*OR THE INFINITE INNER BATTLE BETWEEN QUALITY AND AESTHETICS
When I was five, I liked to tie my bed sheet around myself halterneck style and wear it as a gown, meanwhile posing in front of our entrée’s large mirror. I didn’t care that I was wearing an oversized green piece of bed linen that had teddy bears on it – in my head, I was Charlize Theron in Vera Wang couture walking down the red carpet at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. You know, that stunning vermillon coloured gown. If you don’t, google it, that’s what I did.
“It’s really hard to describe oneself because I think one lives, very often, in other peoples’ visions.” – Iris Apfel
So what is that title all about? And what in the world is this sugarcoat? I’m glad you asked, allow me to explain. Picture the aspects in your life that are, in my opinion, the most important: your health – physical and mental, your home, your work and/or your hobbies, the people surrounding you, your family. Imagine everything is going well: you are in your best physical and mental shape, you enjoy a blossoming career or just your job or your job is your hobby – it doesn’t matter. You have an amazing companion – or more than one, I mean, whatever modern society model best fits your preferences – and amazing friends. Your family is doing well and is healthy and you can’t wait to spend Christmas with them just so you could all spend time together and enjoy a happy and fulfilling meal.
Now here is where the infamous sugarcoat comes in: picture your dream home. To me, it’s a nordic minimalistic black and white rooftop loft with big windows are beautiful views, rooms filled with light and less but very quality design furniture. Picture a closet full of designer clothes and bags: buying a Chanel Boy is no longer a fantasy, even with the stupid ten percent price increase that apparently happens every six months now. Your friends come over in their fancy cars with their private drivers and you all enjoy macaroons and a bottle of Dom on your soft crisp white couch.
The paragraph you just read was an overly exaggerated picture of what is defined as the sugarcoat: all of the wonderful superficial materialistic goods. Because after all, this is what the sugarcoat really is about: superficial materialistic aesthetics, and there is nothing wrong with that and here is why. The sugarcoat elements in life are all about the superficial. They only make up a sugarcoat if there is something to actually coat. If not, it just becomes an empty shell. If the rest of your life is a load of madness and anxiety, the sugarcoat itself will become unsustainable and unhealthy if you use it to cover up all you want to deny but know deep down is tearing you apart. All that will be left of it is temporary pleasure but not happiness, a quick kick, but no long-lasting piece of mind.
My grandmother once told me that money doesn’t make you happy, but it’s easier to be miserable when you have money. It’s true, and one bill less is definitely a problem less. The problem arises when, like I said, you use the sugarcoat as an excuse to cover up your anxieties. This is where it becomes dangerous – think Becky Bloomwood, Holly Golightly or Emma Bovary. Okay, she had affairs with men not designer bags but you get the point.
I’m not afraid of desiring luxury and aesthetics. There is nothing wrong with expensive and/or flashy taste. There is nothing wrong with wanting the penthouse or the Paloma bag that might be the next It item. There is nothing wrong with working for it. I like the sugarcoat, but here is the thing: it’s the coat, not the filling. It doesn’t make me a better person. It’s all a matter of taste. Even though that sounded odd, the truth remains: chase luxury if you like, but please stop using it as a materialistic form of escapism to cover up whatever secret emotional wound or insecurity you may have. Everyone has them, some are just better at hiding them – deal with it, but superficially hiding them won’t do anyone any good and that also especially includes you.
Read part 2 “The Emotional Sugarcoat*” here