A poetry teacher of mine at Sarah Lawrence told me that living in New York is like cave dwelling. After spending almost all day inside, I finally understand what she meant. You run out to get something, to pick up a paper, go to the gym, buy some ice cream, and run back to the cave where it is quite, where you can build a fire and cook your dinner. It rained all day today for the third day in a row.
Cave dwelling in Harlem: rushing past a group of guys wearing hoddies as they throw dice onto the steps for wrinkled dollar bills, past the wing and waffle shop, past bodegas selling the same brands of mango juice, past old men listening to music from a beat up boom box outside of Londell’s— and then home. Home to build a fire and cook Annie’s Mac and Cheese, home to watch more rain roll in.
To say I did one productive thing today, I applied for a job as a freelance writer for a local magazine in Asheville. Before sending out my job application, I rewrote my cover letter and updated my resume. At the bottom of my resume I have a line that reads “Interests”, which the counselor at career services strongly recommended. Today one of my interests changed from “getting lost in New York City” to “exploring Blue Ridge Mountain”. A few words that change everything: from being hopelessly lost in a grid system to being hopelessly lost on the mountain where I’m about to more.
It’s strange how we adapt and change, how we grow accustomed to our surroundings and feel comfortable in places we never knew we could. When I first moved here I was absolutely terrified. I got off of a plane form Maine, where I was visiting family, and, pulling my suitcase up Frederic Douglas Avenue, thought I had made an awful mistake. I wanted to turn around and go back. That night it was so loud I couldn’t sleep and every sound made me jump. But now, months later, I feel at home here. The men hanging out on the corners are familiar faces; I look forward to barbequed meat and cornbread on Adam Clayton Powell on the weekends. Slowly, this neighborhood has become home. Slowly, this apartment has become my cave. And just and I’ve learned to think in East and West, Uptown and Downtown, I am leaving.
Interest: learning to find my way.