An Evening with…Alexandra Flynn

Sometimes you put things off. And, if you’re like me, you can put those things off for a shamefully long time. Whether that thing be paying a parking ticket (ehm, still need to get to that one..), washing the dishes or writing that article that is due in approximately one days time. Excuses are abundant and you are oh-so-good at making justifications. But the truth of the matter is, you just haven’t sat your butt down to do it. (Or maybe you sit your butt down to do it and then half-do it, allowing many browser tabs to come in between).

That thing, whatever it may be, is lingering at the back of your mind, some linger with a little more presence than others, but they all linger just the same. And you know it would feel so nice to let that lingering evaporate and, along with it, the wasteful energy spent thinking about it. But, sometimes, in spite of all these things you know, you just need a reminder, whether it be a kick in the ass or a pin-prick of the finger: you need a reason to put your feet to the pavement.

For this article, that reminder came to me in the form of a birthday update on Facebook. It was the birthday of a wonderful woman three days ago, and it is about time I share our meeting with you, because I’ve been sitting on this story for a long while. On August 22nd, I spent a truly magical evening with a girl who might as well be my long lost sister. I’d like to tell you about her, because, she is lovely.

 

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Meet Alex.

Name: Alexandra (Alex) Flynn

Age: 27

Passion: Vintage Finder, model and owner at Alicks and Raflin Vintage

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

How we met: I met Alex in that roundabout way that we often connect with people these days when the Internet is involved. Alex somehow met another friend of mine and happened to go to a party of said friend. At said party, my roommate was there, she met Alex and got her card to talk business later. Because, you see, Alex has a wonderful Etsy shop full of affordable, spot-on vintage finds. Trust me you will want to buy every.damn.thing in that shop. (If you want to test your self-control, I urge you to give it a visit.) Knowing my love of vintage and entrepreneurs doing their thing, my roommate told me about Alex. I visited Alex’s shop, fell in love, and wanted to know more. So, I sent her an Etsy message asking if I could do a feature on her, she sweetly obliged and here we are.

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After driving through the winding hills of Pittsburgh, following my Google maps directions to Alex’s house, I found the spot, parked and gave her a call to let her know of my arrival. I was a bit nervous as I often am when meeting someone new, but her sweet-as-can-be way of speaking gave me the cue that I could relax. Because when we entered her apartment, I came to know, she too, was nervous. She fretfully told me how she had already drank a glass of wine to ease her nerves. I was touched and wanted to laugh at the same time. Because of me? We are two peas in a too self-aware pod.

I told her that I wasn’t going to record our conversation, and that I didn’t want this to be a normal interview. She was on no spot. There was no jury waiting to judge her words. This could be chill.

What proceeded was a surprising and delightful journey down a rabbit-hole of “me toos!” and “oh my god, we are just the same.”  In writing this out, I feel a bit like a foolish, giddy school girl who uses too many heart emojis and easily incites eye-rolls to the more critical and jaded souls out there. Well, I’m afraid this may just be the case. But I’m gonna try my best to not give a damn anyway.

Because the evening that ensued was a welcome entry into that world created between two people who have never met but have been together all their life. Soulmates in a totally platonic and non-chick-flick way, if that’s possible.

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But, enough about that: back to Alex.

I soon learned about Alex’s history as an English major and her tortured years as a writer (although she was modest, I have a feeling she was a damn good one). I learned that she had a coming-of-age story in New York City. I learned of her low moments of self-pity working at a Barnes and Noble upon graduating while trying to figure out the whole “what to do with my life” thing. And, I learned how coming to Pittsburgh, for her, and from what I hear and have experienced, for many others, was that magical ignition that made everything fire ahead and fall into place, just so. I learned that this community gave her the legs to put all she had into building her Etsy shop and allowed her to quit her side-job. I also learned that this side-job led her to the man that matters most. I learned that this loving partner balances her and simultaneously makes her crazy (in all the ways that partners do). I learned that she frequents a favorite local bar, that has all the charm a local, neighborhood bar should, and that at that bar, a magnificent character of a woman who tends to the bar knows Alex’s name and holds her in high esteem. I learned that she’s the kind of woman that will dim the lights and play you one of her favorite songs from one of her favorite artists, and make you lie down to appreciate its beauty. I learned all these things and more, and felt an immediate kinship, the kind that seems to become rarer with the passing of time. It was like reverting back to the ease of childhood friendships, where it was as simple as asking if so-and-so could come over to play.

In short, it was lovely.

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Alex gave me a tour of her work-room, where all the vintage magic happens. As a fashion lover at heart, I was in a very happy place. Just look at all of those colorful clothes! Alex couldn’t, as a wise business woman, reveal where and how she finds all of these marvelous items, but she admitted to me her fear of the vintage pot running out one day. I sincerely hope that can’t be true. She told me how she works all the time, feeling guilty when she isn’t. There are no days off when it comes to running your own business, and Alex feels that pressure. But it’s one she told me she gladly chose. Because, above all, she never wanted to work for anyone else (do any of us?). Despite her acknowledgement of her hard-workitude, she spoke of how blessed and grateful she felt, and not in a corny sunday school kind of way. It was as if the sky had opened up and the gratitude gods were pouring over her when she said it. She was lucky, she said.

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I want to tell you more about Alex. I want to tell you about how she hugged her boyfriend like he had been away for weeks when he came home from work. I want to tell you about how she is over-the-top complimentary towards you, making you feel like your ego is going to swell just a bit too much if you hang out for any length of time. I want to tell you how she can be self-deprecating and charming all at once. I want to tell you all the secrets and little quirks that paint-by-number your way to an image of a person. But I’m afraid that what was so special about that evening is that my story veered off path. Somehow, while this story is about Alex and how she came to her passion and who she is as a person, I think it’s more about that intangible but totally palpable feeling of connection we felt in meeting a person who reflected back so many pieces of ourselves.  I think this wonderful bubble of a feeling that you can’t quite hold with your own two hands is one of the reasons why it took me so long to write this.

I was so afraid that I would portray this meeting wrong and portray this woman, whom I barely know and yet feel like I wholly know, wrong. I’m still not sure I am getting it right, and I worry that these words will fall on cynical eyes, but here they are anyway, a glimpse into that bubble of an evening and into a new friend I met.

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For more A Day With profiles, see here.

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2 Comments

  1. Daniel Hundycz February 13, 2019 at 1:07 am

    I knew Alex back in her Barnes and Nobel days… the article is spot on. That’s Alex!!!!

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Sensky February 13, 2019 at 2:56 pm

      Awuhh, thanks for prompting me to revisit this article. It was a special night, and she’s a special lady!

      Reply

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