on being an exhibitionist and leaving your window open

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Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Warning: This post is really sad. Animal-lovers beware. I’m not really sure where this is going, but this is one of those stories I couldn’t get out of my head until it was written down. I promise not to be as morbid next time. Actually I don't promise, morbid stories are probably my favorite kind to read. 

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I moved to Brooklyn two weeks ago and it is wonderful. I am so glad I spent my first year in Manhattan, right in the middle of all the action. But I’ve always seen myself as a Brooklyn-gal. I remember venturing over the bridge for the first time on my second or third visit to the city and suddenly seeing myself here. The people seemed relatable, the apartments a bit more spacious, and everything just a tad less stressful. But I will certainly miss the tiniest room I ever hope to inhabit, and the the quirky neighbors that truly appreciated my kitty, and the window that looked out over a garden patio, orange tree and all.

I kept my window open year-round. I loved to listen. Ambulances wailing, kids playing, dogs barking, arguments ranting, music playing. It reminded me where I am, that I’m not alone, that me and my window were part of a community of others, even if I didn’t know who they were.

My window was decorated with succulents in the fall, books and a spruce-scented candle in the winter, and an air conditioning unit in the summer. Each object a necessity for the season. Sunlight spilled through the panes, unhindered by curtains. I never valued natural light until now. When buildings are pressed together, neither light nor air is a given, and I did not want to suffocate my allowance with curtains or blinds. Also, I tried curtains but the rod kept falling down.

We're all exhibitionists here in the is city. It certainly does take all types, but a lot of the types here are the theater majors and changers, the dancers and artists, the stylists and the journalists, and all those other 'ists showboating their names about town.The fashions can be likened to peacocks, displaying their personalities on their literal sleeves. Private conversations are paraded through crowded streets. And windows are kept open unabashedly allowing others to be a part of your space. With only a screen between you and the outside, you hear and see everything. The good, the bad, and the really bad. But all of us are probably just leaving our windows open to give others a peak.

My little window reminded me of bigger things outside, kept me cool, and added essential accouterments to my otherwise lacking aesthetic. But this window also let me hear the good and extremely bad things that happen in big cities. 

The good.

I saw the snow fall and build up on the sill and stay long enough for a photo, just like in the movies. During the spring and summer I could hear Spanish music playing in the community garden two buildings over. I’m sure neighbors were equally as entertained by my open window as I was them. With no curtain they heard my get ready tunes in the morning, giggly roommate conversations, and probably saw more of me than they wanted.... exhibitionist.

The bad. 

I still have not found a metaphor to explain this tragic story of my open window one winter night. But it still haunts me to this day. I don’t think this story has much of a place on a fashion blog, but we all know this little piece of internet has started to head in a different more personal direction anyways.

An open window is a gamble. An unexpected rainstorm may ruin your down pillows. A loud argument between a quarreling couple may interrupt a deep sleep. And it involves you in outside happenings you may not intend to be a part of. And vice versa

I’m used to unexplainable noises waking me up at night. Police sirens don’t startle me anymore. I don’t jump at loud creaks or unexpected “booms.” It comes with the big-city territory. But one night I woke up to a dog screeching and growling from what seemed to be just below my window. I jolted awake, but it stopped as abruptly as it started. It was way too cold to go outside and check it out anyways.

As I was just settling back down, a long, loud wail followed.

“Rick! Oh no, Rick!”

I’ve never in my life heard a wail like that night. It was almost inhuman. Who was Rick and what happened to him? I thought someone may have jumped.

The screaming continued. But the neighborhood was quiet. It took three minutes of the wailing until someone asked through their window if the man screaming was ok, if Rick was ok. I imagine that sort of scream is reserved for two or three times in a person’s life. We hear it on TV and in movies, but in person, that scream, it penetrates your bones and wraps it’s way around your lungs, tighter and tighter. I don’t think I could have physically said any comforting words even if I wanted to.

“Is everything OK?” a man asked from above.

“Shut upppp.” an older man farther away shouted.

“What’s wrong?” another chimed in from the window of a building next door.

“My dog fell. My dog Rick fell out the window.”

Rick didn’t make it.

A police officer came. Rick’s owner calmed down. Silence.

I never got the courage to go outside to see or talk to the man, but I can image this was one of the worst days of that man’s life. And I was there, just listening.

***

Here’s a photo of me in a dress for the sake of this being a personal fashion blog and because I'm an exhibitionist.

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Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

ponyboy/girl

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Confession. I am not keeping up with runway shows and designer duds anymore. Not forever, but that sure explains my mostly neutral closet and drawers full of boring basics. Sure I still appreciate the artistic process behind each collection and their gowns still appear in my Instagram feed, but it's kind of just not on my radar these days.

These days I'm really into dressing "trend-free." I can honestly say everything I put on my body is a conscious blend of comfort and function. Does this mean I'm an adult? Probably not. Probably just lazy.  I've ditched all my high heels for sleek tennies and strappy flats because blisters are not friends of my city-stomping feet. I wear most tops buttoned up to my neck because cleavage makes me feel too self-aware. And I haven't washed my black skinnies in a month or so because they're the closest thing to black leggings I can wear to work.

With comfort at the top of my sartorial priorities, I've slowly sunk into a sort of boyish look that's kind of fun and new for me. Shapeless jumpsuits, crew-neck T-shirts, sloppy shoes and maybe a kimono for a splash of drama. I like it. New York has stripped me of my love of A-line dresses because you can't sit Indian-style at your dresk in those. My beautiful strappy black heels are in my "can't fit in my closet" suitcase under my bed. But it's OK. My style's never been one to sit in one place for too long. I'm excited for what spring will bring. Maybe I'll be inspired by one of Oscar's polka-dot numbers and dress like a '50s housewife for the month of May. But for now it's all curb-stomping street-wear.

In the 7th grade my English teacher made the class read the Outsiders. It was probably the first book in school I enjoyed and we celebrated the end of the lesson by watching the '80s flick with Ralph Macchio, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, etc. I fell head over heels for Ralph Macchio's portrayal of Johnny and every now and again feel a shared bond between the character's kind, meek side—but even more so his dark locks, Converse sneakers, and muscle shirts. Many days I find myself subconsciously likening my outfit to the Greasers, but of course adding a bold lip for girlish flair. Ponyboy, Johnny, Sodapop.... you are my sartorial sprit animal. But my wardrobe is a lot like Robert Frost's poem and the last line of The Outsiders "Nothing gold can stay." Next season it will be on to the next character Abbey wants to play. Cheers, Pony.

Side note: This was the longest winter I've experienced to date. My dream city made me long for sweltering Southern summers. And seasonal depression is real friends. A girl can only take so many grey sweater, grey weather days in a row. Thank goodness the sun has decided to show his elusive self these past couple of weekends. New York spring is beautiful.

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[shirt, jeans-UO, sunnies-madewell, backpack-rebecca minkoff]