I have a love-hate relationship with Twitter. For the most part, I see it as a funny alternative to Instagram whenever I get sick of scrolling through its airbrushed version of ‘reality’. Not to say I don’t love Instagram, I participate in the same “make my life perfect” shenanigans as everyone else, but Twitter seems to offer a witty breath of fresh air. However, Twitter is also full of its fair share of raging politicians (we all know who I mean here) and maybe even your arch-nemesis from school.
So, I was surprised last year when, upon joining a community that many might refer to as ‘high fashion twitter’ (hf for short), I found a way to therapeutically deal with the grey days in my life. As Heidy Lo noted in her excellent article on romanticising our lives, we often have to view our life through a different lens. But it’s not as easy as just “focusing on the bright side” or “finding a silver lining”. Focusing on little moments of happiness and collecting them every day like pennies in a piggy bank is what is going to make a difference in the long run.
Over the years I have participated in many, what we might call, Tumblr or Pinterest challenges. As a book lover, my favourite was the one in which every time I finished a book I had to write it down on a piece of paper and pop it in a jar. At the end of the year, I was meant to read through each one and look back on all the good (or bad) experiences I may have had while reading them. Other, similar challenges involving such a memory jar focused on songs, films, or even everyday moments.
Generation Z is, whatever the platform, obsessed with aesthetics. As a member of Generation Z myself, I have grown up in an environment where real life is often put aside, and alternative digital realities are prioritised. Aesthetics, like fashion, come and go, and it’s up to us to decide which ones we would like to implement into our lives. But aesthetics and more specifically mood boards can do a lot more than just portray an image – they can change our outlook on life.
Mood boards take various forms. You might make a collage with magazine cutouts or even your own photographs. A designer might make a presentation of colours, aesthetics, and photos. Or, as the 21st-century socialite does, some post four pictures on Twitter with an inspirational caption. The latter is definitely what drew my attention to mood boards and to the effect they could have. Having something as simple as colour-coded photos of fall leaves, a New York skyline, a group of girls drinking wine, and a cat asleep on a lap, can bring you an instant feeling of peace, happiness, and even often, nostalgia. Although most of the photos that are featured in mood boards online come from influencers or models, nothing is stopping us from making our own.
For the last few months, most of us have been living our lives mostly inside. As upsetting as this may be, I don’t think it’s a definite limit to our happiness and mental health.
This is what I suggest: make your own mood boards.
Create one mood board a day. Or one a week. Do it as often as you need to, just to remind yourself of how much good there is in your life. You could stick to your favourite aesthetic, life does imitate art after all. Or you could collect images of people who have made you smile, your parents, your friends, your next-door neighbour. Collect your food triumphs and food disasters, your pet’s adventures, your finished essay. The possibilities are endless.
I leave you with my favourite ‘moods’ from the last few months.