I've lived in Brooklyn for five months now.
When I counted out the time on my fingers tonight I found that number--five months--absolutely startling. I blinked and June became July became November.
I anticipated this move for such a long--the move out of Manhattan, the move into a space of my own own, the move away from what was known and done.
And here I am and it's been five months.
And I just blinked.
I knew this move wouldn't change my life--at least not in that bedrock-shifting-sort-of-way that one always secretly hopes for. I knew that happiness in a place wouldn't necessarily make for a happier life--it would help, surely, but happiness is more than a place.
When I first moved everyone asked how it was. And I would bow my head and take a breath and say, I'm so in love with it.
But it hasn't been easy. And because this place feels so right and so good it has served to magnify and highlight other areas of my life that are all-of-the-sudden-just-not-good-enough.
Does that make sense? The bedrock didn't shift in any life altering way, it simply settled. And I found myself on solid ground and equal footing and suddenly things that had been fine no longer were.
You know when you're in the presence of someone you're desperately in love with and how for the first ten minutes your face is flushed and you can't believe the tumble of your stomach, but once you sit with them long enough you're encompassed by such a profound sense of comfort and safety and you feel more yourself than ever before? That's sort of how I felt--how I feel--in this little patch of Brooklyn, as though I've found the place in which I'm totally swaddled and cared for.
But I'm so overwhelmed by the largeness of this feeling that I am without words for it. And few things frustrate me more. When will language catch up? When will there be enough words to say what needs to be said?
And because this one section of the puzzle feels so assembled I'm desperate to get the rest sorted out. And so I'm constantly struggling just to catch up with myself. This, as it turns out, is not a helpful feeling.
I was having a rough day about a week ago and a few things conspired to make me take the long walk from DUMBO to Carroll Gardens. It was late and the air was finally cool with October on its back and as I walked I thought, so I'm not there yet. I'm still en route. I'm not totally well and I don't have everything figured out and there's still so much to do.
And I have to tell you, few thoughts have been more helpful than that notion--not there yet.
It was just a rephrasing in my mind--a move from feeling like I'd arrived on the side of well and was constantly then failing to live up to that versus still just plodding. And still-just-plodding makes life easier to live. Still-just-plodding gives me enough space to forgive myself for my many failings and to love this new neighborhood for exactly what it is--even if I don't always have the words for that love and even if it sometimes feels too-right in the shadow of all else that's yet to be decided.
On a separate note: I spent the hurricane with Natalie. I wasn't in an evacuation zone here in Brooklyn and didn't feel at all unsafe in my apartment, but I knew that if I the whole of the city was going to be holed up for a few days, it'd be good to do it with a friend. We are both so grateful that in her midtown apartment we were completely safe--with power and water at all times. When I finally returned home last night (via cab) it was a very eerie thing to drive through a completely powerless downtown Manhattan (it looked a bit like a ghost town). I know there are people out there saying that New York and New Jersey overreacted in anticipation of this storm, but they didn't. Some of the flooding was extraordinary and I'm so grateful to our leaders for taking charge in the way that they did. My heart is full this morning thinking of all the people not as fortunate as Natalie and myself. And I think all New Yorkers are a bit overwhelmed today as we face the reality of the cleanup and of navigating a city that, as of now, has an extremely limited transit system.