Every few Sundays, I'll spend an hour or two organizing a part of my life that was probably perfectly fine to begin with. Last week, it was the sad pile of baking supplies crowding an oft-neglected cabinet in my kitchen; today, it was my inbox. (Which, I will admit 600 emails later, was definitely not fine when I started.) Although I'm well-aware said cabinets and inboxes will be overflowing once again within weeks, these OCD-fueled, binge-cleaning sessions leave me with a sense of accomplishment.
Today, as I sat in front of my computer and arbitrarily filed emails into cryptically titled folders like "Creative Fodder" and "Made By Friends," I came across an email I received from a dear friend some months ago, questioning why this desire for organization feels so toxic in the context of how we present ourselves to the world, particularly on social media:
"Especially as a journalist, I want to present some sort of coherent brand. But that’s totally complicated by this nebulous, confused, constantly evolving thing that is my personhood. I detest the pressure to reign things in and appear thematically consistent to the world."
She signed off:
Perhaps this is why I've never felt very good at organizing--though I like the idea of keeping the various parts of my life filed away and out of sight, leaving behind only what I want to show off to the world, it's ultimately not the whole truth. The truth--the vast expanse of thoughts, experiences, and interests that define your personhood and mine--could never be contained by something so slight and rigidly defined as, say, a tweet. And why should they have to be?
"Glass Of The Microscope"
Fragrant World (2012)
Image from Little Visuals, a nifty, free service that emails you 7 hi-res photos a week.