Love/Heartbreak

Goodbye, New York: A love letter

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Dear New York,

It’s not you, it’s me.

You exceeded my wildest expectations. I couldn’t have dreamt of the things you would teach me, and the opportunities that you would give to me… but it’s time to say goodbye.  It’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.  I teeter between total denial and total relief that this chapter is behind me. 

My original goal was to stay with you for a year, and I stayed for almost three and a half. When I look back at the first day I landed in your giant, unfamiliar, and unforgiving city, I was a different person in every way you can be. My hands shook for a few months and my whole body vibrated with anxiety and nervous energy. I remember the excitement and crippling fear that you gave to me, equally.

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I had no idea how I would ever navigate you. But here I am. I know my way around.  I went to every borough.  I took almost every train.  This place is full of life, dreams, energy, and incredible people.  I am changed. I am woke. I am in love with you.  But you aren’t for me.  Your light started flickering for me over a year ago. I felt the pull to be close to family and loved ones. I felt the pull to put down roots in a place that I could build a life. I want a couch. I want to buy a home. It turns out I’m a bit of a country girl after all.

My gait is faster, my speech more direct, my work ethic better. I’m more skeptical of everything, and more self-aware then I’ve ever been. I have a confidence that was never there before. I did it. I moved here, and I made it.  I’m less lazy. I’m more independent. I finally know that you have to fight for what you want.  I’m tougher than I thought. I’m more sensitive than I thought. I’m more clear of what I want and how to get it. I grew up because of you.

The hardest thing for me was the constant loneliness. This was also my favorite part. I really learned to be alone. I love the anonymity and the invisibility. The ability to disappear in a crowd.  I loved going to the movies by myself and holing up in my tiny apartment for the weekend. I’ve been back in Denver a few weeks today and I feel vulnerable, I feel seen, I feel anxious.  I know it’s going to take time to adjust, I know it’s not going to be easy. But growth is uncomfortable, and I’m up for the challenge.

One of the best things you gave to me was Twitter, and I’m forever grateful. Working at Twitter was one of the most incredible things that I’ve ever experienced. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I got through the front door, much less the fact that I was able to work there for almost three years. It changed my life and my career trajectory.  The people that I met there will be lifelong friends. The skills that I learned have already opened countless doors. Taking the Subway on my last commute into Manhattan from Brooklyn I broke down. I sobbed and blew my nose, and looked around to soak it all in. My last day at work was filled with tears and goodbyes, and overwhelming gratitude.

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Who can say that they had an amazing apartment and landlord in New York City? I can. My apartment for the last 2+ years was my safe haven. (the neighborhood…not so much. But inside of my walls I felt safe. I felt home.) I also had the greatest roommate I could have ever asked for. Cokey, you are the reason I stayed as long as I did. I will miss you more than you know. You are a lifelong friend.

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My bedroom that had a built-in loft bed.

My parents flew out to help me pack up and move out.  I couldn’t have done it without them and am filled with gratitude that I have parents that love me that much.  We flew back to Denver with 14 pieces of luggage, and now I’m here.

 

I feel blessed. I feel raw. I will come back to see you soon, my love.  Until then, I will carry the weight of you in my heart forever. I hope you bestow as much love and adventure on the next girl who lands with a one-way ticket and a dream.

Yours truly,

Andrea

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Christmas 2012

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I wrote this on a train on November 22, 2015. It’s about the Christmas after my first heartbreak. This captures a glimmer of the deep and dark sadness that I felt that holiday season. I found this on my phone today, and wanted to share.

After You Left Me

There was a space next to my chair at the table. My family loves me enough to remove a chair so I didn’t have to see it empty. But I could feel it there. The hole. I dressed up and wore lipstick and looked like I was getting through the holidays without you. But everyone knew better. No one brought up the missing chair.

I remember thinking that at least I didn’t have to wait for you this year and offer excuses upon your behalf. You were always late, and I was constantly defending you.

The meal was all joy and laughs but I could feel it building in my chest. The ache always started low in my lungs and choked my heart and climbed up my throat and began to drown my eyes. I let my tears fall heavy and my hands shook.  My fork tinged and tanged against my plate but I didn’t have the energy to move it. My family hushed to a silence that was unlike all of them. And they let me cry. They knew why, they didn’t have to ask questions. There has never been a more vulnerable moment for me than that. I was completely broken open. I couldn’t even pretend that I was ok, I couldn’t even excuse myself. I had nothing left.
Before you left me I was so solid, I was strong, cold even. I didn’t show weakness. After you left I couldn’t show strength. I had none of it left. Tears fell without warning, mostly in the car. Mostly while giving massages to strangers in a dark quiet room. It really is a cruel profession to break up in. You have 6 hours a day to think quietly, to replay conversations, and obsess over details.  You are required to pretend that you are fine-even if you can barely stand up. You are required to pretend you care about someone else’s needs,knots, and lives.
The holidays that first year, though.  That was a tough one. So many tears. So many tears for years after that. Not until you left me. When you left me everything changed in my heart. I am a professional at keeping people at an arms length from my heart. I’m three years in, and I’m waiting for the pain to move away, or the fear to move aside, because despite the complete sadness and abandonment of the last three years I want to love again. I want to believe there is love after the first time. There was for him.