Reading time: 13 – 22 minutes
LOCAL Celebratory GRAFFITI
Well, I am home (again). I now live in one of my favorite neighborhoods of Manhattan: LOWER EAST SIDE! I love this neighborhood!
First, my road to getting here was a very frustrating and debilitating path, so I am still recovering. In fact, as soon as I was unpacking into my new apartment, I have now fallen sick with a pretty severe summer cold. My body, heart, and mind were just about broken in this latest transition of life.
Instead of sharing this path in story-telling style, I will just list the events:
Cyprus announces out of nowhere that she has decided to live on her own and that we will move from our apartment, separately. This was fine, except that we had very little time to prepare and, while she was totally set with a steady income and support from all around her, I was unprepared because of my sporadic income and lack of support. This decision left me and Johnny in a very difficult and painful position.
I worked hard to secure another income so as to save money in time for my impending move out on my own, which took a lot of time, and then when that was secured, it fell through. I found something else shortly after, and I am SO happy with that source of income. I’m glad the first one fell through, because I love going to work for this extra income now. Still, I would not have enough money or time before our move-out date to secure an apartment on my own.
I negotiated a potential plan with Clem so that I could stay with him as a transition into a new apartment. This was primarily because Cyprus and I had won our court case against our landlord (who was illegally collecting rent from us) and the condition for my collecting my initial deposit back was that we would be out of the apartment by a certain date. That meant that I wouldn’t get the money unless I had moved out, but I needed the money to move out! Clem was very supportive and loving in his intentions as a boyfriend to help with this turbulent transition. He encouraged my surrender to this and assured me that it was a viable option. As the time closed in on me and I hadn’t secured an apartment, it became one of my only options.
Meanwhile, Cyprus and Nick announce to me that they are not only moving in together, but that they have found a place and would be moving in the middle of the month. So not only was Cyprus leaving me behind, but now she was moving in with Nick, my Ex. This came as a huge shock and I was seriously disoriented by this; left with anger, sadness, and confusion on top of everything.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, Clem dumps me. Just before his eagerly-awaited vacation time out on Fire Island. Along with this announcement to me over the phone, he also made arrangements to come and collect his keys to his apartment. I no longer had the option to stay with him as I secured an apartment. At this point I am seriously at a loss of words for how plummeted into defeat I felt. I knew I would survive and I knew I was going to be okay, but all of this was beating the hell out of me. Clem left for Fire Island and with my anger and sadness amplified by Clem, Cyprus, and Nick, I felt the most isolated and defeated I have felt in a long time.
I speak to Nick and Cyprus about the reality of my probably having to move with them as part of my transition into my own apartment as I saved money and waited for the court settlement. Nick suggests I find someplace else to stay.
I conclude that I am utterly alone in this process and that it may very well end that I am on the streets as I try to find a new home. I brace myself for this.
Nick retracts his suggestion that I find someplace else to stay, explaining that it was just a suggestion and one that was laced with a lot of concern for how long I might end up having to stay. I refuse to accept the retraction and vow that I will not live where I was originally unwanted.
Moving day comes and I am forced to move my stuff along with Cyprus and Nick, but I have no idea where I will live in the days or weeks ahead. I decide to ask my friend, Mark, if I can stay with him. He generously says, “yes!” My stuff is moved into Cyprus’s and Nick’s place and I leave to go stay with Mark. That’s when I discover a miscommunication has occurred and that Mark has left town. I decide to sleep in a park.
Meanwhile, my income has dwindled to a halt because of a lack of connection the internet, and I think, “all I have to do is get through a few days of this until my settlement is released to me and then it will all be over.” I surrender to the reality of having to sleep in a park and decide to make an adventure of it. I happened to meet up with Fabio that night, and it had never occurred to me that it was an option to stay with him, but he offered for me to stay with him, despite the lack of room. I told him, no, but he convinced me to check it out and I did, but as I did, I received a devastated phone call from Nick and from Clem who were seriously upset by my having to stay in a park. This upset me so much because I was trying to take care of myself with what little resources I had, but then I was made to feel like I was a criminal for making THEM feel bad for my situation! But it was of no matter to them that I was IN the situation in large part BECAUSE of their influence! LOL It was an exasperating situation on top of all of the feelings and pressure I was already experiencing. Now the situation had transcended from my dealing with MY pain and difficulties, to having to make others feel better about my situation before I did.
I did not stay in a park, after all. I stayed with Nick and Cyprus and Johnny.
Johnny and I had cleaned out the previous apartment and followed all of the conditions so that I could get the settlement, but when I went to claim my money, the evil bastard landlord decided NOT to pay. As a settlement had already been ordered by the court, he HAD to pay, but he delayed my receiving the payment as long as he could AND he short-changed the payment by $700. I spent the next two weeks, every single day, fighting for that money so that I could move and get my own place. My lawyer would confirm that I would be able to collect the money the next day, and then he wouldn’t call me, or I would be informed that it would be “just one more day.” This went on for more than two weeks beyond when I expected to collect the money.
I surrendered to staying with Cyprus and Nick and Johnny, but this was not a good situation, considering all of the feelings I was having in middle of this horrible transition, along with working at my new job, and dealing the reality of the impact my transition was having on my clients, students, and groups I host online. My lack of ability to remain in contact and follow through with work online was met with harsh criticisms and complaints. Eventually, all of this pressure building all around me and among everyone led to a huge blow-up of emotions. Cyprus and Nick went head to head with Johnny and me, as Johnny was/is in a similar situation of displacement because of Cyprus’s decision, and he was feeling the pain and humiliation of that. This explosion seemed to help burn off most of the nastier energy that had been accumulating, and that pivotal explosion was a good thing.
I almost forgot to mention that when Cyprus finally got her internet connection scheduled for setup, the cableman was ARRESTED in the middle of his services and taken away in cuffs! We still do not know what happened, but a second man came to finish the job, and he left the installation in such a shambles that we not only had no internet connection, but Cyprus’s computer had to be completely reformatted, with a complete reinstallation of everything. Before I left, they still had no stable internet connection that worked the way it should, but I was able to get her computer restored.
As each day passed and more work was lost, and more apartments were lost (due to my not having enough money for the initial move-in costs to secure the apartment), the delays against my settlement continued. Eventually I had enough money to pay for a move, but had no place to go, but I was suddenly offered a roommate situation with Mark! In the Lower East Side! YAY! I was so thrilled! Not only did he offer this, but he offered it despite the bad timing of my having not received my settlement. I could pay my rent when I received the settlement. I scheduled movers and I was all set!
Then, I awoke one morning just before my move to the sounds of static and splashing… I then hear Nick yelling down into the basement (yes, the basement… that’s where I slept while living with them) about a torrential downpour. When he flips on the light, I find that the mattress I am on is now surrounded by swirling torrents of water! The basement was FLOODING! Electronics, clothes, mattress… all submerged in about 5 inches of water! We worked fast to unplug what had been plugged in, and to lift out of water all of the electronics. In the end, the strangest thing had happened: the shape of the old basement floor had created a pattern in the swirling water so that the flow had not touched my mattress, had not touched my electronics, but several bags of my clothes had become saturated in flood waters. I spend the next two days washing all of my clothes to the extent that I can before I move.
The day of my move! The movers show up 2 hours early! This is fine, because I am already packed, but I had made arrangements for later with Mark, and this timing was essential since his current roommate had not moved out, yet. I clear it with Mark that I can arrive earlier than planned. I am loaded and ready to go, but have to find a way for me and Spyder to get to the new apartment. No car service will come to get me, except one, and they made me pay a huge price for bringing my wonderful dog.
I arrive to the building where my movers have already parked and I find that the security of the building has turned them away…. because NO MOVE INS ARE ALLOWED ON A SUNDAY!! NOT ONLY THAT, but they will not allow a move-in from the unloading area without a proper permit that I would not be able to get in time. Not only THAT, but they have a rule against any unloading or loading from a truck in the parking lot, which would shorten the unloading distance! Mark is not at the apartment (because I was two hours early), and the previous roommate (who was still living in the apartment) was not answering the phone, SO… the movers had to leave with all of my stuff.
Luckily, the adorable movers liked me and they came back two hours later for unloading, despite the restrictions for Sunday move-ins, but they would not be able to unload anywhere near the building: they ended up having to unload the truck and move in my stuff from about an entire block away!
I tipped them extravagantly for their amazing patience and effort.
The day came for me to collect on my settlement! I no longer have a checking or savings account because I cancelled out my awful “credit union” account I had from Saks (from when I used to work there), so the lawyer assured me I would be able to have the check made out to whomever I wanted so I could cash it or pay someone or do whatever I wanted. This was perfect.
Except, not only did that not happen, but they made the check out to BOTH Cyprus AND me (since we were both a part of the lawsuit against our landlord)… requiring BOTH of us to be present at the time of the check cashing. I discovered a check-cashing place nearby that would allow a settlement check to be cashed, and so all I had to do was get Cyprus to meet me.
But of all the days to do so, she had left her cell phone at home. I had no way to inform her to meet me. Not only that, but it was the evening of her big business dinner. Luckily, I knew where she was, called them to have a discreet message given to her, and she was able to call me and make a quick arrangement for later. We were able to cash the check within ten minutes of closing.
Although I had moved in, the previous roommate kept having a story as to why he could not move, so he lived here, too, and then it took a few more days for him to come and get his stuff when he did leave, which left no room for my unpacking completely. He and his stuff are now gone.
I wish so much that I could say I am safe and sound and feeling at home, but I’m not quite there, yet.
As soon as I began unpacking, I fell ill with a severe summer cold, discovered how filthy the apartment really was and how many days of cleaning it would take to make it livable, how much money I would have to spend in that process, and to my shock and horror that the apartment is infested with ROACHES toward which I am now waging a battle! In addition to that, I have been attacked verbally by two groups of Black people already, shouting out hateful and threatening words against my sexuality, screaming out that “he takes it up the ass!” and that I should kill my dog because she is “fuckin’ UGLY,” and to “get the fuck out of here, you fuckin’ homo!” Not only have I never had to deal with this kind of violent and hateful assault except from Black people, but I have NEVER had my sexuality used as a form of public humiliation and assault. The words are meaningless because they are just stupid, but the extent of hatred and venom behind the words are what terrify me, since it’s the kind of hatred that causes someone to spittle while scraping the words across another person. I guess it’s not just a Brooklyn thing…
Despite all of the adventure, loss, turbulence, etc. I am feeling pretty happy, as there is nothing left for me to do but to laugh and trust and move forward, loving even the most bizarre and confusing elements of this funhouse of my life. So don’t get me wrong… I am really excited and thrilled and relieved, despite not being able to fully just relax into it.
Today I sit in a sparkling clean apartment, with fresh flowers in vases throughout, and the roaches almost under control (this really REALLY bothers me), and I have a truly appreciative roommate. Cyprus and Nick and Johnny and I are all better with each other and may experience a new level of bonding, though it will take some patience and time. I truly love them, so it’s vital to allow the anger, hurt, loss… but also vital to make the effort to heal these experiences. People don’t realize that the very experiences that can tear you apart are the very experiences that can bond you in love.
As for Clem, we’ve barely spoken to each other since the breakup (my choice; he actively keeps in touch), but we are okay. I developed a love for Clem that won’t just disappear, so I choose to cultivate the healing, even if that will take a long time, or end in a gentle fading away from each other’s lives, or he just becomes another friend. I’m getting used to Boyfriend-come-Friend equation.
I lie here with my dog, Spyder, in the middle of a horrendous heat wave, but at least with some weak air conditioning, and the reality is that there have been more wonderful people welcoming me into the neighborhood than I have experienced in a long time. That’s something I never experienced in Brooklyn. People actually speak to you in Manhattan. In Brooklyn, everyone seems to keep to themselves and you never know your neighbors, unless you have been living in a particular neighborhood for a long time. In Manhattan, I have always known nearly every neighbor I have, because they actively interact and welcome you. I am so glad to have that again! Another wonderful thing that I haven’t experienced in a long time is having random conversations with strangers pop up so naturally and organically while out and about doing daily errands and walking Spyder. That never really happened in Brooklyn.
So… I’m not completely “at home,” yet, but I am closer. I think I need to feel it inside of me, first, before I begin to completely see it around me.
But I’m on the right track…