Seven months later, New York City finally feels like home. Lately I’ve felt my attitude shift about this too-much city; the pavement here will always be cracked, but now I can dance my way around it.
The things that used to amaze me are so ordinary now that I don’t even notice them anymore. The same buildings that were looming concrete monsters in June are just part of the landscape today, the way stretching horizons are back in Oklahoma. I’m no longer a tired tourist with lazy legs or an overeager transplant bounding off the train in the wrong direction. I feel myself moving through the city now with a firm confidence. I belong here, and I know it.
I spent my first six months in New York replicating my life back home as best as possible, trying to pull all the pieces of myself together in a manner that made sense, holding on to every ritual that connected me with the girl I’d always known myself to be. For months I couldn’t change my alarm ringer or replace the dilapidated wallet my mother gave me years ago, afraid that I’d lose myself too quickly in these nauseating New York nights. The person I am now is a maturation of the free spirit I wanted to be at 17, back when I would lay out in warm Tulsa fields and dream a sky’s worth of wishes with my closest friends.
The wound of leaving is crusting over, stitching itself closed. The gap between the two sides of my heart is pulling shut tenderly, one deliberate thread following the other. The fullness of my new life is defined by the heavy sweetness of my nephew, the short breath swallows of steep staircases, and the surety I feel with every step. It all reminds me, when I am in a frozen fit and missing my mother, that this is still where I am supposed to be.
Making my way through New York is a softer storm now, an easier way, a cleared path.