Apr
17
2014
1


WhyDid Wisdom: Release Party
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

post ranch innJanuary is the time of year when everyone fools him/herself into thinking he/she is going to right wrongs, fix all flaws and become a whole new “me.”  The gym is suddenly full of soft bodies that hadn’t bothered to lift more than the remote for the last year, but are now walking on the treadmill so slow it’s giving me anxiety because I have to wait.  (Patience, that’s something I should have signed up for in 2014).  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for self improvement.  It’s the only way to grow, but it’s now four months later and we seem to have ditched all of our goals for the new year, but yet have managed to hold onto a lot of other baggage.  Why is it so much easier to let go of the good and not the bad?

We swore we’d lose that extra five pounds by summer, but those nachos at Cowgirl were just too damn tempting and so what if I had three cheat days this week?  Despite the return of the polar vortex, spring will last but a week before a sweaty, scorching summer sets in upon us and no one will be able to hide out under baggy black clothes and layers upon layers.  This is the second time of year when Equinox sees an influx of gymnasium delinquents and I have a near meltdown upon waiting for a stairclimber.  Despite my disdain for faux fitness junkies, I’m a proponent for good health in any form… even if temporary.  And like the mantra emblazoned upon the wall at Flex Studios, “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness,” there is another kind of weightloss that may be even more beneficial to your health and heart.

We cut dairy out of our diets, but continue on with toxic relationships.  We purge our closets, but forget to purge our personal lives.  Sometimes we hold onto people because we feel an obligation to do so.  However, in doing so, we impede our own personal growth and crowd our lives with emotional clutter that blocks anything new and quite possibly better from entering.  In turn, this might be the real type of fat that is weighing down our lives.

I kept saying I wanted this or I wanted that.  All around me, others were moving forward with careers, relationships, families, and goals, yet I seemed to be stagnant.  I couldn’t figure out why I was being left behind by normal social standards and then I realized something.  My actions were contradicting my wishes.  For example, I was in a very volatile relationship for most of the past year and after one too many early morning blow outs and a “vacation” from hell, I finally threw in the towel.  While I had long since stopped answering phone calls and late night incoherent text messages, I was still friends with some of his friends and I was still checking in to see what he was doing. It was far too easy to see what he and his new 18 year old NYU dorm habitating honey were doing and really, why did (or should) I care?  I would gut check myself against what I wanted in a mate versus what I was getting from this relationship and rationally knew it was far from matching up at which point I had to actually say to myself, “Who gives a (expletive)?”  I’m romantic and nostalgic so I find it grueling to cut ties at times.  I am capable of seeing what “could be” rather than what IS.  Sadly, some people are emotional vampires and as hard as it may be, we have to wish them well and part ways.

And maybe sometimes it’s not a specific person that has to be eliminated from our lives, but maybe something that someone has done to us.  We all make mistakes (even me), but there is no use in holding onto difficult and at times traumatizing events from our lives.

A friend of mine who is an up and coming star on the music scene spoke to me about what gives him motivation.  His son was, of course, first on the list along with close friends and family.  But then he told me that the naysayers and haters fueled him.  I reminded him that those people did not deserve his energy and the more time he spent thinking about them, the more of his energy he was allotting to people who, quite frankly, did not deserve it.  The more time spent focusing on your foes, the more you are actually feeding them.  I suggested he only give pieces of himself to people who deserve and appreciate him and to (bleep) the rest of them.  I’m not sure I swayed him to my way of thinking, but sometimes it’s helpful to remind myself of the same thing.

It may be a late start, but too late is always better than never.  Shed those extra five pounds and shed those extra people who are weighing down your health and your heart.

xx,

WhyDid

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Apr
09
2014
3


WhyDid Wisdom: I Choose My Choice
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

choose directionPardon my absence as I’ve embarked upon a massive detox, both literally and figuratively, which has included a juice cleanse that’s left me a bit tired, incredibly cranky, and somewhat absent minded (more on that later).  One of the only things that has kept me from going utterly bat shit crazy due to unbearable pangs of hunger is partaking in evening yoga, a hot shower, and promptly passing out.  During one of these classes, the instructor reminded us that words can help or harm us and we all have a choice as to how we use our own words and how we react to others’.  I already had this piece partially written (and actually combined it with another I’d also been working on), but I don’t like to publish something until the time “feels” right and now would be that time.

In life, friends, people, and situations come and go.  While some can be painful “breakups,” the one hard to swallow truth is that there’s always a lesson to be learned from any less than ideal situation.  The trouble with the last sentence is it sometimes takes much longer than “later that day” or “a few moments later” to reveal what the “lesson” in each particular instance actually is.  Seeing as I’m no longer playing in the minors, I’ve had plenty of people enter and exit my life.  Some departures were unfortunate whereas others proved to be for the best.  A couple of years ago, during a debate over birthday plans (mine, obviously), someone who I considered to be a very close friend came unleashed and let me have it… over “WhatsApp,” of course.  My younger self would have swung right back at her pointing out all the holes in her ludicrous statements and the hilarity of her hypocrisy, but I held my tongue because one thing I did learn early on is that you are no match for my silver tongue and it’s best left in its sleek carrying case.

And while she had absolutely no business, not to mention room, passing judgment on me or my life decisions (no one does), she was right about one thing that she spouted off during her virtual diatribe.  I was a “victim.”

depressionAt the time I couldn’t even wrap my head around what that meant.  I would have never considered myself to be such, and I suspect that she used it out of context, herself.  However, a year and life epiphany later, a lightbulb went off in my head and well, I saw the light.  I wasn’t the classic case of “victim.”  The type who was going around crying about how terrible her life was or lamenting over the neverending list of terrible things that always happen to her.  I wasn’t that Zoloft commercial complete with constant grey cloud companion, but I was absolutely a victim to my own life.

I was letting things happen to me: bad relationships, crappy friendships, inexcusable workplace behavior and then turning around and wondering, “Why?”  How come I couldn’t catch a break?  Why did it seem as though everyone around me was riding the wave into shore all hunky dory and I was left out at sea with the sharks and a bucket of chum tied around my neck?

wolves

Well, here’s part of the reason.  When people would suggest remedies (sometimes solicited, sometimes volunteered) for whatever that week’s/day’s calamity, my response was typically along the lines of, “I can’t help it.”  Whether it was the way I felt or the actual suckworthy scenario, I was helpless.  I was a self-inflicted damsel in distress and sadly for me, there was no handsome prince on a white horse trotting right up to save me.  Actually, far from it… more like a drunk pack of wolves fresh off a juice cleanse.

I was scared to make decisions or to have strong opinions as to not rock the proverbial boat, so I just didn’t do anything at all and let whatever outcome happen only to be disappointed repeatedly.  Instead of cutting things off and making it my decision to no longer be treated in such a way, I just let it keep happening and trying to figure out why it did.  Instead of walking away from things I no longer needed or no longer fit into my life, I stuck around for more abuse.  It was a continuous and painful cycle and we know the saying, trite and true, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results  is the definition of insanity.”

After getting sick of hearing my own self sound like a broken record or a pirated radio station playing only Lionel Richie on repeat, it finally clicked.  I did have a choice.  You do have a choice.  We all can decide what we want for ourselves and how we want to live our lives.  And yes, there will be some unforeseen circumstances in all our lives- it would be so dull if there weren’t- but it is your perogative as to how you react to them, move forward from them, and what you take away from them.  That’s the key to being truly happy and being in control of your own life.  We all love to say, “but I can’t help it,” and coming from a kettle who used to call the pot black, yes, you sure as shit can.

We’re all so focused and caught up in our own little melodramas that we often forget that there are so many people dealing with far worse situations than a shitty boyfriend or lazy coworkers.  Try living in a war torn country or being born with a disabling disease.  A bit more tragic than a hike in your rent, no?  Which brings us right on over to the second part of this equation and you don’t even need to solve for “x.”  I’ll do it for you.  Not only do we need to treat ourselves better, we need to treat each other better because you truly never know what someone else may be struggling with in his or her own life at any given moment.

future taxi

Perfect example: I wanted to freak out on my cab driver for having a conversation on the phone as he chugged along slower than a student driver down Bleeker to a dinner I was already fifteen minutes late for.  I mean, I turned off Taxi TV for you.  Can you NOT have a conversation on speakerphone for me?  Then I realized, perhaps he was talking to his wife whom he may never get to see.  What do I know?  Maybe she’s a nurse who works night shifts and this is the only time they are able to communicate.  I couldn’t understand a damn word he was saying to her, but I could tell from the tone that it was loving and affectionate, and isn’t that a good thing?  Even if he was talking to his cheaply perfumed mistress and being a terrible human being, isn’t it better to give him the benefit of the doubt and at least tell yourself that he’s uttering sweet nothings to his Florence Nightingale of a wife?  Wouldn’t it be nice for someone to be kind to you the day after you found out your beloved cat, Fluffy, has cataracts?  I could have lost my shit on my driver, sure.  But what would it have done?  His cab wasn’t going to grow wings and fly over the traffic on Houston to get me there any faster.  The only thing that would have done was amplify my anxiety and more than likely piss him off, neither of which were my desired outcome.  So, you see, Pollyanna, sometimes by choosing to be kind to others, you’re actually being kind to yourself.  You’re choosing to be happy without even putting forth much effort.  Others will choose to be angry.  Let them.

And while I work on consciously making good decisions for myself, I also am reminded to take a breath before reacting to others no matter how painfully annoying, stupid, or rude one might be.  And that’s just a choice I’ve made for my life, which will hopefully, inspire you to do the same.

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Feb
10
2014
0


WhyDid Wisdom: Picture This
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

new york fashion week styleSo, you wanna get your picture snapped at Fashion Week.

Well, you’re in luck because it’s not all that difficult.  You see, outside of the hypothetical “tents” at Lincoln Center lie photographers on a fashion safari and you’re the creature in the wild whose head is likely to be mounted next to that antelope in the den.  It’s a mixed bag out there.  Some people are actual photographers from credible media outlets.  Others are bloggers capturing street style rather than shows.  And then there are people who maybe just so happen to own cameras and decided to hang around as true fashion hangers on.  It’s quite the spectacle and if you still think you’d like to find yourself on a .rus website one day a year from now, here are three hard and fast rules to having your mug captured for all of the internet to consume.

mbfw street style

  1. Be famous.  I believe this is self explanatory, but maybe not because “famous” is relative these days.
  2. Look like a crazy ass Olsen twin who may or may not have ingested bath salts pre-show.  In my experience, people who look like total maniacs will always be photographed.  This either says a lot about modern day “journalism” or these photographers somewhere along the way mistook freakshow for  fashion.  Basically layer on the weirdest shit you’ve got laying around your apartment.  Add a turban and body glitter for good measure.  For some reason, looking insane confuses these photographers and your pic will be snapped for better or worse.
  3. Go fashion editor chic.  The last and, in my opinion best, way to get noticed is to be clean, polished, and preferably wearing something designer.  Definitely stick on a pair of dark shades so as to add to the mystery.  Is she famous?  Is she not?  Doesn’t matter, they’ll shoot you just to be sure.  A fur coat also seems to be the ticket to getting clicked this year.  Look important by texting as you breeze by on the way up the stairs and into the shows.

mbfw street style 2And honestly, even if you don’t want your picture taken, too bad.  It’s being taken.  As I exited the shows and stuck around for a few to snap some photos of the outdoor ambience, I found that I was being photographed photographing everyone else.  No one bothered to ask for my information, outfit details, or hand me a card, so heaven knows where my image may appear on the world wide web.  Occupational hazard, I suppose.  Welcome to Fashion Week.  They don’t call New York the concrete jungle for nothing.

xx,

WhyDid

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Jan
31
2014
0


WhyDid Wisdom: Reserve Yourself
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

annoying callerWinter is the time of year when many of us yearn to couple up in order to stay warm and potentially lower our ConEd bills. A lot of my friends are what could be considered professional daters. I’ve stopped asking what any of their chaps’ names are because I can’t keep up and would need a very elaborate flow chart in order to stay entirely in the loop. I’m always in utter amazement as to how they meet all of these fellas because most of my male companionship comes from my dog, gentlemen playing for the other team, and re-runs of Frasier. Ironically, I think I’ve just cracked the code as to my singledom with that last sentence.

Anyway, unlike myself, you’ve been hitting the town and getting hit on, you little minx, you. And in the mix of things, you’ve met a couple of cuties who have actually made it beyond asking for your number in between swigs of Jameson and you’ve spent a handful of cozy dinners and Saturday brunches at Extra Virgin and Cafe Cluny with one, maybe two, in particular. You knew it was meant to be when he ordered another round of mimosas and declared that there may be nothing better in this world than a great chocolate chip pancake except for maybe a hammock on Alphonse Island. In your mind, you’ve already started planning your June wedding at the St. Regis and have named your first born child due early next fall (you decided on something gender neutral and inanimate). You’re a perfect match much like Domenico and Stefano, so you can’t quite put your perfectly polished finger on why your affections, and text messages aren’t being returned.

Ready for an awful truth?

(You may need a quaalude and a seat for this). Okay, you know that one guy who continues to text you after countless subtle blow offs, blatant verbal abuse and finally virtual radio silence? You know… the one who tricked you into giving him your number after you said you’d just take his and then called himself from your phone. Yeah, that guy. Well, you may very well be that girl.

I know. It seems highly improbable, even mind blowing, that anyone male, female, or house plant could possibly resist your feminine wiles, biting wit, and Pilates body. But alas, as hard as it is to wrap your pretty little head around, you may have found the one and only human this side of the galaxy not interested in you or the Illuminati conspiracy theories.

Fine, maybe you didn’t bamboozle your way into his Blackberry (who still has one of those, by the way?), so let’s use another example. You know the sort of goofy handsome guy you went out with from Goldman Sachs? While he was perfectly nice and in “theory” should be a totally perfect partner completely capable of rearing healthy children and providing a stable lifestyle for your future family, there was just one problem. You didn’t feel any of that wild, crazy, I must have you more than this season’s Céline. He didn’t do anything wrong, per se. He was a perfect gentleman and has since then been hitting you up to have a second, third, and final date… before that wedding he’s planned in his head complete with future (already named) child.

Yep. It’s all starting to click isn’t it?

beyonceWe’ve all got a few of those guys lying around much like the Federal Reserve has a few spare bricks of gold. They’ll never get used, but it’s nice to know that they’re there for security’s sake and all. At one point, there were so many “code names” in my phone that I hadn’t really any clue who was calling anymore. I just knew I wasn’t going to answer under any circumstance. Not even after two dirty martinis. Okay, I have responded on occasion to these “reserves.” Sometimes because I’m just too nice and felt guilty leaving them hanging (passive aggressive much?). Other times I’ve just been totally bored in between checking Twitter and Instagram. There have been lonely nights in between relationships with people I actually liked. And sometimes my friends and I think it’s downright hilarious. Call me a mean girl if you want, but your nose may be growing at this very moment. You’ve totally done the same thing. We all have. And whether you admit it out loud or not, I want you to realize that it’s entirely possible that’s what is going on with you and Mr. Perfect.

While it can take women a little bit longer to warm up to a potential mate, guys know what they want almost instantly. They are hunters by nature and when they see something they want, they go for it. Full force. It’s science. A guy can sway us to the other side after a couple of dates by revealing a shared love of cheese, a dark sense of humor, or just general kindness and good behavior. Inversely, a guy can be completely smitten with a girl and she can crash and burn merely by being a bitch. Don’t be a bitch.

I’ve been given a hard time for having fairly high expectations, and while I may be asking a lot for wanting a 6’0+ gentleman with great style, a sense of humor, brains, charisma, love of small white dogs named Smitty and a handle on his personal finances, I don’t think common courtesy is too much to ask. I certainly do expect my potential love interest to have the capacity to craft up a cohesive text message using the proper your/you’re and two/to/too, let alone actually grasp the concept of dialing my telephone number for voice on voice conversation. As a matter of fact, I don’t think any of that is too much to ask- and you shouldn’t either. I have been pursued hard, like verging on restraining order, so, I know the difference between being the “reserve” and the “jackpot.” If someone can’t even take a moment from his or her grueling life (barring he/she is doing volunteer work in a country without telephone wiring or toilets), that person is probably not particularly interested in you. At very least, you just aren’t ranking high on the priority list and well, that’s a problem.

Listen, it may be disappointing to realize you aren’t someone’s ideal match but, there’s no need to beat yourself up about it or shamelessly and repeatedly throw yourself at someone who just thinks you’re “ok for now.” (Remember DBDG?) Essentially he’s doing you a favor by self eliminating. It’s like Darwinian dating. Instead of wasting any more time on someone who doesn’t see how absolutely spectacular you are, you can keep on stepping… right on towards your true “Mr. Right.” (And you should probably throw in a hair toss or two). You wouldn’t jam your feet into shoes that don’t fit (I mean, maybe), so why would you try to force a connection that just isn’t there? All that comes from that is uncomfortableness and corns. Just repeat to yourself, “No answer is your answer.”

So, next time you are staring at your gold iPhone imploringly, just remember that poor ol’ chap you’ve renamed “Never Gonna Happen” and reserve yourself.

xx,

WhyDid

 

Coincidentally saw this video this afternoon post-posting.  All too fitting.

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Dec
03
2013
5


WhyDid Wisdom: Five Alive
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

why did kirsten smithSo, a girl and her computer walk into a bar… five years later and here I sit.  Different computer, same girl.  Kind of.  I nearly forgot that the day may have come and gone because the actual WhyDid launch date is a bit blurry as there was a time when I started on Tumblr and made the switch to my very own URL (what a tedious three days of transferring that was).  What I do know is that it was after a triple date at Pastis either at the end of November or the beginning of December when I sat at my grey desk in my grey cube at Henri Bendel crafting my very first blog post.  I had no idea at the time what the hell I was doing, but I pressed on and before you knew it, it was December again.  The first year I threw a party, but every year following instead of the celebration getting bigger along with my traffic and following, it seemed to get a little bit quieter.  And perhaps that’s my own fault.  Five years?  That’s kind of a big deal and without boring you with stats, facts, and figures, I’ve come a long way from a girl in her cube picking out a Tumblr template in between entering PO numbers.  It’s no longer just my parents and dog reading my posts anymore.  WhyDid’s gone global and that’s certainly something to smile about.  So, why am I the one who has the hardest time being proud of that?

Every year, I toy with the notion of putting down my proverbial pen and this past year was certainly a year when I, again, reevaluated everything and considered shuttering WhyDid’s storefront.  I felt beaten down and emotionally exhausted because it is hard to give a piece of yourself on an almost daily basis that may be judged, criticized, or flat out ignored.  It makes you wonder why you are putting forth so much effort at times, but during each moment of  coming incredibly close to giving up, I’d receive a message or a comment from someone thanking me for what I’d written, for being so honest, or for just being me.  These messages more often than not were from people I’d never met before from places I’ve never been.  Realizing that I’d reached someone and made some form of connection, whether large or small has been WhyDid’s salvation.  That’s why I’m even typing this post from sunny California right this minute.   And perhaps, just maybe (okay, definitely) I should have printed out this post from last year and re-read it from time to time during those “walk away from the ledge” moments.

why did blog kirsten smithMy mom recently told me she found a childhood diary of mine.  She swore she hadn’t read through the whole thing, but she did read a few especially endearing adolescent excerpts from my pre-teen thought catalog aloud that made me half laugh, half cringe.  And while I may blush with embarrassment over such silly juvenile musings of my own creation, it’s pretty special to be able to look back at who I was before the world tainted my precious little soul.

Even now when I look back at the things I’ve written here, the images that caught my eye, the way I styled something, or interpreted a trend, I get a little red in the face but I can quite literally see the ways in which I’ve grown and evolved as a human, writer, and editor.  On more than one occasion I’ve looked back and shaken my head about how foolish I’d been, while other times I’m proud of how far I’ve come.  Sometimes I look back only to realize that I already knew all the answers to lessons I’m still learning… over and over again.

One day I received a really nasty comment on one of my posts, ironically about a year ago, wherein an anonymous commenter (because they’re always anonymous) told me my blog was just a dumb personal diary and that no one really cared what I thought.  At the time, I was really hurt by this verbal drive by, but as I pondered longer, yeah, WhyDid is like my diary.  It’s a collection from my own journey and while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s my kitchen and my kettle and if you don’t like it, that’s okay, find something else to drink.  I’ll still sit with ya.  I also now realize that whoever this person was, didn’t particularly grasp the concept of blogs or social media for that matter.  We’re all documenting something.  Especially in this digital age.  It may no longer be as romantic as a pen and paper or a reel of paper on a typewriter, but it’s just the same.

top knot stylelistAlthough I have yet to be plucked from obscurity and presented with a Pullitzer , it’s those little comments, emails, and messages that keep me going.  At least I know someone out there be it Beijing or Berlin is really reading what I write, truly understanding me, and not just skimming along.  Besides, over the years I’ve learned that sometimes your most loyal supporters aren’t always your closest friends, but perfect strangers who you may never meet, but have kindred spirits and that’s really beautiful.  I have friends, ahem, who don’t even bother reading my blog at all… but I won’t get in trouble for saying so because, well…

Nonetheless, even if no one ever reads what you write, maybe if you never even read what you write, even if it will make no sense to someone who might one day stumble upon it in a pile of antiquities, writing down your thoughts is a gift to your current self as well as future self and potentially someone who needs your words.  A mere sentence or partial phrase with a date can be like a ticket back to memories and emotions past.  We all have old photographs that document the way we’ve changed on the outside, but I now have a vault, a time capsule, of the way my brain and heart and head looked over the past five years and you just so happen to have the key.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

xx,

WhyDid

 

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