Monday, November 7, 2011

New York; 8 years apart

The Stratford Arms, my old apartment building.
It was summer of 2003, I was standing in DFW airport kissing my friends and family goodbye as I prepared to walk through the security checkpoint and take a first step into my dreams.  As if it was yesterday, I can recall the outfit I chose for the day, my favorite pair of ripped jeans, long sleeve black shirt that had been personally handcut with scissors the night before, and a tie belt.  With two suitcases to my name and a big dream I arrived a few hours later to my new home in the heart of the Upper Westside of New York City.  It took only a matter of days for me to become extremely overwhelmed, and only a few moments for me to realize my loneliness.  Among millions of people in one of the busiest cities of the world I found myself alone. There I was at AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy), chasing after a thing I've always wanted, always said I needed, and yet feeling like I'd walked down a street that had no name. Each day was busy. Filled with class, hanging out with the guy I was dating, lots of walking, rehearsals, practice, and filled with loneliness. Money was an obstacle because I didn't have it.  Friends were an obstacle because they didn't exist. Connection was an obstacle because I was chasing connections that were completely empty.  I was in a dating relationship I shouldn't have been in, one that left me riddled with guilt for dragging along.  I had no clue who I was.  I felt insecure.  I was unsure of my talent, I was unsure of the way I looked.  Carried on my back were the weight of family situations back home that I had left unraveled. Instead of sharing any of this with anyone, I bottled up inside and continued walking the streets, living inside my head, alone.

My apartment.  #730
This past week, as Stuart held my hand, I walked through the halls of my old apartment building, I shared stories of all the crazy people who lived there with me, and memories of singing down the street as I walked to class. It was an odd experience walking those hallways. I thought about the girl who stood infront of apartment #730 and locked the door on her way to class. The streets were still just as full, the noises just as loud, as if showing me that the city really hasn't slept. However, there was a big difference.  My life is different now.  My life is full.  I'm not alone. Walking down Broadway on the very streets I trotted each day just 8 years earlier I found myself reflecting on the change that God has delivered in me.  There's now connection in my life, there's people, there's friends, there's family, enough money to feel cushioned, and a wonderful man that finally feels like the right fit. All of these beautiful gifts that reveal God's providence and protection over me.  2003-2004 were essential years, ones that I have NO DOUBT were designed to be part of my journey, but the plan wasn't to keep me there.  I believe I walked through that level of emptiness to be brought out and walk down the same sidewalks years later as a different person.

The handsome Stu and Me!
The twenties aren't a cakewalk for anyone (from what I hear).  For me, there was such a lack or identity going into them, that they were extra complicated.  I can't express in words how thankful I am for where I'm at in my journey at age 29.  The Lord didn't "make my path straight" back then as I stared down the road of the future, he makes it straight for me now as I reflect back on the road he had me travel and I see where it's led. Through trial, tribulation, joy, community, and opportunity who I am has been written on my heart now.

I am thankful.

Life is a beautiful thing, and not because it's always beautiful. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad I came across this! You are a wonderful writer, you and Kristin have that in common.