Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Upon Reflection...


***the below is a piece I started in July 2012 but never published***

Upon reflection...

To spend a week alone on an island full of strangers is an intimidating prospect. I was daunted. I was nervous. I was anxious. I was excited.

Upon reflection...

What was there to fear? I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to do. I wanted to do more than I did. I won’t often give myself permission to experience the life I want to experience. 

Upon reflection...

I’m the only person who stands in my way. Worrying about the way people perceive me is such a detriment to living my life. I’m so thankful that I managed at times to place worry in the back corner of my mind. Doing so allowed me to take off my clothes and experience the freedom of being nude on the beach. Basking in that moment of nudity nobody else mattered; worry or concern about what other people might be thinking about me didn’t pack the same punch I would normally let it pack.

Upon reflection...

Saying hello to strangers is one of the surest ways to put a smile on my face especially when the stranger says hello back (who knew?). On the flip side, when the stranger ignores me like I didn’t just speak, well, that pisses me off like you wouldn’t believe. Thankfully, in Cherry Grove almost everyone spoke or acknowledged one another with a smile or a nod of the head. It’s nice to be acknowledged. Living the on-the-go, focused life of a New Yorker doesn’t allow for moments of looking into the eyes of another person, moments of actual connection.

Upon reflection...

The vacation truly ended when I stepped on the crowded Manhattan bound train in Sayville, NY. Strangers no longer spoke to one another. Generosity seemed to leave us somewhere in the ocean on the ferry ride back to the mainland. There were more people than seats available on that train. Seats without bodies held luggage or propped feet. In some instances a single person lay across two seats reading or pretending to sleep. (I say pretending because I saw the eyes open and close and avert - I’ve played possum before myself so I recognize this traincentric selfishness.) No one offered their nonhuman occupied seat to the old lady or the father with two children - not the people who were lying down on two seats; not the ones who had their luggage in the spare seat; and definitely not the lady whose feet were propped up in the seat across from her. No one seemed to want to relinquish their hold on the spoils of getting on the train early. I observed as they watched person after person search for a place to sit down. I observed as they stopped making eye contact. I observed as they sat by and allowed people to stand with luggage in the cramped aisles and baggage area.  

Welcome back to reality. Welcome back to New York. Welcome back to the place where I chose above all others to make my life. It’s a love/hate relationship that I would trade for the world.