On a list of things that I am good at, with solving algebraic equations at the very bottom of the list, and writing down my feelings being at the top of the list, admitting when something is hard for me is somewhere between being able to do the Dougie and knowing where my metro card is.
Note: I have no idea how to do the Dougie, nor can I teach YOU how to Dougie. I THINK my metro card MAY be in one of my coat pockets? It could also be at the bottom of my purse. Actually, I think I saw it on the kitchen table. So…there’s that.
Admitting that I didn’t feel the same way about a boy who told me he loved me, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to admit. I wanted so badly to make it easy. I wanted to remind him of the times driving around in his car listening to music, reading poetry, and sitting on the rocks at the beach until after midnight. I wanted to remind him of the years I spent trying to get him to love me back. I wanted to remind him that he let me go. I wanted him to understand that the slivers of the past have become the scars on my fingertips, from trying to learn how to play the guitar with hopes of impressing him when I was 17 years old.
They will be part of who I am forever.
I wanted so badly to be able to say, “I love you for who you have helped me become, and for showing me why loving you back could be a very toxic thing. I love you, and not in the same way that you want me to, but it’s there, and it’s real, and I hope that it’s enough.”
Instead, I said, “I’m sorry.”
It was not enough.
It was hard.
Admitting that living in New York is truly difficult, is truly difficult in itself. There is this emphasis on success that comes with moving to the city. I hail from a small town, which wraps its arms around me every time I return, and pulls me close when it knows it’s time for me to leave again. In New York, I feel like a character in The Sims, and everyone around me is walking around with those mustard yellow diamonds over their heads, indicating that they are only sort of happy.
Some days, mine is red.
Note: Thanks to “The Google” I now know those diamond things are called Plumbobs. You’re welcome.
There are mornings where getting out of bed is a challenge. I lie in my bed alone staring at the radiator as it spits and hisses at me. I imagine myself back in a place where chirping birds out sing police sirens. Morning subway traffic is a boxing ring with too many fighters, and cigarette smoke attacks my lungs all along 23rd street. Each day, I stop at the flatiron building and gaze up. I take a moment to be grateful for my opportunities here, before getting caught up in the 9-6 haze of trying to convince myself that I am invincible.
Sometimes, it just feels like too much. I am not one for pretending. New York is challenge. On Mondays, the city swallows me whole. It spits me back out, to be gulped down again Tuesday morning. Like an argument between lovers, it exhausts me. I wonder if forcing myself to try to love this city is like forcing myself to try to love that boy. There are moments when the city lets me shine; it lets me go first. It lets me float to surface long enough to catch my breath before trying to drown me again.
I know New York City is meant to make me stronger, in the way that a troubled relationship is meant to help you grow. It is meant to keep me up at night wondering if I’ve made all the right moves. Chances are I haven’t. I am determined to stay long enough to learn something about myself as a woman, as a human, as a 20 something.
Isn’t that what it’s all about? I am in my 20s, with no real obligations other than to work hard, become exhausted, become fed up, want to quit, yet push myself to work harder.
Maybe there will come a day where I’ll say, “Enough.”