A Home

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a home, home. I left the place that I called home, because it no longer served me. Home won’t always remain home.

But what made me feel like home was in fact home? I was born there. I was familiar with it. Most of my family still lives there.

I long for the day that I can call New York home. It’s a great place to be, with opportunities of all kinds. Still, I feel a void. I think it’s because I need more time to adjust. I’ve made many adjustments. I could see that when my mom visited. She called me a New Yorker! I feel like a New Yorker in some ways. In other ways, I just feel lost.

When I first moved here, I used to stare intensely at everyone. If I stared at the people, perhaps I could gain a better understanding of what made them tick, and what made them comfortable with existing here. I still stare.

Conversations float around me. As soon as your feet hit the pavement outside of the front door of your home, you hear conversations. Some in other languages. I know a little Spanish, so I listen intently to find out what I can comprehend. It’s a very interesting pastime. My husband and I are learning Spanish with the help of Rosetta Stone. I love it.

A home, a home, a home. It’s true. There is no place like it. Maybe I can learn to have more than one home.

Patience

I’m taking on many new things this year. I must learn to be patient with myself. Praise myself for the gains, assess what can be done better, and then look forward to the next opportunity. I’ve made a lot of gains!

Tips for Experiencing New York

My mother is visiting me in New York. This is her first time here. Being that Houston, Texas is such a drastically different city from NYC, in pretty much any regard, I had to prepare her a bit before she arrived. Here’s an email that I shared with her, in preparation to visit this crazy city! I intentionally did not mention the rats. I saved that conversation for after she arrived.

 

I will list a few things that you might want to be familiar with about New York City before you come here, just so that you aren’t caught off guard. I assure you there is nothing to be afraid of, but you know that this city is much different from Houston. The lifestyle is more fast paced and the people are different.

People:
There are lots of them. Sometimes you will be surrounded by them, like you would at a concert. This usually only happens at some events, or places like Times Square. You won’t always be surrounded by people, though. There are plenty of areas, including where I live, in which you can walk down the street and not be surrounded by people. We even have a back yard area behind our building which is quiet and full of tables and chairs for relaxing, if you need to just have some quiet time.
People won’t usually say “excuse me” when crossing your path. Do not take it personally. Most people will be nice enough to say excuse me if they step on your toe or something like that.
People won’t always say hello, or thank you. Do not take it personally.
Service workers can range from extremely friendly and attentive to utterly silent.You just have to get a feel for them, and if they don’t act quickly enough in acknowledging your presence when you enter a store, restaurant, etc., just let them know what you need.
People here are very much in their own zone usually, and won’t pay attention to you when they are walking. Do not take it personally. Many New Yorkers have become desensitized to other people around them, because there are so many people here.
Sounds:
There are lots of noises here. Car sounds, screaming people who aren’t being killed, kids,loud talking about crazy things you shouldn’t hear in public, upstairs neighbors, people arguing in public, construction, trains, buses, emergency vehicles, etc. You will adjust to this. You can still find the quiet in parks and at home. Most of the time.
Trains:
We will ride trains. I don’t really do buses much. I will get you a Metro card to swipe as we enter the train station, to pay your fare. You will use that one card for your entire stay here. We might occasionally call for a cab or Uber/Lyft car for a ride.
Sometimes there are lots of people on the trains. You might have to stand up while riding, and hold on to a pole. You will many times be able to find a seat. You will have to sit next to people you don’t know, all the time. Do not ask them if you may sit next to them. Just sit.
Dancers and money beggers on trains: Ignore them. People dance and play loud music on trains to earn cash. Do not pay them. People beg. Do not pay them. And if they dance too close to your head, feel free to scream at them and tell them off. That most likely won’t happen, though.
Get on and off the train as quickly as you can. Walk to the train station as quickly as you can. When transferring from one train to the next, walk as quickly as you can.
That’s pretty much it. It will be different, and fun, and unlike anything you’ve ever seen or done. I promise. And don’t worry about falling down because of all the people here. I never see people falling down. Just watch where you are going, as you do anywhere.
Love you.

“Don’t You Wait for Me”

IMG_1466Lawd, Solange’s album “A Seat at the Table” is genius!!!!!!! It feels like so many things.

Brilliant rays of thought, self awareness, beauty, love, loneliness, Blackness, humanity, interconnectedness, sadness, a mother’s love and pride, down South swangin’, royalty, glory, God’s reflection, gold, 80s and 90s R and B, electronic, jazz, gospel, good ole church, self acceptance,beads on the ends of your braids, bell bottoms,sisterhood, eccentricity, soul, organic goodness  from a place of deeply felt experiences.

It’s raw!

“Where Do We Go.” I so felt this song when I moved away. This album debuted while I was vacationing in NYC last year, October 2016. In this song, she says,

“This  used to be home , this used to be what we know. What used to belong, now good and gone. And I don’t know where to go, no I don’t know where to stay. Do you know where do we go from here.”  Sigh. There’s too much to explain.

It’s a fun album too, with sprinkles of black girl magic and flair. A funky ode to Junie I really like. Introspective and direct. I just love it.

“Don’t You Wait” is my fave single. I think of the show “Night Rider” theme song when I hear it.

Despite the melancholy nature of the album, it’s about hope. Recognizing our struggles and admitting to who we are brings us to a place of hope.

She dug deeply into herself for this album, to serve us at the table. She brought us to the table and served us her awareness of herself and the world.

A quirky wrapper to top it all off! The Mona Lisa stare.

For all this, I thank her.

 

The shape of it

“Less form. More freedom.”

I’ve looked at a lot of curly hair pictures these past few years. I think I’m going to get more free with my hair. A little more avant garde with the shape of it. Maybe some new and funky accessories. I bought a blue wool beret a few months ago. I wore it while it was still cool outside. I really like it. I had to shrink my hair a bit for a good fit.

Oh, I bought 2 turbans. Canary yellow and a slightly shimmery blue. The yellow one fits well over big hair. I’m not yet sure of the fit of my sparkly friend.

Friendships Expired

Before my move to NYC, my friendships dwindled over the years. Late 2012 and forward, until the move in late 2016, I couldn’t seem to maintain close or satisfying friendships. I put the blame on myself. I thought I wasn’t trying hard enough. I wasn’t sociable. I wasn’t extroverted.

I met a group of women around 2012 who were part of what you could call a religion based sorority. I thought that I could find comfort, similarity of beliefs, and cohesiveness in that group. I was wrong. I came to understand that they wanted me to conform to their ways. I’m not that type of girl! I will be a loner before I am a follower. I will add that I did meet a couple of genuinely good people there.

Side note: I need to learn how to use transitional phrases. I’m still knocking the dust off my digital pen. Pardon me.

From then on, the string of raggedy friendships continued. This was an ever growing emotional dissonance–that sounds like the deepest phrase I could have possibly thought of to describe my feelings– exploding in my mind.I felt like there was something wrong with me because I felt so different from every one of my peers, like the people I encountered were never really into what I was into, and that they all loved living in my home city, Houston, TX, and there was something wrong with me NOT loving to live in Houston, TX. I think of Houston, TX right now as the Parade brand from the Fiesta supermarket. It’s like the lowest brand ever known to man, and it never tastes good. EVER.

Was it about the place? Was it about the people, in the place? Was it about me? Was it about all of the above? Yes.

I could go on for days about why I didn’t belong there, but I won’t. I will split up those days over the course of a few, intermittent blog entries. I won’t jab you with it all at once.

I. Use that a lot.

I want to add that I don’t blame my unhappiness on any person. I am responsible for my own happiness. That’s one of the reasons that I left.

My whole point is that I had very, very few friendships by the time I moved away. I really feel like God allowed that to happen to me so that I’d have an easier time detaching myself from living there. I didn’t have many great friends to call and talk all about my move to. It kinda sucked. I was an emotional wreck when I left. I felt bad for leaving the place I grew to hate, though I was born and raised there, and had spent 36 years in. The place I moved to was amazing, but foreign. It still is.

I’ve found that social media causes some people to feel as if they are still socially connected. If they can scroll through a timeline and see you posting pictures of a few moments in your life now and then, they know what’s up with you. I’ve found that people who I thought that I knew in real life would like pictures, but not really talk to me in real life. I’ve found that I’d reach out to some people in real life and their conversation would be so brief each time I’d reach out that I just got a clue and understood what was really up. I found that some people I know in real life refused to communicate with me outside of social media.

At this point, I have 2 friends from Houston whom I actually have grown closer to since the move. That was unexpected, and I am so happy about that. They know who they are.

I’ve really opened myself up to redefining what happiness is. Happiness is a mosaic. It’s never composed of 1 thing, but a variety of things. I’m also learning to compartmentalize my happiness. I can be happy about myself, even when I have bad things occurring in my life. I can put my happiness in boxes, and I can put my sadness into boxes, and I am learning to open them when I am ready to. I am choosing to open the happy boxes everyday, and putting the sad boxes on the shelf. I open the sad boxes when I am ready to deal with those types of things. I don’t ignore them. When I do open them, I evaluate my feelings so that I am not experiencing more sadness than I am due.

I am open to friendships, and I am recognizing my own responsibility in maintaining good friendships. I do have friendships that have expired, and that’s ok. I don’t beat myself up over that anymore, nor do I hold hostility toward old friends. It’s just part of the process of life and growth.

Test, 1, 2

I started this blog back in December 2016, a few days after I moved to NY from TX. I like to consider myself still new here. I think I’ll be new for a while.

Coming here was such culture shock. Right now, I’m sitting in front of my husband as we discuss train routes to La Guardia airport in Queens. These mundane types of conversations help me to understand how much my life has changed. I never rode the trains in my hometown. Car city it is.

My mother will be visiting me in New York in a couple of weeks. It will be her first time here. We will be exploring the newness of the city together. I’m still kinda lost.

I really wanted to write about my experiences because this is such a pivotal point in my life. Moving to New York has changed me so much, in such a short time. I didn’t ask for so many things to change. It just happened. I have hated change all my life. I’m being pushed to embrace it in so many ways.

My mind has changed. Some things have moved slowly around me, due to the lifestyle I’ve created since moving here. I’ve lived somewhat like a turtle in a shell. This city has scared me in some beautiful ways. But I’m trying to leave my shell behind, one step at a time. All those corny cliches you hear about pace, and movement, and evolving. Slow as a turtle. Morphing like a butterfly.

I will always revere New York City as the place where I found God. Naturally, He is everywhere. But here, He has and is revealing himself to me in ways I NEVER imagined. He is in all things. Some people would call me crazy if I shared some stories about what He has been to me since moving here. That’s ok with me. I am still deciding if I want to share this blog with readers. I probably will. I know that people tend to label things “crazy” if they, in their own limited set of knowledge about life, don’t understand a thing. Or a person. But that’s ok with me. I don’t even care. Boundless is what He is. Timeless. Everlasting. He doesn’t subscribe to our labels. He is so many things! He has His own rules, logic, and surprises. I was reading the Apple Music summary of Thelonious Monk, and the writer described jazz musicians as “ones who are successful in creating their own original world of music with its own rules, logic, and surprises.” To me, this is the very essence of who God is. We can’t put rules on Him. He makes His own. We can’t always make logical sense of His ways. He is full of surprises. You often cannot guess what He will do next, or how, or how big He will do it. Or sometimes how small, or subtly He will do it. ( I had to Google “subtle” as an adverb. Subtly it is.) But, He is always there. He is in the past, present, and future, all at once. Mind blowing realities soon to be discovered.There is always something around the corner to be found. He is so delightful! To me, this is also the essence of New York City. Why do you think there have sooo many songs written about it?

This is not a “Christian blog.” I’m just a 30 something who happens to be Christian and lives in New York. I live a “normal” life, because Christians are “normal” people. I don’t feel like I need to quote scripture every 5 minutes to get my point across. I love the Lord, and I wish that people would see that He created us all individually, and you don’t have to follow religious rhetoric to be saved. You don’t have to say particular “holy” sayings to seem saved. You don’t have to stand in judgment of others as they express their individuality. You can be who you are and love Him in your individual way.

I’m still new! I was new almost 7 months ago, and I will always be new because I believe in Him. I didn’t keep up with writing from December on because… I guess I under valued the importance of tracking my thoughts. Today, I treasure the ability to reflect. How else do I know how I’ve grown?