The past week brought me a few personal revelations. Some silly, like: I have nothing left to say, why did I start this blog? Some more realistic: Isn’t it funny how you can think you are doing really well and then totally fall apart? And some ironic: For someone who cries almost daily, how do I get a clogged tear duct?
On my way to New York I was shut down, struggling to find tears and looking for beauty and poetry in books and my playlist to evoke real emotion and connection. I think that it is the power of art to remind you of your true heart. Often, and especially when facing a difficult personal transition, you don’t ease into the next stage right away because you need to recover or find who you are in uncharted circumstances. I don’t think I fully appreciated until recently that not being able to move on can be because you are still as attached as ever to a person, idea, or location. Which is fucked up, because time has moved you to places that make it impossible to go back, to return to what once was once new, pure, and beautiful.
Visiting New York again this year under very different emotional and physical circumstances: no blizzard to trek through, no company to entertain me, and three months of personal exploration (notice the avoidance of the word growth) to shape my experience. Everything has changed, I have changed, but I feel just as raw emotionally as I did months ago, like not a day has passed. It’s like a song keeps playing in my head and I need to figure out what it has to say. I honestly have no idea how much longer it will take for me to shift and begin to feel a sense of anger, release, or reconciliation. But, I do know that challenging myself to get out in the world is remaking me a little more everyday. Into what? Still not sure...
With a short to-do list and four full days to explore the city, I was surprised to feel so at ease with myself. I am still not sure if I was going through the motions of sanity or really being present, but I found I was much easier on myself for not exploring the city at every opportunity. I ordered take out, napped, listened to music, chatted by phone and text with friends, and slept in. I ate my fill of gluten free goodies, saw two museums, strolled through both ends of Central Park, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, explored new neighborhoods, bought some records, and managed to have a couple of dinners with family. I also took an epic curb stumble (my knee still hasn’t recovered), fell asleep on the subway, almost ended up in Queens because I was texting instead of paying attention, and consumed enough alcohol to not be able to figure out international video chat (in hindsight, a good thing). Overall, New York gave me the opportunity to have fun, make mistakes, and recover all on my own. Something I guess I needed to remember I could do.
Returning home, I was overcome by a deep settling, a feeling like I was right where I should be at that moment, and a realization that no matter how much work you do on yourself and your feelings, there are somethings that only get better if you have the right conversation, with the right person, at the right time; which is totally out of my personal control. There were some tears at this revelation, but also a sense of relief. I don’t have to move on just because time is passing. I have to move deeper into my truth, stop running, and be okay with the waiting. I don’t like the idea of time doing the work that people could do with honest conversation, but time does seem to be the one thing you can reliably trust. I also am not sugar coating where my heart is with people, living openly with my mess and my truth. This has opened the door for me to develop some fun new relationships, as well as rekindle many old. It has allowed me to live with courage and trust myself again.
I am not giving New York the credit for this, but place matters. Who we are in that place and our expectations also matter. Having no expectations for my personal development on this trip, no pressure except an honest and accepting experience, even when things got hard, paid off. The question now is how do I take this and move forward with it? How do I stay open to myself, others, and to possibility when shutting down is what I know?
I don’t think it will be easy, but I am doing it. A little each day. Thanks for coming along for the ride.