I walk through the streets of New York and feel the throbbing energy pulsate up through my feet, and I smile, like a never-ending summer; like the melting heat that I can smell, and I know I’m in love.
It’s a ripping kind of love, an earned love – it’s not easy or quiet. In fact, it never shuts up.
People don’t stop talking here, and we all can hear each other. There isn’t enough space for our words to breath, so we’re all on top of one another, complaining, but we love it.
In English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, Hindi and Portuguese, we’re all here standing together on the goddamn subway – stuck underground. Eventually, though, we all emerge, streaming out into the streets, bumping into one another as we rush to our next destination.
Having lived in Illinois, Indiana, California, Colorado and New York – I am keenly aware of the different styles of living that each city and state possess. And, I’m aware how each environment both attracts a certain kind of person and shapes their perspective.
And, a fierce rooted love lights up in my heart for New York because there is a sliver of space for me to be all that I am – and, if one is willing, there is room for you too.
And I think, “Isn’t this the kind of country that we want to live in?” one that believes there is room for everyone even if we’re straining against the seams?” A country that believes we can get a little closer, squeeze together, to make more room for another soul who has the right to, “pursue their own happiness,” and whatever that looks like for them?
It is in the arid expanses of space, conforming and white-washed, that we can forget all that exists outside our own environment and perspective; we can forget that a tapestry’s beauty lives in the varied colors that are woven together.
But, I get it. I get it more than I say – and I haven’t said much, as of late. There was a silence that descended upon me after my Dad died – the words left me, and all I could think about was, “move forward.”
I had nothing then: jobless, homeless with a few thousand dollars to my name. It was January and bitter cold. There were no travels ahead, only an entire life to rebuild, and the determination to do it.
Now, a year and half later I can revisit the page, and in doing so, I’d like to champion communication, I’d like to champion bridges – not walls.
We are scared, and we have every right to be. We are divided and that makes sense to me. I don’t comment on politics because I have seen so many different perspectives – I have lived in them.
I have sat in small towns in Indiana and listened to the reasoning, I have heard spur-clad cowboys in Colorado, and I put my face to the sun in Dolores Park, in San Francisco, and heard from people all over the world commenting on our nation.
But, at the end of the day for me it is New York, it is the subway – the most efficient and obnoxious form of transportation. The great equalizer.
It is the brown child laying it’s head on what I believe to be its Mother, it’s the French couple discussing things I cannot understand, and it’s the Asian schoolchildren, giggling, and that white guy staring into his phone.
America is a dream – one made from Utopia, and for those who don’t know what that means it’s nowhere.
But, don’t we need to believe in what we cannot see; that can potentially not exist? Don’t we need to believe that we can leave our childhood homes with almost nothing to recreate our lives? Isn’t that what is “great” about the “United States,” that we, at times, have provided space for people to come onto our shores with a few dollars and a dream and believe that they can make something better for themselves – which can benefit the country as a whole?
Isn’t that the true spirit of being an entrepreneur? How can I approach this in a new way? How can I make possible something that doesn’t yet exist?
Creation is not a solitary act – bringing any being into life takes two people, two perspectives, and that is just a beginning.
The ending is where we stand alone. This I’ve seen. I watched my Dad take his last breath, and I wasn’t with him; he was by himself somewhere, a place that I might see myself one day.
That is the fear – that is the uncertainty. That is why I run down the street, knocking into others because, “I’m not going to let anyone else steal my cab,” that is the nature of the beast, and that is why I love New York.
It is a place for beasts and for compassion – the dual sides of our nature is wrapped around every mode of living. The man who carries the homeless woman’s walker up the stairs, and the person, slamming their hands down, screaming at a car, as if it will respond.
But, I don’t want to live in the screaming. Make space for it? Yes. But, I’d like to believe that at the end of the day, most of us want to be the person who’s carrying that disabled, impoverished woman’s walker up those fucking stairs.
Emerging, into the cloudless, August day – knowing that intangible, idealistic myths are the very story of creation.
A being of energy, of light, some all-powering God, spent seven days making this earth – and then we bit the Apple, we are the creation and the Fall.
(Wo)man will always bite the apple, and that’s okay – so there’s no need to reach for that tempting snake who promises you a paradise that you already live in.
The subway will arrive eventually, though never on time. And, all of us, standing together, fighting for our square to stand in will both smile at one another and push each other out of the way, struggling, hurrying, reaching towards our next destination – which ultimately will end up being our last one.
So, maybe, let’s slow down, and take some time to get there. Let’s make space for our different perspectives and modes of being – let’s create in a way that serves us. Let us believe that we have the courage to go off, with very little, and make much of it.