Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Ode To New York

Dear New York,

This is probably the toughest email that I will ever write. Where to start? Firstly, I'm sorry i didn't get to say goodbye in person, I had hoped to see you this afternoon to say a quiet goodbye but in the end it was just too hard. So, I planned to just slip off without saying a word, but I'm here at the airport and I just can't leave without explaining. r.

So, it's not you, it's me. Cliche, huh?

I first met you when i was 12 (and I should have known you'd be trouble when i got my first period in Central Park) and it was love at first sight. When we met again I was 23. I saw you and was completely spellbound. I was barely a woman. I had no idea who I was and yet i knew enough to know that you were everything I had ever dreamed of. You literally consumed me and within days our nights were as long as our days together. I knew that I could wake up and feel wanted. There were even times that I felt completely needed by you. Seven incredible years you made me feel that way. Nobody compared to you, not even close. Not even London. Long, heady nights together, sleeping in till hunger forced us to brunch, then I'd nap and then we'd do it all over again. Crazy, incredible days. You were my everything. I know we had our ups and downs. You drove me nuts. You were a drug, irresistible. I was addicted. You were my 20s. You watched me grow up and you were a huge part of that, but when life threw me a curve ball a couple of years back everything changed. Everything changed, except for you. So, when i left you in 2009, I was terrified. It was without doubt the most difficult decision that I have ever made. I had become so co-dependent and i was terrified that i no longer knew who i was. I had suddenly been forced to change very quickly. I had other priorities and you didn't understand. You didn't even try. I withdrew and when you made no attempt to come and get me, i gave up.

And so i left.

I went west, not knowing what to expect. I just had to get you out of my head. I couldn't see how the new me would fit into you, into us. And so, I met Portland. Friends urged me to go and I found a new life. I didn't expect to feel something so soon but we became friends. Things were different. It was slower. I didn't feel rushed into anything. I could hear myself think for the first time in a long time about something other than working out, seeing you and auditioning. Portland healed me. I felt so understood and not constantly overshadowed. I felt like an individual - no longer one of many. Can you imagine what that feels like? Of course you can - when have you ever been in someone's shadow?

Of course I would still think of you and my heart would hurt. We both know that I wasn't your first and you were never exclusively mine, but it still stung when i saw you with friends of mine or in pictures or heard perfect strangers describe what they had done with you. (Sing, Sing, till 4am, really?)

I refused to be jealous because i knew that you had always been a free spirit, but i guess i was just another stupid, blinkered one of many, thinking that I could be the one. The one to conquer you. There were times, you know, when I just really thought we would make it. But there were many other nights when i would sob over feeling utterly inadequate around you, and I wanted to leave. And then you would show me what I was capable of. Thank you for that.

My time in Portland went quickly. We seemed a distant memory and I began to question if i had left too soon? What on earth had I done? Did i just walk out on the love of my life? So, I talked to Portland and i felt listened to. Really listened to. But i just couldn't get you out of my head. There was always you. Everywhere i turned i saw you. I had friends that told me they had seen you. The photos, the stories. It hurt. Seeing other people do what we did. I wanted to scream at them, that I heart New York and they didn't even know what they were talking about. I had earned you. Seven years of you must have meant something.

So i came back. I had to know. Had to know if you were the one. God, I wanted it to work. I wanted you to see me as all grown up and embrace me and show me that you missed me that you would change. That you would finally adapt and meet me half way. I was a fool. I knew as soon as I stepped off the C train that nothing had changed.

It took 6 months for me to be sure. Totally sure and yet, even now, i know you'll always be a part of me. I'm okay with that. I'm sure this time. You are my heart. It's always going to be hard to hear of you and see you with others, but I'm excited for the future. For us both. Portland is right for me and i know that this new friendship has all the makings of a beautiful, long love affair. It's, well, it's just different. But so right. It's right for me now.

I'm boarding now but just wanted you to know that I didn't give up on us, I just saw that we had grown apart. I heart you, NY. Always.



  1. Ok...First of all it is sooo brave of you to leave (again) I know how hard it totally so eloquently articulated exactly how I felt when I left NY!!! ahhhh...we totally get each other! But you (we) are one of the lucky ones who was so fortunate experience NY as you (we) did!! Cherish it's in your heart for life, in the threads of your soul...have a safe trip...and now you can just relax!

  2. I get it. I do.
    I'll keep an eye on NYC for you, and let you know how we're doing.
    But it won't be the same without you.
    I miss you already.

  3. Miss you my friend.
    Safe travels...

  4. I get the difference in places, and the very separate needs they fill. Staten Island may not be far from Manhattan but it might as well be...well, Portland, I guess. And it does fulfill that quiet part of me in the ways that you wrote about. It's hard, being torn between two different worlds, two lives and loves sometimes. But that's quite an adventure in and of itself. Wish you luck on the journey between them.

  5. Love you Polly. I feel lucky that you found Portland, which allowed me to find you. Can't wait to share in your Portland chapter part two.

  6. Seven years in NYC is a big deal. Just for that, you will always be a little bit cooler than most people. And no one can take that from you. :)

    Sorry it was so hard to go. But, Portland, as you know, is pretty amazing in and of itself. And now, maybe we can have lunch someday!

  7. Seems like a common theme among women of our generation is a place we "grew" up in our 20's. I loved those pre-kid days. For me, that was Portland....since I grew up in very rural Oregon. So PDX was my big city! Can you imagine that? Then I had my boys and life and my desires for life changed. All of a sudden I lost my need of Portland. It didn't fit so well anymore, not so well with three little boys that needed opens paces to explore vs. parks and congestion. But still I love Portland. And when we get to go I get all giddy and excited. Now we take family trips to the "city" and it is glorious. Of course, I think you can't quite beat our little city, right? It is small, but has so much to offer and there are just as many great stereotypes for Portlanders, right? Have you see Portlandia? Your NYC friends must. Congrats on your West Coast return! It'll be your faithful lover for sure!


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