24 hours ago I landed. 10 hours prior I boarded the first plane, with one hell of a layover ahead. Three months before, in a swing of homesickness and general displacement I booked myself a ticket right back here to New York.
Some moves are harder than others. And as idyllic as California has been, for weeks still, I would close my eyes and I could feel myself walking through Washington Square Park, through TriBeCa, through West Village and SoHo at night. I found myself pining for the oddest things. The ability to trek on foot, one neighborhood after the next in a continuous stretch. The convenience of the subway (good lord, seriously), vein to the entire city that it is. The endless string of restaurants and bodegas and bars and galleries and duane reeds occupying everyone’s first floor. The accessibility of art in every shape. Actual summer weather. Just the volume of it all.
Of course, I know, everything in retrospect takes on a glossy hue. And you start to forget the struggle of rent, the late nights and long days, how money seems to just evaporate when you walk out the door, the daily fight for space, for solace, for the willpower to resist that ever-on-the-corner pizza by the slice. Existence here always felt at worst untenable, and unstable at best. But we lived in that wrestling match and somehow we loved that fight, even on the days, weeks, months we knew we couldn’t win.
It’s malaria, this place, just as I feared. It gets into your system and under your skin, and you’re down for the count getting over the disease. Even when the worst of it has passed, you’re left with the knowledge you haven’t fully shaken it. It’s still incubating in your blood.
So despite how empirically great things are out West — for all the gorgeous hikes and the sailboats drifting out from the marinas, for all the ski mountains and vineyards nearby and walking-distance cold beaches and quiet Victorian lined streets — I’m still hung up on this other place. I know this sounds crazy, but I can’t help but feel like San Francisco is like our rebound relationship, after a painful break up with New York. We chose to go. I’ve liked it from the start and it has grown on me a lot, but if I’m really being honest, it’s just not love. Not yet at least… I’m hopeful still.
So, I booked a ticket. In hopes that I’m reminded more of why we chose to leave, than I am of how much I’d love to stay. A sort of protracted closure, if you will. And aside from heading back for David’s birthday and my own the end of June / start of July, for the bulk of the summer I’ll be here.
I showed up yesterday to stay at my sister’s apartment, much as she did last year around this time at ours. The difference is, unlike our SoHo flat where the 3 of us crashed for one crowded July, she actually has space for me to put a suitcase down. Imagine that! The only reason this works is that I happen to work from home, better yet for a company that’s actually based back East. So in addition to being back on the same time zone as everyone (which makes my work life a whole lot easier), I’ll also get to be in person more. Andrea, conveniently, also travels weekly for her job, so I’ll just be occupying her empty room. The other reason this works is David of course. Even in our marriage, it’s always been important to us to be individuals. For better or worse, we value our freedom to be who we are and pursue what we want. I value that so much in him. And I especially value his support when I propose a six+ week departure from our normal life. I miss him already, more than a lot. He’s a gem, that one. But he’s traveling out West anyways. He’ll visit here. We’ll skype. It’s not actually that long.
In the meantime I’ll be working, catching up with friends in the evenings, and (the main reason I’m here actually…) finishing up an arts program I started last year at NYU. Mainly I’ve been taking classes on the international art market: how the world of dealers and auctions and valuation and legality in such an unregulated field actually works, specifically in regards to contemporary art. A side project for sure on nights and weekends, as it has everything to do with who I am and nothing at all to do with my daily work, but one that I’ve genuinely loved. One that makes me feel like myself. One that makes me unreasonably happy.
In December we left so quickly. With just a few weeks notice and David’s new job waiting at the start of the year, we packed up that truck and drove away, going through the motions as if it were not real. Whirlwind that it was, there was hardly enough time to untie the knots we’d wrapped ourselves in here, let alone accept the goodbye. I left that program with two classes left, dangling there so close to completion, unsure if or how I’d get to finish it. And I hate not finishing things. So, I decided this summer I’d come back to follow through on what I started. From all angles, for me right now, it just made sense.
Like I said, some moves are harder than others. Even when it’s for the best. Not all changes are clean breaks. But for now, I’m grateful for the chance to come back as I work on coming around.
Classes start tonight. And so far, I have to say, it feels good to be home.14 hours ago • 64 notes
That blazer is Theory. David is actually the one who made me try it on and it was all over from there. The top is stretch cotton, the bottom is black leather and basically I’m obsessed. I’ve been on a mission the last few years to invest in high-quality staples and cut out all other shopping, and I can already tell this one, it’s going to be hanging in my closet for a long, long time. I couldn’t find an exact match, but here’s the same jacket in black, and lucky you, it’s on sale…5 days ago • 15 notes
I got a friendly little notice from Tumblr the other day that this old blog is now officially old: 4 years old, in fact. (seriously, when did that happen?)
So, I think it’s time for an overhaul, what do you say? At least a design refresh and a name change because let’s be frank,’quarter life’ is quickly becoming, well, incorrect… As for the latter, I’ve got one in mind, but on the former front, anyone have a website designer (or your own abilities) to recommend?
And on a completely technical note, how do I change my tumblr URL without confusing the hell out of everyone? I mean, let’s not lose each other, k?
I’ll keep you posted… but I have to say, the idea of a move without boxes, I’m really loving that ;)
[ideas welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org, many thanks!]1 week ago • 31 notes
I felt it yesterday in the receding afternoon hours. The sun failing. The heat retreating like union workers clocking out. That familiar visceral imprint of the end of long days when we were young and it was summer. It came upon me with a strange sense of character, altogether unmoored but entirely transportive; something akin to a feeling of home when you are in fact quite far away.
It took me to that field in Wheaton where in the summer before 6th grade my father had signed me up for the district softball team and bought me a mitt the color of butterscotch that he had lovingly worked over in our garage so that when I first palmed it, it was perfectly broke in, with my name written upon the thumb in his signature bold, capital script. I always thought of that summer as a small glimpse into what he would have been as a father had he been afforded a boy in the brood, and the answer (as it was with us) was heartbreakingly good. He signed on to be an assistant coach and we spent our evenings that first season practicing in that tree lined park. Running to the bridge and back became a habit as warm up, as cool down, as punishment in what felt like an endless refrain. The head coach was a force to be reckoned with, calm, cool and firm, whose daughter - a tall, bright young thing - occupied first base. He had a presence that was commanding but not without warmth and he was fond of asking at key moments in each game, our small frames huddled around, clad in orange jerseys and oversized grey polyester pants, “ok girls, what’s important now?”
Get the out. Shut down that runner on first. Get on base. Cover the gap in the outfield. Watch for the bunt. What’s important now? It was an exercise in focus, on the fundamentals, on the task at hand. And it worked. At night we’d come home baseball socks clouded with dirt, trailing it in great clumps through the gaps in our cleats, hair knotted in a helmeted mess, sweat loosened and regripping our skin in a steady film of grime, smelling the same outdoorsy way my father did after he had mowed the grass in the summertime. But we didn’t loose a game that whole season, which was impressionable as it was my first. The Tigers went undefeated that year.
What’s interesting about that season though…Never once did he tell us to win. But then again, that’s exactly what he was telling us all along, wasn’t it: What’s Important Now?
My Dad ran into that same coach last week, in a coffee house out of the blue some eighteen years later. It’s funny to think of him as a real man with a real job and a real life and not just the way he was imprinted, through middle school eyes, with a clipboard and a baseball cap. But there he was with grandkids now, two born of that first baseman on our team.
I can count the decades now since I was young in the way that children are young. Those days that were filled with neighborhood games of street hockey on rollerblades, the way the dads strung up lights in the trees one year so we could play on into the night. Popsicle juice dripping over small chins. Biking to a neighbor’s house to play. The riotous games of ghost in the graveyard that carried on and on into the dark. And that distinct feeling of summer on your skin, showered and clean after a day in the sun, wet hair sticking to your back and fresh pajamas on. I can still find that feeling sometimes. But mostly like yesterday, unannounced, it finds me.2 weeks ago • 30 notes
Let’s just say, hypothetically, that two roads diverged in the woods and you took the path less traveled. Part of you is just going, “Look at that path! Over there, it’s much better. Everyone is traveling on it. It’s paved, and there’s like a Starbucks every 40 yards. This is wrong. In this one, there’s nettles and Robert Frost’s body—somebody should have moved that—it just feels weird. And not only does your mind tell you this, it is on that other path, it is behaving as though it is on that path. It is doing the opposite of what you are doing. And for your entire life, you will be doing, on some level, the opposite—not only of what you were doing—but of what you think you are. That is just going to go on. What you do with all your heart, you will do the opposite of. And what you need to do is to honor that, to understand it, to unearth it, to listen to this other voice.
You have, which is a rare thing, that ability and the responsibility to listen to the dissent in yourself, to at least give it the floor, because it is the key—not only to consciousness-but to real growth. To accept duality is to earn identity. And identity is something that you are constantly earning. It is not just who you are. It is a process that you must be active in. It’s not just parroting your parents or the thoughts of your learned teachers. It is now more than ever about understanding yourself so you can become yourself.