Friday, June 24 2011

So much has changed in the last year – almost all of my circumstances, and a good bit of my own personality, if that’s the right word to use. Well, I’m still a bit strange and I still use humor too often and too ineloquently, I am still reserved and a touch too sensitive. I still cannot dance to save my own life, still somewhat more comfortable than is appropriate. But I’m also more likely to speak in a group than before, to initiate conversations. I am able to dance much more freely if not well in public, I now trust myself to handle life’s business, and I feel immeasurably more confident in my own appearance. My hair, my skin and posture I believe are much improved from the state they were in just ten months previous.


The major physical change to my circumstances is the big move I made – fromFloridatoNew York.


You’ll remember that I was looking into various AmeriCorps positions last summer – social service work, stipends, sometimes inclusive of housing as well, and with less experience than a normal job requires. I specifically was looking outside of Miami, outside of the whole of Florida because I had wanted to move away. I have hated Miami for a very long time, almost as long as I lived there, though it became even worse when we moved away from the beach and more inland. I was bored. I could walk nowhere and my driving was – remains – abysmal, though neither I nor my family had the money for an extra car in any case. I never was able to feel as though I fit in that city; not with my shyness, which was crippling, not with my jeans and cardigan instead of shorts, skirts, dresses. My eternal sneakers and tennis shoes instead of cute sandals and heels.


It is a little funny, that the appearance and style I was lacking inMiami– the things that left me out in the figurative cold rather by myself – I have gained them all living a thousand miles away, where it’s none of it necessary anymore. I could probably go back, really, and be comfortable – get a decent paying job, an apartment by the beach for what it costs to live in an outer borough here. I could meet people this time, walk around freely looking good and knowing it too, swimming in the beach and dancing in the clubs. It would be so much easier now, and yet the desire is not there; I think about Miami and all I can recall is how I felt all those years – waiting in the sweltering heat for a bus that would take half an hour more to arrive, dismissed by everyone around me, belittled by my family and dreaming about getting away.


And of course it’s not just an avoidance of Miami that makes me love New York City. It’s such a unique place; I don’t imagine I could achieve this level of contentedness anywhere else. By and large it feels like a Northeast city. I remember the first time I went to Baltimore, to DC, and how I loved the brick, the little houses with tiny front porches, the gray of the side-walks and the look of the city set on rolling hills. I know I’m not describing this very well, because honestly I don’t believe I am able to explain it fully; I simply like the aesthetic of an urban neighborhood in this region. Dense, staid, old.


When I get near my apartment and glance up at the building to check on my window, see the park across the street with its side-walk benches, the busy road a block down with a thousand dollar stores and cheap pizza shops – it makes me feel content. On the train I stand by the door and stare out at the landscape of theBronxfrom the windows; a setting sun, smoke, warehouses and little stores, big brick apartment buildings and wild-flowered, abandoned lots, people going about their business on the weed-cracked side-walks below. In the distance sometimes, the skyscrapers of Manhattan looking serious and gray.


The subway – that’s another thing I love, rather predictably given my lack of driving skills or car. It’s still strikes me sometimes, the care-free simplicity of simply wandering to the bus stop at whatever time with the assumption that transportation will arrive within the next five or ten minutes. New York public transportation; there’s almost not anything I can really say beyond what’s been said a million times already – it’s the best in the country. It will take you anywhere, or nearly. It’s fairly fast, even with all of the delays – I suppose some might complain about the cost but I’m given an unlimited monthly by my work so that’s no concern of mine. Although, I do often note that the monthly unlimited for transportation inMiamiis about the same price for an abysmal service in return. Even if I knew how to drive I would be loathe abandon the train – where there’s (much less, and less noticeable) traffic, where I can read or listen to music in commute, where there are no worries about whose been drinking or not, where even travelling at two, three, four in the morning I have never been in an empty train and never felt particularly unsafe.


Since I am beginning to be able to recognize when I am going on at length about something which is not especially interesting to anyone else, I’m going to cut myself off here and bring this entry to a close. A lot has certainly changed since last I updated this journal – I moved from a city I hate to one I adore, I got a new job, I met many new people. Hopefully this time I’ll be a diligent enough blogger that I get to actually write about it all.