nyc month 12.1: “and last but not least, i wanna thank me…”

moving to new york is easily the best decision i’ve ever made. but nyc is, in the words of a favorite college professor, “a fickle lover”. there is nothing like having your apartment fall through, 3 days before you’re supposed to move, but there’s also nothing like returning from a place you used to live, to your apt in the city. i’m eating pizza and tiramisu from my neighborhood pizzeria, and watching “you’ve got mail” (under a ton of blankets). i’ve probably never felt more like kathleen kelly or more in love with new york. the other day a woman started puking on the Q train and the guy across from me just kept eating his smelly pasta lunch, and i realized broad city was not exaggerating.

see? fickle. lover.

new york has changed me, in weird little ways like i take oat milk in my cold brew and i use "mad" as an adverb. i’ve adopted a new lifestyle—it's called bralette or no bra at all. (try it! you’ll like it!) my short fuse and extreme annoyance with people is met with affirmation, every second of the day, and i’m not as afraid when people yell on the subway. as long as they’re not harassing an innocent person or going on an anti-black/anti-semitic/islamophobic/homophobic/transphobic rant, i’m fine. people who yell on the subway are just doing what we all wish we could do—cry out in anguish because we are under the ground with 100 other people in a subway car, trying to get home. tbh, i envy their candor.

here’s a short recap of my life the past few months: i worked harder than i ever have in my life, and proved to myself that i can work an unhealthy, unholy amount. i found an apartment in june that i LOVE, i can confidently give people directions on the subway, and nyc men are still disappointing me on le dating apps. dating in nyc is honestly garbage, but also like….fun, sometimes?! and i don't mean to brag, but i accidentally paid 81 american dollars for an advanced version of tinder, that lets me see the basket of deplorables who’ve already swiped right on me. *le sigh* i could’ve bought a good pair of jeans with that money. so what i’m trying to say is i have options, albeit sometimes disappointing ones. strictly dating european men has worked v well for me, so far. i’m convinced nyc/american men are a waste of my time. just try and change my mind. (actually don't)

here are some fun and crazy things that happened to me/i did in the past 6 months, when i wasn’t at work:

  • watched “when harry met sally” at bryant park with 1,000 other equally-delighted new yorkers

  • cried on the subway from stress, instead of from uncertainty—it’s called acclimating, sweetie. look it up

  • met mari andrew and hugged her like a long lost friend

  • went from an inflatable bed and a suitcase in an empty room to making a home and safe haven for myself

  • spent an extended weekend with my favorite cousin, taking in nyc landmarks and eating sweetchick ricotta pancakes

  • watched the neighborhood papaw’s play dominos outside, on my walk to the bodega

  • did my best low key strut past the neighborhood barbershop, with all the sexy barbers

  • lost my keys at the club, and my phone in an uber, all within a 24-hour window

  • went from absolutely hating everything about my body, to loving almost everything about my body

  • on a rare day off this summer i went to the beach, and thought i had enough time to go home, shower, and meet my friend for a broadway show, that night. i did not. i arrived to Carousel in a t shirt and cut offs over my bathing suit, sand and sunscreen still on my skin, and a bunch of rich white men in khakis, judging me. (but you know what? i paid the same amount of money for my ticket that you did, GERALD. imma have a concession stand kit-kat for dinner. you have a great evening.)

  • tipped the BEST subway performer i’d ever seen, and heard him humbly respond, “thank you, queen!”

  • fake argued and then laughed hysterically with christina at work

  • opened the bakery on a rainy saturday morning and played aretha on repeat. (dr. feelgood is one of the best songs of all time, if you didn’t already know)

  • chatted with regulars and asked about their travels, while i made their orders from memory

  • celebrated 1 year in new york with belgian beer and frites, with two close friends

  • walked past the met, listening to stardust and got chills remembering rihanna’s 2015 met ball moment

  • had my first quintessential new york christmas with ben and melissa, and indian food and the movies

  • whispered a quiet “good morning” to elderly neighbors in the hallway

  • spent sunday afternoons with sinem, searching for street art, visiting museums, and talking about hot guys

  • running to the brooklyn bridge at (almost) midnight, in the rain on new year’s eve

it’s been the most rewarding year, and i am so proud of the life i’ve made here. i feel like i’ve lived 5 lifetimes here—i am the most myself, and the least myself i’ve ever been—i forget what day of the week it is, constantly. i set my phone down and leave it in random places, and sometimes i still get on the wrong train home at midnight. (at which point you should just call an uber, honey bc it is not worth it.) i moved to new york to take myself seriously— something i am terrible at. i am hard on myself and often don’t realize how far i’ve come, how many discoveries i’ve made, how many times i’ve met a new part of myself i couldn’t have known until now….and i’m ready for more of that. i want more of her, of me. i’ve realized how strong my body is, how she can climb 30+ flights of stairs, a day, and walk miles and miles and not get tired. i want to take care of her, and make her stronger and more vibrant. i want more forgiveness for my weaknesses, for taking months to get over a guy, for being crushed by yet another job rejection—i want to continue to make space to feel and examine all that i need to, to know that despair isn’t forever, and that living in new york alone, while glorious, is also very difficult.

when i first moved here i thought i had to morph into a cooler, more intense version of myself. what i didn’t realize was that i would simply become my whole self. so if you’ll indulge me, (c’mon! you’ve already read this far!) i wanna thank me—for believing in me, for doing the hard work, for taking myself seriously. for moving before i was actually “ready”, for saying no to doubt and saying yes to myself. for drunken nights on the dance floor after a 50+ hour work week, for basking in the sun at central park with all joy in my heart, for taking myself on walks when i needed to process, for giving myself a brand new, glorious life.

thank me vibe inspired by snoop dogg’s walk of fame speech

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