Wednesday, November 6, 2013

getting to the good stuff

there are a lot of things I'm bad at in this life. math, mostly. and...all of math's friends. but I'm also bad at small talk. painfully so. it's a flaw often mistaken as shyness. and maybe it is. a little. but mostly it's boredom. and impatience. and a general lack of interest. 

don't know how to do the whole hihowareyouhowwasyourdaydidyoudoanythingfun thing. i dunno, i'd just so rather know a person than pontificate in vague ways over how "fine" their day was. and I think it comes down to the fact that...those little things? that's not what i care about. 

coming to a new city and building a new social group is hard. but I think it's most frustrating because it can feel like a process of being tagged and labelled and shelved. it feels scripted--rehearsed, this getting-to-know-you dance. 

Hey, I'm Shelby. I recently graduated, just moved to the city, living in Harlem, looking for a job in publishing. Yeah, I'm liking it. Yeah, I know it will work out. Yeah, I'm keeping on keeping on. 

but that's not how i identify myself. i don't feel any attachment to career, degree, position, income, pedigree, whatever. maybe it's just me, but that's such a simplistic, shallow, superficial sort of identification. i'd so rather know a person. and you don't know a person until you know the why behind the whats. the drama behind the scenes. the stories behind the facts. 

you know? 

so. what questions would I rather ask? i'm glad you asked, cyberspace. because, boy, would I be good at small talk if this sort of randomness was on the table. i'd be the best conversationalist this world has ever seen (well, probably not for real, but, hey, a girl can dream) and i'll prove it to you. 

questions I'd ask if it was socially acceptable to ask these sort of questions. 

What was the first book to make you cry? 
the house of mirth. i got it for Christmas when i was sixteen i think and i just curled up with it that afternoon and didn't put it down til I was weeping and wailing and weeping again. it was painful. but I loved it. 

When did you stop believing in Santa? 
i had my suspicions for a few years, but a friend mocked and then obliterated my innocence and hope when I was...twelve. no judgment. 

What is the most willfully rebellious thing you've ever done? 
ah, well. my rebellious phase hit when I was seventeen and consisted of me watching pirated movies online and not telling my mom when I watched moulin rouge for the first time. oh, and I bought an r-rated movie the next year. quite the scandal, i know. what can I say, I'm a rebel without a cause. 

If you could go anywhere right now no strings attached, where would it be?
right now? Italy. i think I'd like to wander alone in Italy. it sounds warm and sunshiney. and laid back. like everything's bathed in a gold and rose sunset all the time. plus, pasta. and gelato. 


Where did you find yourself? 
london. somewhere between St. Paul's and Picadilly Circus, right after spending the day alone, not talking to anyone, and being okay with it. 

What's one thing you're so happy you did even if no one else was?
cutting my hair short. i don't look back on those years with any sort of pride. i don't think I really looked all that good. but it changed me. i think every girl should cut her hair short once. because no matter how silly it sounds, it is liberating. you have to learn to love yourself outside the traditional definition of what's pretty and what's attractive and what's feminine. you don't have the weight--literally--of expectation on your shoulders. you just are you, free if distraction. some people hate it. they really do. but those people aren't exactly the people that matter. i seriously think it was the best thing I could do as a teenager. 

Who do you wish you could be for one day? 
taylor swift. easy. I'd wear pretty lace sundresses, and flowers in my hair, and I'd just bake and craft and gab about pretty boys with fabulous best friends. maybe go to some epic social event wearing some perfect Ellie Saab dress and just killing it at life in general. 

If you could bring one fictional character to life, who would it be? 
t-rex from Jurassic Park. 

just kidding. we wouldn't survive that. but I would like to marry mr. knightley. if that's an option. 

Which three celebrities would you have to a dinner party if you could invite anyone?
if we're talking fun times/best friends, Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, and Taylor Swift. 
if we're talking romantic possibilities, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Gosling, and, today I'm feeling...Tom Hiddleston. 
if we're talking interesting conversation, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, and Benedict Cumberpatch (though, let's be honest, that would be romantical too). 

Has there ever been a moment that made you believe in destiny? 
london. for a lot of reasons. 

Would you rather be a wizard or a time traveler? 
wizard. always and no question. at least of the harry potter variety. 

If you could time travel, but not change history, where would you go? 
america during the revolution. i'd really like to know the founding fathers and if they really knew what they were getting into, what their motivations were, what they were really like. and to just see that crazy story unfold... i mean, they really knew how to rock the boat. 

One dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?
chocolate ice cream. can't go wrong with a classic. 

What time period of fashion do you wish would come back? 
late 1800s for girls. because I love a good bustle and a wide sun hat. and for guys--just suits today. like, if every guy had to look fresh out of a GQ shoot with tailored preferably three piece suits--and trench coats--life would be...beautiful. 

Do you have a theme song? 
i get attached to songs really suddenly and very obsessively. currently, i'm listening to Lorde's "Royals" on repeat. literally. but one song that i consider my anthem..."We Are Young" by Fun. mostly because i first heard it during a very traumatic time in my life and it made me feel like i should be dancing around a bonfire on top of a mountain while watching the sun set. in other words, it just gets me. 

If money wasn't an issue, what would you do with your life? 
i'd live in a fabulous house on a huge piece of land where I had space to myself but wasn't more than a quick ride--be it jet or car--to the city. i'd lounge in huge rooms with crown molding and hard wood floors and tall ceilings and big windows. like some Jane Austen heroine. but with more online shopping. like a Hamptons socialite. and i'd only worry about writing. or I'd dabble in photography. and I'd spend most of my time in a fully stocked kitchen, baking any and everything that caught my fancy on Pinterest while I watched classic black and white movies on a huge projection screen...or danced to top 40 music sans judgement.   


***

and...that's me. don't you feel like you know me more? i think we should all work to add a little more inventiveness to the meet-and-greets we face. everyone has a story, and it's usually more interesting than, well...fine

at least i'd hope so. 

5 comments:

  1. that last part sounds like you could be mary antoinette's best friend.

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    1. but only in a good way, right? minus the whole inciting an entire country to revolt and all that head chopping, maybe?

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  2. Why aren't those socially acceptable questions? You should ask them and see what happens.

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  3. I like these questions a lot. And I love your answers :)

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  4. Those are good questions! I miss the bluntness of Europe! They don't ask dumb questions there! Was it that way in London?

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