Friends, Miles and Mirrors

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Last week was an emotional clusterfuck.  First, my good friend moved to San Diego.  Then I had a good friend from Buffalo come and stay during the week; one I hadn’t seen in about a year and a half, then a three-day road trip with my roommate from graduate school.  I was a stressed out, psycho wreck.  I seriously was acting so psycho, I can’t believe my behavior.  It was not good.

In the midst of my psychosis, these two good friends served as a mirror to my life.  You know, those friends that you have, that know you so well and cause you to see the things you’re trying to hide from even yourself? Yeah. Those friends.

During the week my Buffalo friend served as a mirror on my motivations for living in New York and this life I’ve created for myself.  I talked about how difficult I was finding it to make roots and whether I even wanted to make roots in the first place.  I’ve always said that I didn’t want to stay in this city forever.  I feel like living in this city, that it’s all smoke and mirrors.  The old phrase, “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere”, is completely empty.  Who am I proving this to? Yes, I guess I’ve “made it”.  But at what expense?  And to prove what to whom? So that I can say I have a haircut from Bumble and Bumble and a Marc Jacobs bag?  Like the line from MacBeth goes,

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day-to-day to the last syllable of recorded time, and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.  Out, out, brief candle!  Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.  It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

What does my life signify and mean if all I do with it is shop, socialize, drink, laugh, sleep and then do it all over again?  Sure, those things are fun, and I’m not saying I shouldn’t do them. But if that’s ALL I do…..and I don’t forge relationships, true relationships with people along the way….then isn’t it meaningless and hollow?

Then, I embarked upon a three-day, 600 mile road trip with grad school roommie.   Her mirror? About how I present myself to the opposite sex.  That I compartmentalize myself for them.  I zero in on what they need me to be, and I become that version of myself.  Always staying true to who I am, but playing up that aspect of myself that I think they need.  I fulfill that need for them, and when that need is filled, they move on and leave me behind.  Bulls eye.

This is getting heavy….let’s switch to the fun stuff!! It was a great trip.  We left Friday morning and drove to Salem, MA to 1) take this off my bucket list (yay!) and 2) learn some American history.

town park in Salem

town park in Salem

town park in Salem

town park in Salem

Next stop: Portsmouth, NH.  Portsmouth was a lovely little town with a farmers market I couldn’t get enough of!  Brussel sprouts, shalots, potatoes, carrots, apples, gourds of every size and shape. We ended up at Super Wal-Mart so I could buy something warmer to wear (I always seem to pack incorrectly).  I couldn’t help but exclaim and observe that the day before I had been in the Village. Shopping at Marc Jacobs.  And that day I was in a Super Wal-Mart.  In New Hampshire.  I ❤ America.

It was a rainy day, so we looked at the hand drawn map I’d been given by the Inn keeper (yes, hand drawn) and thought we’d head up to Maine.  I’d never been to Maine….bucket list!!  We drove to Maine and found an amazing little restaurant that had been decorated perfectly.  The walls were a pale, pale blue and all the molding white.  Natural wood table tops rounded out the scene.  The color scheme to the inside faded into the background so that what you noticed was the amazing scene outside the windows.  This restaurant was situated on an inlet of York Harbor and even in the rain it was beautiful.

Bucket List!

Bucket List!

Lobster! In Maine!

Lobster! In Maine!

Next stop was Dover, NH.  A tiny, sleepy little town with a river running through it.  We arrived at our hotel and were informed that they had “upgraded” us to an “executive suite”.  I had this song in my head for the rest of the trip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Bnr_5DuFpU

Yeaaaah.  It was spacious, but MAN did they spare every expense!  This was literally the most bare bones suite I’d ever been to.  The redeeming point?  The breakfast nook had a waffle maker.  If you know me at all, you can imagine my giddiness.  The town was beautiful though!

Dover, NH

Dover, NH

Dover, NH

Dover, NH

Dover, NH

Dover, NH

Dover, NH

Dover, NH

Dover, NH

Dover, NH

Final city on our trip? Concord, NH.  The only problem with that was……..there is nothing to see or do in Concord, NH.  We drove riiiiight ooooon through.  What to do instead? Let’s go to Concord, MA!!  And so we did.

We both wanted to see Walden Pond and I guess in keeping with the self-reflective vein of the trip, get a little Henry David Thoreau-ish on myself.

Walden Pond

Walden Pond

Walden Pond is beautiful.  I understand why upwards of 20,000 people per day visit this place in the summertime.  The thing is?  I have my very own Walden Pond in Canada.  And I know I’m biased, but mine is better.

We left Concord and Walden Pond, our lives were calling us home.  It was a crazy week for me.  One friend leaving, one friend coming back like the Prodigal Son.  Mirrors and truths to face on my life and my weaknesses.  The real point to ponder is: now that I know….what am I going to do about it?

Home to NYC

Home to NYC

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emotional bandwith

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city streets in the dark, in the cold.  rain in my shoe, on wrist, on my nose.  i trudge on, one foot in front of the other.  left, right, left, right, left, right. how do you make a city a home when relationships are so hard to form?

friends that come and go, men that wantwantwant something from me.  they want me to flirt, they want me to smile, they want to smell, caress, hold; let go.

an apartment that’s in a constant state of disruption, a bedroom quiet with a form of disuse. admitting things that feel good and then a pain that sinks in deep.  validation that confirms i’m not imaging things.  big confessions that turn out to be nothing but baby steps, and perhaps in the wrong direction.

a job that i like, a career on the right path. self-sufficiency but with a price.  a hole dug so deep but not one i can’t climb out of.  sacrifices to make, now and in the future.  bootstraps that are going to difficult to pull up.   tattoos to consider but it’s perception that i’m concerned about.  nakedness; physically, emotionally. a precipice.

a picture. a sunny summer day.  casual comfortability in a quiet, unexpected moment.  a hipbone, my hipbone, the skin that protects it.  a soft veneer of flesh. a scent i cannot smell but get compliments on.  the swift, gentle and unassuming stroke of his hand brushing my hair off my face.  i told them i was wearing my ‘sassy pants’.  i was.

snippets of reality.  the rise and fall of a breathing chest.  the feel of a torso against mine.  a longing that hangs in the air.  words that are unspoken.  desire powerful enough for strangers to see and comment on.  observations and secrets unsaid.  i know. i know.  i know, what you feel you need to tell me. i already know.

Transience

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I have no family here.  I have only the people who I’ve allowed into my life, and those who have granted me access to theirs.  I’ve been told time and time again that this is very rarely a city of permanence.  I always saw that statement through my own journey, my own chapter, my own leaving timeline.  I’ve created this life for myself here that includes what I refer to as my urban family.  These are the people who know me the best, those that care, love, make me laugh, listen to my neurosis, eat my baked goods.  I lost a valuable member of my family today.  The first of the leaving kind.  I guess I just never thought that I would be left; that I would be the one leaving first.

I completely support his decision to leave, it’s a decision that makes sense for him and in a time in his life that the fates aligned and said, here’s your window, climb through.  While I support him and lift him up, giving him consolation in his fears on what life might include, I haven’t given much emotional thought to how this would play out in my own life.  I honestly didn’t want to address it.

My depth of sadness also strikes me because of how short a time we’ve known each other.  He came into my life in a time when I needed him and didn’t even know it.  I was going through a separation of another kind at the time and I needed a friend.  He seamlessly entered my life.  We swiftly became close and I realized what I gem I’d come to find; to be blessed with.  So similar in temperament and mindset, I was surprised at how quickly we became so close.

I know, and espouse, that everything is for a season and very few things run the course of a lifetime — despite that, that ideal doesn’t offer any consolation in my sadness.  I spent the weekend with my dear friend and felt completely fine.  I honestly didn’t feel like anything had changed.  Sure, he was leaving, but for whatever reason, his departure didn’t feel imminent. Until today.

The day wore on and as I sat there on the couch, I realized that I couldn’t simply wait around any longer for the day to end.  To say good-bye.  So I gathered my things and quietly said, “it’s time for me to go”.  With tears that I thought may not come because I was trying to remain strong, I said good-bye to a man who is my best friend.  He’s my rock, he’s my safety, he’s my confidant.  He gets me, listens to me, cares for me.  He’s the best travel partner a girl could hope for, AND he’s the best wing-man I’ve ever had.  The flood gates opened and I spent the entire commute home fighting, and failing, to hold back tears.  Even now in the comfort of my home, I’ve become a sloppy mess.  My heart hurts.

I walked down my street towards the place where I rest my head.  Strangely enough, this city feels less like home to me now.  If home is where the heart is, then my part of my home just left for San Diego.

Dancing Trees and Unspoken Words

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I sat there. Laid there. Lounged there.  Woolen blanket pulled to my chin, tucked under my chin, wrapped around my hands.  In the darkness and night I glanced to my left and watched his chest rise and fall, rise and fall.  My mind began to race and, in turn, my heart.  My thoughts were floating, circling, fleeting, changing.  These were caged thoughts, locked and secure — I couldn’t seem to open my mouth and set them free.  The bridge between what I was thinking and what I wanted to say, was seemingly under repair.

I let the music encircle and engulf, not anxious to interrupt the silence with my questions, confessions, or gentle exclamations.  I cast my glance forward out into the night sky, orange and yet grey, dark and yet light.  The trees danced in the wind, the cold, vicious air causing them to sway and turn, rooted in their strength.  I willed myself to quiet my mind, to let go of this desire I had for answers, for clarification.  I kept looking for the moment where I could feel the time for words had passed, and at the opposite end, the moment where words would make sense.

I wanted to inquire whether it should be strange that I felt so at peace in a situation that we’d never been in before.  I wanted to ask why it felt so quietly fine to just be in that moment.

But more than these questions or the desire for answers, I simply wanted to be.  I simply wanted to be….and so it was.