Haven’t I been here before? I’m sitting in a coffee shop by a window watching a man throw bricks into the back of a pick up truck.
I’m here alone and killing time before I head into work at 10:00. It’s hot out. Already. The kind of hot that has you considering the state of your own abdominal muscles and seriously wondering if you have the kind of confidence that it takes to walk around the city in a sports bra and short shorts. Not because you want to. Not because you think it looks good. But because the idea of clothing puts you in a kind of sweaty mental hysteria.
But this heat feels familiar.
It’s a specific heat that I’ve only experienced few times before and in this very same city.
And it’s not just the heat that I recognize. It’s more than the temperature that throws me. In this package of free heat, you are gifted a handful of very unique door prizes.
A low bank account balance.
A few new pieces of clothing.
Iced coffee in hand.
A sense of general life confusion and dream squashing all come free with the heat.
Thank you, New York?
Don’t get me wrong.
This city has its charm.
Take for example the fire escapes.
They get me every time.
Or the ivy on the buildings.
The subways. I really do love the subways.
The food. The food. The foooood.
The sense of accomplishment that you get when you’ve made through another day* in a city who’s tough shell is hard to crack.
The wonderment of city wandering. Especially when you’re alone with you, your thoughts, and your iced coffee. Sweating.
But in this summer’s heat, unlike the summer heat of times before, I am happy. My friends are here. I do a lot of city wandering, but its with a buddy by my side. The apartment is small, but it’s filled with light. My co-workers are sad and angry people, but I can see it in them and not as a reflection of myself. This summer’s heat is hot, but less hazy. I can see August in the distance.
Which makes the realization of this fact that I do not ever never ever want to live in New York a much easier pill to swallow.
My thought process goes like this: I love it here. I love New York. I love it on the fire escapes and I love it in the subways and I love it with the ivy on the walls and I even love it in the heat. But it doesn’t seem to love me back. And I need a city that loves me back.
And so now I am learning to let my thought process go like this: Not living here does not make me weak. Giving up a life long dream (ouch) doesn’t mean that I’ve failed. It means that I need a happiness that after three summers here, I’ve realized this city cannot give me.
It also means that I’ve gotta start scraping up some new dreams and plans. Because the fact that I’m not a flailing mess right now thanks to the sudden and major life realizations shocks me and I’m not too sure how much longer this serenity to accept the things I cannot change will last. On top of that, homegirl has about t-minus 11 months before the big, bad graduation wolf comes a-knockin and we find out just how low this bank account can go.
In the meantime, I’m having a blast with my best friends in one of the coolest cities in the world and trying to focus on the moments of awe. Like yesterday, when I actually got to pick up a pair of scissors and touch a bolt of fabric and cut out a skirt with a seamstress who was trained in French couture alongside of the greats. And I helped cut a wedding dress designed by Vera Wang. At Vera Wang. In New York City. What? A moment of awe indeed.
Ok. I’m officially late for work.
*This confidence, I would argue, when gone unmonitored, turns into a dangerous New York City breed of arrogance and narcissism.