Saturday, September 28, 2013

Weekend Words: Exploring No Man's Land

New York--No Man's Land.
Ruth fowler, no man's land, girl undressed, strippers, stripping in nyc, nyc living, personal struggles in new york, british female authors, books about New York, women in NYC
   
    Does that mean the women reign? Well, according to Ruth Fowler, they...we...hold a false sense of prominence all in the form of a G-string and exposed flesh. Cash, ultimately, is king, and his queen, a restless and hollow-eyed void of isolation, shame and anxiety.

 With that said, I've been reading and pondering Ruth Fowler's memoir, No Man's Land, which has been republished as Girl, Undressed.

    It's not just another cliche gritty tale of a good girl gone bad, but of an intelligent British-born girl who moves to New York City in search of that elusive combination--thrill and creative fulfillment. We all deal with these phases of life. We've all been there, and many of us are still there, or will be again at some point. We've all searched. We've all felt that crush. That smash of hope and idealistic belief that the world is a happy, secure place where we will surely experience great things. Bang. Smash. Broken. And as a result, we're forced to react and regroup or simply do nothing. We deal, or don't, differently.  In Girl, Undressed, some girls get undressed to cope. They strip down, which should make them vulnerable, but in reality, it's the antithesis of being naked. To each their own. We're all wearing masks whether we're stripping down or layering up.


If you're looking to read a relatively graphic testimony of one person, one woman's pain with no fluffy bullshit (sorry, Mom), then pick this up. Even if out of curiosity. I thought that I'd seen some unforgettable sights, experienced many things I shouldn't have & hope to forget daily, and those thoughts which only haunt my nightmares---Fowler, a Cambridge grad from Wales and an aspiring writer, finds herself scrambling for work in New York to pay her rent in between sporadic writing opportunities. 

 Ruth Fowler, No Man's Land, Girl Undressed, strippers in New York, stripping in NYC, women in New York, living in NYC, female authors, British authors, women who strip, stripper turned author, personal pain and struggle, dealing with pain in life
The author, Ruth Fowler, also known as "Mimi."
Image via nymag.com 

Meanwhile, as she's navigating the overwhelming route for an immigrant visa (and being pulled through the ringer) to obtain full-time work, she begins waitressing. We've heard this storyline before. Unable to financially survive, she transitions to a strip club. In a matter of weeks, she's a dancer. In between alcohol-fueled nights of hundred dollar bills, the gropes of men in suits, and an insatiable loneliness, she struggles to write...and then, the work becomes more sporadic until it ultimately diminishes until cessation. She loses that fresh optimism that so many bring to this city. Bright eyes darken. Clearly, I can relate. A story here. Something there. A lead. A letdown. Some hope. Then, utter and complete failure and self-loathing.
 
 In order to cope with her reality, she creates a New York City stripper identity for herself who goes by the name Mimi. Initially, it's a protective measure, ensuring that she separates her true self from this grinding, writhing, money-driven version. But, eventually, the lines blur, and she embraces Mimi with both arms.
 
It's quite terrifying-- it begins as a coping mechanism, a way to internalize, process, and even compartmentalize our lives. People spend much of their energy and daily seconds, minutes, and hours focusing on image. That “faking it” aspect of our lives. But, when you fake it so well, allow this image to consume you, the lines between yourself and this image begin to cross, then blur and go hazy. Which one is which? Which side is what? Where does one’s self end and the image begin? Or is it vice-versa? Real and fake. Fake and real. Self and Image. Or was the fake the self and the real the image?  It’s a guessing game at this point. It’s inevitable. The grey lines bleed together in a way that I never intended. I’ve spent so long trying to make this choice. To decide. I’d gone back and forth, staring at, what I thought was the authentic me, my real self, and that which I was attempting to mold myself into, that image, that reflection staring back at me, that I’d been trying to create and portray flawlessly in an effort to fool everyone who glanced this way. Including myself. Toss up.
 
 I’ve spent so long trying to figure out who I was. So long deciphering and dissecting. What kind of person was I? What kind of girl? What kind of adult? What kind of woman? I couldn’t ever consistently fit into one classification, and I couldn’t ever grasp the thought of being so many different things simultaneously, so many different people, so many different girls, so many different adults, so many different kinds of women. Within the pages of Fowler's memoir, she struggles with these questions. What defines us? Are we good? Bad? Or just somewhere in between in that hazy, grey, roped-off area? Asking these questions creates pain. Receiving answers creates even more, and it's evident in this book.
 
 
    Fowler knows pain, whether she admits it or not. I get it. I feel her. But you know, I’m not going to pretend that I am, in any way, a prime example of the pain and daily struggle of the human spirit. In fact, it’s possible that I am insulting generations of people and a vast majority of individuals today by even addressing my own pain and labeling it as significant. In so many ways, I have been very lucky, blessed, whatever word you feel most comfortable with. But I know the pain I have felt. I know that pain. I know it. It has been real to me. That kind of inexplicable pain that you can’t pinpoint. I have longed to be able to place my hand on my side below my ribs or grab hold of my knee, and say, “Right here! This is where it hurts, everyone! This is the spot!”

women living in NYC, New York City authors females women, how to deal with pain and struggle, strippers in New York City, strip clubs in New York, humanity and pain, No Man's Land, Girl Undressed, books about women and pain    We are human. The only binding thing between every single body that is living and breathing is this humanity: pain, joy, sorrow. And every single animal and person on Earth understands pain in some capacity.
So, I have never quite understood why people feel compelled to compare one’s struggles or pain to another’s. Isn’t pain subjective? People say things like, “Can you believe her or him? What do they know about suffering? They have no idea what hardship is!” And, you could perhaps judge Fowler and her life choices in this book, if you possess those judgments. Granted, some have it better than others, and so many don’t know which of group they fall into. That, or they don’t care. But, who are we to tell someone that they don’t have the right to feel something? Pain, real pain, can hardly be measured, tested, put into little lab tubes, slid under a microscope slide and compared. Impossible.

   When I look at the world, one can not possibly be so much worse off, better justified in their pain, or higher or lower on these separate scales of good and bad. Pain is personal, and therefore, by default, snakes through us on some sliding scale, varying from body to body, rather than moving to the right or to the left of some fixed constant of neutral ambivalence.


There is no constant here. There is no mile marker of indifference from which we can judge our distance, much less anyone else’s.
 

    Each person’s journey is their own. I only know mine. I’m just saying, in a small and most likely, minute and un-influential way, I can relate to inner pain that feels like its crawling out of your chest and eating you from the inside out. I know pain. It’s real to me. This was and is all real to me. That’s all I can tell you. And, reading another's unique testimony, makes us all feel a little more connected. A little less isolated in this chaotic, spinning spinning spinning world we coexist in.


Think about it. What's your story? What's the man or woman's next to you? Ask them. Ask you.

 

So, back to New York, eh? No man's land? I don't know if it's a woman's either anymore. We're all just renters. We're renting space here. Maybe it doesn't belong to any of us.
 
I'm just determined to prevent  anything, anyone, and especially, New York, from owning me.
 

 what will you leave behind, leaving behind, street art, graffiti, wall art, spray painting buildings and walls, spray paint, streetart, graffiti scene in New York City, NYC walls and buildings, dealing with pain and struggles, new books to read, living in New York

Monday, September 23, 2013

Found: Fall Essential Ankle Boots

Just in time for those brisk fall walks...

Gold-tipped black suede ankle boots
by

fall fashion essential, fall ankle boots, fall ankle booties, ankle boots with buckles, Jeffrey Campbell boots and booties, Joie booties, Kate Spade boots and booties, orange boots, suede ankle booties, Madison Harding boots booties, Matiko boots and booties, MICHAEL Michael Kors boots booties, polyvore fall, Report boots booties, River Island boots booties, style, Tory Burch boots booties, Zara boots booties, Report Signature boots booties, gold buckle shoes, gold and black boots, gold hardware, best boots, best comfortable booties, fall essentials, heels, Found, fall accessories, fall trends, NYC fashion, fall in New York






fall fashion essential, fall ankle boots, fall ankle booties, ankle boots with buckles, Jeffrey Campbell boots and booties, Joie booties, Kate Spade boots and booties, orange boots, suede ankle booties, Madison Harding boots booties, Matiko boots and booties, MICHAEL Michael Kors boots booties, polyvore fall, Report boots booties, River Island boots booties, style, Tory Burch boots booties, Zara boots booties, Report Signature boots booties, gold buckle shoes, gold and black boots, gold hardware, best boots, best comfortable booties, fall essentials, heels, Found, fall accessories, fall trends, NYC fashion, fall in New York

The Rundown:
 
I found my Report Signature booties at Piperlime here in New York with my mother's help, but you can also find them online by clicking the above links.
 
I'm super into the not-too-high, not-too-low, chunky heel that enables walking, dancing, hopping, and whatever your preferred activity of the moment may be. And, even better, a little bling never hurt anyone either, right? Seriously, tell me when it did some damage. From the buckles to the toe tips, the gold pops.  My mother dropped the word "snazzy" when she watched me slide these babies on and inspect myself in the store. Go, Mom. The girl's never been wrong in my 26 years of existence. "Snazzy" defined these boots flawlessly. I've already worn them with everything from a one-shoulder leopard dress to jean shorts and a vintage tee.

 
 
Grab a pair like mine, or peruse other similar styles I've located... and tons of fabulous alternative ankle boot/bootie options down below.
 
You're welcome.
 



Fall Essentials: Ankle Boots, fall fashion essential, fall ankle boots, fall ankle booties, ankle boots with buckles, Jeffrey Campbell boots and booties, Joie booties, Kate Spade boots and booties, orange boots, suede ankle booties, Madison Harding boots booties, Matiko boots and booties, MICHAEL Michael Kors boots booties, polyvore fall, Report boots booties, River Island boots booties, style, Tory Burch boots booties, Zara boots booties, Report Signature boots booties, gold buckle shoes, gold and black boots, gold hardware, best boots, best comfortable booties, fall essentials, heels, Found, fall accessories, fall trends, NYC fashion, fall in New York

 



Walking it out--whether from a gut-wrenching heartache or just a double-stuffed French toast brunch--just became a little easier...and with a stylishly snazzy upgrade.
 
 
Can I get a HALLELUJER for Fall?
All together now-- 
 
HALLELUJERRRRRR!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On the Run: NY Fashion Week Part 1

    As you may have noticed, I have put up my "DO NOT DISTURB" sign, and I've been completely immersed in and consumed by the entity that is New York Fashion Week.

    My friend, fellow fashion week gallivanter, and StyleDefinedNYC comrade, Adrian Ramos, said, "Fashion Week, for me, isn't a week. It's like one long day." He sums up all of this madness impeccably. It's groundhog day.





_______________________

This season, my without-a-doubt, must have staples for all of the shows, events, and everything in-between for Fashion Week were--
 
bold lips
&
a staple hat
 
From orange to berry to turbans and large-brimmed hats.
That combination has become much more of my signature as of late, but for fashion week, it kept all of my various looks cohesive...and yes, recognizable.
 
Olivia Inkster, Alessandra Rivera Hats, Style Defined NYC, NYC fashion week, New York fashion week shows and parties, NYFW runway designer shows, NYFW 2014, SS14, runway shows in New York, wearing hats, Zara blouse and denim vest, leopard jeans, Big Star jeans James jeans leopard, leopard pants, grey and black pants, mixing prints, Zara black and white button-up, Dolce Vita Orange dress, DV dress, orange chiffon dress, MAC red lipstick, Topshop black romper, wide-brim hat, wearing hats and bright lipstick, bold bright lipstick, MAC matte lips
 
Olivia Inkster, Alessandra Rivera hats, Style Defined NYC, NYC fashion week, New York fashion week shows and parties, NYFW runway designer shows, NYFW 2014, SS14, runway shows in New York, wearing hats, Zara blouse and denim vest, leopard jeans, Big Star jeans James jeans leopard, leopard pants, grey and black pants, mixing prints, Zara black and white button-up, Dolce Vita Orange dress, DV dress, orange chiffon dress, MAC red lipstick, Topshop black romper, wide-brim hat, wearing hats and bright lipstick, bold bright lipstick, MAC matte lips
 
Olivia Inkster, Alessandra Rivera hats, Style Defined NYC, NYC fashion week, New York fashion week shows and parties, NYFW runway designer shows, NYFW 2014, SS14, runway shows in New York, wearing hats, Zara blouse and denim vest, leopard jeans, Big Star jeans James jeans leopard, leopard pants, grey and black pants, mixing prints, Zara black and white button-up, Dolce Vita Orange dress, DV dress, orange chiffon dress, MAC red lipstick, Topshop black romper, wide-brim hat, wearing hats and bright lipstick, bold bright lipstick, MAC matte lips Olivia Inkster, Style Defined NYC, NYC fashion week, New York fashion week shows and parties, NYFW runway designer shows, NYFW 2014, SS14, runway shows in New York, wearing hats, Zara blouse and denim vest, leopard jeans, Big Star jeans James jeans leopard, leopard pants, grey and black pants, mixing prints, Zara black and white button-up, Dolce Vita Orange dress, DV dress, orange chiffon dress, MAC red lipstick, Topshop black romper, wide-brim hat, wearing hats and bright lipstick, bold bright lipstick, MAC matte lips
 
...And, my utmost favorite photograph, me (being me) with my head-topping soulmates, style bloggers Valerie and Jean of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas. These exquisite and inherently stylish ladies embody everything I aspire to be later on in life. One can dream, right? Ha.
 
the idiosyncratic fashionistas, old ladies in hats, red hat club, ladies of a certain age, Olivia Inkster, New York Fashion week parties, NYFW 2014 party fashionistas, Dolce Vita orange dress, DV orange frock, black turban, Green velvet hat, ladies who wear hats, huge red hat, crazy hats, fashion week party fashion ladies, stylish people of new York 
the idiosyncratic fashionistas, old ladies in hats, red hat club, ladies of a certain age, Olivia Inkster, New York Fashion week parties, NYFW 2014 party fashionistas, Dolce Vita orange dress, DV orange frock, black turban, Green velvet hat, ladies who wear hats, huge red hat, crazy hats, fashion week party fashion ladies, stylish people of new York
 

    Believe me, it is NOT all bright lights, air kisses, champagne and designerwear. That's a minute fraction of the Fashion Week enterprise. It's got chinks in its armor--er, I mean, studded moto jacket. We complain. A lot. There's incessant moaning to one another pre-show/post-show about... how badly our feet ache from these cute shoes, how there are no charging stations (gasp!) anywhere at these venues for our dying Iphones (Helloooooo! Fashion shows now occur in real-time--we NEED Internet every moment to update our social media and send immediate reactions to our bosses and fans alike!), how we've forgotten to eat for the past few days, how we're just sooooo over-booked and simply have no time to make it to all of the shows and parties we've been invited to attend, how that one street photographer caught me in the most awkward moment fixing my lipstick, how they cram way too many people into one show, and they simply shouldn't be inviting just everyone to these sorts of things, and mostly, how fashion week has lost much of the real focus on riveting fashion has transitioned into a huffy, puffy overblown pain in the ass, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. You can imagine the conversations. It goes on.

  For me, the absolute worst part of New York in general and the amount of walking that's required, remains the damage on my feet AND on my shoes. It's both. And the damage...let's just say that it isn't in the least bit pretty. So, imagine fashion week, and the wear and tear on both my tootsies and the shoes. I mean, it's fashion week. It's hard to dress for both function, which we should be doing considering we're running from show to show to presentation to event to party all day and night. But, hey, I need to get around and remain alive, but I also realize that my photo is being snapped, and I everyone I see is sizing me up and analyzing my ensemble choice. I was literally bleeding as I typed the first few days. Envision--both heels in three separate places and along the sides. I had troll feet. BUT! Yes, there is a BUT! After boo-hoo-ing and attempting to mask the pain of every single step I took, I realized that someone out there--FASHION FIRST AID--a saint of sorts, in fact, had created just what I needed + more that would make my life four thousand times easier, in general. Well, fashionably speaking, per se. Unfortunately, this site's products can't fix every aspect of my life, but they come close. They offer solutions for every single wardrobe malfunction. I'm obsessed with their "Shoe Done It?" package for everything shoe-related as well as the "Fashion First Aid" kit for apparel touch-ups and fixes. My main-stays were the life-saving gel foot pads for every part of your foot, pens that helped me camouflage knicks in my heels and other spots, slip-guards for the soles of your shoes (Lord knows that these saved my life! Twice already!). Much more is included in these kit, but you should see for yourself. You're going to thank me for introducing you to this. Learn from this girl's mistakes and mishaps. Seriously, don't be that girl, sniffling with bloody feet in chipped sky-high heels with a gaping button-up shirt and drooping bra straps. Chin up and fix it. We've been rescued! Shop my picks below, or peruse for yourself. Go ahead and see how easy they make it.

You're welcome.
 

fashion first aid, fashion fixes and solutions, shoe problems, shoe pads, gel cushions, solutions that stick, fashion and wardrobe fixes, how to fix your shoes, blisters on your feetfashion first aid, fashion fixes and solutions, shoe problems, shoe pads, gel cushions, solutions that stick, fashion and wardrobe fixes, how to fix your shoes, blisters on your feet


    Despite all of the aforementioned grievances, though, we live for just one or two of those special moments that occur and make all of the blisters and headaches absolutely, one hundred percent, worth it. Those glimpses, those eyes-ablaze, hair-tingling sights or interactions that solidify and affirm our involvement in this chaotic world of style, darling.

NYFW, SS14, New York Fashion Week, fall fashion week, Houghton, Houghton designer, chiffon gown, silk dress, ivory gowns, cream designer dress, The Standard Hotel NYC, Standard in Meatpacking, Meatpacking district, Style in NEW York City, designer runway shows, fashionistas New York, models on the runway, rooftop hotel in New York   I was sitting on the terrace of the Meatpacking district's Standard Hotel on Friday, with the warm sunshine on my face, a light breeze blowing off of the water (albeit, the Hudson River), and surrounded by an outstanding-looking crowd while awaiting the start of the ever-talented, uber-ladylike Houghton runway show. Most notably, a sleeveless silk shimmer and chiffon gown with an organza scarf fluttered down the runway, billowing in the wind, just as if on cue with the weather gods of fashion week. It was a moment. I knew that I was meant to be right there, right at that very second, haunches on that bench seat that read A-37 at approximately 2:15 p.m.
   Occasionally, yes, I admit it....I wonder what in the hell I am thinking when I am running myself ragged, all in the name of "making it" in New York. How cliché. How boring. Yawn. But, I believe that my higher power, God, as I know him (or her, for that matter), understands that I crave a little reassurance, and creates these tiny moments, these feelings in me that whisper. They're like subtle nods that will surely escape you, and typically do, if you're not fully present or even blink in that instant.

I don't need a slap on the back or anyone to blow up my ego, though.
A metaphorical wink and a half-smile go a long way.

Here's to more of those. More inner handshakes. More nods.
 


 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...