A Week as a Terp
For seven days I monitored my everyday, examining my routine and the most basic things have become innate. In order to figure out the everyday, I paid specific attention to what creates my everyday, as it tends to go unnoticed. The everyday is used to describe aspects of life that lie hidden as ordinary. The everyday becomes hegemonic, we no longer question why or what we do, we only seem to notice to the unfamiliar and the irregular. The non-everyday being the exceptional events is what stands out in our minds as special memorable moments. We mark our time by these special events and the everyday escapes from us, going undocumented and forgotten. It’s when we examine the mundane that we find out our true identities and tendencies. How we act and what we do in the everyday is what makes us, not the random events. The sporadic new events stand out in our minds in from our memories but the small insignificant daily events create the fibers our beings, characteristics and tendencies that seem natural, make us who are.
I surveyed the common everyday things in my routine that I mindlessly do and looked at them with a new perspective. Instead of just acting I paused and took a moment to think about my actions, why I do it, and what it says about society, and myself breaking hegemony. We refer to the everyday as ordinary and regular but people have different ideas of the everyday and what it means to them through their values and ideas.
Day 1: Tiny Moving Boxes
When you need to get from one location to the next, you pile into your car, put the key in the ignition, turn the car on, put your foot on the break, switch the gear, place your foot on the gas and begin to mindlessly drive to your desired destination. When you enter your car, you’re actually getting into a small room on wheels and strapping yourself in restricting your body from moving by physically tying yourself in. In your car you’re next to other cars carrying passengers also on their way to a new location. You pass hundreds of people all busy traveling the same path to different places. You spend tons of time driving in these little rooms talking, listening to music, texting, sleeping, eating, and so many other things but the time spent in the car never seems substantial or important. You can pay thousands of dollars for an expensive car to display your economic status but the sole purpose of a car is to get from point A to point B.
Day 2: The Dreaded Gym
Everyone has an image of what they want their ideal dream body to look like; it’s stuck in our minds and haunts us every time we have a snack attack. Although this ideal image is sadly never going to happen as it’s super unrealistic and unhealthy. The whole world would be Victoria Secret models if it were natural, but still we drag ourselves to the gym and become rows of tiny hamsters spinning around on machines. We line up on machines fake moving, we pretend to run or bike acting the motion without actually moving. We get very close to each other ignoring normal space boundaries, while getting really sweaty and gross (unless you can follow gym protocol and go every other machine). While people go to the gym to improve their physique, it can be challenging when everyone is seizing each other up. Girls are looking at other girls, judging their bodies and workout clothes, which is why half of the girls are now wearing ridiculously expensive workout clothes like lululemon, no one wears loose sports shorts and a t-shirt anymore. The gym is a place to show your status with your attire, body and the fact that you have the time and energy to fake move on a little machine.
Day 3: Talking to myself
When I need a mental break from homework, or walking to class, or zoning out while doing my hair or makeup, relaxing listening to music, or laying in bed before I go to sleep, or just bored lacking the energy, time or imagination to do anything else I have hypothetical conversations with myself. I realize that these conversations are never going to happen but they are entertaining and amusing. I stare blankly at my reflection or lay mentally talking to myself having a two-way conversation. My roommate may be in the room and I could easily talk to her, but she wouldn’t fully understand the situation, how I’m feeling or want to hear me talk about it again so I talk to myself instead. These pretend situations give me the opportunity to “say” whatever I want to that person and I can rewind the conversation if I don’t like the way I worded it or want a redo so I can always say what I want how I want, leaving me satisfied with the conversation. My character always has the upper hand in the conversation with cheeky comebacks that are clever and funny. Everything that I wish I could say in person comes out in these hypothetical conversations, and as much as I promise myself to say these things to the person the conversation never happens, because I forget, get too nervous to say what I want or the topic never comes up again.
Day 4: What to Wear
Every morning I know I’m going to struggle finding something to wear. Its not that I don’t have clean clothes or clothes that fit me, it’s that my clothes need to match my mood for the day. It takes me around 10 to 15 minutes to find an outfit that satisfies my mood that morning. I stare at my clothes knowing that no one else besides myself is going to care about what I’m wearing. Still, it’s vital that I find something I like and fits how I’m feeling that moment. If I choose an outfit that I’m uncomfortable in or it doesn’t fit how I’m feeling, I’ll be unhappy for the rest of the day and will either change or just be grumpy. Clothes are a way for people to define themselves. People express themselves through their clothes, displaying their personalities and character through how they dress. Peers look at what others are wearing and make assumptions on their monetary status, confidence levels, and taste. My daily debate is to go for comfort-a big hoodie, or sporty-my Maryland gear or feminine- boots and a jacket. I usually end up wearing one of my favorite go to outfits- yoga pants and a sweater a combination of the three looks.
Day 5: Plucking
Once every two weeks I look in the mirror, shocked at how crazy I let my eyebrows get. I then have about an hour-long date with my tweezers. I pull up my chair, grab a fancy mirror with a light, find my tweezers and get to work on my eyebrows. I groom my facial hair one by one, painfully pulling little hairs from my face out of fear of having a uni-brow or unruly brows. There are countless tips and theories to help you achieve the best shape for your brows like this crazy one that claims “ideal time for brow-shaping is the week after your period begins. It’s the time in you cycle when your body is least sensitive to hair removal”. Why do girls need to groom themselves and have all their hair perfectly cut, tweezed and waxed when it’s clearly not natural for our bodies? It’s normal and almost mandatory for females to properly groom themselves; but if a male does it and you can tell he is ridiculed for it.
Day 6: Fake Cake Face
Every weekend I put on obnoxious amounts of makeup, coat my skin and facial features, making me feel super good about myself… until I take it off. For my makeup routine, I apply weird paint on myself until I’m almost unrecognizable. I have no idea what goop I’m putting on myself, and the fact that it was tested on animals should be a little concerning but sadly it is not because I’m buying into our country’s multibillion-dollar cosmetics industry. I feel that there is something wrong with my looks because the industry has created the belief that you should have flawless clear skin, long thick dark eyelashes, luscious glossy lips, and big bright eyes, and if you don’t, you should be investing in facial paint and markers to draw all over your real features.
Day 7: Cooking to Eat in Seconds
Once I’m done with soccer practice or class, I immediately start thinking about what I’m going to make for dinner. Throughout the day I surf Pinterest, gathering ideas and inspiration for my dinners, so that by the time I’m home I’m ready to go. It typically takes me around 30 minutes to 60 minutes to cook my dinner, and less than 10 minutes to eat it. I cook for so long just to eat the meal in seconds, barely enjoying all my culinary efforts. So why do I even take the time to cook when I’m not fully experiencing the food? Why not just eat the ingredients in their simplest form, saving time and effort? I waste so much time cooking, when I could buy food that doesn’t have to be cooked or precooked food. If the sole purpose of food is to fuel your body why should it matter how it looks and tastes. Being able to have the food you crave and the time to cook is a luxury and lifestyle that Americans expect to have and maintain. The fact that I have the time and energy to cook my meals every night shows my values and standard of living.