Monday, March 21, 2011
Oh good Lordy, Lordy, Lordy...
I haven't had the best day. I'll just say that right off-the-bat because if anyone takes the time to actually read this I don't want them to say, "Wow...sounds like someone was having a bad day!". Let me solve this mystery for you beforehand and play spoiler--I really did have a bad day. *GASP!*SHOCK!*EEEeeeek!* It is so.
I'm having "square peg in a round hole" phenomenon day. This is kind of a continuation of my last blog about being a fashionista who spring break vacations in the Alaskan arctic. Who does that? I does that. Great--now I'm talking in poor hillbilly English. Let's travel back yonder year, shall we??...
Ok, so back in the day before Tristan and I started dating we would talk for hours on the phone at night. This is just how two smitten people who are 3,000 mile apart roll--that and texting. Tristan and I have been friends for years--literally years. We were BFFs up at The University of Alaska Fairbanks for 5 years and then friends for another almost 8 years after that before we ever officially kissed. During one of these phone conversations he was talking about himself and about his friends. I made an off-the-cuff joke about redneck hillbillies thinking I was funny to which he replied, "Uh, Whit--we are just a bunch of redneck hillbillies." *total deadpan*--I couldn't see his face but his voice was chalked full of honesty and his face was like--um, yeah, that's us. Let me digress...
Ever see Hannah Montana? I have two 8 year old girls so we've pretty much seen every Hannah episode there is. I also have a 19 year old girl and it's kind of our "secret" that we are closet Hannah fans (out of the bag now--crud). We even own blonde Hannah wigs--cuz we're cool like that. If any of you have seen that show then you have seen Billy Ray Cyrus who plays Hannah's dad--and who is ironically Miley Cyrus' dad (who plays Hannah Montana) in real life. Confused yet? During that show he lives with Miley and her brother, Jackson, in Malibu, California but he still let's his modified, chic hillbilly shine through--cuz in the show they are transplant musical artists from Tennessee. I am sorry--he is my TV crush. He's the cutest, most honest, most sincere character on the show. He's quite charming--yet unrefined. So...when Cute Alaskan Man made his comment about he and his friends being "redneck hillbillies" I found it pretty intriguing--not just because of Hannah Montana--I like the show but I'm not a delusional dork thinking it's actually real. Nope...but I thought it was quite sweet and didn't really feel too intimidated by it--even though I'm a fashion-forward girl who spends a lot of time shopping and enjoying the "girlie" things in life like mani/pedis and a good lunch date with my fashionista friends.
FAST FORWARD: Tristan and I have been together for 2.5 years now. He has a tight-knit circle of friends up in Palmer, AK and I've always felt like the odd-man-out. Not because they aren't all brilliant and super nice and sweet people. I think we are all in culture shock when it comes to one another. I'm not really sure what to do with them and where I fit in, and vise versa. This is where the square peg/round hole phenomenon comes in. I am a fish out of water when I'm up there. There's 900 churches in a 2 mile radius (ok...more like 15 mile radius). I go to church. I love God. Some of you may have see my YouTube video about God--but it gets a little different when you're in "God's Country" and I'm pretty sure that's what Palmer is. I hope Heaven feels less awkward because I likely won't get in if it's like Palmer, Alaska. St. Peter will meet me at the gate and be like, "Nope, sorry you Coco Chanel loving snob--no pearly gates for you!" and I'll be like, "But St. Peter!!!!...I WORE pearls!!! I'm not above them--or their gates for that matter!!! Let me in!!!! Pretty pretty please with a cherry on top???" And he'll probably cave cuz he's tired of hearing me whining. I'll get into heaven by playing the pity card. Figures...
So yes, I am dating a self-proclaimed redneck-hillbilly. I don't fit in. I went to his softball game two summers ago wearing a white, 4-tiered skirt by Abercrombie and Fitch and 4-inch cork wedge heels. I looked like an idiot among the shorts and tees club--but that's what I wear. You ever look at the people around you and try to picture what they are saying in their heads about you? (Like right now I'm picturing anyone reading this and saying, "Parnoid much, Whitney?") *SHRUG*
This has also become a problem recently because I truthfully feel out of my element. I guess we all have an idea of who we will end up with. I actually wrote on my, "Where do you picture yourself in ten years" paper during graduation week in highschool that I was going to be a trophy wife to a very successful doctor (likely a plastic surgeon) and driving a convertible BMW in Malibu by this time--which was probably a lofty goal but go big or go home, right? Only--I'm in love with a mechanical engineer from Palmer, Alaska who designs and builds machines from the ground up that blast the airline tire rubber off of runways and aircraft carriers and who is also a self-proclaimed redneck-hillbilly who lives in the middle of the Alaskan bible belt. How did all of this come about? How did my friend turn into my boyfriend? How did my intrigue for Billy Ray Cyrus turn into my real life Cute Alaskan Man???
I can hear you already--"So what's the problem, Whitney? Why griping about the fish out of water?" Do you know anything about fishes??? (I can say fishes...the plural of many different types of fish swimming together is technically "fishes". "Fish", both singular and plural describe on type of "species" of fish. *Heh*--I may be blonde but I know some things. Back to the matter at hand. K...so the fish out of water part of me--this comes from not being able to blend "the best of both worlds" (thank you, Hannah Montana, for letting me kype your theme song). I am a fish out of water. I brought open toed heels to Alaska for spring--what the crap, Batman? I never wore them, but I thought it was practical so I did pack them. It's hard to blend two different worlds together. Friends, girlfriends, boyfriends--why does it have to be so hard? I'm keenly aware of the fact that people look at Tristan and I and probably think, "Um...what? Why?". And it doesn't make it any easier when one of your "date nights" is spent at an up-and-up restaurant in Wasilla, Alaska where the table behind you is ranting in backwoods hillbilly about the cops coming to arrest them because they were "fishin' outta three fishin' holes in the ice instead of two--even though that other hole was carved by someone else so it wasn't their fault there were three fishin' holes." Seriously--this was my romantic dinner and the background noise (plus F-bombs, S-bombs, A-bombs, and a whole bunch of other words I had never creatively thought to congegate on my own with respect to ice fishing--which ironically was a topic I never thought I'd hear about at an upscale restaurant on a date).
Can anything ever "mesh" like it's supposed to? I felt like Cinderella at Disneyland when Tristan and I took all four of my kids there last year. It was amazing. We never have a bad time when we are together. It just gets hard to blend our two worlds together and make it into something that functions "normally" that we can both understand. Can his world eventually understand fashion/heels/mani-pedis/waxing/fashion forward friends? Can I ever understand Palmer, Alaska in its entirity? Every once in a while I think I can--Tristan has awesome friends. Some I get more than others and some not at all. Some I can't relate to but I like them and they make me laugh. Some I can't relate to who think I'm an idiot snob who is overly opinionated and judgemental. And then every once in a while I get a nice surprise. I love it when I see a good Juicy Couture purse surface in the midst of a miserable arctic winter that one of his friends purchased. I get that. It's like a light beams down from heaven and angels start singing--and then I see that maybe there is hope!!! Maybe someday the two worlds will mesh--maybe. Then again, maybe not.
So yes, not a good day. Not only did my village get raped and pillaged by the IRS today but dealing with the fact that trying to make Alaska "fit" when it really is a square peg in a round hole sometimes smacks me upside the head. 2.5 years of trying to fit square pegs and round holes together is no only frustrating, but also exhausting. It also often feels like an exercise in futility.
I like the picture I chose for this blog entry though--I think I'll call him "Skippy"--although homeboy looks like he's going to need some chest compressions soon if a good fish tank doesn't become available.
Monday, March 14, 2011
As many of you know, I have just returned from a trip to Anchorage, Alaska. Well, technically I flew into Anchorage and then headed about 45 minutes north to a town called, Wasilla. You know--Wasilla...Sarah Palin's Wasilla (even though her show was called, "Sarah Palin's Alaska"--I hunted down a lot of the places she went in that show on my trip and it was mostly "Sarah Palin's Wasilla"--believe you me). Wasilla, Alaska. Otherwise known as "The Valley" or "The Matanuska Valley" or "The Home of Sarah Palin"--this is mostly because nobody knew it existed until the 2008 elections (with the exception of people in Palmer, Anchorage, and Fairbanks--and Willow and Talkeetna). However, as someone who attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks, I was familiar with the town of Wasilla and actually went to school with a fair number of "Valley Girls" (insert any jokes from the movie Clueless that you would like, but there is little to no similarity).
Let me start off this blog by poking fun at myself. When I was in college up at the University of Alaska Fairbanks I got quite tired of seeing everyone bundled up in "practical attire" for the weather. The plunging temps that could get as low as -70F+ were enough to make fashion a non-issue altogether. People would roll into class in bunny boots (no--not stylish FUR (of faux fur--xoxo PETA) bunny boots--the ugly white and black gigantic boots that the military jumps out of planes at -110F in--the ones that looked like you were trying to compensate for having bilateral clubbed feet; Carhartt overalls that were wool lined and mustard colored, flannel shirts, Grizzly Adams coon skin caps, and full beards--for the women, too (you may think I'm joking but I had chemistry with two bearded ladies and they were full on beards)). Coming from a small, mostly well-to-do town in Colorado I decided after "bundling" myself up for the first three months I attended UAF that there had a be a better, more fashionable way to go about all of this "arcticness". The go-to flannel shirt had been WAY overused in my opinion. Facial hair started taking over people's entire body (I thought many times I was enrolled in school with stunt doubles for "Teen Wolf"). Anyway, my friends and I decided that at one point we were going to overlook practicality and embrace winter fashion--to an extreme. A plethora of wool mini skirts, chic cardigans, wool tights, and platform lug-sole shoes were obtained to accomplish this feat (the lug sole was important so you didn't slip on the ice and snow and kill yourself--nobody looks good in a cervical neck collar--not even a bedazzled one). Anyway, so my girlfriends and I spent upwards of 5 years enjoying our feeble yet valiant attempt to bring fashion to freezing cold. As a matter of fact, not much has changed.
Upon my arrival to Alaska this trip I realized that I was the most disorganized and had done perhaps my poorest pack job ever with respect to clothing. Everything I went up to Alaska with was much more suited for spring days in San Diego at 70+F. I wasn't anticipating 30F and 115 mph winds--which was why I posted that I was pretty sure I was going to blow away and I needed my red, sparkly shoes on Facebook while screaming out for my Auntie Em as I was couped up in my cottage on the bluff in Wasilla. I ended up trekking to Sports Authority in Wasilla and scoring a super sweet sweater that was normally fairly expensive for next to nothing (end of season--it's 30F up there which means 50F is right around the corner and that means SPRING!... so who would need a sweater?). With two giant pink Diane Von Furstenberg suitcases full of beautiful clothing for this trip--I ended up wearing the same sweater EVERYDAY with a different undershirt/tank and pair of jeans/shoes/bling as my only change ups. Ahhhh...nice to be back in the fashion mecca of the world!!! I feel like I fit right in--only...that's a problem!! So, with spring warm up in Alaska, I actually walked into Fred Meyer (local grocery chain) to purchase "must needs" (Diet Coke, circus peanuts, Brach's candy (butterscotch and cinnamons...YUM-O)) and I see a gal shopping for mangos in a tank top and thermal vest--fur trimmed at the collar. So let's tabulate--tank top (no arm coverage); thermal vest with fur trim (no arm coverage), and skinny jeans with black leather calf-length boots--Alaska style at its finest. Tristan and I went to a fine Italian restaurant where they were quite formal with service. I panned around the room to take in the attire. I am not sure "black tie" exists in Alaska. This is totally fine because in my mind I picture some well-to-do chap freezing his manhood off in a thin tuxedo in 150 mph 20-30F winds which doesn't look any prettier than the flannel and graphic tees everyone was wearing at the fine dining place (and me in my same sweater I'd worn for 6 days and jeans). This truly is the land where Xtratuffs and miniskirts meet up in the same ensemble--out of practicality. Nobody wants to trudge through spring meltdown in peep toe pumps--if you do, you're going to look worse than mixing Xtratuffs with a miniskirt.
So here I go again--a fashionista pondering a big move up north. Can I do it? Does this spell fashion disaster for Whitney Madison? Am I next to embrace "Alaska Chic"? I don't even think they make platform lug soles anymore--now what? However, I did come across the Pom Pom boutique in Palmer that had rubber boots that were made to look like cowboy boots with a practical, yet fun little heel and came in all sorts of prints and fun colors that looked AMAZING with above the knee skirts so I might just have to get some if I head that way. I have pledged to myself that I will not simply "blend" into the sea of flannel up in Alaska. I will matter-of-factly only wear flannel if I have a cute white tee underneath, keep it unbuttoned, and tie it at the waist. This will be coupled with a cute skirt and perhaps some leggings and rubber boots--cuz that's just what you have to do when you live in Alaska. ;) Or should I move to Maui?