November 16, 2012

The Shoulds

October sunset There are a hundred things I should be doing, always a hundred things, a hundred shoulds, a thousand clashing cymbals, the constant beating of the bass drum, these shoulds. I am a people-pleaser, I dance on marionette strings, clap my monkey hands. Or so it feels, sometimes.

I have moments, days now even, of decision upon decision of this-works-for-me, without looking to my right, glancing to my left, just one foot in front of anther, I carry myself.

I found a new place to live. Of course, I found a new place to live, you might say. If you knew the details, the roommates, the "superintendent", the landlord mixed in with the flooding, the sewage, the utter devastation of my neighborhood, you would laugh that I feel the need to assert this.

Uninhabitable, it has been. Unresponsive, they have been. Uninhabitable still, unresponsive still, although I still cower at the thought of their disapproval - "you're leaving?" And I should answer, "I left and I went back and I realized it will never be habitable, you will never be responsive." Sometimes I place one foot in front of another, sometimes I dance on my strings to the clashing, the banging.

And sometimes the shoulds are quiet peace.

I went to Sunset Park a week before the hurricane. I discovered my now-favorite coffee shop in the city thus far and I spent hours soaking in the feelings of home. I trekked up the hill to highest point in Brooklyn and watched the sunset. I instagramed the sun's slow descent down; the caption read: "My heart is bursting with joy."

I am moving to Sunset Park tomorrow morning. After two weeks of the craziness that is trying to locate an inexpensive room in a safe part of the city, after spending hours on buses because the subway remained underwater, after looking at rooms that promised a window and some sort of closet space without delivering, after traveling to (almost) all parts of Brooklyn, I found a home in Sunset Park.

I found a home in a neighborhood large enough that I feel safe announcing it on the internet. It feels like I live in a city now. A city with a view of the Manhattan skyline and an already-favorite coffee shop a handful of blocks away. I found a room with dark wooden floors and a built-in bookshelf. I want so badly to feel this place is home, to have this place be home, to love this place as home for as long as I need it to be home. Which is to say, for quite a while.

Sometimes shoulds are quiet peace.

Travel there. Slip into the coffee shop. Find the park. Breathe deep. Watch the colors nature paints on the city. Send it out the world. Joy. Calm. Peace. Let it come back to you a thousand times more. Home. That joy is home, now.


  1. Emily, I'm really glad you found a new place and hope that it will be wonderful and all those good things that we love about new neighborhoods. Best of luck!

  2. I'm so sorry that you had to be affected by the hurricane, but I hope that you're able to feel at home in your new apartment soon. Hopefully all it will take is time.

    <3 Kiersten