Frivolous Universe



When I lived in Washington D.C., back in ’07, I used to sit on my orange and white duvet in the steadily-being-gentrified neighborhood of Brookland and listen to Nada Surf’s song Always Love. Yes, the name betrays an unforgivable sentimentality, but the lyrics had a hook that I couldn’t get over:
“I’ve been held back by something.”


I listened to the song so many times, that, today, as I listen to it at my desk, I am transported to the city that changed my mind. I smell the inside of my frozen nose in the brutal, wet winter. I hear the sleepy, monotone chants in the Catholic cathedral on the Sunday morning of my last church service ever.


I’ve been held back by something. I laboriously copied it in the front cover of each Moleskine notebook I’ve filled with my thoughts over the last six years. I saw it every time hot tears gave way to blue ink and were mollified.


I’m twenty-seven years old. Which, as it turns out, is not too old to start exploring the depth of my childhood fears of being rejected, of being alone – the fear that the real me isn’t worth loving.


I have loved. At least, I think I have. The English language plays a tremendous trick on us, throwing out these insane generalities like “love” and “freedom” and “goodness” without qualifying them with specifics. What factors contribute to love? How can you tell when you’re in love, after all?


Granted, I have never understood the burning blackness, the insanity that consumes the consciousness at first blush of true love. But I have always been a sensible person. It was no surprise that I would be immune to the romantic possession of the soul that dominates our popular mythology.


Romance has always seemed “dramatic” to me.


In my free time (and it’s all free time), I like to memorize Leonard Cohen poems over green tea at local coffee shops. One that I have clung to is called The Drunk is Gender-Free.


I’m angry with the angel who pinched me on the thigh.
And made me fall in love with every woman passing by.


I know they are your sisters. Your daughters mothers wives.
If I have left a woman out then I apologize.


It’s fun to run to heaven when you’re off the beaten track.
The Lord is such a monkey when you’ve got him on your back.


The Lord is such a monkey. He’s such a woman too.
Such a place of nothing. Such a face of you.


The Lord is such a woman. And so am I. Whatever am I going to do with myself?


I took all but one of these shots in New York City, Chicago, Eagle, and Boise, Idaho. Edited by me.


Thrift store fashion print mixing Tibetan breastplate photography Matthew Wade

Kelly: Why do we fight each other? A thought bubble rises from some bottomless pit of soul to explode at the surface with resentment.

Thrift store fashion 70s ship n shore shirt photography Matthew Wade

Bethany: As I get older, I am recognizing the fight is sometimes more within myself than with the other person. My insecurities skew how I interpret or relate to the other person’s actions. If I am worried about being likable or interesting, I am sensitive to when the other person doesn’t ask me questions about my life.

Thrift store fashion print mixing color blocking photography Matthew Wade

K: Nine times out of ten, it’s all me. When some truth becomes newly clear to me, I want to pass it around like a bowl of candy or a tray of Kool-Aid in paper cups. I can have trouble tolerating someone who doesn’t understand my most tender discovery.

B: I wrestle to accept my shortcomings. And I often find a way to resent those very same shortcomings when I see them mirrored in a friend or lover. I feel as though the success or failure of my own personal growth hinges on the self-awareness, or perceived lack thereof, of the people I care about. I’ve been known to drive myself crazy with this line of thinking.

Thrift store fashion vintage Russian Fur Hat photography Matthew Wade

B: When I see someone where I have been before, I feel connected. It tortures me most when I can’t understand where someone is coming from, why they did what they did. Past memories morph. Did we ever like, love, or know each other? The ground dissolves.

Thrift store fashion photography Matthew Wade

K: It is a profound loss. Itching like a lost limb, a phantom consciousness natters on inside my head: What if there were some outside thing? A rock, a shoe, or a shovel? A hammer or a mirror? Could we have found a touchpoint to bring us back to ourselves? 

Thrift store fashion vintage embroidered jacket beret photography Matthew Wade

B: The only thing we control is our own perception.

Thrift store fashion print mixing color blocking vintage embroidered jacket beret photography Matthew Wade

K: We cannot come together without losing something. To get a sacred amulet, you must surrender a sacred amulet.

Thrift store fashion color blocking print mixing vintage embroidered jacket beret photography Matthew Wade

B:  My desire to be close again is frantically noble. I struggle not to compromise to the point that I muffle my self-respect.

Thrift store fashion beret vintage silk embroidered jacket photography Matthew WadeK: My life is in a state of flux. As I rapidly unearth a new self, my relationships struggle to adapt. Newer friends like Bethany are giving me the courage to let others go.

Thrift store fashion 2 photography Matthew WadeB: Over the last year, I lost a best friend of nearly ten years. Very rarely did we ever talk about our hurt feelings. Two of the the last times we did is when I gave up. Her interpretations of my actions were so far off from any motives I would ever have. I didn’t know what to do. I wouldn’t be friends with me if I was who she thought I was. I grew distant. Things festered. My own understanding of her actions were probably wrong too. In the end, it was our insecurities that eroded our relationship.

Thrift store fashion print mixing beret vintage embroidered jacket photography Matthew Wade

K: Who knows why it ends? Who knows what steers our actions? Maybe I too am addicted to Samsara. For better or for worse. Till death do us part.

Idaho thrift store fashion photography Matthew Wade

Peace. Peace. Peace.




Yellow XL nightclub dress; Vintage Tibetan Naga ethnic headhunter necklace from Armor Bijoux;  70s Ship N’ Shore vintage polyester blouse; 70s Ship N’ Shore vintage maxi skirt; Mexican silver and lapis necklace; Chinese Ver Marai Cheongsam lace dress; vintage Russian fur hat; vintage palazzo pants; Bamboo yellow vinyl platforms


Nicole: Forgive us for our post-Chicago Chicago reprise. But Kelly just developed the second roll of our Lomography four lens camera film and these are the photos that ensued…

K: On our last full day in the windy city, I discovered that I, having planned for NYC prices, had not nearly blown my budget for the trip. (HOW COULD THIS BE?!) So we went vintage shopping in the only clothes we had left that didn’t stink. Nicole got this tee at Shedd Aquarium. We lurved the Jellies.

N: The jellies were super fucking rad!

N:  Sometimes early(ish) mornings and a lack of clean(ish) clothes make for verrry interesting outfits. (Just like camping!)  Here I am wearing Kelly’s sweater vest and floral pants while she rocks out my vintage Lacoste menswear cardigan.

K: As it was our last day together, we decided to celebrate the most hallowed of holidays, our BOOiversary, with the frothy crunch of multicolored macarons. Then we donned evening-wear for a night at the theater.

K: Nicole acted in Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses at Boise State, so we had to see the production she directed for Lookingglass Theatre. We dressed ostentatiously to shock the overabundance of middle-aged people in the audience. (I hear they alone keep theater afloat in this country.)

N: Be it Chicago or Boise or even certain NYC theatres, the blue hairs always manage to get their paws on the creative goods.  Our only way to stand out is to deviate from the standard cocktail dress/suit jacket and tie dress code when we see such a show.  I’m gonna wear a gold lame pantsuit (masquerading as pants) with a purple polyester top.  Maybe you can see the top of the jumpsuit tucked into my stockings…so what?!

K: Oh, you know the bitch can work a muffin-top at the disco. E’rrbody wants a bite! I wore silver-toed booties (hand-painted by me), a silver collar, and a little a lot of exposed neon pink bandeau bra. Also, tuxedo jacket for warmth (not modesty).

N: Believe you me, when the boo is in such a ferocious outfit, getting dressed can be quite a challenge.  We like to compliment/justify each others extreme looks.  It took several tries to get this outfit working.  In the end it was alllllll worth it.

K: In one short week I will be in New York City, and we will have the challenge of dressing together for nine whole days, one of them being my 27th birthday. Woah, officially late twenties. Watch me go.

Next Week: NYC or BUST