20 October 2010

New York State of Mind

I have more than usual on my mind. I wanted to say that I had a lot on my mind - but I don't think I've come that far yet. I always feel like I never end up saying what I want to say unless I put things in lists or in an outline. If I organized my thoughts into an outline I could then write a cohesive blog post. But as I already know - I am way too lazy for that. Plus, I tend to make a lot of jokes about myself. Which are completely mindless, but at the same time I always go back and erase them - telling myself not to be rude to myself (which in turn makes me feel bad about the original jokes that I made about myself). Yeah, so there are a whole slew of things that go wrong when I start to write a blog. So here goes:

Staten Island is a borough of New York City. So technically speaking I live in NYC, but not Manhattan. And sometimes I think about how uncool that is. That even Brooklyn would be kind of a sweet deal - especially since I tend to think that's where all the cool artsy people moved to once all of Manhattan "sold-out".

And even Staten Islanders tend to think of themselves as separate from New York City, they've even attempted on numerous occasions to officially separate themselves from New York City and remove their designation as one of the boroughs. If anything, Staten Island shares more with Jersey City (which I've gathered from hearing conversations and reading articles about Jersey Shore - something I've never seen or a place I've never been to).

So I think about the uncoolness of Staten Island. But then I start to think about what our lives would be like if we moved to Manhattan (all twenty-five minutes away). And it would mostly include logistical changes - which would be refreshing and frustrating in their own way. Then I realize that I prefer living in Staten Island. The cost of living is cheaper and the quality of living is better - and yet we get to enjoy the city. And in reality - downtown is only twenty-five minutes away.

The second thing that I realized is that I need to start loving New York like I did before I moved here, and stop hating it for all its faults (which are many). But I still hold to my opinion that Empire State of Mind is the most annoying song of the century. It may have to do with hearing it any time I board a bus, train, boat, subway, or cab - or even walking down the street or go grab something to eat. It makes me want to blow chunks and turn into a raving maniac.

Sidetracked - sorry. So, I've realized that although it seems most New Yorkers are either cranky, materialistic, angry, evil, or so odd to be beyond my comprehension and my ability to relate to (where was I going with this again?), I have a choice to sink into that hole where everyone else is or choose an experience in New York that is my own. I may choose to not allow the mood or actions of others to determine my experience or mood. How about that for a mantra. I never thought I'd be the type of person that would need to learn this, but alas here I am. I'm not too good for a good lesson to be learned.

I have to mention that this realization came while I was taking a yoga class yesterday evening. Beforehand I took a class called Knockout Sculpt by this instructor. This is completely besides the point (again), but I thought it worth noting that the first time I took his class I lost, not complete mind you, but partial bladder control near then end of the forty-five minute class because it was so difficult.

But back to my story. Knockout Sculpt let out later than scheduled and all the potential Yogis waiting to use the studio were writhing and spinning in their frustration at how impolite and rude it was of the instructor to go over time and not apologize directly to them. One man in particular seemed to want to lead a movement and was attempting to dredge support from his fellow classmates to file a complaint. I noticed in particular the substitute instructor not mentioning a word. And when the students realized he was there to teach, started to complain directly to him. He quickly and smoothly changed the subject and started class. Not wasting a moment on something so inconsequential to the grand scheme of things.

I really appreciated his attitude. He wasn't angry or indignant, but he wasn't self-righteous either. And maybe it is related to the eight hours a day he spends meditating - but he just let it go. I realized I could be the angry man or the man that never even let the anger grab hold of him. At that moment I wanted to be the one who let it pass by without even noticing. I want to be like the guy in my neighborhood with the huge afro and a smile to match who always remembers my dog's name even though I never remember his. I want to be like the lady in my old ward who emanated love and who seemed to have a general conference translator each time she spake - as if she could speak only eternal truths and love (even when talking about chicken salad sandwiches). Even if it is difficult to find roots in such a big city with so many people - it is possible to be happy.

And in relation to my last thought. I realized that I need to stop being disgusted by fashion and commercialism (which New York City if filled with). And that mostly everyone (maybe except the Omish) fall prey to "their" schemes. And it's okay to give into fashion - in moderation. And that if people feel happy and cool because they wear suspenders, cowboy boots, and Yoko Ono sunglasses it's okay. And that maybe, just maybe they can be that invested in how they look and still be happy about life at the same time and are not only dressing that way because they aspire to have the image of a certain stereotype. And maybe now I can enjoy shopping instead of having this internal conflict about what each piece of clothing represents and what the repercussions are by buying it.

I guess in the end I just need to let loose. I mean, a lot has happened since moving to New York. It takes time to adjust, and finding a place to be happy doesn't mean fitting your life within certain social parameters. It seems like my life is completely unconventional at the moment - and I should appreciate the opportunity to have this experience! If I put it succinctly, within one year I quit a management position due to corruption and fraud, I quit my second position due to questionable practices, and was laid off from my third job due to their poor business choices, lack of money, and once again, their questionable practices. I am currently unemployed, not completely devoted to finding a performing dance job any longer (that is another novel for another day) and now I have all this time to explore New York City! I'm determined not to stay home everyday but to explore and enjoy my time here - even if I have to do it without John. And that is it. I'm going to tell myself that it's okay that I'm not gaining more than an experience in New York. An experience in and of itself is enough.

So there. I don't think that was actually directed towards anyone except myself. Hopefully I can stick to these goals and provide for a better New York experience and come to share Billy Joel's state of mind (not Alicia Keys).


Michemily said...

And two days later you're looking at a job . . . I hope before the job starts (if you get it) you can go do some of your New York-appreciating.