I have written more than a few times about my love affair with New York City. It’s a one-way, unrequited love, because as any New Yorker will tell you, New York City doesn’t love anyone back. The city is a rebel like that; a lover who refuses to hold your hand in public and, if it were human, would probably smugly respond with, “I know,” to any declaration of love thrown at it. Maybe that’s why we love it so much; it’s the challenge of it all.
I have also written about my need to leave the city as often as I can. I’ve realized that my love for New York is based on how many times a year I can abandon it, and take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to love it from afar and miss it more than I would my right arm, all so I can return again with the enthusiasm one has for their first love. NYC, in all its beauty and opportunity, is not an easy place to live. It’s both the real world and a fantasy, and nowhere in the middle of the two extremes.
Like anyplace that you have known too long and memorized too exactly, New York City is heavy with memories. It’s a place where most people have struggled at some point to prove their reason to have chosen such a place to live in the need to fulfill a dream or two. But those weighty memories of the good and bad times are a collective burden on your being.
It’s hard not to recall the day you walked out of your job on Broadway, broke up on East 2nd Street one night in June, or the precise crack in the sidewalk that you were standing on when your sister told you she was pregnant for the first time. Yet I don’t think any of us would want it any other way; there’s a level of beauty in the struggle.
But with any fight, even the ones that eventually redeem us and make us better, comes the emotional ups and downs that bring us to the brink of breakage. It’s the type of situations that makes us feel like this:
No one wants to feel like their face is falling off.
In all its bustling and fast moving – they don’t call it a New York minute for nothing – it’s hard to stay on track emotionally. Why do you think we’re all in therapy and have a pill for every single one of our ailments? It’s certainly not because we have the time for such things; it’s because we need it to keep moving forward.
We’re also alone in our struggles. Although the majority of us come from someplace else and share that common thread, the need to keep moving and stay one step ahead makes for difficult relationships with people. I would never knock the friendships I have with those that I’ve met since moving to the city, but I can confirm, and so would they, that making time for each other is tricky. We may understand each other when it comes to the instability that New York serves us, but it’s not as though you can get on the phone with your closest NYC friend and hash it out at any given time – the subways and police sirens make this near impossible, not to mention all the fucking social obligations that everyone has.