New York On My Mind

I visited New Jersey last year to visit some family friends and we took a daytrip to Manhattan. I wasn’t paying attention to the scenery, but when I was paying attention I wasn’t really that impressed. New Jersey was boring and Manhattan was claustrophobic.

I was never the type of person who had the big dreams of moving to either coast, and I (unfairly) looked down at those people in High School that did because they rarely moved to those places in the end.

I visited New Jersey last year to visit some family friends and we took a daytrip to Manhattan.  I wasn’t paying attention to the scenery, but when I was paying attention I wasn’t really that impressed.  New Jersey was boring and Manhattan was claustrophobic.

I was never the type of person who had the big dreams of moving to either coast, and I (unfairly) looked down at those people in High School that did because they rarely moved to those places in the end.

However, as my undergraduate college career was nearing, the thought of never seeing those friends ever again was starting to make me sad.  I had also decided to go to a graduate school in the Midwest, which had left me with little to be excited about.  So when a bunch of my friends mentioned that they wanted to move to Brooklyn in the future it peeked my interest.

We all drunkenly pinky-promised to move to Brooklyn together and be roommates.  Well I’m not so sure if we’re actually all going to move there together, or even all going to move there, but it is still on my mind.

I had left the idea for a while, during the time I was dealing with my health, but now that I am in better health I am seeking something to look forward to.  I want an adventure and a challenge.  I want some time away and time to grow, gain independence and freedom, and the time to develop some real friendships.

If my friends don’t end up moving there or do move there but aren’t my roommates, it will force me to make new friends and start a new life from scratch.  Let me tell you, it has been too long since I haven’t depended on another person to look after me, and the thought of moving to New York on my own and living alone, with nobody there, is equally frightening and exciting.

I know it is hard to afford living in New York, but this kind warning annoys me because I chose to go into social work and “working class” is inevitable for me.  Since moving to the U.S. I have grown accustomed to a luxurious lifestyle, but, regardless of where I live, this lifestyle is something that is going to melt away.  What is more important to me is that I live somewhere that I can be happy as the complicated minority that I am.

I have been excitedly looking up social work jobs on idealist.org related to working with minorities and LGBTQ people.  I have also been looking into resources for myself such as SALGA and various feminist and womanist groups for women of color and queer people of color.

I have been watching a lot of Staceyann Chin’s performances and reading a lot about her experiences in New York and it has inspired me to find a community of queer women of color in New York.

My partner is fully supportive of the idea of me moving.  He understands that we may need a break from each other, we’re just trying to figure out if it should be temporary or permanent.   Due to his job he can’t move to New York even if either of us want that, but there is always the possibility of him joining me later, if we are still together.

So, should we go on hiatus, do a long-distance relationship or just a long-distance friendship?  We’re not sure right now.

My mother, as I predicted, is nervous that I want to move to New York without my partner. She always told me that she hopes I can have a normal life despite my epilepsy, but I knew she would make a contradiction in this case.  I see my moving to New York on my own as a way to prove that I don’t need anyone to support me or help me.  After all, the only person you can really rely on is yourself.

I asked my partner how Staceyann Chin managed to gather the courage to move to Brooklyn on her own and live on her own.  In retrospect this was a stupid question, but he said “well I guess maybe she just thought that the worst has already happened,” so that is what I am going to tell myself and there is no point living my life in fear of what could happen (ie. getting mugged, seizures in my sleep etc.).

Anyway, back to my relationship with my partner, I know I need a bit of a break so that I have time to develop some deeper friendships, I just don’t know if I even care to be single and date people if I were to move to New York.  It would be really hard to start dating and trust other people in that way after being in such a long-term relationship.

I am just hoping that New York isn’t as lonely on the friendship-front as people say it is… do any of you readers live there?  I just know that since being in this serious relationship, I have seriously neglected my friendships, and it is hard to start new ones.

When ever I go out at night I can’t stay out as late because I feel bad leaving my partner at home, or if he is out of town I feel I have to come home to call him, or if my partner’s son is there I don’t want to wake him. When I take my partner with me when I go out, I don’t have as much fun because he is so shy.  Lose-lose.

Similarly, when my girlfriends come over I can’t talk to them properly about private issues, and not comfortably, because he is there, and when they call they can’t talk to me properly because they know he is there, in fact they never even call, or tell me things, because when people are in relationships you know they tell their partner everything.

Well, I guess while I want to go to New York to gain independence from a habit of codependence, I am contradicting myself by saying that I want to go there to find some real friends – some soul mates.  But I want to ask, what really is a soul mate, and should that be my partner?  Should soul mates be our friends or our lovers?  Should these queer feminist POC that I yearn to find in New York be potential BFFs or lovers?

My QPOC friends that I met in college have understood parts of me almost automatically because of shared backgrounds and beings, but because of our relationship, my male, white partner is someone I can talk to and trust more deeply than anyone else… Is a soul mate someone you trust or someone you connect with and identify with?

What really am I looking for right now?  And do I have to give up my partner for that?

Regardless of whether or not I want to date other people, from my article, Sex Ain’t Like The Movies, you can tell my relationship with my partner has become so platonic that I’m not sure I’m attracted to men.

Hmmm… what to do what to do.

About the author

Anurag

Anurag is a queer, feminist, social worker-to-be. Currently residing in the cornfields of Illinois.  Fierce, emotional and reclaiming the brown-ness.