Becoming a Caricature

Dear NoteBrooke,

Deliberate avoidance of a visit to the ATM out of fear that one’s bank balance has become so irreparably attenuated via overdraft fees – those pesky, dirty little dings that are inflicted upon us each time that we swipe our thin plastic life lines through the requisite Bergdorf/Starbucks/Duane Reade (I’m just naming the essentials here) credit card machines long after they’ve been sufficiently maxed out –- is a tactic that’s as effective in amassing some semblance of a savings account as is my ability to avoid bum rushing all of the kitchen cabinetry the moment that my fiancé cavalierly asserts that he ordered up a jumbo jar of Nutella from Fresh Direct earlier that afternoon.

I’ve learned, more aggressively than most, perhaps, that denial only begets a slew of egregiously misguided life choices — those that eventually, invariably, render one physically and emotionally displaced upon a coarsely carpeted, sickly colored hotel room floor while commencing a manic search for a place to call home and clutching a newly ascertained rendition of the King James Bible. This is, of course, a brief allusion to the disastrous conclusion of my previous relationship and to the abrupt/urgent move to New York City that ensued immediately thereafter.

In more extreme instances, it can also catalyze undercover jaunts to markedly unsavory destinations across the globe, those that are generally presupposed to house a slew of sticky, heat saturated Central American brothels in their tropical custodies — the types of establishments that smell of thick, low hanging cigarette smoke and that cater to a predominantly pale-skinned, fair-haired customer base of gringo pedophiliacs looking to fulfill their criminal perversions behind the semi opaque veil of extreme third world poverty.

If you’re immersed in a culture that propagates a consistent barrage of stringent generalizations regarding the female identity, then you’ll soon realize that most of us are allotted just enough room to be catalogued as either a Kim Kardashian or a Kate Middleton, an ideology that subliminally disseminates polarizing extremes and virgin/whore complexes aplenty.

So if it means disproving widespread, preordained notions that draw staunch parallels between fashion savvy, fresh faced young females and vapid, vacuous superficiality – you know, the especially icky kind that lends itself to labels like spoiled rich girl, airhead, gold digger, frivolous, self-absorbed, pathetic, disposable – (Because, I’m quite certain that I’ve been assigned all of those titles at one time or another), then you, too, might engage in your own game of Russian Roulette, disappearing into the previously mentioned Central American Red Light District with nothing more than a poorly concealed Go Pro camera and bits of badly broken Spanglish under your belt.

You’d be on a no holds barred mission, after all – not only to unearth the complexities of the story at hand, but maybe, in some way, to produce (pun intended) your personal truth, as well.

Which is all to say, that I’ve spent the greater portion of my twenties making a lot of wildly erroneous life choices in an internal quest to seek some measure of external public credence. I’ve pursued more than one misguided career trajectory, including, as much as

I hate to say it – journalism. Here’s the thing: although I l-i-v-e-d for the actual act of producing worthwhile, worthy content — the kind of stuff that I’d be willing to sleep in grimy, bug ridden motels sequestered between hidden hills in desolate and dangerous foreign lands for — I didn’t want to be Lisa Ling if it meant that I couldn’t be Miroslava Duma, as well.

Because, why should a penchant for contoured cheekbones and swoon worthy street style outweigh my requisite intent to hop on a plane and to risk my right to things like – well, habeas corpus, for instance, in the name of storytelling?
Tell me: in 2016, why do static characters and predilections regarding the female gender continue to penetrate and permeate our society? What if you could see who I really am?

I wonder what you’d think; I wonder how differently I’d feel in my own skin.


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