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.