The Cost of Moving So Much

Friendship is like a delicate, but favorite recipe. It requires time and effort, loving care, and to be present to make it turn out right. But it’s worth every effort, because it’s the sweetest, tastiest cake you’ve ever made (all my favorite recipes are cake). But without those things, it is difficult to make it come out right. And sacrificing that favorite recipe is one of the biggest costs to moving and following your heart and dreams.

I make no qualms that I am career and ambition driven. I have moved *gulp* 4 times in the past 6 years, all for career, none for heart. Each time it gets increasingly harder to make friends and maintain friendships. Things get lost on translation, I am confronted with more demons, other people in the past tribes get closer, you become a pleasant visitor to the party, but not a regular. You have a lot of friends, but no bridesmaids invitations nor a secret holder, because no matter how hard you try, moving and shaking has a cost each time. And each time the cost deepens.

You try really hard to hold on. You love them and they love you, but never knowing when you’ll return, and in some places, never returning, it changes. And what’s hard is that no one can quite grasp what that means unless they have been there too. So it may even seem to them, nothing has changed, but you feel it.

Today, I scurried quickly out of a banquet dinner for a bunch of first year students in a summer program, practically in tears. Because in five short weeks, you could feel the community they had built, and I felt like an intruder with no home. I haven’t had a full blown tribe or community in years – like I belonged. I am craving that. And that craving is oddly burdening existing friendships because I simply feel tolerated at times, but not included. And it’s rightfully so! Some of it is because of my own tendency to withdraw and become quite cold when I’m feeling misunderstood or outcasted. This is probably from being unmercifully bullied as a child and so spending a while searching for belonging as a young adult. I learned to shut off and shut down. Never let them see the real you (I totally identify with the queen in Frozen). Other parts of not being included is that you simply cannot be included. You dont exist in that time and space.

Many women can live without that tribe. I am not one of those women. I have learned this painfully the past year. While I struggle sometimes to understand why someone may want to spend a ton of time with me, I’m grateful for having women and men who have cherished me as part of their group. Who have welcomed me. I don’t need a large group (actually prefer it to be smaller), but I need it. And I need it close to me. I need to feel included.

Lately, I feel more of a burden than anything to my friends. I also think having a group allows for shared connection among one another where you don’t feel you need to hide or go silent. It also gives you multiple reality checks that I think is helpful. I am optimistic that it can be developed again. I’ve developed it a couple times in my life, and hopefully, in my older age now, I haven’t become so far gone as to not be able to create it again. I’m rusty, sure. But I hope I can find that community, rather than feeling like a stranger in my life.

Moving and change is wonderful. But everything comes at a cost. I’m hoping to buy back some of this one.

Change is the only constant…

Change is inevitable.  It’s something we all go through in life whether we want it to happen or not.  In most cases, our idea of change is an unwanted variable that comes along, ruining good things and making things worse over time.  But change can happen for the better, and most often does.  We don’t like to openly invite change to make things better, but it’s only because it’s unfamiliar; And everyone tends to be a little scared about unfamiliarity.

So, as I go through one of the biggest changes of my life, I have to remind myself that change is a good thing.  To want change is to know that you desire more from life, and that where you are has become to stagnant and complacent.  Sometimes, change is desired, and sometimes it’s needed.  In this case, I think it was a little bit of both. I can only hope that it will bring good and positive things to me in the future.  So with that said, here are a few reasons why I think change is good and something we should all embrace and strive for:

Change gets you out of your comfort zone

I’m some sort of an introvert, so I know all about comfort zones and being in them.   But, doing things that are unfamiliar to you builds confidence.  Without confidence, you won’t get too far in life. With confidence, you are more willing to put yourself out there and take chances.  I’ve had to learn this and still am trying to get used to being confident in/with change.  Getting out of your comfort zone allows you to spread your wings and show the world what you can really do outside of your normal comfort box.  And no, you don’t ALWAYS have to get out of your comfort zone. Sometimes it’s good to go back and chill, but don’t stay there.

Change allows you to grow

Change is life.  It’s how this whole ‘life’ thing works.  Getting you out of your comfort zone is the basis of change, and allows for you to grow, and as you grow, you learn.  And as you learn more, the better off you are in life.  Growth from change allows you to experience so much more than you ever would staying in your comfort zones.

Change and being adaptable are seen as positives

We all know that things at work never goes as planned.  As a bag-boy at the local grocery store I learned that being open to change is how you get recognized.  Work itself, is just one big ball of Murphy’s law ready to explode on your hour after hour. And being susceptible to change allows you to handle these situations like a BOSS.  Adaptability and change go hand in hand.  If you allow your resistance to change to keep you from taking charge or handling a situation accordingly, this is definitely seen as a negative.  Change allows you to be creative in solving a problem. A plus in many employer’s eyes.

Change can help spice up your life

In more ways than one…lol.  I am very accepting of change for this reason alone.  Doing the same things over and over for an extended amount of time got me into semi depressive moods many times, because it felt like I wasn’t doing anything or going anywhere in my life.  The same routines of my day to day allowed me to focus on why I felt like I wasn’t successful, or why my life was “boring”, and contributed to a negative aura and thought process.  Change, just in your daily routine, can help with these types of thoughts and maybe a big change could help as well.

Change allows you to experience new things

As we all know, change presents opportunities.  Without being open to change, I wouldn’t be making the biggest move of my life in 31 days. Simple as that.

You have to put yourself out there.  We as humans get to the point where we’re just really comfortable and complacent and just refuse to embrace change because we’re so familiar with the constant. Be open to change and all of the good impact that it may have on you.  Who knows, it could lead to great opportunities that you would have never imagined.  It could change your life.  To fear change, is to fear the unknown, and that totally understandable, but how long are you going to let the fear of change dictate how you live your life?

A Break Up Letter to NYC

Dear New York City,

The time has come for us to say our good byes. I think we both knew we were never destined to be long term lovers, but we gave it our best shot, and year is nothing to frown upon. You have taught me so much and I wanted to make sure you understood the value you had in my life. So many times we do not get to properly have closure to the most important relationships in our life. Moving gives us that gift. I want to share it with you .

1) You taught me how to be tough. You taught me how to not give into men and their advances, put on a hard shell when necessary, and be strong. You taught me that nothing is too scary for me. That subways at night are absolutely conquerable, streets are meant for crossing at all times, and gave me a bit of NYC sass and arrogance to go along with it. I like that part of me you’ve helped me develop. I feel tough.

2) You taught me the value of a dollar and resilience. You took me back to my roots and reminded how easily you can lose it all, struggle, and be back at the bottom. This was not a fun lesson, but necessary for humility.

3) You taught me Black and Brown comes in 500 different shades and languages and reinforced my sense of pride of belonging to a diverse group of people across the African diaspora. I desperately needed to see that after many years without that validation. When people ask me about my favorite thing about NYC, Harlem, and the Black and Brown people are always my top answer. I can feel the spirits of my ancestors here and see the seeds of their labor.

4) You reminded me that I can ride a bike. I got on my first bike in years when I moved here and it reminded me to always play and that some things are as easy and simple as remembering. Those were some of my favorite moments.

5) You taught me all that glimmers isn’t gold and isn’t for me. NYC glitters and glimmers; NYC is far from gold. It is a hard place to live and be yourself. You showed me that although I may aspire or think something is wonderful, I must really look carefully and consider all parts. I’m so appreciative of this lesson.

6) You allowed me to live a childhood dream of living in the Big Apple. It felt nice to say I’ve done it. My inner child appreciates the adventure.

7) You tested my patience, which I suppose begets patience. From lines, to delayed trains, to spending hours searching for a parking space, to jobs not for me, and a terrible dating scene, you really tried me. I hope I learned patience and not irritation. 🙂

8) Bodegas make the best sandwiches. There is nothing else to say.

9) You rescued me. I have so many mixed feelings as I leave here. This wasn’t a place of warmth, love, or friendship for me, which was foreign. But I cannot forget that you rescued me from despair and a low place. You were a wonderful oasis at a time that I needed it. I’m sorry that I dont always thank you for it, but I’m grateful.

10) You made me remember what is important to me. That I don’t need a fancy city, expensive apartment, or hectic lifestyle. That family, friendship, passion, and a career that lights me on fire are what I value most. We weren’t good matches because of these things, but thank you for showing me what I really need.

11) That in spite of everything, I can do anything. BUT that doesn’t mean I should. Thank you for that valuable lesson.

I think today, as I walked my last walk home from the one place I could feel comfort, I felt you offering peace as our relationship closes tomorrow. You gave me a gift of a breezy evening, a lovely sunset, children laughing, no slow people in front of me, and the ability to help one last lost tourist find their way to Central Park. This was certainly not a lot of our evenings spent together, but I’m sure you wanted to end this on high note. I wanted that as well, and gave a gift of kindness to a stranger in the subway. I hope you take that as an offering of my gratitude.

I want to thank you. Thank you for making me a tough, bodega loving, fast walking, and incredibly humble woman one year later. I’ll be back as a familiar and indebted visitor, but the depth of our relationship ends here. I’m not sorry to say good bye. It’s the right thing to do. Instead, I’m glad we got the time to influence one another. Thank you for letting me call you home for this short time.

With all the love in my heart,

LeAnna