It's started to strike me every couple of days in the last few weeks or so, those first terrified moments of feeling like I truly hate this place for just a second; and they are so intense that they move over my body like waves of nausea. Sometimes it's for good reason, New York baring her worst straight to my face and daring me to just try and fight her. Sometimes it's just thinking there would be nothing better than to scratch that pretty pup behind his ears or walk across some squeaky, scratched up floors.
I guess I've been surprised at this, having even the smallest negative reaction to a place I love. Yet I'm not surprised at all, having read of the fickle love affairs one has with a city like this. I knew up front it could be hard to live here. And even before we moved, I shocked myself with desires I never knew grew in me--like wouldn't it be quaint to have a white farm house in the countryside?
Even though I was ready for these days, mentally, I thought, I've shrugged away from them, slinking through, feeling defeated; and then trying to act as though they haven't happened touting some jolly good attitude like, "You can't get the better of me!" What was the point of adding this to the record, I wondered? What good could it do to call it out and admit that New York was being a big fat bully and that I actually thought the way to make it better was to dig my hands into the dirt and pull out a carrot even though before I left all the gardening to Trevor and the girls?
Well, what do you do with a bully? You stand up. You fight. You power through and stick to your guns and tell the world who you are and what you're made of. You stomp your foot into the ground and you say, "No! I'll not be convinced that I'm not able. I'll not be made to feel less than what I am." Just because there are hard days, doesn't mean I wasn't made for this.
In fact, I know I was. Because when you finally make it out of an ugly patch, you find yourself in this beautiful stretch of the truly lovely--nights where the sun sets early behind Manhattan, lighting the clouds on fire in coral and pink and the buildings shimmering while lights flicker on to greet the dusk. You walk under than Brooklyn Bridge, breaking your neck to look up, up, up at its magnitude. All the other city noise turns to white when you stroll past a cellist sweetly giving you a free soundtrack to end your day. And you'll feel the peace that comes from ending a day like that, a good day, where you didn't get lost underground and you fought your way through the Trader Joe's checkout line with fervor and determination and it felt right.
To live in New York, I have decided, is to live life in its extremes. It has exhausted me already, more than once; and yet isn't that right where I always thought I should be? I move from high to low and back to high again in the same way this place can thrust good and then bad and then amazing back upon you. And the question isn't whether or not the city is being unkind to you; in fact, better to not expect compassion from such a town and be so pleasantly surprised at how often it exists here. The difficult bits are the tests, the weeding out even, and the challenge to find out what you're made of. Can you make it? Can you do it?
Watch me, New York.