Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Pursuit of Happiness/Misery

Days go by whether we want them to or not.  You can ride them like an escalator: stick your hands in your pockets and hope you see something worthwhile along the way.  Or you can hop on that escalator and give it an extra push, take the steps two at a time: don't just give yourself over to the momentum; help it out.  Get where you're going faster and with a clean intent of purpose, even if where you're going happens to be another escalator, with another one on top of that.

- Andy Greenwald, Miss Misery -


I recently ventured off into the heart of Brooklyn (sort of) to borrow my long-desired copy of Miss Misery; after having asked for the book at the Kings Bay branch, I was informed by a yarmulke (sp?)-capped librarian that the only nearest copy available awaited me at the Kensington branch.  So on Wednesday (March the 12th), I headed toward the unknown and took the Q to Cortelyou Road.  I soon discovered that Kensington was much like its namesake: a more urban-yet-quaint version of its London counterpart.  At least so I thought, as the train stop from which I exited had a very Alice in Wonderland-esque feel to it, if that makes any sense.  

Anyway, a little disoriented at first, (I had to ask a kindly cop for directions), I carried on to my destination.  As I turned onto Ditmas Avenue (where the library was located) after walking a few blocks down Cortelyou, I took notice of the various health food emporiums and underground hipster cafes (replete with life human-size Statue of Liberty serving as entryway decoration), the sounds of Chris Carraba's pained vocals blasting through my ears (er, ear?).  'Twas during this walk that a thought came to mind:

I like Brooklyn.

I realize this particular sentiment is a little way past overdue, as I've been living in the borough for almost 3 years now.  Well, technically, my things have, anyway.  The past year and a half, during which time also happened to be the start of my college career, I was swept away to Queens to be with my aunt and uncle, as they attempted to instill some Structure into my more free-wheeling artistic sensibilities.  The year before that, I'd moved my things into Brooklyn before I had even set foot in the place.  I moved in just 6 months later.

And now, I'm back.  

At first, having been spirited away from the familiar surroundings of Fresh Meadows (the quasi-suburban Queens community in which I'd grown up) to the tepid waters of Sheepshead Bay had filled me with a disgust and contempt.  This semi-bitterness towards the borough of Brooklyn stayed with me as I'd once again settled back into Queens at the start of college; it was not until I came back to the BK for good this past January that I started to explore both myself and my all-encompassing borough.

It's funny.  These past few weeks of getting used to sleeping in my own bed again (which is a lovely black wrought-iron daybed from IKEA that I've had since high school, in case you really wanted to know) and re-familiarizing myself with the clothes I used to wear and the art awards I'd won  have made me realize how much I've changed -- and how much I haven't.  That sounds a bit depressing, I know, and it should make me sad.  The truth is, though: my mind has never been clearer and my outlook so positive.

And for once, it's not freaking me out and making me wonder how long it'll last before another fiasco (emotional, academic, or otherwise) will take it all away.  I've realized that happiness will come only if you let it come...and let go of everything else.  Regret, anger, pain, long-held grudges...those weigh down your life.  I can't say that letting go will protect us from all the hurt and pain and shit that happens, but what I can say is this: just get on track, and explore.  You never know what you may run into.  

So while others are away out-of-state these days (or in the case of my best friend Patti, out-of-country -- she's in Paris, of all places!), I'm sticking to good ol' New York.  Right now, it's the best state (of mind) to be in.

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