it's been almost two months since i moved into my new apartment, and i've been trying to give myself the room to bond with my space, my neighborhood, my new understanding of life from the 19th floor. i'll be honest, though—it's been really challenging for me to connect lately. i'm not sure if it's because my mind is awash with projects and deadlines and schedules, or whether this change has shaken me up enough that i simply cannot yet adjust, but i've felt so transient and disconnected over the last 7 weeks. it's enough to drive a girl a little crazy.
within the last week, though, things have begun to shift a bit. last weekend, i walked up charles for a mini street fair, and i was loving just being out and about, smelling and seeing and feeling everything around me. and last night, salimah came over and we walked to a local pub up the block, and as i sat there taking in the conversations and smiling giddily at the waiter (i'm sorry, but he was a smidge adorable), i realized something: this is my neighborhood. mine. i LIVE here.
so now it's saturday night, and i've just had a day out gallivanting around the city i call home, eating and drinking (caipirinha, anyone??) and shopping and wandering, and now i'm back in my quiet, cozy apartment, and i just feel grateful. for all of it, really, but mostly for the shift that has occurred in my life to bring me to this place. it has thrust me out of the rut i was in (geographically, anyway) and made me uncomfortable enough that i'm starting to wake up and remember all the things i haven't been doing lately. like feeling anything deeply.
suddenly, i'm experiencing emotions that have been lying dormant—some good and some not so great—and i'm realizing that my life, as cher horowitz would say, is screaming for a makeover. if there's anything living downtown has reminded and inspired me to do, it is to give my love and life away again. every time i've been in a place where my soul seems shallow and stagnant, i need only to look outside myself, to start serving others and giving joy and sustenance to people i may never meet face to face, and suddenly the world around me is vibrant once again.
as someone who believes in God, i cannot live my life stowed away in my 19th floor 'tower,' looking down on all that lies around me and failing to get dirt on my shoes and the smell of the city in my hair. there is so much humanity down on those streets, and i want to be part of it. i'm not quite sure what this means yet, but somehow, i will stretch myself...become uncomfortable so that someone else can have a better life.
i was reminded recently that loving others isn't something you can do with restraint. it's either go big or go home in matters of the heart. i have always known this, but day-to-day life has taught me to hold it back for fear of overwhelming another. to be careful, just in case that love isn't returned. well, you know what? i don't care anymore. if people can't deal with my heart, then so be it.
all i know is that, for the time being, i call this city home. and i love it. i love being here. i love the crazy people who talk to themselves, the ridiculously friendly waiters at my favorite haunts, the snarky older dude i always ride the elevator with, the woman working in my garage who nearly breaks her back every morning just to stick her head out the window and wave at me, the tired-faced people walking home from work just as i'm leaving to go to my job, the traffic, the ball games, the fireworks, the police on their segways, the steam pouring out of the gutters, the church bells pealing, the screech of the lightrail, the sun setting over the abandoned buildings every evening.
this is my underdog city, the place where my heart first opened up and started to really take the world in. and in all of my uncertainty and fears and hopes, my arms—and eyes—are open up here on the 19th floor. my heart is ready to connect again...to do and feel and be more. so get ready, baltimore. i'm really just getting started with you....