New York 26/07/12 - Day 1
The first day of any holiday is usually a buffer day, not that this trip abroad really feels like a ‘holiday’, mostly owing to its length, casual and relaxed agenda and the fact that I’ve been here before. But holiday or not, I had a pretty good buffer day today. You know. The first day of any vacation where you ease yourself in, sort things out, adjust to the temperament and climate, dip your toes in.
Mimi’s parents have been so welcoming and hospitable and it’s so wonderful to see Mimi herself after her months of travelling the world, an intrepid explorer. This morning, greeted by soft, hot fog accompanied by light rain (see picture of my view, above), we all made our way to a bagel shop to catch up properly and have a New York breakfast.
Later, Jamie and I sashayed leisurely about the neighbourhood running errands and staking out the area. Considering the stresses of my personal life this year - a major break-up, a major breakdown, the loss of my job, the dramatic culmination of years of mental health issues - it seemed miraculous to be strolling the streets of a foreign city with my best friend, taking it all in, taking it at my own pace. I kept remarking to Jamie how uncharacteristically calm I felt, as if I’d reached a great grassy plateau of zen tranquility by accident and was happy to stay.
Later, the four of us went for Mexican in Brooklyn where we were joined by some of Mimi’s close friends. I’d forgotten just how colosal American portion sizes are (and also that one of my worst OCD habits is an inability to leave food on my plate) so I was soon happily groaning, clutching my stomach, nursing my beer. The delectable food was followed by more drinks of varying types and sizes until we relocated to an impossibly cool and grungey nearby bar.
Here is where things started to go downhill for me. Anybody who even vaguely follows me online will already know that almost 2 months ago, much to my surprise, I fell in love, at a point in time where I’d pretty much decided to embrace celibacy and singledom for the foreseeable future (cue trite knowing phrases about God having a plan or buses cumming on your face all at once or something). Leaving for New York has been bittersweet for me in that, although I’m embarking on the trip of a lifetime, I’m also leaving my boyfriend behind for 23 long days.
Drinking fair to large quantities of alcohol - a depressant - when you suffer from depression is not a good idea, but I seem to find myself doing it anyway, partially because I enjoy beer with food, but also because of the social aspect. Up until I started to drink, I felt positive about my situation. Yes I was separated from the man I love for 3 weeks, but what is that in the grand scheme of things? I’d be reunited with him sooner than I thought, and absence makes the heart and other organs grow fonder, so it’s not the end of the world?
Of course, such rational thoughts are not welcome in the brain of a drunk human being, and so I started to melancholically pine for John-James, not in a healthy wistfully romantic way, but in a way that made me feel numb and weighty.
I tend to regress socially when I drink anyway: it’s all fun and games until a certain point in the evening where I begin to go silent, become fixed and stuck in my thoughts, deaden, tire. I feel anxious, miserable, cold and full of dread all at once, as if those four feelings are colours on an accelerating spinning top, at first alternating queasily before blurring and becoming indistinguishable in a hurtling, sickening whirl of unnecessary negativity.
Feeling like this on a night out where everyone else is enjoying themselves makes me feel shit for two reasons. Firstly, I feel shit because I feel shit. And secondly, I feel shit because I know I’m harshing the buzz of my friends with my deadweight solitary misery. Although my wonderful compatriots are asking if I’m alright, checking I’m ok, encouraging me to join in conversation and generally being angels, I can still feel myself missing out and souring the mood. Whilst others are making new friends, having heart-stoppingly hilarious conversations or exchanging numbers to make future plans, I sit or stand alone, my face cast in stubbornly disconsolate marble, unable to join in.
Anyway, tomorrow the almost perfectly spherical ball of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields that we call the sun will rise again. Buildings will glisten. Humans will bustle. I will rise from my slumber, groggily, having dreamt of being reunited with my beloved, cruelly taunted with being able to slide my hand round him and nuzzle into his warm, sweetly smelling back, pressing myself against his longer frame, my feet grazing his calves. I will go about the day.
I’ve had a pretty good day.