“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139:14

This morning, a link in my phone’s newsfeed opened an article about home decorating mistakes. I scanned the list out of curiosity. Predictable stuff – too many throw pillows, wrong color choices, outdated trends, unnecessary bric-a-brac, etc., etc.

Poised to swipe the whole thing aside, I suddenly thought, “Hold up.” I’m the one living in my house. Why shouldn’t I paint my kitchen walls sky blue if I like that color? What if this year’s trending colors make me cringe? Why shouldn’t I pack my den shelves with any sort of knick-knacks that make me happy? Who’s to say that my personal tastes are flawed or unacceptable if my home mirrors my own interests instead of some random magazine picture?

I’m suddenly realizing just how ridiculous it seems for society to dictate a person’s personal preferences. From magazine articles to Tik Tok videos, self-proclaimed experts continually pass judgment on people’s clothes, styling choices, diets, activities, relationships, and home environments. Why? That’s not a flippant or rhetorical question. I really want to understand why conformity to arbitrary standards has become so critical within our social context.

I guess social conformity is not a new phenomenon. Why else would women have voluntarily subjected themselves to corsets, bustles, and lampshade fringe? But I can’t help but wonder why people would choose to sacrifice personal comfort for outsiders’ approval.

My mother-in-law was a housekeeping beast. She buffed her floors on Tuesdays and vacuumed the curtains on Thursdays. She wiped the top of the fridge along with her kitchen counters every night after supper. The first time she came to visit her son and me in our college mobile home housing, three months after the wedding, I killed myself scrubbing and mopping and polishing in preparation for her arrival. I felt proudly confident when their car pulled into the drive. As she walked through the door, she surveyed the room and said, “Oh Honey, I wish I was going to be here long enough to help you clean.”

As a young bride, I was devastated that I couldn’t live up to my in-laws’ domestic expectations. Five rambunctious children later, I couldn’t care less. The exuberant chaos that typified our lifestyle was a perfect fit for me.

Barring anything illegal or immoral, there’s nothing that I shouldn’t be able to enjoy without shame. My family thinks I’m crazy for loving K-pop music, and I cringe over my son’s Johnny Cash obsession. But so what? A person’s combination of preferences or dislikes makes them uniquely special. That’s what drives imagination, creativity, and diversity in life. What if breakaway painters like Monet, Picasso or Van Gogh had been content to follow traditional art trends? Without innovations of individuals like Beethoven, Bach and Mozart, music would have remained mired in compositional ruts for centuries. Architecture, technology, science, literature – all fields of study that change and grow have benefitted from minds that forged new paths.

So I’ll keep enjoying my pastel blue walls, continue dressing more for comfort than for style, and decide for myself what trends I want to embrace or ignore. I won’t apologize for taking charge of my own happiness, because I am the only one who can be truly, uniquely me.


  1. Marianna Sasiru

    I couldn’t aggre more with everything. I grew up with a loving mum , but she was all about what others might think all her life. I had to rebel. I have never followed any trends. One thing she taught me was that I should be kind to other people cause you never know what their lives had been.
    My son and I have different music taste to some extent, but we agree to respect each others taste and are patiently listen to each others music. Who knows there might be something we havent heard and we both like.
    Denmark doesn’t have many high-rice, so when 8 stories big buildings was buildt in the outskirts and a lot of people from all over was moved in, an experiment was made. They where visited and filmed so you could see how they had furniced the exact same rooms . That was a fun experince to see how different that could be.
    Its the same with paintings. If it speak to you its art whoever produced it and no one has the right to judge you if its not the mainstreem consensus.

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