An Unedited Entry

It’s hard to describe what exactly happens in my body when I just feel too much. It’s happened so many times since I moved to New York and, as much as I rely on writing to help me externalize and thus make sense of my unorganized internal, the thought of putting the past six months to paper has sounded so terrifyingly difficult I’ve avoided it.

I wrote about the ten things I learned since moving to New York on Man Repeller. That was a narrow attempt. But if I’m honest that only scratched the surface of my experience here so far.

Even now I’m sitting on my bed, desperate to spin a cohesive emotional narrative out of where I’ve been and what I’ve done since moving here — maybe I’d even say I feel ready — but I still feel like I’m lacking the tools or maybe the energy.

What if I just wrote some thoughts and released myself from the framing of This Will Capture What Has Happened? This is my blog, after all. It’s not a media publication I’m being paid to write for. Maybe I can ramble and make no sense of all this and publish anyway. How many people still check this thing? Is anyone out there? It’s been so long, I know.

Consciousness now streaming on Similarish.

Sometimes I worry my cat is not happy. Sometimes I worry I’m going to forget my life and then other times I think trying to remember is futile, anyway. I’m sometimes startled to remember two distinct drunken conversations in the past six months wherein I confessed to someone that I don’t know if I’m pretty. It felt pathetic. I so often feel like I genuinely am not sure and, yes, I’m ashamed that I wonder about this and care about the answer. Maybe I’m supposed to know (does anyone know or is no one sure?) or at the very least learn to not care about it for more than a week at a time. And no, I don’t think this mental hangup makes sense when it’s lined up with all of my other beliefs (one of which includes that no human ought to be defined by their conventional beauty) but it’s been hammered in too much over the course of my life, that it matters, by society and then by men and then by me.

Yes, I do think it’s possible to think very conflicting things. Yes, I so often feel tortured by this complexity because how can I endeavor to understand myself within such blurry bounds and also how can I make a value judgement on anyone if I want to extend them the courtesy of my assuming they suffer a similar cognitive dissonance?

I’m sure my navel-gazing is insufferable to some people.

I’m looking at Bug right now and I’m not sure he likes living with me in Bushwick. My roommates love him and say he does, but we don’t dangle stuff in front of him enough. He has a lot of mats in his long hair because I’m too busy to properly brush them out. When I try, he jumps away. Either because he’s a cat or because he’s not happy or maybe he doesn’t like me or maybe he’s just not into being brushed. I guess I’ll take him to a groomer.

I got home tonight around 8. The earliest in a week. I have a story to write about “workplace mistakes and how to avoid them.” It’s due by the end of the day and now it’s 10:50 and I still haven’t started. Because this is the first few hours in a while where I’ve felt like I haven’t, in some way, been working and so I’ve been reading other peoples’ writing and hanging out with my roommates and feeling more like myself. It’s been nice but this procrastination will manifest as self-punishment in, like, an hour.

It’s fashion week. My first. I’ve cried four times, I think. This week and the months since I’ve been here I’ve cried more than usual, too. That thing I was mentioning earlier, about all the emotions, they sit in my stomach like rocks sometimes. You know when a bunch of little stuff is going wrong? And it’s awful and annoying and then yet another shitty thing happens and it catapults you into a near catatonic state of bitter shock? Like you can’t even believe it? “Feeling a lot” (that’s the most elementary way of saying what I mean to say, I know) reminds me of that shift from visceral everything to the quiet nothing at the top of a cliff. I feel so much that I don’t know what to do with myself sometimes.

So many feelings I go numb — a paradox. But feeling numb is just a preamble to busting out of the gates in the opposite direction.

The internal storm sometimes makes me want to run away and hide. Leave everything. Not really, but the idea does flit through my brain in a surface-level impulsive kind of way every so often. It’s a little intrusion I can’t control. Like, oh, wouldn’t that be a quick solve.

I don’t want the quick solve. I’ve never wanted the quick solve.

Maybe this all sounds like a cry for help but it’s not. The truth is, I’ve also felt the happiest of my entire life since I moved here. The saddest and the happiest and the most uncomfortable and the most hopeful and the most scared and the most exhilarated and the most gut-wrenchingly frozen while moving so fast I can’t think straight.

It’s so lazy, isn’t it, to just cram all those words together and put them in the above sentence? It is but I’m not going to get any closer to describing what all this has felt like if I don’t try. And if I only have the wherewithal to give it a half-assed attempt at 11 PM then so be it. It’s better than nothing.

I’m happy here but a new and different kind of happy. An uncomfortable kind of happy. It’s like I went from drifting down a lazy river to a roller coaster, if you don’t mind me using a trite metaphor. Emotions as compared to a roller coaster. How novel.

Writing can feel incredibly narcissistic. Am I writing this because I am pushing a narrative – one that encapsulates my identity and how I wish to be seen in the hopes that you “get me” and thus validate me and give me permission to take up space on the planet (but why do I need you to give me that? Can’t I just breathe and move on my own? Can’t I just love myself here and now and go from there? What do I need from you, whoever you are?) — or am I writing to connect with you? If I write honestly, from the fucking marrow in my bones, would that invalidate the former (pushing) and lock in the latter (connecting) or could both still be a narcissistic act? Who cares. This is the kind of shit that slows me down.

Sometimes I freak out about being 27. That I’m 27 and just starting a new career. That I’m 27 and just broke up with a wonderful person after 5 years and I’m not sure if it was right but it felt right in some ways and wrong in others. And now I’m 27 and I’m single and I’m in a new place with friends that look less like a crew (I’ve never had a crew, maybe it’s time I face that) and more like a shifting pool of acquaintances and friends of friends and coworkers who I do genuinely love but who have their own friends and don’t exactly want to make pancakes with me in their pajamas, you know? My brother and sisters’ friends are my friends too, but they’re really their friends, if you know what I mean. My roommates are my friends (but also my roommates).

Sometimes this feels like a lot of friends and sometimes this feels like no friends at all.

I have people I love who are far but the kind of communication and to-do-listing it requires to keep those bonds as strong as possible have never come naturally to me. The catch-ups that feel inadequate and require all the energy in our respective banks. I worry my “I miss yous” sound fake after so much quiet between us. But I do, so much. I feel somehow not built for staying in touch. Maybe that’s why so many of my friends from past parts of my life have moved on without me. Stayed friends, but without me. I wonder what that means? It makes me sad, but I guess not enough to make me change.

The age thing is silly, I know, and I could write a bunch about why it makes no sense for me to care about my age and I could give myself the pep talk I’ve given to people older than me when they’ve made similar comments to me. But knowing is so different from feeling, isn’t it? Maybe attempts to map one to the other will leave all of us really tired all the time. We all know a lot of what we feel doesn’t make sense and is even dead wrong but this knowledge sometimes does embarrassingly little for us.

I don’t think I’m old, whatever that means. Or that old is bad. Most the people I look up to are older than me. But 27 does scare me sometimes. Less because I want to be young, more because I want to get a lot done before I die. And I’m currently orbiting a new moon, one more often reserved for people a little fresher on the scene than me. New life! New career! New city! Cool right? But then I remember I’m 27 and somehow the edge of all those shiny new toys gets rounded away into something a little duller. I don’t really believe it’s sad (I actually believe it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done for myself) or that any of that bullshit matters.

We can all feel a lot of shit that doesn’t make sense to other pockets of our brain, intellectually.

I love that I’m a writer. I think I could be a really good one, one day. I’d like to write a book or maybe a few books. I love that I get to do what I love. I love that, after what felt like a sprawling span of not feeling totally sure what it was that I loved, that I know now. That feels really nice. It feels like it makes sense and it took me a lot of time to get here. Not that I don’t believe a lot of different paths can make sense for one individual. They can.

But I feel like I’m in the right place and I’m doing the right things and now I’m just left with the confusing and colorful collection of puzzle pieces shifting around inside me, which feels better than dealing with all three.

I was at the Opening Ceremony show yesterday and the host (it was actually Fred Armisen) (it was a very unconventional runway show), asked us to turn to the person to our left and ask them if they’d cried today. It was a joke. I asked the girl and she laughed and said no because obviously the question was absurd and obviously she didn’t cry. Then she asked me back and I told her that yes I had cried. It was true but I immediately regretted my impulse to take the question seriously because I could see the discomfort and pity in her face. “Awwww!” she said. I wonder if she wondered why I’d cried. I didn’t tell her, only assured her it was okay so that she could comfortably leave the interaction. We turned back to the runway.

I’d cried because I was overwhelmed. Too many deadlines. Too many people that seem to know what’s going on compared to me. Too many moments of feeling left out by the cool kids, the way I so often felt in high school. Too many seemingly important people embodying some weird version of success that in a way I’ve never been closer to and yet suddenly have never felt further from. Too many flips from “I feel incredible and this is so cool” to “I’m absolutely nobody and don’t recognize this” and then “I’m awkward and too old to be so new to something that seems obsessed with youth” and then “I’m okay” and then “This is amazing and I’m so lucky” and then “I’m miserable beyond belief” and then “I’m acting so vapid so spoiled” and then and then and then. One thought or feeling, not sure which, after another. One frustration and delight after the next. A lot of sweaty and broken subway rides. A lot of trying not to stare at celebrities. Too much emotion for a spirit who can barely consider an emotion felt if she doesn’t in some way try to capture it. Like jumping into a pool and being told to just breathe.

I felt sad, oddly, that I didn’t and still haven’t shared anything about this experience anywhere. The shows I’ve seen and loved, the outfits I’ve worn (I keep thinking I look pretty good until I see the hundreds of women I think look better) (such worthwhile muscles in my brain to flex: envy and superficiality), the people I stood near, the events I went to….the spirit and energy of it all. The ephemeral and more-than-likely false importance of being there.

A very odd thing to have a feeling of loss about: not sharing. Not documenting. Especially on the heels of a story I wrote on MR about learning to not document, to be present. I’m not always good at listening to my own advice. And maybe I’ve had a desire to share because I’ve felt very alone all week excepting the brief and (stunningly!) beautiful moments I haven’t. Or because I couldn’t believe it was happening. Or maybe because I wanted the dopamine hit solicited by likes.

But I’ve always strayed from sharing what I’m actually doing online in that way. You know: the “this is what I’m doing” kind of post instead of the “this is a thought/joke/feeling” kind of post. The former feels false but then isn’t the latter a little bit too? Or are these the same as the binary I referenced above: pushing yourself on people versus connecting with them? Doesn’t one make people who aren’t there feel left out while the other includes them?

But then I think: if I don’t share the most compelling parts of my life then what’s the point of engaging with this platform that’s meant to reflect me somehow? Why not just delete my entire Instagram? I’ve never cared about my online portrayal telling a remotely comprehensive story, why would I change that for fashion week? I know the answers to the questions but I ask them anyway, which feels like a waste of energy.

New York is kind of everything I’ve ever dreamed of. It’s magical and devastating and somehow both more and less than I expected. More because it is, less because I don’t get to experience so much of what I observe and dream about here. Because I haven’t found the opportunities, because they look better from afar and because I’m a limited being. A breathing animal with too many needs to attend to. The city in general perfectly reflects the conundrum of something you want feeling further the closer you get to it. If I had the energy to explain that I would but, like I said, I have a story to write and now it’s 11:27.

I’m going to end this now. Since I spend all day writing now at Man Repeller I’ve felt less inclined to write here on Similarish. But a stream of consciousness feels like a nice change.

The Girl Gangs of Fall ’16

I promise my computer desktop is never in more apocalyptic a state than after I’ve spent several finger-blistering days clicking through the offerings of New York, London, Milan, and Paris Fashion Weeks. These recent shows in particular have had me doing a dive so inexplicably deep I had to make a super embarrassing color-coded spreadsheet that I’m never showing anyone just to keep my head at a comfortable sea-level.

Suffice it to say, the sheer volume of jpegs I’ve amassed is enough to fill a $500 hard drive (from 1997) (aka about 200 pretty small files). And tonight, as I poked through them for themes like a dutiful mother does her child’s literal lousy head, I found myself doting on my groupings as they came together with precious specificity. I assigned them names, personalities, and favorite pastimes, as if the models – each rendered on my display at a humble 3 to 4 inches – were the teeny tiny girl gangs of my dreams.

Upstate New York, 1953, a working class neighborhood in a small town. In this violent post-war culture controlled by men, a group of headstrong teenage girls unite into a sisterhood of blood: they form the Foxfire gang, a secret female-only society, recognized by the flame tattooed on the back of its members’ shoulders. “Foxfire” for pretty foxes, but also “Foxfire” for fire and destruction. (source)

The Foxfire girl gang ^^^ (source)

And so when I considered how I might spin my favorite Fall ’16 looks into a consumable narrative for this personal website of mine, it only felt right that I honor my daydreamy inclinations. After all, who better to administer a shot of sartorial inspiration than a group of fiercely loyal females who’d die for each other and look transcendent while doing so?

So without further ado, meet my seven #GirlGangs of Fall 16.

The Little Zippers

The Little Zippers met when the six of them collided on the street, resulting in a coffee spill so extensive they had no choice but to purchase spare tops at the nearest store: Sports Authority. When the all got in line with half-zips they struck up a friendship over their mutual disgust for buttons and corruption and never looked back.

***

The Drowning Suits

The Drowning Suits met when they all reached for the same XXL suit at the same time. They proceeded to bond over their mutual love of oversized men’s formalwear and they get together every Sunday to drink black coffee, bitch about the economy, and review the array of medium-sized trinkets they have stored undetected in their front pockets.

***

The Lil Coats

The Lil Coats met when the man running the coat check mixed up all their shrunken outerwear. Every Saturday they can be found enjoying their simultaneous warmth and mobility around various public outdoor attractions such as parks and cafes. They love dogs, old westerns, and taking photos during magic hour.

***

The Fur Babies

The Fur Babies met when they were literal babies being raised by the same clan of bears. As they’ve grown older and been forced to assimilate into human society, they’ve taken care to honor their native culture by always wearing the fur of their kin. They love Wes Anderson movies, back scratches, and catching salmon with their bare hands.

***

The Condiments

The Condiments met at Costco when they were all waiting in line to dress their hotdogs. They get together every Friday to paint impressionistic landscapes and discuss the folly of man. They love food in sample proportion, buy everything in bulk, and think movies without popcorn are a waste of time.

***

The Slinkies

The Slinkies met when they all got bored at the same party and retired to the roof to bitch about the simple-minded people in attendance. They never smile in public, value honesty above all else, and spend their evenings pondering the absurdity of an ever-expanding universe.

***

The Mish Mash Bats

The Mish Mash Bats met in the middle of the night when the fire alarm sounded in their apartment building, sending them all running furiously into the street wearing camp socks and birkenstocks. They hate matching, always have jelly beans in their pockets, and are constantly babysitting each other’s cats.

***

So…are you trying to join any of my Fall ’16 Girl Gangs?! You’d be welcomed to any & all with a loving embrace.

(all photos pulled from vogue.com)

5 things to consider during your next bout of existential ennui

If you’ve found yourself in the murky depths of listlessness, confusion, or uncertainty as many times as I have, then you know that although these feelings are like the emotional equivalent of bad Chinese food, they usually lead you, in however glacial and crooked a pace, towards a future version of yourself that’s a little tougher and a little smarter.

But when you’re stumbling down that dark twisty path, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel can feel impossibly far away. As far as non-threatening feels go, existential angst can really be The Worst.

Here are 5 things to consider next time your thoughts  are swirling around a little too much in your gut.

1. It is possible to feel two ways at once without one being inherently correct or true to you.

This is one of those truths that can seem both obvious and absurd. When we’re torn between two ideas we naturally feel at pains to choose which one is right or true. When researcher and author Jamie Holmes introduced me to this concept of dual feelings during his interview with The Atlantic, it was a huge weight off my chest not because it absolved me of making decisions, but because it allowed me to feel normal for my occasional lack of one.

[Holmes] suggests that in less strained situations, in our everyday lives, we might avoid a lot of anxiety and jumping to wrong conclusions by accepting that sometimes people do feel two ways at once. Things can be similar without being exactly the same. Some things we can never know.

Julie Beck, The Benefits Of Getting Comfortable With Uncertainty

Uhhh you mean things can be similar….ISH? #namedrop

2. Your willingness to sit with ambiguity is a sign of intelligence.

So often life presents us with a nebulous, shitty fog of feelings and circumstances that don’t quite line up in our oft-travelled cognitive pathways. It’s overwhelming and confusing and trying to escape it can take every last ounce of our energy. But the human ability to accept ambiguity and uncertainty as parts of life is ultimately a sign of emotional strength and intelligence.

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

3. An increased tolerance for uncertainty will allow you to draw more thoughtful and considered conclusions.

Not only should we practice embracing ambiguity because it holds a worthy spot on the spectrum of Acceptable Human Emotional States (which is now official because I capitalized it), but our life choices will be exponentially better for it. The above-mentioned Holmes actually wrote an entire book on this concept, which I’d recommend if you personally struggle with ambiguity or are not a robot.

Dwelling calmly among feelings of uncertainty, to be clear, will help you make a more rational decision.

Jamie Holmes

4. Your confusion points to your complexity.

From the dark pit of anxious feelings, the world can seem like a busy blur of perfect people that have never questioned themselves. Actual reality notwithstanding, others’ sense of calm can stand to highlight our internal struggles. But the ability to question our selves, our lives, or our choices points to a level of open-mindedness and critical thinking ability.

The world is a complex place, it’s only simple to simple people.

A willingness to be puzzled is a valuable trait to cultivate, from childhood to advanced inquiry.

Noam Chomsky

5. Your angst comes from a long line of greats.

And if all else fails, wear your distress and ennui like the high-minded, self-indulgent accessories that they are. Revel in your emotional depth. After all, this was the stuff of all our world’s greatest philosophers.

Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.

Marcel Proust

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.

René Descartes

Sartre sees anguish as a mark of maturity, a sign that we are fully alive and properly aware of reality, with its freedom, its possibilities and its weighty choices.

The School of Life

Life is a lot odder than we think, but it’s also as a consequence far richer in possibilities. Things don’t have to be quite the way they are. We’re freer than we allow ourselves to imagine amidst the ordinary press of commitments and obligations.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Our suffering isn’t merely chaotic – a mark of failure, an error – it can be linked to admirable things…empathy, forgiveness, kindness, and focus.

Alain de Botton

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

Friedrich Nietzsche

The red thread is that doubts and fears aren’t necessarily something we need to escape or solve. They stand to give our lives depth and color and, with a little patience and acceptance, we are better for them. Nothing lasts forever and your swirly gut is no exception. Hang in there baby girl.

On president’s day, we wear sequins

sequin tank – nasty gal / pants – emerson fry / sweater – urban outfitters / cardigan – zara / shoes – thrifted, unknown / bandanas – thrifted

I blame George Washington for affording me too much time to dress myself today. Specifically because the only item on my calendar is to watch the Grammy’s on my friend’s couch at 7 p.m. and I can only imagine the three other attendees will either come straight from work in something sensible or straight from home in something made of 100% cotton.

But after spending the morning pulling all my favorite looks from the New York shows – many of which featured materials of the fluffy and shiny variety  – I approached my closet this afternoon like a kitten to several laser pointers.

Or me to dogs, evidently.

I’ve worn this sequin number only a handful of times but judging celebrities while shoving tacos down my gullet seemed as appropriate an occasion as any.  In an effort to quell the going-out-top vibes I sought out layers in contrasting fabrics, which proved more difficult than I expected considering literally everything in my closet falls in this category. That is: clothing that does not feature sequins.

After flinging about a dozen items around the vicinity, I settled, peculiarly, on one of Austin’s cheap wool cardigans and an old faux fur from the very back of my closet (and before that, Zara’s clearance rack).

Tada!

My lower half required less improvisation since, lucky for me, I’d picked my pants out around 4 a.m. when I couldn’t sleep. Now, I want you to imagine how long it takes you to put on your average pair of pants and then I want you to triple that, go watch a youtube tutorial on origami, then come back and consider these babies:

Chelsea and I first saw these pants at Emerson Fry’s Capsule booth and were both in awe of their genius and distraught at their unavailability to us (#instantgratificationgeneration).

Cut to only a year later when the world has ostensibly gone mad because Chelsea finds the magical pants for an astronomical 65% off. She immediately texts me and within approximately 32 seconds both of our banks accounts have a shiny new $58 charge and I’m like SURE, TAKE MORE EVEN!

They take about 5 minutes to put on, are lacking pockets,  and disincentivize their wearer to hydrate while wearing them but these are minuscule costs imho.

Things were really coming together. If the red bandanas were my cherry on top…are the white boots the vanilla ice cream on the bottom? Sure! I’ll apply an irrelevant sundae metaphor. It’s the Grammy’s! And the Westminster Dog Show! My priorities are understandably elsewhere.

I found these little guys at a thrift store called After Life. They were $30 and I considered their purchase for potentially even less time than I did the pants. Their brand is unknown but I’ll assume they retailed around $5000 despite their inexpensive feel.

I can only hope you’re wearing something equally unnecessary to watch the Grammy’s tonight. Now I’m off to walk these puppies across the street as I’m on chip and salsa duty.

Meet you on the couch!

Matching is the new matching

I’ve recently stumbled upon a style rule that’s lifted me out of the doldrums. It’s free to implement, kind of obvious, and I learned it on Instagram.

I’m assuming that was an effective hook, so let’s dive in.

While I glean most IG inspo from cat accounts, I can’t deny the impact of a somewhat random follow I don’t even remember clicking: the Kardashian’s stylist Monica Rose. I have no recollection of how I found her and I haven’t stayed because I find her styling particularly ambitious or wacky or fun, but because I’m in constant awe of how freaking fre$h Gigi and Kendall and Kylie look in the street style photos she posts of them.

I mean, can you deny:

The concept of minimal outfits in muted palettes doesn’t feel particularly new — I’m actually getting really sick of it — but Monica’s flavor of it always looked somehow new to me and I couldn’t exactly pinpoint why.

For a while I attributed it to  the magic of super expensive fabrics hanging off banging model bodies, but then I started to notice a more specific pattern: outfits composed of two to three elements of which a touching two are almost perfectly matched in hue and often shade. Then I noticed this formula popping up in a lot of the style photos I’ve saved lately that don’t feel as overtly sexy but look just as cool.

The idea of choosing clothing of complimentary colors to compose an outfit is not even an “idea”…it’s been a pillar of getting dressed forever. But perfectly matching two layering pieces is a subtle distinction that makes an outfit look more special than jamming neutrals together.

This was the rule I stumbled upon when I started combing my feed last week to shock a closet routine that was feeling a little stale. And it was how I got the idea for how to dress this past weekend. Some shoddy photographic evidence is below.

Admittedly the runways and ~my heart~ are starting to lean more clashy maximalist than calming minimalist, but when I’m not feeling inspired or financially capable of ascribing to that, I’ve found the match-on-match to be a super easy way to feel cool. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it’s just enough of a side step for me to feel a little more alive.

🐫

sweater – asos / coat – zara / jeans – gap / denim shirt – madewell / boots – sam edelman / hat – zara

pants – j crew / button-down – everlane / turtle – j crew / hat – zara / boots – topshop

Tysm to my girls Monica, Kendall, Gigi, Kylie, Kim, and Khloe for enlightening me.