid of everything I’d be the first to die, I’m sure of it! Joking aside, If I was the only person left, I’d most like it barricade myself somewhere and die of starvation. Ok, I love zombies and I have spent a LOT of time in my life thinking about these scenarios! :)
Maxwell asks: “Do you, as the sole survivor of the zombie takeover, have a “personal style?” Do you continue to decorate your apartment with beautiful objects or wear clothing that you think represents who you are?” I’d totally have a personal style in this situation. I’d want to feel like a badass in order to survive, so I’d dress appropriately. I’d wear cargo pants with loads of pockets in case I’d go out trying to get medicine and supplies and be able to easily transport them back home, without compromising my agility. I’d wear a nice black leather motor jacket and have knives and guns on me. My style would be totally dark. And, believe me, I’d spend time in this place where I barricaded myself to organize my outfits. I can see it happening.

Also, I’d make sure that I’d find the nearest J.Crew, which by now, it’s abandoned and If I’m the only person left in the world, it means J.Crew is mine and I can just get anything and everything I want from there. I’d loot J.Crew and bring home the softest cashmere sweaters to feel cozy and comfortable and cool print pants and glasses and red lipstick so I could pretend I’m Jenna when I’m at home! I’m not missing that opportunity for anything! 😉
My apartment, despite the fact that would need to be barricaded, with very little light, so it would not attract any zombies (how very I Am Legend of me?), it would probably look a lot like a weapons’ wearhouse. Somehow, in this reality, I have the knowledge of where to find weapons (I guess I’d go to the Lowry Airforce Base, next to my home?) but, I’d totally decorate the place. I’d want the memories. Nice memories. Things that would remind me of B. or my mom. Things from trips we took. A very comfortable place, since I’d be living in there 24/7. I’d probably go to Design Within reach and pick up cool things, too, since I also own that place as well! I’d using this opportunity the best I can. 
My home today is a reflection of that. Nobody visits us, we don’t entertain or throw parties. We live here completely alone. It’s almost like the zombie apocalypse already. But, despite all that, I don’t live like a pig or in an empty place. I love my home. I work from home, so I make sure that, before I buy the beautiful couch, I buy the comfortable couch and the other day I made my bed because my polka dots sheets from PBTeen (of all places, I should be ashamed…) make me happy. Polka dots make me happy. Patterns make me happy! Isn’t everyone like that? Nobody is here with us, looking if I’m making my bed every morning, inspecting my home. But I still do it and I do it because it makes me feel good, not because of what other people might think or say about me. 

That sounds very childish. Like the young adult that eats ores before dinner because now, that he lives alone, Mom cannot say anything about it! (Seinfeld, anyone?) I believe people who live like that, only for appearances, living their lives in such a way, worried what others will think about them might be the saddest people in the world. And hey, I come from Brazil, where you are NOT allowed to be different.
That’s where I disagree with Maxwell the most: he argues that I (or you), alone in the world, would be so worried about survival that I’d not care about my personal style anymore. That, only because there is no one around, I’d not work as hard on my aeatetics. And I say in response: no. No, maxwell! No! I absolutely would care about my aesthetic and my home and the car I’d drive… Not even in the zombie apocalypse I’m driving a Subaru. Because I’d be ashamed of myself if I did! Everything I do, I do for myself, for my family, so we are happy, healthy and feel good. Nobody is inspecting my sower head filters and they do not say anything about me, but that I don’t want that water filled with chorine destroying my hair. I love my hair. My hair makes ME happy. So, even in the zombie apocalypse, assuming I still get water delivered normally (who is taking care of that? we need to get on that!) I’d go to Home Depot and pick up a few filters every couple of months. Do you really think I want to be alone, in the zombie apocalypse and be bald on top of it all. That’s depressing!

I left Brazil  when I was 19, moved to NYC. Nobody there knew me. I couldn’t care less about what people would think, because I also did not know any of them. They were my zombies. And I didn’t walk around wearing my pajamas, or without brushing my teeth. Then, 10 years later, I moved to Denver. I don’t know anyone here, but I make sure I dress really well everywhere I go, despite the fact that Denverites only wear sports clothes EVRYWHERE. I do not need to blend in, or be like them at all. I’m my own self and I’m unique. 
Maxwell argues: “As much as we like to imagine that our personal styles are about us as individuals, something that defines who we are at our core, our personal styles would be nothing without the people around us.” 
No! Again, no! I live in Denver, and I don’t drive a 4WD because of that. It’s not my style. I drive a tiny mini cooper that prohibits me to go out when it’s snowing because it cannot handle even 1 inch of snow on the ground. Snow is not my thing, I’m not missing anything. I don’t think I dress like anybody I know or that my home looks like anything from magazines. It reflects who I am, even it does not look like a collected, cohesive selection of furniture. Yes, it’s a mess, but it tells my story. That gigantic sea shell over there does not look good at all, but it reminds me every time, of how sweet B. is. When I sleep in on vacations, he goes out to the beach and collects sea shells. Like a child. He has a beautiful child inside of him and that’s what that sea shell means. Not that I like beachy style homes…
The shoes I choose are, most importantly, comfortable. I’m not the chick on top of the 6 inches heels. Not even on my Engagement Party (the most important party I have ever been to). I’m in favor of feeling comfortable above all else. The shoes I choose are not based on how good my legs will look or how sexy they will make me feel. Because I can’t handle that. I need to be comfortable and happy. 

I refuse the  idea that Pinterest is some sort of show-off tool and that the fact that it makes your selections public would automatically alter them. I don’t care if I have one follower or one thousand. I’m Vanessa Mael either way. 

 Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 12.01.32 PM
image via Pinterest
My cooking board is an example: I use it to to save recipes, to get inspired about cooking healthy foods, to learn about other healthy recipes I never even thought about before in my life. Do you know how hard is to make healthy food new and exciting? But I also pin french fries and cake. Have you seen my size? I should be ashamed of that. But I do it, because I love cake and french fries.  And I don’t give a shit if it has so much shit in it that will help kill me sooner than the zombies.  I avoid making them when I think of my cholesterol problems, but I absolutely love them. 
I also pin things I will never be able to afford, for example. It’s my way of dreaming. I have more important things in life to spend the money instead of spending it on a purse. Also, I don’t really have anywhere to go to with that purse, living in Denver, of all places. But I can dream about the purse. That I can!
I thank Maxwell for his essay, for throwing ideas out there that I had never contemplated before and for making me think.