I woke up to the sound of my alarm clock reminding me to take my anxiety medication this morning. We did, after it what feels like an eternity since I actively started to take it again. My best friend, Ro, yelled at me for not taking it one night and since then, I’ve been trying my best to remember to take my medication in the morning. It was a weird day for me; today I mourn the loss of my former self, the person that I was in the last decade, the person that needed to grow and prosper and although that person is forever grateful for what they went through, they simply don’t belong in this version of my life anymore. I was reminded of the first time, on this day, so many years ago. I remember that person, what she was wearing, where she was walking home from, what fucking happened that day in school. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how the events of this day happened, but I’m allowed to let it go for my own well-being.
Being in the city today, spontaneously taking a trip with my sibling to help them find a place they’ll be going to in a couple of weeks felt refreshing. To get a metro-card, slide it into the subway station, and sit on trains that I haven’t taken (and in the direction towards the city) since August 2019 felt like I was accomplishing something. I felt like I was able to not block myself off from a part of my city because I was afraid of everything coming back. I was afraid of seeing the old version of me walking those streets, getting off those train stops, surrounding themselves in the scenery of what felt like a second home to them; I was always afraid of looking back. But here I am, taking the train to the train stop where I always got off, where I got most of my goodbye kisses, where I passed through for the last decade of my life. I took it and wlaked like nothing ever happened within that train platform.
Nevins Street. Hoyt Street. Borough Hall. Clark Street. Wall Street. Fulton Street. The train ride to our destination didn’t take too long, but taking the train nowadays always gives me a great deal of anxiety. It reminds me of the time where a man grabbed my wrist to keep me on the train when I was trying to get off on a stop that clearly wasn’t mine. It reminds me of the time when I got into the hugest fight with a partner in the middle of a subway platform and broke down in tears. It reminds me of the fact that I was stuck on an above-ground train coming home one night in a full-crowded cart. The trains were never my friend, and I now avoid them at all costs. For my sibling, though, I would try to forget and let those things go in order to help them get somewhere they needed, and if anything – I never have to ride the train again if I don’t want to. Nevertheless though, riding the train was something that I feel like real New Yorkers do. I felt like a real New Yorker today, going into the city doing city shit, the typical New Yorker shit.
I used to go into the city a lot when I was younger. When I was 17, I spent practically a week and a half traveling back and forth to Carnegie Hall for rehearsals with my choir. I remember the night of that performance, some of my choir mates and I rode the train home and started to sing on the cart. A woman and a man, who didn’t know each other whatsoever started to sing “S&M” by Rihanna with us, and might I add they slayed with their vocals. We were all in total shock; just a whole train cart of talented singers on a Sunday night.
When I was 22, I met up with a couple of my acting friends during the summer to go out for dinner. We traveled to Chinatown to this Ramen place that had possibly some of the best Ramen I’ve had in a really long time. We laughed, we took pictures and videos to post on Snapchat, and we walked through lower Manhattan through a festival happening in Little Italy. We traveled pretty much everywhere in the city; even to Times Square for Coldstone Ice Cream to end our day. It was one of the days I will forever cherish because I was at my happiest that year. Those people made my year possibly the best out of my college experience. They were my squad.
It wasn’t long until I found myself back in the train station, telling my sibling where they would need to go and what side of the train to take in order to get home the day of their test. I don’t know when or how I became one that just knew the subway line system well, but I did, and my sibling always depends on me to help them get to places in the city that they may not ever been before. I guess the fact of the matter is, I traveled the city a lot. I’ve been all over the city, all over Brooklyn, in parts of the Bronx and Queens and I mean, even Staten Island; I always loved traveling around the city because I was able to see different places other than the neighborhood I lived in. There’s so much to see in the city, and I sometimes take that for granted because I know one day I won’t be here, I might not reside in New York when I get older and live on my own, I may not have the time to see the city for what it si and how it’s constantly changing into what the world currently is. I may not be able to take a spontaneous trip to the city with my sibling to just help them out and get to a place they need to get to. I may realize that New York will always be my home, despite where I may be in the future, where I may go, live, travel; whatever I may be, I can always come back home to this city.
Despite where I may go in my life; the people that come into it, the events that happened, and the versions of myself that I was, I will always find my way back home. I will always have this body and this space where I can grow and learn in, where I can continue to be when life moves forward and I face new challenges and make new memories. Despite what happened and how I got here, I’m still here, and I need to let go of what was.
My future needs me, my past doesn’t.