Between the Me and the We

Right now, I’m sitting in a room that isn’t mine. I’m not paying the rent here. I didn’t buy the bedding I’m under or the lamp I’m using to keep a light. I’ve never worn the clothes hanging in the closet or read the books on the bookshelf across the room. I’m not in the photos and I didn’t visit the places that represent the artwork and treasures that decorate this space. My jacket isn’t hanging on the hook on the bedroom door and I didn’t pick out the window treatment.

This place doesn’t belong to me but it will be the place I come home to for the next three weeks. And once he comes back from his overseas excursion, Mr. Possibility will join me, here, at his apartment nearly 40 minutes away from my old brownstone. The inconvenience of a gap in between leases was lessened by his generous offer and though I usually prefer a bed all to myself, unless it is a California King, I can share his Queen with him for a short period, without much complaint. Or really any complaint at all.

I’ve never really lived with anyone before, though I’ve freelanced a few articles about the topic – something that’s interesting about the life of a writer, if you’re a good one, you can pen a piece on anything and sound intelligent with some research and interviewing. The most amount of consecutive time I’ve spent with a man under the same roof was a week-and-half with Mr. Idea, in a similar situation where I had to wait for the move-in date of my last apartment in college. This time period came at a more inconvenient time – within the first three weeks we knew each other – and truth be told,  it probably is the reason things got as serious and as comfortable as quickly as they did. I wouldn’t say it defined our relationship, but it definitely changed its course.

But Mr. Possibility and I have known each other longer. We’re better friends (and more than that). He won’t be here the whole time I will be and like adults, we’re respectful of one another’s need for personal space. Like him, I have a lot of things and probably far more than I actually need, but to keep him from tripping over my everything, I narrowed down what was necessary to a medium-sized suitcase, a bag of shoes, my laptop, and my purse. These things are neatly piled in the corner of his room, with a few dresses that tend to wrinkle hanging in his closet.

I was careful not to impose, as I already feel like I’m imposing by living rent-free for three weeks in a space that’s already small enough to begin with. I was invited and he was well-informed that I would officially transition from my old location to his today. I stopped by the grocery store, I unpacked what I felt I needed on top of my luggage, and left a few things in the bathroom – not too much, but enough to easily function day-to-day.

And yet, as I have many times before, I showered in his shower, used his toothpaste on a toothbrush he gave me, and tucked myself into his bed, something felt odd. While I know for a fact I’m no where close to wanting to be married, I thought about what a strange shift it will be when I stop labeling things as “his” and as “mine” and start thinking in terms of “ours” with whoever that “he” will be.

I’m a girly girl by nature and would never deny my admiration of all things soft, beautiful, and feminine, but unlike some of my friends, I haven’t picked out my dream engagement ring. I don’t know (or really care) about the colors I’ll use in my wedding. I haven’t Googled venues or flowers or anything of the sort. The closest I’ve come to thinking of my own wedding is flipping through engagement and wedding photos on Facebook when they pop up on my feed. But while I’ve never given much thought my wedding, I think I’ve given less thought to marriage – the reality of happily ever after.

After the glitz and the glam, comes the time when cohabitation stops becoming something you debate with your friends on if it’ll ruin your relationship, and it just becomes life. There is no more wondering if you’re imposing or having separate sleeping arrangements (unless you prefer, of course. Or if you can afford a two bedroom between two people in Manhattan). Suitcases are not used as a temporary dresser and shoes are no longer picked on how many outfits they go with, but the whole collection is displayed and stored. Apart from traveling or emergencies – you stop spending the night alone and while you may not opt for joint banking accounts, money is combined in some fashion to make ends meet.

I know all of these things should probably sound exciting and comforting to me – they don’t. Not now. Sure, I would always have someone to come home to, someone who would listen to me, someone to support and cherish me all of my days, all my lifelong. Finding The One is something all women talk about or at the very least think about, regardless if they care to admit it, instead of dreaming up this fantasy – they’d be better off to think of what life looks like with a partner. Sometimes it is cramped and complicated and finding a balance between developing your personal identity while creating a vibrant relationship is a beam you’ll teeter on continuously. Even my parents who have been married for 25 years, struggle with finding a happy medium.

One day, the reality of marriage will become what I crave and feel ready for – but today, I like the idea of visiting more than moving in. And if I’m going to be on vacation in the land of Mr. Possibility until my new humble abode is ready for me, I’ll allow myself to spread my things about just a bit. But not too much.

Not yet – I need to have some more books I’ve read, journeys and pictures I’ve taken, memories I’ve made, shoes I’ve bought, and stories I’ve written that only belong to me, before I can even think of belonging to someone else. Before I can transition from the me to the we.

Just the Way It Is

A week from Friday, my current apartment’s lease is up. Two weeks later, my new apartment is ready for a proper move-in. In that span, I also will attend two weddings, close two months of magazines, organize two volunteer projects for children’s literacy, write around 21 blog posts, submit two revised freelancing pitches for national publications, collect two paychecks and a tax return, start to pair up a buddy system I created, and well, hopefully have drinks and adventures with those I love the most. If I’m lucky, I’ll get in at least four runs a week, too.

Oh my.

Everything I own, which is way more than I thought it was, is in piles of boxes, bags, and suitcases scattered across my studio, and all that remains unpacked is my planned attire for tomorrow, a bag of popcorn I’m counting as dinner tonight, a few dishes, and my bedding. For the next weeks, I’ll be living out of a suitcase while figuring out how to schedule a mattress delivery and deciding if I’ll buy a new dresser from Ikea or scope out Craigslist. Considering if took me nearly a month to commit to a comforter and sheets, I should probably start researching yesterday.

All of these changes and stress, both emotionally and physically, have not only caused an unexpected breakout at quite the unfortunate time, but I’ve found myself irritable and cranky, and overall, just exhausted. With a million worries circulating my mind, I haven’t been sleeping well and I wake up continuously to scribble a new task on my ever-growing to-do list by the light of my cell phone. For a few days now, I’ve been complaining to my friends, family, Mr. P, and really anyone who will listen to my so-called troubles. I don’t have enough this, too much of that, too little fun, too much work, too little help, too much going on to manage.

And in the middle of singing my woe-is-me song to a friend who’s been in the city far longer than I have , she interrupted and asked, “Linds, I love you – really. But do you really think you’re the first person to move apartments at an inconvenient time? This won’t be your last move and really, it may be your easiest.”

Touché , E, Touché .

While my blog is about me and can come off as self-absorbed, I promise I’m not. This is a space to spew and discuss, and while I’ve never considered myself the crème de la crème of New York women – in my weeks of transitions and in thinking of the ones to come, I’ve forgotten that this is just how the city is.  Just how being a 20-something is. It is, just how it is.

People unpack and then vacate their apartments – hence why they are apartments to start with. We rent until the lease ceases and then we find another place to call home (unless we stumble across rent-controlled, then we stay put forevermore). Landlords expect cash-flow to change, they raise prices and lower them, give deals to those who are good tenants, and if we’re tenacious enough, we may find a no-fee broker to help us get through the dirty work of the search. Up until we get married or decide we don’t need a ring to have a mortgage, we will continue to be in the cycle of the move: experiencing the freshness of a new space with a clean slate, and remembering fondly or in remorse of the address we used to claim.

And as fate would have it, my friend M from college will be taking over my apartment on May 1. Just as I did, she’s moving sans job but with bountiful determination. We’re in similar industries and an entry-level salary fits the price tag of this place, plus it comes with a glowing recommendation from me. Or maybe it’s appeal is that it allows her kitten to can come along on her new journey, too. While packing up my things, I continue to think of her and remember how I felt in those days before I made my big move. I felt a lot like how I do now – uncertain and a little frightened, but more ready than fearful. This change of ten blocks isn’t as huge of a leap as hundreds of miles like moving from North Carolina was, yet any scenery development can be worrisome.

And while I’m not her and I can’t speak for her feelings, I know what those shoes feel like before New York breaks them in. As every dreamer and overachiever does, she’ll find her footing and she’ll land on solid ground, while crashing-and-burning a few times along the way. If the ideal position doesn’t open up, she’ll hostess or be a temp until her career path leads her where she is moving to the city to follow. It won’t be easy and she will probably doubt herself a dozen or so times, but in the end, it will all make sense and it will all be worth it.

To remind her to take it day-by-day and to not let a tired spirit get in her way, I’ve hidden some notes here-and-there and I’m passing down a gift that was given to me that’s kept me going when my going got tough. And though I may not always listen to my own advice or the cautions of others, getting caught up thinking I’m the only Manhattan nomad –  I will pass along something else, written carefully and with love on an index card for M to see:

“It is just the way New York is. But really, you wouldn’t have it any other way.”

It’s the Little Things

My apartment smells like cardboard and glass cleaner. I’ve been sneezing for the last twenty minutes and if I squint my eyes and look intently, I think I can see my floor. I can’t tell if my throw-away pile or my climbing mound of packed boxes is higher, and I really never noticed how white my walls were until right about now, sitting and wondering if this room was always this big, or if it somehow grew in the last few hours.

I’m moving to a different part of New York and I couldn’t be less prepared. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve moved in my life and unlike other things, it never gets easier. In fact, I’d like to think it gets harder because I continuously accumulate more and more stuff. But like an evening following a stressful day and cooking in a tiny kitchen – I prefer to pack alone.

So, with a discovered airplane bottle of Grey Goose in the back of my fridge and orange juice, a green masque from the dead sea (thanks Mr. P), and the Best of the 80’s with some Sean Kingston and Adele mixed in (no judging of my musical eclecticness) – I started pulling apart and piecing together the contents of my tiny studio.

Admittedly, I’ve only given my apartment a thorough and heavy-duty cleaning once or twice in the entire time I’ve lived here. As my life become increasingly fuller and I found myself distracted from my address, I let things sit around and I forgot my in-the-moment organizing habits. I collect antique cigar boxes for decoration and occasionally for storage, and such a collection usually leads to random discoveries as well as many searches that leave me empty-handed. In a rush and without a conscious thought, I’ve tucked away things for safe-keeping and then kept myself away from them for months.

But maybe that’s the fun with boxes anyways, you open them and never know quite what you’ll find. Luckily for me, the surprise has never been a cockroach in an empty wooden container, but some findings I found yesterday were almost as scary.

Or at least, when I first saw them, I thought they’d be.

Unknowingly, we all attach emotion and sentiments to objects. It is why we started having “ex-boxes” in high school, to keep us from lingering over a lost love. Or the reason why as children, we grow attached to a blanket, a teddy bear, or a doll and carry it around to give us the comfort a sippie cup or bottle simply can’t. It’s why the engagement ring is something so many lust after – the symbolic meaning that you’re taken, that someone wants to love you forever, that someone gave you such an expensive, beautiful, or historical thing that tells the world you’re to-be-wed.

But as time passes, our attachment to things changes. Or maybe, it just lessens.

As I was going through my jewelry, safely placing in padded pouches the ones that meant the most to me, I came across a necklace Mr. Faithful gave me, nearly a decade ago. Still in good condition and still the same mini spec of a diamond it was then, it glistened in the light of my lamp and I just smiled. When we first broke up, I couldn’t look at it,  but by the time college was over, I found myself wearing it without even thinking of him. When I packed up my pajamas, I came across a pair I threw on the night my mother and I had to rush my father to the hospital when he was ill. After a night from hell, spent worrying and pacing, and attempting to get some sleep on uncomfortable waiting room chairs, I almost threw away the cotton pants out of disdain. Once my dad recovered and returned to the same adoring man I always knew, the pants stopped being so difficult to wear, and eventually, I grew quite fond of them and even took them with me to New York.

I stumbled across all sorts of things, frames that have seen a cascade of photos, from boyfriends and friends to family and pets, year after year as new friends, men, or experiences changed. Outfits I bought for a specific purpose, ones I bought with the intent to be ripped off of me, sweaters I bought for the first day of school that somehow still fit, and jeans that will no longer fit, no matter how much weight I lose or miles I run.

I came across dresses I wore frequently when I very first moved, but now can’t bear the thought of wearing in public, much less in Manhattan. Books that I read while riding the subway to my internship or laying in the Great Lawn in Central Park or the quad at my college. Notebooks from interviews I can barely remember conducting and quotes from sources I can’t picture in my head anymore. Shoes with a half-way broken heel I meant to get fixed and a skirt I loved that ripped at the seam and I swore I would learn to sew for the simple fact I badly needed to wear the skirt again (that’s still on the bucket list of skills to master). Notes from Mr. Idea I saved because they meant something to me, the pennies I found in my window seal of this apartment, and to-do lists I never finished.

All of these things, in significant or insignificant ways, meant something to me at one point. Some words in books I read or places I went while wearing specific shoes, or people I met while sporting a tight number – changed my life. But it wasn’t the book or the shoes or the dress that made an impact, those are just reminders of the experience. And while those memories stay with us, the emotion we attach to objects that really didn’t matter too much to begin with, fade away. We pack them up in boxes to donate or to sell. We decide to give some things a second chance and we forget how good we looked in shorts and tights. We stop seeing items as things that hold meaning and see them for what they are: just things.

And like us, they will go on to someone else. Someone who picks it up at the library or bookstore when we donate books, or someone at a consignment shop who sees potential in an old scarf we couldn’t see. Not just stuff, either, transforms in the hands for a new person – my apartment will gain a different inhabitant in a few weeks. They will make this space their own, they will bring their own meaningful things, and set up shop differently than I did, and in a manner diverse from the dozen or more people who have called this place their home before me. In a brownstone that’s nearly 100 years old, there is no telling how many residents have made a home in the very place I’m sitting as I type this blog, in 2011 at an antique desk, someone else has sat, too.

But things don’t need emotion, really. Nor do apartments. They just need people to use them, to fill them up with life, to give them a purpose, and then to let them go. Onto to the next person or the next use or maybe put an end to their functionality. Even then, trash often turns into Earth that molds into something new decades later – but I digress.

The point is, the cycle continues. People come and go, and so do things – but won’t people always continue to collect things? Collect memories attached to those things? And then let them go as easily as they came? Of course. It is the little things that matter, but keep in mind, the little things will always change.

Me, Myself, and My Shadows

I’m usually not forgetful. Really, I’m one of those odd characters who remarkably recalls something that happened six years ago in a fleeting moment. But yesterday – I could not have been more absent-minded.

I won’t make excuses, but this week has been superbly busy. One of our biggest issues of the year is in the making, our office is moving to a new location next week, I’m on the mad search for a new apartment, I’m running daily, attending a happy hour or two, Skyping with Mr. Possibility extremely early or late my time or his, and you know, this, writing daily blog posts. Not to mention some Twittering, Facebooking, Tumbling, and when I’m lucky, maybe getting seven hours of sleep.

I’m not complaining – I consider myself extremely lucky and blessed to have a life that’s full, that’s ever-evolving, that’s full of the best things a city could offer: great friends and grand adventures. Nevertheless, sometimes with so much going on and residing in a place that encourages less rest, hard work, and more play – I’ve found myself a little off my A-game recently.

Case in point, after work and after viewing yet another vacancy on the Upper West Side, I made my way to the gym, excited about releasing all of my stress with a healthy four-miler. When I arrived, I was happy to see a moderately-empty place and a treadmill readily available for me. I rushed to the locker room to change so no one would take my coveted machine before I had time to dress down and throw my hair up. After putting on my running shorts, I discovered not only had I forgotten a sports bra, but also a hair tie and socks. For a successful, focused sprint, all three of these items are necessary – even if the ladies aren’t exactly luscious, they do deserve and need support.

Frustrated with my forgetfulness, I did a few reps to relieve stress on the abs, arm, and leg machines, and then decided I was brave enough to brave the semi-chilly weather outside. After dropping off my gym bag and Longchamp at my temporary apartment, I hit the pavement…well, running, of course.

Though the sound of my own feet beating the road matching the beat of the music usually soothes me and clears my head, last night, I just couldn’t get the rhythm. I wasn’t losing my breath, but I also wasn’t finding my clarity. Out of my zone and continuously burying myself further into my worrying fit, I felt someone behind me. Suddenly on guard and wondering if it was possible to be unsafe at what I consider an early hour, 8:30, I quickened my pace without glancing behind. Though it was only a few seconds, the moment that passed seemed to be in slow motion, but as I turned the corner, I realized the shadowing I noticed was not an intruder, but just my own shadow.

Somehow, on the edge of the park where I was running, the way the street lamps mixed with buildings hovering above caused me to not only have one dark reflection, but three: one behind me (what I saw), one to my left, and one in front of me. I’m sure this has happened to me a dozen times without my recognition, but on Central Park West in that experience, I couldn’t help but watch my threesome of shadows come together as the light changed as I moved.

Symbolically, I felt like I was witnessing my past, my present, and my future mold into what those things make up: me.

Twenty minutes later, walking back to my apartment and stopping for a much-needed Greek yogurt (current food obsession), I thought about how much of what causes me anxiety or worry is stressing about the things I can’t change. And most of those headaches have to do with wondering what will happen in times I’ve yet to experience. Like on May 1 when I move to an unknown location or when Mr. Possibility settles in New York for an extended period of time, after several bouts of traveling. Or where my byline will appear six months, a year from now, or the networking event I’m attending in a few weeks. And then my forehead scrunches up in such a way I’m sure I’ll have wrinkles there one day (we’re ignoring the fact I already sorta do) -I struggle with letting go of what was. Like the friendships that just aren’t the same anymore or the people I should call more, but don’t. Or the battle I have to apologize for pain I caused years ago, when in reality, the wounds are healed, and if not scared over, they’re most likely disappeared forever.

But worse than wrestling with all the places I’ve been and all the places I hope to go, I often forget to value the place I am today. Though I remind myself (and I’m often told) that the only path leading to peace is not really a paved road at all, but the spot I’m standing – I’m often too busy running away from it to realize its beauty. I’m too scared of the past sneaking up on me, too concerned with where I’m going, that I rarely see how all of the pieces come together, effortlessly, in their own way and right, without much trouble at all.

I don’t really believe there is a way to fully release our experiences, nor do I think it is healthy. We must take from our own educational past to continue to grow, and we must have something to go toward, if we’re going to get anywhere. But without accepting, and dare I say, loving the person we are right now- the past and the future don’t matter.

A few steps before my front door, on the phone with my mom, I stopped in the middle of my block, and took note of the shadow before me. Wildly stretched longer than I’ll ever be or would ever care to be, I saw the shape of my body. Without any distinctive features or coloring at all, I didn’t resemble myself – but I knew the street reflection was me.

It was me, myself, and my shadows. With the most important of the trio not the shades of dark and light surrounding my feet, but the part that was real. The part that would still be, even when I walk inside, and leave the rest behind.

Breaking the Golden JAM Rule

A common recommendation from New York natives or those who have officially claimed the coveted “New Yorker” title after residing (and surviving) here long enough, is to never look for three things at the same time:

An apartment, a job, and a man.

I broke this Northern rule the moment I turned my back on the South. In fact, in the one diary I’ve kept my whole life that I lovingly call my “Dream Book” that documents everything from my first dollar made to my bucket list, I wrote the following on the plane ride to this restless city:

J (Job)– At a magazine geared toward women; fulfilling, full-time, benefits; at least $35K; gives me room to grow; in NYC or a borough; find it within a month.

A (Apartment)– Under $1,000/mo with utilities; one bedroom; in Manhattan; if I have a roommate, must have my own room; find it within three months.

M (Man)– Sincere, funny, successful, charming, romantic; tall; has great relationship with his family and lots of friends; doesn’t live at home; we have a quick engagement and a long marriage; meet within one year.

Not even six months past my 21st birthday – you could say I was a little unrealistic. But I was damned and determined to find exactly what I had come to this city to find and do what I wanted to and love who I knew I was meant to love. For me, catching that flight wasn’t an option, it was the next undeniable step I wanted to take to create the future I knew I was destined to have. I may have had some lofty expectations but I sincerely had the best of intentions. I was taught to instruct the universe on what I wanted and if I believed and was willing to put the elbow grease in, I would surely be worthy of my desires. I may have not been the first, but I was surely a lady who had faith in the American dream, no matter how far away from the States I often wish I could getaway to.

And maybe because I’m lucky or blessed or understand to thrive in Manhattan, you must never lose your spirit – I did find that job. And that apartment. And many, many men. I did manage to meet my minimum income requirement at a job that allows me to write  and is located in the heart of Chelsea, steps away from the Empire State. I did find my preferred location with a low-rent, no-fee, and cozy, yet homey apartment. And the guys I dated, from the Millionaire to the dozen-or-so who ultimately were incredibly unavailable, were (and are, presumably) successful. They were charming and funny. And Mr. Possibility, the man of the hour, doesn’t live at home and fits all of the specifications I laid out long before I stumbled easily into his life on a bus back to the city from JFK.

My high ambition to make New York jam for me was not unreachable, come to find out. I wanted to find a job in a month – I found one in three weeks. I wanted to find an apartment in three months – I found one in two weeks. I wanted to find the man I would marry – well, I grew up and realized I was (and still am) far too young to make such a huge commitment. Nor would I want to put a time limit or a deadline on something that will be one of the greatest and most important decisions I’ll ever make.

At the time, I handled the stress of moving, the fears of never succeeding, and the unrealistic notion that love would complete me fairly well. Maybe because I knew it was a make-it or break-it situation or because I had yet to be jaded by anything or anyone, but nevertheless, I set my mind to it and went after those three things diligently.

A handful of awful dates along with a few who blew it out of the romantic park, one cockroach by my sink, one giant hole placed in my 20th-century floor by literally earth-shattering sex, hundreds of blog posts, countless bylines in various publications, a partner with possibility, and the best group of friends (and gay hubbies) a gal could ever ask for – I find myself here. Settled just enough to feel stable, but still with the desire to explore. Happy with where I am, but knowing there are better things before me. Dreaming of what could be, remembering what was, and enjoying what is. And not only satisfied but thankful I was able to break the Golden JAM rule.

But now, that JAM is not so jammin‘. Or at least one part of it, anyways.

The search for an apartment couldn’t be more stressful. Not only is everything completely last-minute but it is like most of the good men in the city – the best apartments are taken before they can sincerely be considered available. Apart from finding a location that is not only free of a tiny disaster called bed begs but doesn’t cost an arm, a leg, and my first-born child, there is also often income requirements or the option to have someone sign who makes 40-80 times your rent. This is standard practice and understandable, but who wants to sign away such money on a dotted line – just in case my roommate and I are not able to fork over the dough one month? It is something I’d prefer to never request of someone, but I may have no choice. No-fee brokers are reachable night and day and willingly show apartments at the drop of a dime, after work hours and on the weekends.

And yet, I’m completely stressed out. As I write this post, I consider the time I’m losing scouring Craigslist while formulating my thoughts for this blog’s 200th post. The Golden JAM rule may always be applicable and it is something I’d now suggest to New York newcomers because maybe I’m older and more tired. Or just overly busy with a full-time job, a blog, and well, a life – but apartment searching on its own – no mind resumes and dinner dates – extinguishes my energy. .

Perhaps it took some familiarity with the city I love, instead of just seeing it on a shiny pedestal for a dozen years, for me to fully internalize the Golden JAM rule. It’s an important one to follow because all three of the components deserve all of your attention. If one is given more dedication than the other, if you’re looking for all of them at the same time, and if you’re under the impression they will all look as you thought they would – you will end up sorely disappointed. While there is no need for a man to make a happy home, there is a need for an income. While there is no need for an apartment if you’re living with a boyfriend, you need a job to escape from him. While there is no need for a job if you depend on a man to provide for you, you will still need a place to call haven. They may not all go hand-in-hand, but what would life be like without all three?

Well, at least without two, anyways – we know by now a relationship is optional until it is an option we can’t deny. And in this city, the men, the apartments, and the jobs are limitless. It’s just a matter of finding the right one at the right time in the right place.

The Man Who Had Me at Hello

Two weeks into my New York adventure, I fell in love with a tall, classy, blue-eyed man.

At the time, I was applying to jobs all day and night, and in between refreshing Ed2010 and Mediabistro, I was scouring for affordable apartments that still made New York, NY the end of my address. Perhaps, I hadn’t gained some of that New York toughness or was creeped out by small empty spaces instead of the wide ones I was used to, but the thought of going all over the city, especially to Harlem and Morningside Heights, alone…was terrifying. Still being incredibly fresh to my new location and dying to have a home to call my own, I reached out to friends for advice. My friend A suggested I contact his friend – an assistant at the Lincoln Center.

And so, desperate for someone to apartment search with me (and well, protect me from the crazies I could encounter), I reached out to A’s friend, who gladly accepted the role as shopping buddy. Even though I had never met this man, I liked how friendly and helpful he was and willing to escort me, when at the time I was nothing but a stranger to him. I set up appointments for a Saturday afternoon and texted him the night before to let him know the times and locations – to this day, he still wants to make sure I’m safe whenever I go out alone and insists on walking me to my door or the subway when we’re out late together. And yes, this means he is still part of my life.

Ironically enough though, early on that Saturday morning, as I was drying my hair in my friend’s bathroom, he texted me to let me know that he was unexpectedly called into work and I should try to reschedule the appointments. Completely frustrated and now a little scared, I slammed down the hair dryer, plopped down on the side of the tub, and started crying. Here I was, a mere 14 days residing in my dream city and not only did I not have a job, but I didn’t have friends and I was now certain I’d be shot and killed in some slimy place I didn’t even know how to get to unless I Googled. After quite the hissy fit, I reached for my phone to call my mom, and saw that this man had texted me multiple times to ask me how he could be there for me and how he didn’t want me to be afraid. Humbled by his kindness, I thanked him for his time and suggested that maybe once I got my feet on the ground, we could go out to dinner. He responded with, “only if you text me as you go to these apartments, before, during, and after, so I know you’re okay.”

And so, with this gentleman in my pocket, I braved the streets and headed out to find my first New York place. In all honesty, it was a indeed creepy and when I exited the train at one of the locations, there was blood on the platform. Instead of exiting, I just turned on my heel and decided, surely, that was a sign to not go see the listing. I didn’t care if it was only $600 a month, utilities included. Though I saw some odd ones, eventually I found my cozy, tiny apartment and a week later, I was offered my current job…and well, here we are.

But to get to where I am now, I could have never done it without this man. When I had no one to depend on, no one to lay my trust in, no one who really even cared too awful much – he demanded to keep me safe. Even if it was just by guarding his Blackberry in case I didn’t text in an appropriate amount of minutes. Once all was settled, we did end up actually meeting when he invited me to a show, free of charge, at the Lincoln Center. An Opera, to be exact.

When I laid eyes on him, on the second floor mezzanine, in a black suit -I knew he would be someone I’d love. His smile, so endearing, so sincere, so enticing, caught my attention even in the crowd of strangers And as he casually sipped his champagne and made small talk with party guests, I slowly walked up to him, and he simply turned his head, locked eyes with me, and said: “You must be Lindsay. You’re as beautiful as A said you were.” Blushing to the color of my wine, I swore I almost stumbled in my three-inch heels.

A few nights later, we met in Union Square at a Thai restaurant we now call “our place.” He brought an expensive bottle of prosecco to celebrate my new job and new home, but the waitress (and the manager) refused to let us drink it with our food unless we forked up $20. We in return, refused, and discussed current events, popular culture, North Carolina, and because I’m “me” and he’s “him” – our conversation also turned to love. Watching him attempt to eloquently eat his noodles with chopsticks and bear his heart to me, with all of its many cuts and rips, I knew I had just found one of things I came to New York in search of. That man, who against all odds, through any circumstances, or in your worse and best of moments – will love you unconditionally. And yet, will also always be honest to a default and let you indulge in your silly-girl-freak-out moments (that perhaps aren’t that silly, after all). That man, who you can be yourself with, who you can come-as-you-are to, and even drink fancy wine out of plastic cups in the park instead of paying for someone else to uncork the bottle for you.

I had in fact found the required accessory to make any fabulous New York outfit and life complete: my gay husband. Or as I lovingly (and sincerely) call him, Mr. Hubby.

Now, I knew from the get-go that Mr. Hubby was not interested in me as a sexual creature (although he does admire my lovely lady lumps when they’re pushed up or on display), but it didn’t stop me from falling for him. You see, there is something unique in a hubby/wifey relationship – it is mutually understood that if we weren’t attracted to the same tall, dark stranger, we’d probably be literally married by now. In fact, we’d probably be bunking in Brooklyn with a completely gorgeous art-deco kitchen, and I’d walk around in pearls, as he smokes a cigar and drinks brandy in a parlor room, listening to Glee’s soundtrack and randomly bursting into song and dance. We’d also own a few recording and publishing companies, and be the smokin’ powerhouse couple that everyone is jealous of.

He easily and swiftly became and remains, my very best New York friend. We have the best kind of friendship that’s open, non-judgemental, and welcomes each and every little flaw. We’ve gone dancing and boozing at bars with 75-year-old bartenders, cuddled in the same bed when the commute seemed like too much, and hosted a BYOP party (Bring Your Own Pumpkin), as I wore an apron and he cared my pumpkin for me. He tells me when a dress isn’t flattering and also when I look, as he says, “damn sexy“, and I’m there to encourage pinstripe suits and the bottom he has that would charm the pants off anyone. And of course, we’ve spent many of lunch breaks over coffee or Greek food, both tearing up over a man who played a little too rough with our hearts, while the other told us not only what we wanted to hear, but what we needed to hear. If I’m honest, he has a Mr. Possibility of sorts (though I’d prefer to call him Mr. Idiotic), who continuously makes a mess of Mr. Hubby’s emotions, and yet, the connection there is impossible to ignore. Of course, I can relate, but I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of Mr. Idiotic. I do, however believe one day, he’ll wake up and see what he’s missing in Mr. Hubby.

Because if anyone knows how special, how irreplaceable Mr. Hubby is, it’s me. He, like me, is an artist – only he has the unbelievable quality of not only making something, but demonstrating beauty in the creation. He sees and presents the brilliance of emotion through movement, through words, through friendship, through his voice, and of course, his contagious smile. Though he can’t always see what is ahead of him, I’m as sure of his success and his happiness, as I am of mine. His dreams are only outnumbered by his friends, all of which can’t help but adore him. I feel blessed to be picked as the Mrs. – yet I think fate had a little hand in the serendipitous meeting.

I’m still not convinced that when I meet or go out with Mr. Right, I’ll just know he’s my match, but when that does happen, I hope he knows that I’ve already been married for some time now, and he has some pretty incredible shoes to fill. He has to live up to the man who had me at hello.