Standing in the Starbucks line, I’m mentally preparing myself to order my pumpkin spice latte.
I can’t help but feel self-conscious because it’s so overdone, so mainstream — it’s so basic. And being dubbed those five little letters makes me almost feel ashamed of myself. But why should I be embarrassed?
Why has it become not okay to like heirloom pumpkin candles, enjoy my salted caramel everything, wear thick knits in “sweater weather” and love essentially everything that’s good in this world? We throw the term “basic” around so casually now that the condescension that seeps through every pore of that word is easily overlooked.
“Basic”, in its most quintessential simplicity, is no longer indicative of classic goodness. Instead we’ve made it so we’ve become equated with being predictable, unsophisticated, uninteresting. We’re boring.
And with the increasing pressure to be radical and hipster, liking easily lovable things just isn’t a show of good tastes anymore.
Being “basic” has always referred to liking popular things, liking normal things — essentially liking “white” things. It’s sad that everything autumn has become defined as “basic”. I love autumn.
But as a Canadian-born Chinese person, my skin colour in itself creates a separation from these “basic”, “normal” activities that almost makes my enjoyment seem like a double offence. And it also annoys me that even this act of admitting that I like something “mainstream” is considered “refreshing”.
Why can’t I just enjoy the things that I like? Why should I even have to learn to embrace this?
Because it’s not about liking white things and it’s not about embracing this conforming “Canadian” part of me. I definitely can’t tell you what it’s like trying to reclaim this idea of “basic”.
But I can tell you that I love Starbucks a lot. And I can say that I like lighting my apple-scented candles and that I just took my millionth picture of the changing leaves.
Canadian fall only lasts about six short weeks. It’s the only time where grey skies are acceptable because unlike snow, leaves are dry.
So click the “like” button on that picture of the foggy pumpkin patch on your Instagram feed. Wear all the flannel and plaid you like and drink butternut squash soup until your pee turns an unnatural shade of orange. Eat some pumpkin pie because it’s delicious and be that poser who takes a photo between corn stalks.
Because guess what — those people calling you basic love the taste of pumpkin too.
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