It’s been almost a year since I’ve updated this blog. I could rattle off a bunch of reasons/excuses, and they’d all be true, but the truer truth was that I was being held back by thinking I need to master the ways of the universe before feeling ready to share what I’ve learned, before feeling qualified to teach others.
But you know what I say to that? pish posh! It’s too easy to get lost in other people’s lives, other people’s voices, other people’s judgments. It’s a long and slow journey, but as I inch along this path of learning to truly and deeply love myself, I feel clearer and lighter and freer to be the person that comes out naturally, freer to say things like “pish posh” and not worry about sounding stupid.
Tomorrow New York and I once again part ways, and as I once again find myself staring straight into the abyss, the void, the unknown, I feel it necessary to pause and reflect on just how influential my time in NYC has been.
I first came to the city in 2009, and since then NYC and I have been in your typical on-again off-again relationship. I break up with it, finally getting to indulge in my fantasies of frolicking in the much greener grasses over yonder, quickly realize that I am much happier being a single lady, and then soon enough I can barely remember what it feels like to ever have felt comforted by its cementy-embrace. But eventually the thrill wears off, and I look back at old photos of the two of us together and see them with that rosy glow that only time apart can create. Ok, maybe I did really love you, New York. You glimmering slab of gum-sprinkled concrete, you.
And when it called me out of the blue and asked if I wanted to come hang out, as friends of course, I would drop everything and say yes.
And each time, little hopeful me would say, “This time’s gonna be different! This time I’m not going to lose myself in the relationship. This time I’m not going to let my heart get broken.”
But it did, over and over again, in so many different ways. It broke each time I worked my booty off all month only to hand over the vast majority of my earnings to a landlord I had never actually met. Each time I poured my heart into a cover letter for a job I knew I was more than qualified for only to never.hear.back a single word. Each time I looked at my bank account.
As dysfunctional as my relationship with NYC may have felt at the height of the negative extremes (which were aplenty, in case I haven’t made that clear), I can now look back and feel nothing but a warm appreciation for our love affair. How grateful I am for each and every experience that this silly creature called New York City has brought to me. How grateful I am for every challenge, every tear, every heartbreak. I’m so glad I let life break my heart, because each time my heart was broken open, I was left with more room to let new love in. I was left feeling closer to myself, more deeply connected to myself, more understanding and compassionate and loving towards myself.
I moved a lot, every few months. I’ve lived in six different neighborhoods in Brooklyn, one in Manhattan, even spent some time in Yonkers. Though this might sound like torture to some, it was exactly what I needed to gently force myself to cultivate my sense of groundedness from within. I couldn’t rely on the stability of my external circumstances, because there really wasn’t any stability to grasp on to anyway. So my only options were to go totally insane, or find my own peace amidst the chaos.
A moment I knew that I was on the right track with this lofty goal (one of my proud NY moments) was when I was able to keep a gentle and genuine smile on my face after three totally packed subway trains in a row zoomed past the station platform without stopping to let passengers on or off. All around me people groaned with discomfort and curdling rage, but inside I felt totally calm. I smiled because in that moment I knew that my peace came from somewhere deeper than any bustling NYC distraction.
Depending on my mood and my careful selection of memories, I can paint you a million different pictures of this city. One day it may sound like the loneliest of rabbit holes, where millions of people buzz around you but never quite get close enough for you to feel their warmth. A place where you fear walking alone into the darkness because your experiences have taught you that these are the very conditions where evil prevails.
And the next day it’s the most magical of places, where urban goddesses gather under the light of the full moon, glowing and radiating in the truth of their highest potential and fullest hearts. Where complete strangers open up their homes and their hearts to you at precisely the moment when giving up seems the only viable option. Where each breath seems to connect you deeper to those around you, and without saying anything at all you understand and feel understood by each and every soul that crosses your path.
Ok, New York, it’s time for me to fly again. And this time, I really mean it when I say it’s not you. It’s me.