March 12 marked six years of me living in New York. And so much has changed since I arrived. I went from “crayons to perfume…” New York is where I became a whole person. Where I became an adult? A MOM, a wife, a writer. That’s what the city does to you. Makes you grow up. But I still wear a pair of my white chuck taylor’s with a dress. You’ll still hear me rapping with brush in hand to my all time favorite, Renee.
I have these vivid images in my mind of those days leading up to my move and when I finally made it. The day I sold my car. My heart beat faster. The day I bought my one way ticket. My heart beat faster. Seeing the NYC skyline from the plane. My heart beat faster. Opening the door to my new apartment. My heart exploded.
Before I made the decision to move to New York, I was numbed by life, and while my friends were at the beach, I was home, immersed in books where the world of mythical creatures made more sense to me than sand and ocean. Which in hindsight, is such a contradiction as I left part of my soul there, sitting on the sand, digging my toes into it, and looking far out into the ocean, the salt in my hair, in my skin. I can still smell the ocean just thinking about it. Can my soul be in two places at once? The City and the Beach? Then suddenly, I became desperate to feel. To live. To live the life I wanted for myself. I didn’t have to really think about it either. It was one of those things ….. I knew it in my gut. Everything about me screamed, “Get the hell out of here!” And yearned for New York.
The surprise I faced when I made the decision to move away from family and friends, is that not everyone understood why. And that’s ok. No one had to. It wasn’t about them, it was about me. Eager to share the whys I told them I felt stunted, dead, but that wasn’t Miami’s fault. And though I was comparing Miami (oranges) to New York (apples). Driving vs walking. Heat vs cold. Diversity vs affluent Hispanics, it’s unfair to limit a city to those things and say, this is the better city to live in. The decision was very personal. And, I always did have an intrinsic love for New York City.
I was not looking for temporary. I wanted something permanent.
“I’m moving to New York,” I said with relief and hope.
“Ha ha ha ha ha! New York!…New York?…What are you going to do in Newwww Yooork?” He laughed at that, as if I had just told him I was planning on living in the desert, equipped with nail polish and a spray tan bottle.
“I’m moving to New York,” I said with confidence.
“Puh-lease. You aren’t moving to New York. Get out of here. Where did you come up with that?”
“I’m moving to New York,” I said with unwavering faith.
“That’s good. I think it’ll be good for you. But you’ll be back. I give you two years and you’ll come right back.”
I wasn’t coming back. I had no intention of returning “home.”
So I bought my one way ticket and six years later, I can tell you this. It was not just one of the best decisions of my life, it was what saved me, brought me back to life: “So here’s to you New York.”
What’s the moral of the story? Trust yourself. Believe in your desires, after all it’s like a compass for what we’re meant to do.
P.S. Here’s the title’s inspiration. From one of my faves! Simon and Garfunkel. As they sing my heart’s modus operandi.