So here I am in Fort Greene in Brooklyn and I am at the end of my apt lease. Again. I swear the time just speeds up year after year. Honestly, I wasn’t looking to move this time around but in weighing out the pros and cons most signs pointed to moving. I’ve had roommates for most of my duration in New York minus a year spent on the Upper East Side and it’s been such an adjustment. Because it’s not just having a roommate but having a roommate in a small New York apartment with a shared bathroom.
So I’ve never really put myself first. The first time I ever really truly put myself first was when I decided to love to New York. And let’s be real, I upset a lot of people. I was living with my cousin at the time and I had to break the lease. He was pissed at me. My friends and family didn’t understand why I had to move instead of staying in our comfortable Bay Area suburban bubble. They were kinda pissed with me. My best friend was pregnant and I didn’t stay until her baby was born. She was pissed at me.
Thing is, I’ve always lived my life according to other people’s validation, approval, and acceptance.
New York was the first time in my life that I stood for me. I was erect in my belief that this was not just what I truly longed and desired for but I know it was something that would catapult me into something bigger than the life I had led.
So. Here is is.. yes I feel the life that I led wasn’t big enough for me. Please don’t get it twisted. I’m not saying I was better than the life I had. I am saying that it no longer satiated me. I couldn’t quell the voices that were so loud and so clear in my head telling me to leave and do more. Should I have ignored them I really believe that I would have lived a fine life. I would’ve been complacent as I continued to mature and develop in character. I would’ve ignored the nagging in my own heart and mind. I would’ve traveled maybe once or twice a year. I probably would’ve met someone and settled down and moved to the South South Bay or out East and bought a house I responsibly could afford and had a beautiful family.
That’s not who I wanted to be or what I wanted in my life.
Again, I’m not saying it’s wrong or am I putting it down or think I’m better than. It just wasn’t for me at the time nor at the present moment. There is no judgment.
The last few years I have made such a concerted effort to be true to who I am. To at the end of the day know that I’ve done the best with what resources and tools I have.
Here’s the thing. That decision to put myself first genuinely catapulted an actionable behavior change in me. Since then I’ve been trying to hold true to who I am and what I want and need to light my soul on fire.
I always thought that to be loved and to heard and accepted I had to constantly make others happy. If I’m being honest, also parallel to that, I pushed away the people that made me a priority and took my own happiness and love in a high regard. Those happened to be most, if not all, of the important romantic loves of my life.
Anyways. Another time and place for that.
So I put others first. Ok, you need me to drive to whatever function so you can drink and be carefree or not put miles on your car? No problem. It’s my birthday? No worries, I got this. I’ll still drive. I’m a good drunk driver. Oh, the bill is short for a group of how ever many? I mean, I already covered my tab and an additional 20% but this poor server only makes minimum wage and has to deal with assholes while being on their feet all damn day. That would suck if they don’t get a good tip. I don’t mind hosting your baby shower, wedding shower, engagement/bridal shower, birthday, holiday party, whatever and put in the effort to decorate by doing things like cool diaper cakes I googled on YouTube because I know it’ll make you happy. And I want you to know that I truly want to celebrate this big momentous occasion in your life. Also, it’s the holidays I want to make things special. I like being surrounded by people I love. I should definitely plan a get together where we can all encourage and celebrate each other and just give thanks to our sisterhood. I’ll make sure to take it on and make it a tradition every year so everyone knows how special I think they are. I would love to have a regular get together I should probably host brunch every Sunday but not ask anyone to contribute by bringing food, helping cook or clean because it’s my idea and I don’t want to put any one off…..
I don’t want to sound like an asshole here. These were all choices I made. And I made them happily. I loved doing things for people. I loved knowing that I did that. I made you smile. I made you feel cherished. Now you know you’re special and I think you’re worth it. I see you. I love you. I wouldn’t take any of it back.
All I’m saying is that now I am learning to do for me. I’m choosing how to spend my time. I’m saying no to things that 1. Doesn’t feel right or 2. I don’t want to do.
Liberation. Freedom of choice. Empowerment of putting myself first.
Not everyone will be on board. I’m sure I will piss a lot of people off. That’s usually the case when your needs don’t align with others’ convenience. Hah. Thing is, I used to care. I find myself caring less about what others approve of these days and more about what serves me.
Funny thing about all of this? I’m liking myself more and more every day. There may be some casualties along the way. Oops. Not my intention! I just want you to know if you find yourself on that end is that I have no ill will or mal intentions. Im just finally putting myself first because honestly, if I don’t no one else will and it feels fucking good. So, I’m sorry you feel hurt but thank you for being a part of the process.
So I’m reading this amazing book “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist and it’s really got me thinking. I was drawn to it because lately I’ve been trying to practice and be in the present. It’s always been difficult for me to live in ‘the now’. I tend to live in the future because I’ve always operated from a get shit done mentality. However, when I’m sad or lonely I revert to nostalgia and my past.
I’m only a quarter through this book and holy shit I feel like a lot of it was written through me. Ok, maybe not the parts when she references being a mother and her kids and husband but damn.
Here’s the thing… there was some divine intervention that happened in February. I lost my job and was forced to slow down. Slowing down made sure the ice that we’ll call numbness melted. The ice was the shield of anything that got in the way of me operating at a gazillion miles an hour. With it melting it made me look at what was left underneath the water of the melted thick block of ice. It truly made me take inventory of where I was currently at. So where was I? Let me remind you. I was lost, scared, confused, lonely, sad, grateful, relieved, stressed. I was all those things and then some. My world felt pretty bleak and so so gray.
It’s now about to be September. I’ve felt even more emotions since then if you can believe it. But where I am now.. presently I’m in a place that feels new and true and challenging and beautiful and bright and authentic and right. This is where I need to be. I’m in a place of acceptance and love and openness and growth and curiosity. I’m digging in deep of the crevices of past hurt that I stifled for so long. I’m grieving. And in doing so I’m cultivating new ways of being. What used to serve me no longer serves me.
I liken it to the metaphor of a snake shedding its skin. I want to rid myself of all this old skin, these parasites (ideas, behaviors, habits) that don’t serve me. It’s a rebirth of sorts.
I’m really excited to get back to who I really am and who I want to be. I’m finally ready to start loving myself in all my perfect imperfections and I’m so grateful to be able to remake my life from the inside out and unfold all the goodness along the way.
What do you tolerate in your life?
What would your life look like if you didn’t make space for all these things you tolerated?
What do you want to make more space for?
Here’s the thing. People have expectations of you. They want to label and put you in a box because it’s easier to understand you. It’s not coming from a mal-intentioned place. These people may truly love you and want the best for you. But it’s hard when people’s own shit (ie their own insecurities, hopes, dreams, flaws, judgement, expectations of your relationship and self etc) gets in the way of how you want to live authentically to who you know you are.
This is more an elaboration on my last post but I’ve been thinking about this a lot these days. I’m starting to really feel like I’m coming into my own. Meaning; I’m practicing daily the person I know I want to be, I’m choosing who and what I want to do with my precious time, and I’m learning the reason why I am here on this earth so I can truly honor and fulfill my life’s purpose.
That’s it. It’s not easy but surprisingly because it’s in my truth instead of labeling this shit hard it’s now a beautiful challenge that I’m enjoying and has allowed me to be at peace with where I am at in my life at this exact very moment. It’s allowing me to be present and mindful.
This doesn’t mean I don’t have moments lacking self love (which btw is really just another name for insecurity but in a seemingly more compassionate way). Being vulnerable can be tough but it’s fucking courageous. For example, the other day I was having drinks with friends and we were talking about my future plans and where I want to move to next and when it would happen. I have some ambiguity around it which can feel like lack of control. Couple that with feeling misunderstood and not truly being heard got me emotional and all of a sudden I’m in this dark place of not being good enough especially not being good enough to be heard and have a voice. It took me back to the root of the very shit I’m working through; having a voice and using it with the intended motivation of love and understanding and acceptance.
My beautiful friends gave me the space to truly say what I was feeling and I actually told them what I was feeling. They gave me permission to cry and be heard. They shared with me their perspective of the situation that just unfolded. These moments are not easy but these moments mean I’m actively practicing what I want to overcome and allow for me to step into my truth. For that I thanked them. They are my sisters. These are a couple of strong beautiful women who make me better. They truly don’t have an agenda. They don’t judge me or get upset if I don’t fit what they need me to be. That’s love.
Every day I do something for myself that brings me joy. It can be something as small as a longer walk for me and Huxley, wearing a bold colored lipstick, buying a beautiful bouquet at the bodega, eating more veggies instead of crap, or as big as spontaneously booking a trip to The US Virgin Islands, South America or Paris. It can be writing here on this blog. Texting a friend I love them. Giving gratitude daily for my cute apt or my weekly paycheck. It can be seeing friends for dinner or listening to a podcast that’s inspirational. It can be anything as long as it brings me joy.
I’m learning to really love myself. I’ve loved aspects of who I am but fuck if I’ve ever really loved myself truly and completely. I’m working on it. And in doing so I’m creating such a beautiful life I love.
Thank you to those who understand and support me through my changes. If who I am becoming is hard for you to understand or accept I wish you well and want to thank you for being a part of my journey. I know I have learned from you and I will be forever grateful for that but I no longer want to continue making space for what doesn’t serve my truth.
I’ve had a pretty emotionally charged year and there is no sign of it ending anytime soon. I keep being reminded by all the powers that be (ie my coach, my therapist, my friends, the universe…) that I am exactly where I need to be.
Only in the last few weeks have I really felt the comfort in being present. Mind you, I’m still not completely 100% comfortable with ambiguity and not being “there” yet, wherever “there” is. However, I do feel like I am where I need to be. There are things I’m now consciously working on to alter my mindset and the toxic stories I’ve told myself over my lifetime that no longer serve me.
I am now an emotionally equipped adult with the aptitude, the insight, and the wherewithal to make sound moral and healthy choices. I have to tell myself that. I’m not dependent on these stories and beliefs that I learned to survive as a child. I want to be free of these harmful beliefs because I want to be the best version of me. I want more for myself. I know I can be better.
This is huge guys. I’m in a place where I am consciously aware and practicing daily how to negate bad thoughts and bring in positive ones. I’m learning how to trust myself, the process, and the universe.
When I started this year I decided my work was TRUST.
It’s so fitting. I’ve made peace with saying goodbye to friendships that no longer serve me. I had to trust in the fact that I lost my job (for political reasons) so that I could make space for something better. That space has allowed me to really look inside myself and start the real work. I’ve been ‘working’ for years on myself. But this shit I’m currently working on is deep. It’s digging through my soul’s crevices and dark corners to bring shit to light I’ve tried so hard to suppress and ignore.
Looks like you can’t really get over anything until you really get into it and fucking feel it. Huh. Imagine that.
When I become present I see the magnificence in it all and I feel more connected. Not just internally. When I say connected I mean connected to the world. To life. To everything that’s bigger than me and us.
I am exactly where I need to be.
With all that I am learning I’m also trying to prioritize myself. That means listening to what I really need. I’ve historically been the doer and the over-extender. The one that made other people feel special to show them the magnitude of how much i really love them. A part of me feels that in doing all these things I will get love in return.
The fact is. People will love me if they want to and it’s completely out of my control.
It’s been exhausting. I kept waiting for my turn while still over extending. It doesn’t usually come and that’s ok. Because frankly, this was my shit. People love me in the way they know how. And if I’m going to be honest I have a lot of love in my life. I choose to act in ways I thought I had to for love.
Looks like I have other choices.
I’m going to put my Self first. I want to give myself all the love I give out. I know that this will be uncomfortable for a lot of people. For example: when one decides that a friendship doesn’t serve them anymore people will have thoughts and feelings behind it. That’s ok. If these people with these sentiments love you they will respect your decision even if it changes dynamics and status quo. Ask me if you need more examples. I have them.
It’s tough to feel like I’ve disappointed others. I’m working through this whole ‘prioritizing myself’ thing and all the super charged feelings and reactions I have to things.
Just know that by being a better me I will be a better friend, better sister, better partner, better worker. Trust.
New York and I are celebrating our 3 year anniversary today. It’s been an amazing 3 years with so many incredible ups and a fair share of downs. We’re still learning each other me and New York. But wow, what an amazing time we’ve had.
Because #lists here are a few highlights…
Awesome New York’y things I’ve done:
- Opera at the Met
- Watch the balloons for the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade be blown up
- Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
- Karaoke in K-town
- Dumplings in Chinatown
- See the Rockettes holiday spectacular during Christmastime
- Philharmonic in Central Park
- Watch the SF Giants play the Mets at Citifield
- Yankees Games
- Islanders vs Rangers at Barclays
- Picnics in Central Park
- Summer Movies in Bryant Park and along the Hudson
- Staten Island Ferry
- Dance on a float for the PRIDE march
- Attend Protests in honor of democracy, equality, and morality
- Walk the entire length of Summer Street
- Cheer on friends run the New York City Marathon
- Eat at incredible restaurants
- Live in 3 neighborhoods in Manhattan and now 1 in Brooklyn
- Eat at Smorgasburg
- Amazing shows on Broadway (Jersey Boys, Lion King, Curious Incident of a Dog In the Nighttime, The Humans, Kinky Boots, Les Mis, Aladdin, On Your Feet, A Bronx Tale)
- Shit shows on Broadway (School of Rock, Oh Hello, Fully Committed…)
- Attend more shows/performances off broadway – Hasan Minhaj’s ‘Homecoming King’ was a big one to highlight, Opus Cactus by MOMIX was another
- Go to comedy clubs and have a star make a guest appearance (Jim Gaffigan at New York Comedy Club)
- Go to the Sakura Matsuri cherry blossom festival at the Botanical Garden
- Live jazz at jazz clubs in the village
- The Hamptons
- Random street fairs
Awesome New York’y things I’ve still to do:
- Endless list of eats
- Billy Joel at MSG
- Helicopter over the city
- Shakespeare in the Park
- Walk around the Cloisters
- Picnic on Governors Island
- Attend a live taping of a show
- Watch a movie at IFC, Paris Theatre, Nitehawk, Foreign Film Art house Cinema
- Transit Museum
- Upright Citizen’s Brigade
- Bushwick Graffiti walking tour
- Sunset drinks on the Met rooftop
- Check out St John the Divine Cathedral
- Double decker bus tour
- 9/11 Museum
- High tea at the Plaza
- Rolffs for drinks at Christmastime
- Watch the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center
- Ice Skating in Central or Bryant Park
- More amazing broadway shows (Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, Beautiful, Miss Saigon…)
In addition to the above so many amazing things that have happened since I’ve lived here. Too many to list out for now. But trust me I am grateful and loved.
Tonight in honor of me and New York I’m having a dinner with a handful of my favorites then hitting a rooftop bar. I’m toasting this beautiful relationship I have with this incredible city. It brings me joy to celebrate so that is exactly what will be happening.
Thank you for enriching my life and helping me grow New York. I love you.