“I remember that drive. I remember leaving our troubles behind.”
He lightly tapped me on the shoulder, and I spun around to see an almost lover, smiling like a dime wondering how I was. It’s crazy how much the years can change people, how faintly you can recall the reasons why you used to be so angry at a person who was only so human. He was just being exactly that- human. Prone to mistakes. Scared at the thought of not being enough. I smiled back, releasing myself from the weight and burden of the past. Drunk on caffeine and shrugging off the summer heat, we walked down memory lane and rekindled a spark, a little bit older, a little more forgiving. Time is truly a great teacher.
“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. I was so preposterously serious in those days…Lightly, lightly—it’s the best advice ever given me. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly, my darling.”
There’s something about this city that will never lose its spark to me, whether it be the way it breathes a different air as the seasons change, or the encounters you hold on the daily, this place blossomed in so many ways to me more than I could have willed it to. Things change, people change, but it doesn’t lessen the fact that how you feel about certain things remain as is.
Most days, I prefer being on my own. Not that I’m lonely or anything, there’s just something completely therapeutic and satisfying about having to spend a few hours or days by yourself without really connecting to anyone else in the real world (or social media), like somehow the burden of conversation and the means to please is being lifted. As if for a few moments you can just be how you are without carrying the weight of how others might perceive you. Most days, it’s so much easier to just be in the company of yourself.
At 6am, the streets are cold and quiet, especially around my side of town. Maybe that’s why the hustle and bustle of the city can only live up to a certain degree depending on where you are. Still, though, even the quiet that surround you as you transition from Brooklyn to Manhattan on your morning train ride can make for a sweet time appreciating the sunrise from where you sit, always by the window side, always enough to see the light slowly creeping in to greet the city good morning.
There’s nothing much going on this time of day, usually you see people dragging their feet to work with tired eyes, and some are on their way home, drunk or taking a stroll down the walk of shame. Either way, it’s nothing new. This is the city for you. In a way though, that’s the beauty of it. Whether you’re a certain type of individual, it doesn’t really matter. New York doesn’t judge you depending on your social status or how you look on the outside because at the end of the day, it’s just one big old island squeezing in a million different people trying to make something out of themselves. Waiting in line to get coffee. Catching the train. Rushing to work. Walking the dogs. Sitting at the park to read. Trying to succeed in life. We’re all the same people just trying to get by and make a name for ourselves in our own little way. Well maybe not all, some choose to let their lives wither to pieces right in front of their eyes, but honestly? You get a chance to prove your worth. You have the choice. You get to choose to be your own person, despite what other people might say and despite the limited space, the thriving survives. It’s one big old competition, and I will never lose my fire in the big apple. This is home. New York definitely taught me how to be an individual, how to fight for what I want, and how to stand up for myself, and appreciate the good things when it’s there.
“There’s nothing sweeter than tasting someone’s laughter in your mouth.”
Somebody can tell me how much they hate me, or that I suck, that I’m not funny and that I’m fat, that I was the worst experience they’ve ever had; and I’m okay with that. I know how to accept and live with other people’s criticism. What I can’t handle is being suddenly ignored out of the blue, because then my brain does this thing where it tries to figure out what’s wrong with me, so I start itemizing all the things I fucking hate about myself, with bullet points that have references to real life events with citations and everything.
There’s a lump forming on my throat, and I’m sucking in anger that begs to be known. Times like this, breathing takes too much effort. It’s like trying to compose yourself when all you want to do is shake and let your hands claw into fists and pray to the heavens above it doesn’t leave permanent marks on your skin. To be this tired, and angry, and frustrated at the world takes too much energy out of a person, that sometimes all I can do is cry myself to sleep and hope it gets better by morning.
I am not a sad person, neither do I consider myself unhappy. But I have a habit of suppressing and denying the bad thoughts when it’s there. I have a habit of pushing aside bits and pieces of a problem and piling it up into small stacks in the farthest corner of my mind. Mostly it just sits there and it remains forgotten. But then there are days when all the stress builds up, and everything just overflows. The mind may hold things into infinity, but the heart doesn’t. One way or another pain demands to be felt. And when everything I’ve pushed aside for so long suddenly resurface, it takes its toll all at once, and I am left with nothing but my heart to cope with through the turmoil.
Me Before You - Jojo Moyes
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
One More Day - Mitch Albom
Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami
Attachments - Rainbow Rowell
The Geometry of Love - Jessica Levine
The Realm of Possibilities - David Levithan
A Lover’s Dictionary - David Levithan
The Fault In Our Stars - John Green
Looking For Alaska - John Green
Fixing Delilah - Sarah Ockler
The Glass Castle - Jeanette Walls
It’s Kind Of A Funny Story - Ned Vizzini
(I have so much more but that’s the only thing my mind can come up with right now)