Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?”
― Langston Hughes
I’m trying to blog about my experiences as much and as often as I can, but the days are quickly blurring into one. I think that is what happens when you don’t have much going on and your days blur from one spin class to a netflix binge to a restless sleep and back again.
So here has been what has been remarkable about the past week.
Friends in Strange Places
On Wednesday, my Ikea dresser finally arrived! (Yay for more space to put tshirts!) So I open the box, and I want to feel like an adult. I get my screwdriver my dad bought me, borrow a little hammer from my roommate, and lay the pieces together by their category.
Then I look at the directions. LOL.
The directions are all pictures. All pictures. Not a word in sight. (Though, Ikea usually gives their information in Swedish, right?)
No matter. I still think that I’ve got this. Adults put together furniture! I’ve moved to New York! On my own! If I can begin to conquer the world, surely I can begin by putting together a dresser.
Two hours later, I have stripped down to a sports bra and underwear, and I’m laden in a puddle of tears and sweat.
My talents in life are not going to include building dressers.
On the other hand, using Google is a big talent of mine. (I’d go as far as to say a big talent of many Millennials.) So I quickly call a company that promises they can put together the furniture in the next two hours. I even haggle the price down! (Dude wanted 85 bucks for dresser assembly. That was more than my dresser cost. So I turned on the thick Southern accent, and said something about how I could not see myself paying any cost above sixty dollars. We bargained at 65.)
So, I happily await my handyman’s arrival. Now, I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I was not expecting what I got. An attractive, 26 year old, Spanish man arrives at my door to fix my furniture.
And it turns out, he is potentially the nicest person I have talked to since arriving in New York. He asks me about why I moved, he gives me some advice for living in the city. He only makes fun of me a little for having put the dresser pieces on backwards. He tells me about his girlfriend. His nieces and nephews. (We share a love of our respective nieces and nephews.) He tells me about his girlfriend Jasmine. I tell him one of my best friend’s name is Jasmine. He asks me if I’m single. He’s shocked when I tell him I am. (Me too, buddy.)
All in all, he was a stellar dude to talk to. And it was nice to laugh. And have company. All brought together by the power of the very difficult to assemble Ikea furniture.
Social Social Workers
Around Tuesday of this week, a girl posted on Facebook that she would like to meet up with some people before school starts. Within seconds of her posting that, I jumped with glee, and promptly responded.
(There were some girls that were complaining about how it was too early, and they would rather get together in September. NO. NADA. NO. They were trying to crush all my HOPES AND DREAMS.)
Luckily, the girl responded to no such criticism, and we all met at a happy hour on the Upper West Side.
And it was SO FUN.
Social workers are such like minded people. We all immediately clicked. Talking, laughing, sharing stories, swapping numbers. There was one girl who had me laughing so hard I was clenching my side.
And it’s crazy because I began to feel less and less alone. One girl moved up from Idaho knowing only two people in the city. One from North Carolina. One from Arizona with a similar story.
By the end of the night, we were planning sleepovers and wine nights. Being thrown into this crazy experience can really just bring people together. I’m getting more and more glad that I chose Columbia.
So here’s the thing. In Nashville and Atlanta, you throw on some shorts and go to the store. Hair in a bun. Flip flops. What have you.
Well, I basically have to put full length pants on to walk down the street. I needed to run to the pharmacy to pick up something, and I didn’t feel 100%, so I threw on my Nike shorts, an oversized tee, some flip flops and headed on my merry way.
And I don’t look cute. At all.
(Here’s the thing. I’m a sweater. And New York is humid. So not only am I pouring sweat from what seems to be every pore (even places I did not know had pores), I am watching these little baby hairs that I have spring into action to form a lovely frizz crown atop my head.)
And I don’t mind. Judge me.
But as I made this trek to Duane Reade, I have to walk past the social work building. And as I do, twenty some odd girls pop out. I wanted nothing more than to say something about how I was so excited. I wanted to talk and make friends.
But as I see a sweat stain forming down my stomach, I can’t bring myself to do it.
I hear my mother in the back of my head: “Dorothy Ann. You need to put your best face forward. You never know who you will meet.”
She was right. (I shoulda put on a bra.)
Who Needs a Man?
So I have been doing a little dating in New York. I have never been the girl who dates, and I just want to! It’s fun. It’s meeting new people. It leads to an adventure. And some fun stories.
So this week, I had a couple of dates set up.
The first, I cancelled. It was about to rain. (So, I had held off on eating, and then sprinted to the store that is LITERALLY a block from my apartment. And the sky opened up right as I was about to leave. Once again, I was the girl drenched. I need an umbrella attached to my neck.)
But there was another guy who I was supposed to see on Friday. And I was SO excited. Even if nothing more than friendship came out of it, I was really wanting to meet this guy. We have the same taste in music. He’s a writer. He appreciates art. He likes Indian food. He’s a fan of French wine. I was beyond excited to meet him.
So Friday rolls around, and I do my hair and my makeup. (Which, my smokey eye was the BEST I have done yet.)
I hadn’t heard from him at all during the day, so I shoot him a text at 4:30 asking where and what time we were meeting.
But it’s New York! People don’t eat dinner here until 9 or 10. (Heathens. Bring on that 5:30 meal time for me!)
So I wait. And wait. And wait. (And I HATE to be made that girl who sits by her phone waiting on a man. I’m not desperate. Or needy. So just don’t make me be that girl.)
So finally, at 8, I send him another text. Casual. Keepin’ it light and fluffy. Made some joke about how I over plan my life, and about how I was really excited to meet him.
Nothing. And at this point, I’m STARVING.
So I order some Thai food, and throw on a comfy sweatshirt and have (another) Netflix night.
At midnight or so, I text him telling him I hope he is okay. I told him I was disappointed because he seemed fun, and that I wished he would have at least given me a heads up. (He was on Facebook the next day, so I’m sure he lived.)
But here’s the thing. I’ve never placed my value, my worth, or my self-esteem in what men think of me. Or women for that matter. Sure, I like to be dressed up and presentable when I meet others, but if you don’t like me, you don’t like me. That’s one of the greatest things I have taken away from my social work education. If someone does not like me for no apparent reason, it’s their “stuff.” They have something going on. As long as I have done my best to be a good, kind, fair person, then I have done my best. That’s that.
And I could sit here and wonder all the “what ifs” and “whys” in the world, but at the end of the day, I am not going to have an answer. And since I have learned to be okay with that I am a much happier person.
So I eat my Thai with no pants on, and call it a night. (I was a little disappointed because this guy promised to show me all the cheap food places he could think of. Would it be appropriate to text him and ask for a list…?)
Besides, the guy that took me to the musical took me out on Saturday, and it was a FABULOUS date. One for the books, really. Great sushi. Great wine. Great conversation. Great company. And that’s what counts.
Here’s a tangent on cat callers. With a little school update sprinkled in.
So, there are cat callers in the South. Duh. It happens. It’s annoying, but it happens. Usually, I just laugh it off, give a wave and keep going.
But since I have been in New York, it has been a BIT excessive. Never in my life have I been so verbally assaulted? (The question mark is because I can’t think of a better term for what it is.)
"Come over here!"
"Come sit on my lap."
"I could make you happy."
"Woah. Dark haired girl like you must be kinky?" (That one was like, WOAH, WOAH, WHAT?)
I just don’t get it. These lines don’t work.
So anyway, I got my Field Placement! I’m SO excited about it. I’ll be leading groups and taking on clients in an outpatient treatment facility. Everyone that works there is super excited to be there. My supervisor is a doll. I just had such a good feeling about it when I went in.
But the problem was, on the way there, was where I experienced the most cat calls since I have been in New York. And it was 2:30 in the afternoon. Now, it did not make me feel unsafe. No one followed me. No one approached me. I just had to walk past lines of men sitting on the sidewalk benches, visibly undressing me with their eyes. It’s uncomfortable, to say the least.
I try to keep my eyes forward and my path straight. (Ha. Sounded like a Biblical metaphor, but I mean it very literally.) The walk from the bus to the center is quick. So I leave my phone in my bag, I don’t let my eyes wander. It’s just hard. And it’s not fair that women have to do that.
Please Sit Here
I hesitate to finish with this post, but it has been something that has been on my mind.
Disclaimer: I in no way think i am better than anyone else for doing this.
So, I give up my seat on the subway. When someone older than me, someone who looks more tired than I do, or someone with a child or bags (etc.) comes on board the train.
This is not common. I’ve seen twenty somethings push people out of the way to get their butts on a seat.
And I get it. The subway is not a lot of fun (especially when the novelty wears off.)
But at the end of the day, I just have to wonder when we lost our compassion for people. My parents, heck, my grandparents, would give up their seats for someone without blinking an eye. They would think nothing of it. And here, I have this inner monologue, knowing that I should do it, but being afraid to stand out.
SO WHAT? So what if someone thinks I’m soft or touristy. If I can make someone’s day better by giving them a seat on their commute home, then dammit, I’m going to give them a seat on their commute home.
And it stinks that more people don’t have this attitude. We need to respect our elders, sure. But beyond that, we need to respect our fellow humans. And that just doesn’t happen too often up here, and it’s a little bit more than disappointing.
Alright. That’s all for this weeks update to the NOVEL of my life.
School starts tomorrow. The syllabus already looks tough. So be prepared for some rants. Tears. Laughter. Etc.
After a full and eventful day yesterday, I decided I would take it easy today. So I slept in, caught up on True Blood, and did not turn the light on until about eleven. It was quite blissful.
BUT I had enough of that pretty quickly, so I threw on some clothes and some dark purple lipstick and decided to go exploring.
I first walked up Morningside. It’s becoming my favorite path because it is so quiet. And it has these gorgeous tree lined streets that are picturesque. I made a turn wanting to go to see the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. Oh. My. Land. We just don’t have architecture like that in the South. It was so gorgeous. I went in, paid the three dollars for a prayer candle, and sat for about an hour just thinking and praying and wishing and dreaming. I can honestly say it was a recharge, and it was something I needed to do to calm my nerves about being in the big city all on my own.
I then decided to walk down Broadway towards the direction of the Upper West Side. I got my first “hootie hoo” from a homeless man. (It was more of a “Ayy, baby, why don’t you come on over here.”) BUT I have perfected my New York Blank Stare in my first 48 hours of being here. Pre-NYC Dorothy likes to smile and say no thank you. It is polite. But NYC Dorothy realizes, sometimes, that invites people in. So I stare straight and keep walking.
I made it down to my destination, popped in some shops, bought a tote bag, and realized something: My feet hurt. And I don’t mean like a little hurt. It was a painful burning ache from heal to toe. OOPS. So instead of walking back the quick mile and a half, I jumped on the subway and waddled the rest of the way home. (Why am I always waddling?!)
I came into my room and threw off my shoes and looked down. Blisters. All over. Heels. Toes. Crevices. Big ones, small ones. YIKES. I washed my dirty feet (cities are gross, y’all), slapped some bandaids on those bad boys, and hoped they would turn into callouses so I could get used to walking the long distances. This runner does NOT need blisters! No sir, no ma’am.
So I took a day off from running, and as I told y’all, I wanted to try the spin class. So I made my way down to 54th, but the spin class was booked.
Tangent, this is the gym to be if you are after an attractive business man when he finishes work. You will see me there every night around 6 until I have found a husband.
I was ready to make the trek home, and I just had to stop at Mecca. (Chipotle.)
I’m getting caught up on Pretty Little Liars and hitting the bed early tonight. I’m excited to see what tomorrow holds.