The event itself was great. Awesome location, great prizes and DJ but there was a reason I didn't want to go and it was only solidified once I got there.
Two years ago today I boarded a plane alone. I had two suitcases, a backpack, a duffel bag, and an address of a 20-something girl living in the West Village in my hand. I lost the address and had to call her from La Guardia airport. I was feeling brave but won't lie, I was pretty terrified. I had no idea if this girl was going to be an axe murderer. I'd only spoken to her once on the phone - as we hammered out the agreement. I would sublet a room in her New York City apartment. I'd been working on getting to New York for months and here it was. I was going. By myself. I've said it ad nauseum but this was a big deal for me. I'm not plucky and I'm not fearless but I am determined as hell.
I got to the city and gave the cabbie the exact address - a blatant signal to my newbie status. Later, I'd come to know cross streets well. I got out of the cab to meet the girl who had pretty single-handedly changed my future and found her to be warm and friendly. Together we lugged my crap up six flights of stairs (hello, Manhattan!) I called my mother from my new (empty) bedroom and then we went to a pub down the street for dinner. She wouldn't let me pay for my $4 grilled cheese. She said I had plenty of time to pay New York's restaurant prices. This was the first in many small acts of kindness, unless you count the whole - you know - letting this stranger, a proverbial blue jean baby, come live with her.
Two years ago today I began what has become a relationship built on mutual respect. I respect the city, the unwritten rules, the pitfalls and the wonderment and in turn, I believe I have been respected. But last night, as I stood in the busy, pulsing atmosphere thinking "Shit, I should have made someone come with me." and feeling utterly stupid at being there solo, I felt what I have been feeling all week - alone.
Never before have I felt as free or as brave over the past two years. It has done wonders for my soul and courage. But I am tired of being alone, walking alone, experiencing alone. I know there is a reason I am, I know I have had lessons to learn. I've met some amazing (and some weird!) people along the way. And life continues... I just hope that by the time two more years have passed, I won't be flying solo, with two suitcases in tow, anymore.