People go to New York for a lot of reasons – the main ones being love and success. There are countless stories about the young and the old moving to the city to make it big – as writers, actresses, artists, lawyers, doctors, you name it. People go to New York in hopes that they’ll become bigger than whatever, wherever, or whomever they left behind. I sat on the plane with a heavy heart, feeling a little lonely, because this trip was originally supposed to be for me and someone else, but that obviously fell through. But I realized, like so many other things that have occurred in the past few months, that I was supposed to do this on my own. No, I wasn’t going to New York in hopes that it would relieve me of all remaining heartbreak – I was going to reclaim myself. When the Manhattan skyline appeared in sight as my plane made its descent towards the Newark airport, the ever-so familiar rush of giddiness and enchantment filled me from head to toe.
“Holy shit! I can’t believe I’m really here!” I found myself saying over and over again, to which Sophie would reply “I know dude!” The last time I saw Sophie was June 2014, so reuniting was long overdue. We had one goal and one goal only this past week: take the city by storm. And we did. We turned our eight-year friendship into eighty thousand steps – across the Brookyln Bridge, through Midtown and Williamsburg, the Village, Union Square, the Upper East Side, Fifth Avenue, the galleries of the Met and MoMA, the aisles of the Strand. I couldn’t help but feel like a young Carrie Bradshaw (you know, minus the puns and promiscuity) crossing the street in my t-shirt dress and 3-inch heeled suede boots the day we went to Brooklyn. As my heels made the sharp clicking sound against the pavement, I felt like I could do and be anything I wanted.
“It’s so cute seeing you so happy!” Sophie said while we were hoofin’ it across the Brooklyn Bridge. And I was happy. I had my best friend beside me, who has known me since we would watch season 1 of Degrassi in a crowded classroom in seventh grade, who has seen me disastrously attempt to cut my own bangs at ages 12 and 18, and watched Cabernet come out of my nose a few days ago. Even hundreds of miles apart we have still managed to keep in touch, through the best and worst of times. The world has a way of keeping the right people in your life. I think all we really want in life is to be understood – our hearts, our minds, our thoughts, our dreams. And I’m lucky enough to have wonderful, amazing women in my life who understand me.
Letting go is not an art. It can’t be romanticized and never should be. It’s rough. The only beautiful thing about it is feeling ready. When you’re no longer hanging on by a thread.
Taking on the city block by block, borough by borough, neighborhood by neighborhood made me feel like I was rebuilding myself.
My heart doesn’t belong to him, or to New York, or Cleveland – it belongs to me. I belong to myself before anyone or anywhere else – a concept much bigger than any skyscraper.
Thank you New York for treating me so well. I know I’ll see you again soon.