I’m alone in New York. It’s raining and cloudy and though it’s half-way through March, it’s chilly outside and my luggage is getting wet. I’m wondering if I’ll like the girl whose couch I’m crashing on. I’m hoping she’ll like me. I’m praying that cab driver — who took forever on my very first ride in NYC — dropped me off at the right place in Brooklyn. God knows I don’t know where the hell I am. She’s waving and smiling, helping me carry everything I own in three red pull-along suitcases up two flights of stairs. I’m trying to fall asleep on a futon, trying not to think about the tough road ahead of me, trying to get comfortable in a stranger’s home, trying to make all of my parts to stop worrying myself into a hot little frenzy that won’t let me be productive tomorrow. It’s finally starting. It’s finally, finally starting — I’m here. I’m finally here. I never thought I’d get here.
Life’s funny that way, I thought.
I work at a magazine. Sure, it’s something no one has ever heard of. It’s not really prestigious. I don’t know anything about its subject matter: small business. But, it’s a job! I’m an Editorial Assistant, I’m writing, I’m web-producing, I’m going to networking events, I’m working. I. Am. Working! I get paychecks and pay stubs, tax-free subway cards and people who count on me to arrive on time at 9 a.m., coffee in hand. I’m learning why coffee is so freaking fabulous. I’m discovering why it’s absolutely necessary for my daily existence. I’m meeting new people but it’s such a slow process. I feel really alone sometimes. I miss North Carolina when it’s quiet in that itty-bitty apartment in Harlem, where it’s too scary to go outside but too hot to stay inside, and I can’t afford an air conditioner because I’m an editorial assistant at a trade publication that’s not on newsstands and doesn’t pay very much. But I’m employed. I’m employable. I did it. I didn’t think I’d actually get a job in publishing — everyone said it was impossible.
Life’s funny that way.
Why am I still single? I’ve lived in this damn city for eight months and I’ve barely gone on any good dates – none worthy of commentary or thought, anyway. I haven’t even had sex. Ugh. That’s so pathetic to think about, so I won’t. It was my birthday yesterday and not a single guy bought me a drink or asked me to dance or inappropriately commented on getting in my “birthday” suit as I sorta-desperately wanted them too. It’s been such a long, long time since I’ve felt any connection, any spark, any anything with anyone and I’m starting to wonder if it’s impossible. I’ve never quite liked being single, though I’ve held that status far more times than I’ve been committed. I’m tired of this crying and this longing, this self-defeating attitude, this basing-my-every-breathing-moment-and-every-ounce-of-confidence on having a guy or not having a guy. I’m so exhausted and I’m not the only one, that I know for sure. I think I’ll write about this. I think I’ll start a blog. Yeah, a blog. I’ll put it on Facebook and see if anyone relates. Writing a blog won’t be that hard or take up too much time, right?
Life’s funny that way.
I’m starting to not mind being single – maybe the blog is actually working as I had hoped. I’m feeling stronger and brighter, put-together and put-in-line — this was an incredible idea, Lindsay. Good job. You even made it to the homepage of WordPress — look at you! Maybe this could be something you really get into? But then there’s that guy. Oh, the boy. Why do I always meet someone intriguing when I’m trying to avoid anything distracting? I didn’t like him when I met him. I couldn’t decide if I found him attractive or not, if he was my style or out of my league. Then I really liked him. Then I slept with him. Then I couldn’t get him out of my head – or out of my bed – and then I fell in love. He kinda did, too, in his own little sick, odd, twisted way. Everything tingled and twinged from the back of my neck to behind my knees, where everything feels shaky, yet so certain. Love boiled into my skin and turned me around-and-around, up-and-down, inside-out, sideways and moving forward with a hundred bolts of butterflies shooting from my stomach and clouding my eyes into a crystallized rose hue that I wanted to look through more than any other view in this lovely city. I was mesmerized and hypnotized, tricked into a beautiful little fool with every naive bone in my body. I let him consume me, my blog, my thoughts and my heart – day-by-day, against any criticism and any concern raised. And then I realized that maybe, this blog wasn’t working, after all.
Life’s funny that way.
I’m so heartbroken and embarrassed, I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m tossing and turning at night. I’m putting my heart to sleep. I’m sad that year of writing the blog is over. I’m reminded by his voice and his touch, his smell and his bittersweet memories on all of these streets. These streets are still my streets, my New York, my city, my life that I carved out for myself – but it feels like he’s written all over it. But what’s left of us? A handful of URLs that’ll forever live online? Promises that are tainted with emotional infidelity and a wandering eye that made me feel unnoticeable? Late night, drunken text messages to a phone number I’ve annoyingly memorized and remember when I need to send something cruel or pitiful, or for when he sends me flowers, again, for no reason, even after I ask him no to? Our love – or at least some version of it – is butchered in dozens of emails I shouldn’t have sent and he shouldn’t have responded to. I’m catching trains and deliberately missing them, haunting my phone and cursing it in the same hour, doing all that I can to move on. I’m wishing him the best, I’m wishing him that happiness he’s been searching for…I’m wishing he finds love. I guess. I’m hoping we can one day be friends, but then again, maybe I’m not. I’m in between the hardest part of letting go and the moment when my give-a-damn runs out. And damnit, I’m missing him – though I’d never admit it to any of my friends.
Life’s funny that way.
I have the dream job! The DREAM job! Someone is paying me to write about things I would (and have) write about for free. I go to bed early to make sure I make it to work on time, I still light up when I see my own byline. I’m pinching myself that it all came together after this summer. After I was laid off from the job I despised, left to wait for someone to pick me up from Dunkin’ Donuts where I sat with a suitcase and my desk packed into a grocery bag. After the summer where I watched my savings slowly disappear after a year-and-a-half of building them up. After a summer of free happy hours because they were free, and wondering which percent I’d eventually fall into. But then it happened – an edit test and three interviews later – the job I loved, loved me back. And now I feel alive, now I feel like I can do anything. Now I feel supported and considered, overly satisfied and eternally grateful that something so wonderful happened to me. I never thought I’d get exactly what I wanted before I hit the big 2-5, but I did.
Life’s funny that way.
I have the greatest friends in the world. For the first time, maybe ever, I’m thriving on being single, instead of hating it. I’m not dating for dinners, but dating if the man is worthy of someone as precious as me. I’m reminding to talk to myself like my greatest fan would, I’m reminding myself to eat healthier, I’m reminding myself of what I want so I don’t go back to the things I think I want. I’m running and running, trying to find the next adventure, trying to get a head-start on the next life lesson that’ll throw me a curve ball that I know I’ll never be ready for. Because I never am. I’m making lists of things and places, trips and dreams I want to accomplish. I’m feeling like I’m running out of time and that time is moving so fast that I can’t grasp it. I can’t hold onto a week before it slips away, I can’t check anything off my bucket list when the bucket feels like it’s close by. I’m wanting to travel and go to Spain. Or Australia or Ireland or Costa Rica. I’m wanting to just go – but then I’m wanting to stay and enjoy New York more than I am. I’m wondering why my friends are getting married or getting divorced and I’m still wondering when to get started down that track. So, I’m pushing myself to do more. To see more. To be more. To have more. To give more. To grow more. But then also to do less and rest; to see less and appreciate the present; to have less and make do with what I own; to take more and not be afraid to demand what I want. To grow less and stay put, at this age, at this moment, at this hour, in this apartment in this city, getting ready to sleep to go to the job I love, single and satisfied being in the company of me, myself and I. I’m never quite enough, yet always more than enough to handle. I always have exactly what I need but I want more, though I know, I probably need less. I just want to keep on going – and going – and going.
The most beautiful thing about life is that it always changes, my mom says. It’s funny that way.