changes, NYC, reflections

on being in a new place

My new street
My new street in Chinatown

Since moving a little more than a week ago, I’ve felt a change come over me that I hadn’t expected.

[A slight segue: I’ll resume (a)my3six5 soon; life has just gotten very busy.]

It could be the promotion I received at work effective the beginning of the month; it could be the walking meditation that’s become part of my morning routine now that I perambulate down Canal St. to work rather than deal with the crowds on the A train; it could be the new man in my life, who is refreshingly normal and causes zero drama or stress in my life (and, for the first time in forever, is younger than I am); it could be all of the above, swirled together into a combination package of newness and change and happy coincidences. But I’d like to think it’s a little more than that. Namely, it’s also that everything in my life today—from where I live to where I work to where I get my coffee every morning—is unsullied by the drama and traumatic deceptions I experienced throughout most of 2013 and the early part of this year.

When I broke up with I-don’t-know-what-you’d-call-him (aka IDKWYCH) going on three months ago, I felt as though every square meter of New York had been poisoned by his presence here. New York had always been a safe place for me, and I felt that he’d ruined it; I moved here thinking it could be the one place on the planet where nothing bad had ever happened, and for a very long time I took solace in that. But then some of the worst things that ever happened to me happened to me here—in some ways, worse even than Jack dying, because that was just alcoholism doing what it does, not Jack purposefully and knowingly taking steps he knew would break me in two and then some—and suddenly it wasn’t that place anymore. I didn’t know if it ever would be again. Especially when IDKWYCH just wouldn’t leave me alone, constantly trying to force a friendship upon me that I didn’t ask for and definitely didn’t want, this city didn’t feel very safe or comforting or “mine” at all.

But thanks to therapy and time and prayer and meditation and more time (and a strongly worded email telling IDKWYCH to leave me alone or face some rather dire consequences), I started to feel like New York could be mine again, that it was (and is) something bigger than anything one lying, cheating person could possibly ruin for someone like me. Not only that, but was bigger and stronger than that. And the changes started to come steadily, slowly at first but then more regularly.

In true Amy fashion, the decisions came fairly quickly. I decided to move to Chinatown within 15 minutes of seeing the place, gave my notice to my Washington Heights landlord the next day, and the day after that I took all of the artwork down off of the walls of my room. (Anyone who had seen my room, this was no small feat.) Within five days, everything was packed. The time between decision to move and the move itself was less than two weeks, and it was exhilarating.

And then came the promotion at work, months earlier than expected. And this new man cropped up unexpectedly; and who knows if it will lead anywhere or it won’t, but I feel zero anxiety about the situation, and I have a good time with him, and I’m dog sitting for him all of next week while he’s out of town (so he at least trusts me with his apartment and his dog, who is adorable).

In short, I feel as though since the horrible and heartbreaking end of the relationship (if you can call it that) with IDKWYCH, I’ve been able to completely and utterly transform my life into exactly what I imagined it would be like when I moved to New York. I’m living downtown (I tell you, Chinatown is amazing), in a healthy dating situation, working at a job I love and do extremely well, and feeling so happy and content with life that it’s almost impossible to remember the times when I was miserable. And, yes, I’m still struggling with money (I think that will go on for a very long time) and dealing with other issues in Chicago and life will never be “perfect” in the sense that I will have zero problems… but over the past few months, I’ve been able to move into a new space not only spatially but also spiritually, breaking free of the things (and people) that were holding me back from being the person I needed (and wanted) to be. It was a painful process, way more painful than I would have chosen, but the end result is that I have a greater ability to stand up for myself and vocalize what I want (and demand no less than what I deserve).

This new place? It’s a beautiful one. I hope you all have your own similarly beautiful places… or find them soon.