On Could 20, Lee Kim forgot her buddy Tracy’s birthday. However as an alternative of sending a belated textual content message or Fb submit, the 43-year-old Bronx resident is making up for her blunder in probably the most public approach attainable — by carrying a special, elaborately constructed birthday crown day-after-day for a full yr.
“I bought a Fb notification telling me it was Tracy’s birthday, and I felt so horrible,” Kim informed The Put up whereas carrying an intricate butterfly-shaped headpiece. “So, I bumped into the greenback retailer and bought a bunch of pipe cleaners and made a birthday crown, and despatched her a photograph of me carrying it saying, ‘Pleased Birthday, Tracy!’ ”
However that first day, as she and her brightly coloured fascinator rode the subway from her Edgewater Park residence to a design workshop in DUMBO, and, later, to a cocktail reception close to Metropolis Corridor, one thing unimaginable occurred to Kim.
“Strangers would smile; folks began speaking to me,” she stated. “I felt so joyful carrying the birthday crown and considering of my buddy that I made a decision to maintain doing it.”
Kim stated that one thing a couple of girl in eccentric headgear encourages folks to open up. As strangers have approached her on the subway and the road, she’s heard the life tales of an funding banker who misplaced her residence within the recession, a filmmaker grieving over the suicide of a cherished one and lots of others.
Each weekday morning, she fashions new headgear to put on throughout her job as an engineer at biopharmaceutical firm Pfizer in Midtown. Within the night, she typically makes one for her 5-year-old daughter, Hannah, too. Kim paperwork every day’s look on Instagram beneath the deal with @wearabletracy.
Kim first met her pal Tracy Brandenburg, an anthropologist who splits her time between Tully, NY, and Stanford, Calif., about 4 years in the past, at a design workshop. Brandenburg gave a speak about empathy, a phrase that Kim — who grew up in a small Korean village earlier than transferring to New York in 1996 — had by no means realized.
On the time, Kim was reeling from a fallout along with her mother and father. “Immediately, I might put myself in my mother and father’ sneakers and see me as they noticed me,” she stated of how she felt after the presentation. “I started to see that there’s no such factor as an absolute reality.
“[Tracy] saved my life!” stated Kim, including that she and her mother and father have since reconciled.
Brandenburg is honored by her buddy’s sartorial tribute. “We get up to troubling information each day, however there’s Lee, smiling with one other lovely Wearable Tracy and a narrative about how she touched the lifetime of one other particular person.”
For her “Wearable Tracy” hats, Kim has three guidelines: She should make a brand new one day-after-day, she should put on it from 9 to five, and she or he should inform anybody who stops her its origin story.
“It’s a little bit of a problem as a result of right here’s this grown girl carrying one thing foolish on her head,” Kim stated on Wednesday. “Generally folks snicker at me. My neighbors requested my husband, ‘Is she doing a little sort of spiritual ritual with that factor on her head?’ ”
However she added, “It’s taught me a lot about curiosity and openness. And it’s solely Day 134.”
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