Hey you, sitting in the dark. It’s me, the string lights dangling over an Indian-inspired tapestry. You know, the one you saw Instagrammed by that blonde influencer you follow who uses me as the highlight of her decor? What I’m about to say might come as a bit of a shocker — having string lights in your room does not mean, in the slightest, that you have your life together.
Hear me out: I was purchased for $7.99 at Target. My original purpose was to make a 50-year-old dorm room not look like a psych ward. But I should have died in college, along with your virginity. You graduated, but obviously not with a degree in interior design, because I came along with you.
Even in your $2500 a month studio that you haven’t left since March, I remain the focal point of the room. You still don’t know how to cook a pot of pasta. You just ordered more underwear because you haven’t done your laundry in weeks. And I know it’s a sore subject, but you still can’t find your tax forms you set down the other day, and Dad is waiting.
I know I may look cute on the outside, but don’t let me fool you. At my core, I’m a quick fix; a quick fix for the fact you believe purchasing decor from the college section of Bed Bath & Beyond will allow you to escape reaching your 30s. A cover up for the reality while you’re doing a hydrating face mask right now, you haven’t changed your sheets in six months. A Band-Aid over the fact that no, you’re not on a romantic, tropical destination like Bali that just so happens to have string lights on the window of an ocean view. You’re quarantined in Cleveland.
Somewhere along the line, my original purpose morphed to include 29-year-old women like yourself making up for some personal shortcomings in life. But the real fact is, inventor Thomas Edison literally invented light bulbs to light up cities and so you can stop pooping in the dark, not for you to put me up to make your room #goals. I am not #goals, I am a lackluster “aesthetic” piece. The real #goals of me should be receiving half-hearted compliments from reluctant wine night guests — which thanks to the pandemic won’t be happening anytime soon. So you should be honoring Edison the right way: by screaming and tweeting vulgar things at the electric companies when your power goes out for 20 minutes. Edison would be disappointed to see his light bulb masking your drab life for a party decoration.
Besides, I am useless. I cannot light up an entire room, despite what my mother says. I am a series of small light bulbs held by a thread. You’re still going to trip over your unread Elena Ferrante novels whether I’m on or not. I belong on a Pinterest board, not your room. Please use your light switches and lamps from IKEA. A SAD light is more effective than me.
I’m not the only artsy decorum item to feel this way. You can’t use my friends Fluffy Blanket and Wall Tapestry as façades for having your life together either. Are we cute? Sure, very, but please snap out of it and string together a to-do list and some job applications instead.