If someone told me that when I was 29 years old I’d be single, living in New York City, working as a manager for one the busiest and most popular restaurants in and for the most part, in love with the way my life has unfolded in the city that never sleeps, I may have laughed in your face. This city changes you. This city transforms you and for me (I think) it has been for the better.
Happy anniversary New York. We’ve been in this semi-abusive relationship for three years now. I hate you and then I love you. I let you throw me against a wall in a fit of passion knowing secretly, I kinda enjoy the torture. You’ve been the longest relationship I’ve had in my adult life and man, has it been fucking brutal, in all the best and worst ways.
I’ve always been one to remember dates and anniversaries. I’m big on self-reflection (even as painful as it can be). I like to remember what happened on this exact date at this exact moment because I’ve always felt in order to figure out where you’re going in life, you have to understand where you’ve been.
Three years ago I was a 26 year young thing who was dangerously accustomed to running away from problems and situations, too insecure to stand still and figure out what SHE wanted. I left the beautiful weather and some pretty amazing friends in LaLa Land chasing after a boy, who at the time, I was madly in love with, who, however, in turned was not madly in love with me. I planted my feet in NYC and was immediately lost. Figuratively and literally. (It took me 2 hours, several tears and the kindness of a stranger to find my way back home my first night in the city). I was incredibly broke and relying on someone else to support me. It made me feel weak and broken and I think I held on to that feeling far after I parted ways with that relationship.
I don’t think New York has felt like home to me until the last 10 months. Sure, I became accustomed to its constant way of making every minuet thing more difficult than it should be (like walking up 5 flights of stairs to get to my apartment… Every. Damn. Day.) I found friends who supported me, listened to my woes and danced all night in bars with me. I found relationships with men who nurtured me and loved me and somehow managed to deal with several break downs and fits of saying how much I hated this city. I began to support myself and I became successful at going through the motions of every day to day tasks. But New York was not my home. In fact, I couldn’t really tell you where I felt my home was at that time.
Until last November.
I quit a job I hated. I took a pay cut from the salary of a NYC server. I accepted an actual salary where I worked 60-80 hour works weeks, 6 days a week. I took a chance on a job that helped me grow up but also in some ways ended a relationship with someone I’m still very much in love with. But I made the decision to embark on a journey that only I could take by myself. I don’t know if I was ever really ready or knew what I was doing but I jumped off that bridge feet first, no looking back. The past few months have been some of the loneliest months while being some of the most rewarding. I’ve learned to listen to my heart, be alone with my thoughts and accepted that you have to go through every emotion, dissecting it, relishing it and finally accepting it until you can feel whole.
The last 10 months, I’ve loved men and I’ve loved women and mostly I’ve loved with my whole heart. I’ve met some pretty remarkable people who I not only get to call coworkers, but also friends. I’ve learned to be content in my own skin. I’ve learned to not care about what others think and I’m realizing just how satisfying that realization can be. I’ve gone wild. I’m still wild. I will always be wild. I got a tattoo to remind me to STAY wild. New York taught me that. I taught myself that.
It’s been a tumultuous three years in this beautifully chaotic city and finally I can call it home.
And there’s really no place like home.