New York is a whirlwind.
Home is home. It’s everything I expected it to be and it’s more. The difference this time around is me.
A lot of me was dreading a return back to New York, and an indefinite one at that. I was thrilled by the prospect of reuniting with all of the people that I loved in a place that was familiar, in a place that accepted me for me, where I didn’t have to make an effort to fit in or be comfortable or find true camaraderie.
I was dreading it because New York is fast and hectic and ambitious and relentless. New York is beautiful but it doesn’t stop, multi-faceted and engaging with a inescapable sense of loneliness, simultaneously inclusive and exclusive and sometimes for me, it’s just too much.
I want to be in a city and New York is the extreme. I was dreading a return back because every time I wind up here, I get caught up in it. I find myself swept away by the rush, caught up in the competition, endlessly worried that I’m missing out or letting opportunities pass me by, afraid that I’m never doing enough and wondering why I’m constantly tired, only to be periodically jerked back to life with surges of adrenaline.
I was afraid. I have worked so hard these past four years to slow down. To breathe. To have patience with myself and the world around me. To reevaluate, reposition and calmly move forward. To stop in my tracks and recenter. I was afraid that in New York, I would lose that.
I’ve been so stressed these past few weeks. The bleak grey of the city has been getting to me, the New York urgency keeps the hairs at the nape of my neck erect, the constant crowds and seas of people have been beating down on my senses, never giving me the opportunity to regroup, to recharge. There is no sitting alone in a park, there is no solitary wandering – things that I truly value.
So I had a mini anxiety attack. It happens. That’s when I made myself stop, reevaluate and reposition. I’m here. There’s no getting around that and that won’t change overnight. If I couldn’t find a sense of stillness externally, I decided that I needed to first cultivate and then draw strength from the silence, the stillness within. It’s hard and it’s far, far from perfect but it’s something I could never have dreamed of doing four years ago and so I’m proud of myself for being able to do it at least sometimes now. ‘Practice makes perfect,’ can be applied universally.
I’ve had more patience. I’ve been able to find peace in the turbulence. Every time, it is a matter of perspective and of mental framework. Stopping long enough to reset has helped me remind myself that life is good, that I need to remove myself from my environment and remember that just by being, I am enough.
Once I got that underway, I’ve been able to give my summer the credit it deserves. It’s been a great one and I’ve been rushing around so much that I almost let myself miss it’s merits. I already have two shows under my belt – Mumford and Sons and Dispatch/John Butler. I’ve been getting drinks and dinner with friends both new and old multiple times every single week, finally explored the Chelsea market and the Highline, have relaxed on the beach, spent great, quality time with Julie in DC for the 4th of July, have gotten to spend time with my family both close and extended, have been taking classes at the NYC Jiva center, and have nearly completed an internship with Grey. Close to everyone I love is here and I am so, so lucky.
New York for me is overwhelming and chaotic but it, whether I like it or not, is home and a home I am proud to be from. With that being said, it seems as if 4 years away was exactly what I needed to exist here successfully and peacefully. I needed space in which I could learn to slow down, reposition and calmly move forward and while it took some time, I’m figuring out how to bring that sense of calm here too.