Dear New York,
Dear New York,
You’ve held me, you’ve crushed me, you’ve loved me, you’ve taught me, you’ve shown me how to live.
I was born on Long Island. Grew up broke down got back up and started healing.
I fell in love and moved to Brooklyn the borough of my Italian ancestors. Where my Nanny and Pop Pop grew up as first generation Americans.
I lived with my love and my best friend and partied and fell apart and came back together and learned to survive without the help of my parents.
I met new friends and reconnected with old ones. Learned how to dream bigger and create, regardless of money or fear or talent or time.
I made coffee for Park Slope mom’s and found community amongst sing a longs and red birds.
My love grew stronger and I committed to it and got engaged at the young age of 24, which for the rest of the world outside of you NY is not so young at all.
I moved out with my soon to be husband into our first home together alone, left the world of coffee, found new dreams and a new job and planned a wedding.
I got married surrounded by the people I love most and the shores of your Peconic Bay, on the Island I grew up on, in a town an hour away. Your beauty the backdrop to our love.
I was 25. Still young. Still scared. Still unsure of everything but trusting that this commitment, this step, this love, was right and real and true.
I grew tired of you NY. Beaten down. Exhausted. Too many memories. Not enough money. Your transient nature, your pace, your competitiveness, your pee soaked winter snow and hot garbage smelling summer streets and unreliable trains weighed me down and took me out.
I got laid off from a job I hated. I made plans and then left you.
The west coast was calling. Clean air and nature and hills and beaches and palm trees and movie stars and cars and sunshine and pink/orange skies, lured me out of you and thank God.
I needed a break. A respite. I moved to Los Angeles with no real direction. Following a feeling and my love’s career and it was the best and scariest thing I ever did.
I built a life and a community and found my soul’s purpose outside of you. Away from the memories and my family and my friends and the old stories and old histories and old issues I couldn’t deal with yet.
For three years I grew away from you and it was necessary. I denied missing you and honestly for a moment I really didn’t.
I proclaimed my new life as a west coaster a Californian forever. I had found my new place in this world and was good with it.
Year three of Cali living got hard. Life got real. My body revolted. I started dreaming of fall and winter and family and friends and when an opportunity came up for us to come back to you we took it.
Apprehensively, but we knew it was right.
After three years of complete independence I was back in the bedroom of my sixteen year old self. I was thirty-one years old and living amongst the memories of my childhood. The memories of my darkness and my light and the people who I hurt and hurt me and the people who I loved who loved me. All of it. It was all there. It never left.
I was pulled into my past as an adult. I needed to face the shit in a new way and clear it and excavate it and find the goodness and healing underneath it.
I needed to write it out. Make my past my story and no longer a present in which I could pull from and live in. I needed to get it all out to heal myself, to eventually help others heal themselves. And I needed to do it in my thirties living in my sixteen year old self's bedroom.
It took a year to do the work I needed to do in order to be ready to move on.
A year to resolve to the fact that your city was still where my husband and I belonged.
A year to find the right neighborhood, the right apartment, the right time, the right everything.
It was a year of isolation and deep deep healing. A year of being stuck in the old to gain new perspective.
It was time to release that. I had learned all I needed to learn. I was ready to be present in my current life again.
About three months ago we moved back to Brooklyn. Back to coffee shops and cultural helms and beautiful buildings and homes that don’t seem to belong in a city.
I remember now the motivation I felt inside of you. The creativity you ignite in me. The tears of joy and beauty you inspire.
I remember now why I loved you before I hated you.
I think I may love you again.
New York you will always be my home even if some day in the future we part. You are my constant. My family. My womb.
You are the love that I live in and you hold me so dearly and encourage and allow me to grow.
You remind me of how strong I am, how empathetic I am, how starved for community and neighborhood I was.
You remind me of this on the day of the eclipse when neighbors on the corner call my sister and I over, my sister who I now live down the street from, to look through their glasses and share the experience of the wonder of this world we all share.
You remind me when that feeling of deep loneliness sinks into the pit of my stomach and so I walk outside and immediately am surrounded by people doing their thing and the loneliness dissipates and the reminder of why I am here becomes clear again.
You remind me when I text my friends and make dinner plans or beach plans or coffee plans and I get to reconnect with all that I left. The people who know and love me best.
I am reminded everyday why I loved you, why I’m re falling in love with you, why we moved back, why I needed space to be reminded.
The world is on fire and things are insane and everything seems doomed sometimes, but in you I am reminded of the goodness of people and am given hope that things can and will get better. That society is capable of being better than we have been in the past. That progress is possible.
I have never been so grateful for the luck of having been born in you.
Thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for all of it.