June.

“Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with the mistaken belief that you cannot bear the pain. But you have already borne the pain. What you have not done is feel all you are beyond that pain.”

– Khalil Gibran

I started writing the end of my story first. I began with the day I hugged Jen in the driveway of her apartment building after she’d helped me put three heavy suitcases in the back of my car, and then drove my silver Toyota Prius up an eerily deserted 405 freeway to the top of the Sepulveda Pass for the last time. I wrote about the Lyft ride to the airport, where I told the driver I was moving to New York and how strange those words sounded coming out of my mouth, and the celebratory glass(es) of prosecco I drank at the Wolfgang Puck restaurant in Terminal 6, where I thought about my mother the whole time, because it was almost eighteen years to the day that I’d taken the reverse flight, from Seattle to L.A., as a kid going off to college, and how scared I’d been, and how she’d held my hand and told me that everything was going to be all right. And now, here I was again, eighteen years later, no longer a kid, but feeling just as exhilarated and terrified by the change I was about to make, and this time without my mother to tell me everything would be all right. So I took a deep breath, got on the plane, and told myself.

It felt easier to start at the end than the beginning, not just because the ending was fresh in my mind. Because the ending was so full of hope. As I scrolled through old Instagrams and blog posts from last summer, that was the thing I was struck by again and again: hope. The fact that I didn’t know how this grand adventure was going to turn out, but I was barreling forward anyway, with a sense of faith and confidence that surprised even me. Because I wanted something different than what I’d already had, and that meant doing something different than what I’d already done. Because when nothing is certain anything is possible, and I believed most of all the words of a friend who told me that anything is possible in New York.

So I made the decision to go, and once I’d made that decision, all the other decisions sprang from it, gathering momentum, like a giant snowball rolling down a hill. And I didn’t stop to think that anything could go wrong, didn’t consider any outcome other than a good one, didn’t even really listen to friends who cautioned that change is difficult, and I might have a hard time transitioning to life on the east coast.

Of course, hard turned out to be an understatement. And as winter descended like a fog, and none of my plans worked out and the grief I thought I’d healed from came roaring back, I lost sight of the hope I’d had in those early days. I stopped believing in myself. I stopped believing that good things were possible.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned during these last few difficult years, it’s that sometimes our darkest moments can be our greatest teachers. And during the winter that never seemed to end, I came to a realization: maybe the fact that nothing was working out was exactly what I needed. Maybe my move to New York wasn’t meant to be about what I would accomplish. Maybe it was meant to be about what I would learn.

It’s officially summer in the city. My first. It’s already uncomfortably humid for a girl used to the desert climate of Southern California, and it’s nowhere near as hot and a sticky as it’s going to get. I’m trying not to think about it. I’m trying to take each day as it comes, enjoying the fact that I can still sit in my living room with all the windows open and feel the faint breeze rustling through the trees and listen to the rattle of the 1 train as it shoots out of the tunnel at 125th and Broadway.

The beginning of summer means my memoir class is coming to an end. And while I’ve made a commitment to spend these next hot, humid months writing my book, I’ve also just begun another class: an intensive playwriting workshop geared toward finishing the first draft of my next script. I’m a bit worried I’ve taken on too much, that one big project might derail the other. But as I’ve started diving into this new play, a bittersweet love story about two people whose destinies are intertwined and yet, who ultimately can’t be together, I’ve realized that whether it’s fiction or non, there’s one theme that keeps running through all of my work, a theme that goes something like this: You can’t save people, you can only love them.

I can’t say how long I’ll stay in New York. I can only say that after nine months and three seasons, I’m finally starting to appreciate this city for what it is: an open door I needed to walk through to change my life. I’m grateful for every road block, every challenge, every time I looked in the mirror and asked myself, “What in the hell am I doing?” This experience has made me stronger, less afraid, and more willing to fail. And while I’ve never been a person who’s been comfortable living in uncertainty, I can recognize that uncertainty is exactly what I needed to make me realize I still have the power to shape my own narrative. I don’t know how this story is going to end, only that I’m writing it moment to moment, in a place where, once again, anything feels possible.

Until next time, friends.

22 thoughts on “June.

  1. Amazing this has helped me a lot I’ve been so confused about relocating I’ve been confused about a lot lately however reading this shows me that it’s okay. All you can do is try regardless if you succeed or fail as long as you keep going and keep the faith just have to take it one day at a time.

  2. I love your writing. Every time I dip into your work I feel inspired and also proud of you. I know that may sound strange as of course we are strangers in this world. But I feel proud of you as human doing your life bravely, not without fear, but holding fears hand and jumping in anyway. Be proud of yourself. You deserve to be ❤️

  3. Love this so much! A teacher once told me we need the dark times to appreciate the happy times, and it is so true. With the bad we won’t learn or grow. We won’t discover how strong we truly are. Winters in New York are not for the faint of heart (this coming from a girl who grew up in the White Mountains) but you survived it and if you can survive that, if you can survive New York whatever that means to you, then you have truly succeeded. So many good wishes to you beauty! If you ever want to grab coffee or want a writing buddy let me know! ❤

  4. My Dad used to say to me, when I was tired of walking, ‘Just keep picking them up and putting them down’. Well, that is what I think you are doing, well done in your determination and sticking at it when sometimes it would be so much easier to give up and go back to California. I admire you greatly, have a lovely week xxx

  5. Pingback: Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! | Pain Pals

  6. Your writing always inspires me, it is so beautiful. “I still have the power to shape my own narrative” – I needed this today! Shared link on my regular feature on PainPalsBlog Monday Magic Inspiring Blogs for You! Claire x

  7. This was a beautiful and very inspiring post! Through this one post you really helped my thought process so much! Thank you!!!! I am really looking forward to reading more of your fabulous work! I hope if you have the time you will check out my site. I always do my best to encourage and inspire others through the words that I share! I hope you have a great week!!!

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