I’ve come to the conclusion that Carrie Bradshaw and I would likely have not been friends. (gasp)
This has been a tragic, upsetting realization as I adore her and her friends and that lovely show which inspired the name for this blog. And quite frankly, inspired my life. But I’m starting to think Carrie and I are two very, very different people.
And that’s not a bad thing.
I began to realize this the other night while out with some gorgeous, fabulous women in an area of Dallas known as ‘uptown’. This is a part of Dallas I rarely venture out into. It’s filled with posh night clubs and upscale bars and young 20-30 somethings completely glammed out. Their eyebrows are on fleek, their skin glows, their cheeks are contoured, their eyelashes … lush.
It’s not that I do not like these people. I applaud them for their ability to look like a walking Instagram filter. I’m kind of envious too. It’s just I don’t feel like I … belong. Ever. No matter how much makeup I slather on, no matter how sassy and cute my clothes or how high my heels, no matter how hard I’ve tried to fill in my brows (I still do NOT know how to do this well) .. I feel like a fraud. An imposter. Like a kid dressing up in way-too-mature-for-her clothes … and it’s all the wrong size and I look like I’m playing a part in a tragic play and I know none of my lines.
Now I currently live in a very different neighborhood in Dallas. (Or … at least it used to be.) Deep Ellum. When I first moved to Dallas from East Texas, Deep Ellum was one of the first neighborhoods I’d hang out in. It was a bit rundown and empty at the time, mostly tattoo shops and sketchy bars. And it was rumored to be a dangerous area to walk around in after dark. A lot of that has changed over the years, but it’s still one of the edgier places to hang out in Dallas. The bars are a little more dive-y. The people are a lot more eclectic.
Here there are men and women covered head to toe in tattoos mixing it up with man-buns and hipsters. There are a few biker bars but they don’t care if you have a bike or not (well, maybe they do but they’re nice to you either way). You’ll see guys with mohawks walking the same streets as girls in fashionably tight dresses and dudes in shiny tights and better makeup than me. I love it.
Very often the guy with the face and neck tattoo is gonna be the kindest person you meet on a night in Deep Ellum. And he’ll certainly be more authentic than any clean-cut douche in a fitted button down.
It’s here in Deep Ellum you might run into a local named Bob (no idea what his last name is), an older gentleman who shuffles about with a goofy grin and a Casio keyboard. He’s a regular at a couple of places I sing karaoke at. He’s adorable, kinda looks like your grandpa, but if you say or do something he doesn’t like he’ll say fuck you. And then high five you with a smile.
And this is, strangely enough, where I feel most at home. I’m not a hipster. I have a couple of silly white girl tattoos but I do not at all see myself as ‘edgy’. But it doesn’t matter. I go out here and no matter what I’m wearing I feel like I belong. Could be short shorts and heels. Could be combat boots and spikes. No makeup. All the makeup. It doesn’t matter in Deep Ellum. And that’s why I love it.
So back to the other night … I went out with a group of girls I work with. These women are at the top of their game. They’re on the younger side, mostly all under 30, but they’re bright, talented and beautiful and I feel very often inspired by them.
After a fancy, delicious dinner, we ventured out to a club in uptown. Now I’ve been to clubs before and I’ve even had a good time while out in uptown. I love to dance and drink heavily and there are plenty of places to do this in uptown. We went into this hip club (Mr. Rich) at the perfect time – no lines yet, no crowds. The DJ was on fire. We got our drinks and proceeded to get our groove on. After a bit though, the crowds started to roll in. And for whatever reason I started to have a mini freakout. I started to feel anxious and out of place. Something just didn’t feel … right.
Now I’m a person who’s very open to new things so I knew it wasn’t that I was simply biased against this place. Plus I love vodka and dancing, so what was the problem? I tried hard to fight against that feeling that this just simply wasn’t my crowd and I didn’t belong.
But the truth is? It wasn’t my crowd. And I didn’t belong. Not because my eyebrows weren’t done or because I don’t know how to contour or because my dress was from Target. But because this club, though beautiful and the people lovely, kind of embodies things that do not resonate with me. You can barely talk in there, everyone is so polished. Every THING is so polished. It’s hard to discern what’s real.
There was a time when I wanted to be near the glossy and perfect and to emulate them. But as I’ve come into my own and have learned more about the real me, I recognize that no one is perfect and I prefer to be around people who aren’t trying so hard to make their life appear that way. I prefer people that look … real. Flawed even. I prefer scruffy and tatted and a little messy and a whole lot weird. I prefer Bob with his keyboard.
And that’s when it hit me … I still love Carrie Bradshaw, so much, but I no longer aspire to be her. At least not as far as her outer life goes. The clubs, the fashion, the super exclusive new bar openings, the VIP lists. I can and will always be inspired by her fierceness and emotional vulnerability in writing. And I still love her as an icon for the single woman living life on her own terms. But I’m not into the latest high fashion. Nor am I into $600+ dollar shoes. I’m not an upper east side girl … or the Dallas equivalent. Now that doesn’t mean Carrie and I couldn’t be friends … but honestly? We probably don’t have that much in common.
I may not be Carrie but I respect her. And I’m grateful girls like her, and the polished Instagram-ers, exist even if I’m not one of them.
So, once I made peace with my ‘not belonging’ at the club, I quickly said my goodbyes to my lovely co-workers – it was late after all – and called my uber. But on the ride home, I had a sudden urge to feel … some familiarity and see some friendly faces (cue “Cheers” music here). A place where everybody knows your name … or better yet, your drink of choice. So instead of calling it a night, I walked to my favorite local dive bar in Deep Ellum, met up with some swing dance friends and danced the night away to jazz and country.
This is my neighborhood. These are my people. This is where I belong.