I have written about jealousy before. The context of my previous post came from a place of immaturity… of when I was younger and wanted to be perfect in every way. That I would get jealous by all things perfect. Hair, boobs, what have you. And I learned with age (and over time), there was no need for that type of envy. I came to the conclusion that I was uniquely me. Well, on the west coast, anyway.
Last week, I zipped out to New York to spend a little QT with some very special people. And something strange happened. It was something I hadn’t seen for awhile… I got jealous. I wasn’t jealous of a guy talking to a girl, or seeing someone and thinking how beautiful and perfect they are… no it was the complete opposite. I got jealous of the people of Brooklyn.
The landscape of Brooklyn, NY is quite different from the glimmering shores of Los Angeles, CA. If you haven’t strolled into the experience that is Brooklyn, NY, circa 2013, I shall debrief you. This will be a limited observation, as frankly, I have only spent about twelve total hours in the borough. My focus is more on the people, versus the geography or architecture.
My feeling was this… it seemed like an accumulation of intelligent, creative, dark, wandering souls that all found each other and created a cool collective. The vibe is more neighborhoodie, partially because walking and getting to know people happens in these environs. I think some of Brooklyn exists in Silverlake (hipster L.A. neighborhood), but because of the city structure, LA people are forced to use vehicles. This severely limits the connection and interaction a setup like Brooklyn can offer.
The people were more friendly than I would find here in LA… friendly… in a deeper sense. LA people are friendly in that they say hello to you. Brooklynites are friendly in that they engage with you. An exchange of intellectual substance fueled by wafting cigarette smoke, warm summer nights and libations.
It’s a different kind of freedom. Freedom in America, you say? Cue the country music, BudLite and four-wheeled pickups. No, the kind of freedom in Brooklyn is … tortured, complex, dirty, multi-layered, fascinating, boundless.
At the various restaurants and bars, I found myself staring. Not at the flawless beauties everywhere, but at the flawed beauties everywhere. Whether waify or cushioned, a tattoo or two hundred, with cigarettes like candy, they were making plastic jewelry and tattered shorts look undeniably chic. It was like I wanted to shout, “I am cool too!” but truth be told, I wasn’t. Not by a mile.
I found myself jealous.
These chicks and dudes could really do no wrong. They could be wearing the same shirt for fourteen days and it would still rock. They could have been landscaping for ten hours and the soil in their fingernails would have been just as amazing. It was like all the sensations and smells and vibe of camping for a week- but in civilization. Discussing authors, artists, places. Really diving into all that is meaningful, and upsetting, and good, and f^&ed up.
I wish I could be that cool. I wish that I could put together an entirely funky outfit and pull it off. I wish I knew how to use Instagram better where I could perfect my cool-girl poses with my redlips or glasses or both. I wish I could pull off gritty + friendly and sullied + put together.
And all the while, I took it all in- an experience different from any other city, hell, any other part of New York. And I found myself jealous. But I also found myself grateful. I may not be as cool a cat as all the people I observed and met. I may not have the requisite slovenly yet fashionable garb, or the phrenic conversation skills… but I realized, I don’t think I want to.
Not because it isn’t rad- oh, it is, as that is the source of all my jealousy… I just don’t want to be anything I am not. And while I maintained my self in the environment, and everyone there was more than accepting of this… I felt like I was out of my element. It was fun, entertaining and a worthwhile venture, but the energy wasn’t me.
And just like every time before I have visited a new country, city, or place where I got to see it from a local level…. I always walk away with two lessons: 1) I am thankful for the experience, and 2) I am thankful for where I live.
I am so happy to have had Brooklyn exposure, and now that my bf from high school has moved there, I’m sure I’ll see even more. For all the differences, I am still drawn to it, and find it incredibly attractive- but I will probably never live there. Brooklyn, I only wish i could be cool enough for you- I’m just not- but I still adore you. 🙂 I’ll be back.