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Still en-route.

I've lived in Brooklyn for five months now.

When I counted out the time on my fingers tonight I found that number--five months--absolutely startling. I blinked and June became July became November.

I anticipated this move for such a long--the move out of Manhattan, the move into a space of my own own, the move away from what was known and done.

And here I am and it's been five months.

And I just blinked.

I knew this move wouldn't change my life--at least not in that bedrock-shifting-sort-of-way that one always secretly hopes for. I knew that happiness in a place wouldn't necessarily make for a happier life--it would help, surely, but happiness is more than a place.

When I first moved everyone asked how it was. And I would bow my head and take a breath and say, I'm so in love with it. 

But it hasn't been easy. And because this place feels so right and so good it has served to magnify and highlight other areas of my life that are all-of-the-sudden-just-not-good-enough.

Does that make sense? The bedrock didn't shift in any life altering way, it simply settled. And I found myself on solid ground and equal footing and suddenly things that had been fine no longer were.

You know when you're in the presence of someone you're desperately in love with and how for the first ten minutes your face is flushed and you can't believe the tumble of your stomach, but once you sit with them long enough you're encompassed by such a profound sense of comfort and safety and you feel more yourself than ever before? That's sort of how I felt--how I feel--in this little patch of Brooklyn, as though I've found the place in which I'm totally swaddled and cared for.

But I'm so overwhelmed by the largeness of this feeling that I am without words for it. And few things frustrate me more. When will language catch up? When will there be enough words to say what needs to be said?

And because this one section of the puzzle feels so assembled I'm desperate to get the rest sorted out. And so I'm constantly struggling just to catch up with myself. This, as it turns out, is not a helpful feeling.

I was having a rough day about a week ago and a few things conspired to make me take the long walk from DUMBO to Carroll Gardens. It was late and the air was finally cool with October on its back and as I walked I thought, so I'm not there yet. I'm still en route. I'm not totally well and I don't have everything figured out and there's still so much to do.

And I have to tell you, few thoughts have been more helpful than that notion--not there yet. 

It was just a rephrasing in my mind--a move from feeling like I'd arrived on the side of well and was constantly then failing to live up to that versus still just plodding. And still-just-plodding makes life easier to live. Still-just-plodding gives me enough space to forgive myself for my many failings and to love this new neighborhood for exactly what it is--even if I don't always have the words for that love and even if it sometimes feels too-right in the shadow of all else that's yet to be decided.

On a separate note: I spent the hurricane with Natalie. I wasn't in an evacuation zone here in Brooklyn and didn't feel at all unsafe in my apartment, but I knew that if I the whole of the city was going to be holed up for a few days, it'd be good to do it with a friend. We are both so grateful that in her midtown apartment we were completely safe--with power and water at all times. When I finally returned home last night (via cab) it was a very eerie thing to drive through a completely powerless downtown Manhattan (it looked a bit like a ghost town). I know there are people out there saying that New York and New Jersey overreacted in anticipation of this storm, but they didn't. Some of the flooding was extraordinary and I'm so grateful to our leaders for taking charge in the way that they did. My heart is full this morning thinking of all the people not as fortunate as Natalie and myself. And I think all New Yorkers are a bit overwhelmed today as we face the reality of the cleanup and of navigating a city that, as of now, has an extremely limited transit system. 


Daina @ New York State of Mind said...

Hey Meg,

Happy to read you and Natalie are safe after the storm. Brian, my mom, and I are also safe and well in Astoria. My mom was supposed to fly back to MN on Monday, and is hopefully finally on a flight today. I couldn't agree more with what you wrote about our leaders and the amount of preparation for the storm. It was more horrific than imaginable, and I am still coming to terms with the state of our city. I know it will take a long time for the city to be back to its normal state, and that New Yorkers will live up to their reputation and be strong throughout the cleanup.

Beautiful words as always; your blog is such a joy to read.


Christine said...

I feel like we're always en route to that indescribable something, you may figure something out-- but then something happens that skews what you once thought to be as something entirely different.

Anyways I always look forward to reading your blog, I find this incredible solace in it, and your words are incredibly beautiful.

Christine said...

Also, being from South Fl. i feel like you can't really overreact in terms of hurricane preparedness - although our image of hurricanes is a bit different from y'alls (we are more used to them, and may or may not have hurricane parties outside..yes, it has happened), but they're still so very unpredictable.

Glad you made it through safe though!

Bev said...

Beautiful words as usual and goodness it describes how i feel at my life in this very moment. Glad the 'not there yet' is a comforting phrase bc it means that you are still on that journey and you WILL get there.

ps. Glad you are safe and well.

Mae said...

Hi Meg,

Happy to read you and Natalie are safe. It's a little surreal because I was just in New York a week ago and it was warm and sunny. It made me think about how storms can just come so fast, and the strength of it we can't always anticipate or predict.

Anyhow, I stayed in Carroll Gardens during my time in New York. I can see why you love it. I couldn't find the words to describe the place either. I just kept telling people that I love it, and it feels like home.

Well, again, glad to see you're safe. Look forward to your posts. Your words are always beautiful.

Diana said...

This post is beautiful. I definitely know what it's like to have certain things fall into place only to realize that so many things are out of place--or like you said, not good enough. Life is funny that way because sometimes we truly don't realize that each piece of the puzzle just takes its own allotment of time to find its way into the whole. But your thoughts on being en-route are comforting. Full wellness and full happiness are coming, even if they are taking longer to arrive.

I'm glad to know you are safe after the hurricane. I'm in the Poconos and we were expecting it much worse than we received it, so I of course feel blessed. I have a lot of family and friends in and around Brooklyn, Manhattan, and NJ, and they were not as lucky. I'm just praying that power is restored soon and that the clean-up is the one thing that is not quite as bad as anticipated. Somehow. Some way.

SemiCleanSlate...In Progress said...

I live 2hrs north of the city and I was prepared for whatever might come our way. Irene hit us hard so we did not know what to expect with Sandy.So if people want to think we took our preparedness to the extreme let them. I would rather be over prepared than under any time. Glad to read that you and your friend fared well.

Emi said...

glad you are safe! brooklyn is so fun, sounds like the change has been good. i love your blog! Xo chaseandem.blogspot.com

Captain Serenity said...

we are all a "work in progress," with the key word being progress. its not the road or the distance, its the ride. :)

Captain Serenity said...

we are all a "work in progress," with the key word being progress. its not the road or the distance, its the ride. :)

Bridget said...

meg, your writing. it never ceases to inspire me. i know what you mean... with the place feeling so good and comforting so many parts of you that you want to work on the other parts to almost get it all right??? does that make sense? anyway. i am really glad brooklyn is just what you needed. and glad you're safe too. my family lives on the nj coast and, incredibly, they're fine too. i know that's not true for everyone though...

Jay said...

very happy to hear that you were safe! hopefully there will never be enough words to say everything that should have been said, because then we might have said it all and there's be nothing more to say :)