It was a crisp evening. Rain flooded the dark streets and reflected the colored street lights. The night was fresh, the air was chilled, everything was new. The memories flooded in as I walked in the streets my work filled mornings used to occupy. I was ready for a clean slate. Everything had been building up to a point I wasn’t able to breathe without being heavily aware of it. Hands shaking and heart pacing was just apart of my daily routine. Coffee no longer worked like the adrenaline which was starting to build. This kind wasn’t the inspired kind, it was the on the edge of your seat anxiety kind. The kind of adrenaline that causes chronic insomnia and sleepless nights. I wished I could see the sun when I woke up and appreciate my love’s tender kisses before I left in the morning. But slowly everything was distancing me from the purity of life. Survival was a game I was falling behind in, and the marathon I was running had no finish line. Until that morning after the graveyard shift I was invited to draw one.
The color of the day is beige. It’s subtle, it’s quiet, and it’s easy on the eyes. It doesn’t boast, its beauty is simple. Today is a beige kind of day. Everything in life this morning is so beautiful it felt fragile. The softest sunrise comforted me as I woke up from the deepest 12 hour sleep, the kind where you wake up and look around and everything feels different. It’s almost as if I had woken up in someone else’s life and didn’t recognize anything. Or perhaps it’s the fact I made a life changing decision and realized that everything surrounding me wasn’t crashing, but rebuilding. The foundation of my life was now exposed as I became aware of the simplicity of letting go. Holding on to emotions, places, and people that aren’t meant to be in your life only makes it harder to see that beautiful sunrise for what it truly is. The comfort of this simple morning surrounding me was like the feeling of revisiting an old friend. Hearing their voice and seeing their face invited memories that felt like home. The welcoming scent of coffee and the birds chirping was the crisp beginning of a fresh slate. A new beginning was finally here, and all it took was drawing a finish line to the 24hr marathon I had been running for so long.
It was Friday afternoon in Bushwick. I was on Bumble swiping on new faces while mentally preparing myself for a date with a mysterious filmmaker from a Greek island. Wearing a long skirt and top exposing my new chest tattoo, I walked into my favorite cafe where Miguel already had my black coffee waiting for me. I suddenly became aware of my circumstances. Culture was suffocating me and my calendar was never empty. I worked at the largest lingerie store in the world, dominating my sales goals while wearing all black + stacking on new tattoos monthly. My friends in Bushwick were artists and musicians where all we could talk about was the parties we were attending for the holidays while we watched film adaptations of Stephen King novels. My boss was this long-haired creative with vibrant red glasses and a brilliant mind that could translate any table with merchandise into a girl’s lingerie fantasy. My coworkers were these talented style icons with all-black wardrobes that paralleled with celebrities’ casual edgy off duty style. I couldn’t get enough of my conversations with the new guy in my life. His hair just slightly hung over his eyes as he casually threw out names of novels about existentialism and foreign film directors that inspired his screenplays.
All I was asking myself was how soon I could savor all of it. New York City couldn’t happen to me fast enough. I was hungry for this fast paced psychotic life that I was chasing for so many years in my adolescence.
Then I woke up in the middle of what I thought was a mid-life crisis. Call it the wake up call to my NYC fashion dream. Only life was no longer the excitement I anticipated for so many years. I finally realized the honeymoon phase was over. The 6 AM alarm was the shocking reminder to get back into the marathon that had no finish line. Walking into that coffee shop to see Miguel and pick up my afternoon black coffee was just apart of the routine. There was no longer a dating app, just a previous unread conversation from the man that was no longer a mystery. There was just another message to read, train to catch, and shift to complete. The brilliant boss and coworkers became routine voices that spoke just another “good morning” at 6 AM making me coldly aware of my exhaustion.
Then I ran away for a day to Connecticut. The trees made me realize there were places outside this bubble called New York City. This train was reaching a destination that would lead to my next escape. There were bodies of water I didn’t even know existed and people wore colors I haven’t seen in ages. Faces were bare and people breathed deeper. Their eyes weren’t red and they didn’t have bags under their eyes. There was life in everyones faces and their sentences ended in laughter. Everything was lighter and the air I inhaled felt satisfying in my lungs. All of the culture that was suffocating me for this past year and a half made me forget how to breathe. I will return to the city with a jar of Connecticut oxygen so I can breathe it in at work tomorrow morning, and that not-so-new guy I missed for the day will see me tomorrow with rested eyes and a brighter smile.