What do I write about? Hardship? No, that's dreary. So no writing then for the past few months. Why? Because it seemed that all I could possibly write about was the cold, dead weight of hardship pressing down on me to a point where I couldn't fashion a quick lemonade stand out of my hefty bag o' lemons anymore. For I was lost and sinking like a lead pipe in the Bermuda Triangle. Of course I started letting on that New York was hard--understatement by the way, that New York is not When Harry Met Sally or Sex and the City. The New York that I experienced wasn't even a comedy or a romance. It was a sad, sad story, definitely the kind that make Oprah's book club, you know the ones: They start out a little sad in the beginning, are a lot sad in the middle, and horribly bleak in the end. That was my New York.
But don't misunderstand me. I love that city and I would do it all over again, including the moments of sobbing in the fetal position on my bathroom floor. Oh but did I have my moments of grandeur. Even Oprah's stamp of approval books can't be all grim, there has to be glimmers of hope, for that's what every heart needs. And that is what I had in New York. I gave it my all and I gave it my love. But sometimes even the greatest love fails, despite what we want to believe about Edward and Bella. And even the battles that everyone favors the bold to win, well they sometimes are lost, despite the most noble and valiant soldiers. And when this happens, as it often does in life, the ugly part, the sad part, the part that no one really wants to know, because it's not the success story, or the time for great applause and the graceful dipping of a bow, it's the time when the hero or in my case heroine--while I may be downtrodden, I am still the heroine of my own life--is left with the remains, the destruction, the hurt and the defeat wondering and replaying what she could have done differently and how she is supposed to make sense of a tremendous loss and how to make something funny that doesn't feel funny at all?
That's the problem though, there is a time for laughter in life, and I want to believe that is always, because I prefer joy, and oftentimes I prefer denial, but while laughter has it's divine merits, so do tears. And if I learned anything from a very wise coach I had, it's that sometimes in life, you need to stop trying to be tough and just let yourself fall apart, dammit.
Alas that is what I have been doing for the past two months. Falling apart over and over again. Sure I did my marathon and believe me I sort of fell apart during that too as running for 26 miles offers a lot of time for self inspection. And it was a splendid metaphor for New York. Oh I started out so blithely unaware of the atrocity that is keeping your body going mile after mile after mile, hour after hour. By the time I got into the twenties I felt a wee bit deranged and asked myself why anyone would torture themselves in such a way, why would anyone intentionally feel horrendous pain and grief in the name of a dream? Honestly, because it's fucking worth it in the end. I didn't have a noteworthy time for finishing, took me six and half hours, that's tortoise slow by all running standards by the way, I had moments where I was chugging my cup of water and limping, certain I would require an ambulance, but I'll tell you what, crossing that finish line, still running, despite the knots in every muscle of my legs and my mind whimpering for mercy was one of the most profoundly rewarding moments of my life. For all the pain and wondering why I would attempt said feat during the six and a half hours of making myself keep going, it all became clear to me why I did it once I crossed the finish line and began to weep. Because I believed in something enough to try.
New York was nothing I could have expected, trained for or even forced myself though with sheer positivity alone: it was hellish and beautiful, poetic and heartbreaking, disastrous and wonderful, yet the race came to an end. But for me, it's important to know this, I saw it through to my finish line. At least for now. Because as much as I told myself during my marathon I would never endure such brutality for the sake of personal achievement again, I felt differently upon completion. I wanted it all over again. My mom sagely told me that was the same feeling as childbirth.
So while I may not be in New York right now, it doesn't mean there isn't another race in my future. Maybe it requires better training or maybe it's a simple understanding of what I want and won't settle for. And turns out as funny as it will be in my chapter of life that I did get to ever so briefly be homeless in New York, stay in a hostel and huck my wordly possessions through the subway and streets in the pouring rain, it isn't so funny doing it for more than a few days.
I wish I could sum it up in a more pristine package, make you want to stand up and cheer, but like I said, this isn't one of those stories. But do know this, in my book, the heroine doesn't stay down for long. She always has a comeback.
Oh and a leading man. But that's a story for another day.